Back to Blog

How do I get started in modeling?

aspiring model model modeling modeling agency modeling industry modeling school Jul 16, 2021

The world of modeling is a fascinating one that’s constantly evolving. It can be hard to keep up with all the new trends and how they affect models, but this post will give you an introduction to what it takes to get started in modeling as well as some tips for success.

Most people have misconceptions about what modeling is- they think it's only for tall, thin women who look like supermodels. While there are certainly elements of being a model that require certain looks or body types, there are many opportunities for other people to be a model even if they have something different going on - like being slightly taller than average or having bigger hips. There are many qualities that make a good model- for example, you may not need to be the thinnest girl in the room, but rather a fit and healthy looking one (remember models eat well too!).

Table of Contents:

 

What is modeling?

Modeling can be broken down into a few distinct roles and jobs. There's more than being just the face of an ad campaign- models are often hired for many other purposes as well.

In general, it can be said that modeling is a combination of media exposure plus physical attractiveness. It’s likely you've seen a model before in your life, but you might not know it because they can play a wide variety of roles. The modeling world is divided into many different areas or sectors.

  • Face of a campaign - a model is hired by an advertiser to take part in their campaign and represent whatever product they're trying to sell (this could be anything from makeup, jewelry, clothing or even a car) for them. Depending on the size of the ad, it may also feature other personalities as well. You may have heard about one of the most famous models in recent memory, Gisele Bundchen , who has been an icon for many different products. In particular, Chanel used Gisele as a face to sell their perfume for years- she's essentially what they considered the perfect model.

 

  • Face of a brand/company - models can also be the face of a larger company. This is more common in women's fashion, but it's applicable to other fields as well. If you're someone who has an online business or even just a startup that wants to use their brand identity as advertising, hiring a model (or multiple) is one way to increase exposure.

 

  • Runway model - these are the most common type of models you'll see. The runway is a large platform that models walk down as part of fashion shows. They're usually dressed in beautiful and colorful outfits meant to represent this season's style or trends. Runway models are famous people who have a great look, but they also need to possess grace and elegance on the runway. As you can imagine, this is a pretty difficult skill to master, but it's an important one for anyone who wants to get into modeling.

 

How to become a model?

Are you one of the people who have always had a passion for being in front of the camera? Do you have what it takes to be a model? Do you feel like the person that everyone turns their head towards when you walk by? If so, then what are you waiting for! There is nothing stopping you from becoming a model, but there is one thing standing in your way and that is you.

How do you become a model? It all starts with signing on with an agent. An agency will take care of everything for you, from styling to booking photoshoots to getting you work. The first step is to find an agency that fits what type of model you want to be. There are so many different types of modeling jobs, you can be a commercial model, an editorial model, an in-store model and the list goes on! Some agencies are more selective than others too. This is where your determination comes into play. If you have what it takes to make it as a model then convince someone that you do! Not all agencies are the same either. If you have signed with a modeling agency that is known to be picky, look for other agencies that might be more suited for you.

 

 

What kind of jobs are there for models?

There is an entire industry made up of modeling . One thing to keep in mind about the modeling industry is that it doesn’t actually consist of individual jobs, but rather professions - some require more experience and schooling than others.

For example, one can specialize in runway modeling (walking on runways for fashion shows), print modeling (modeling clothing in magazines and advertisements), commercial modeling (acting as the face of a company or product like shampoo) or editorial modeling (being the model that walks down the street to represent a fantasy or type of person).

The size of an agency is another thing to keep in mind when thinking about modeling jobs . Larger agencies have more opportunities for models through the different sub-agencies they’re connected with, and you can even be hired on a freelance basis into an agency if you're right for a job.

However, there are some agencies that are so large and in-demand that models can become famous worldwide through them, such as Ford Models (www.fordmodels.com) . They have their own system of signing on new models through contests and scouting events.

A lot of modeling jobs don't even require that you be signed with an agency at all! You may apply to work with a modeling job board or modeling job site, which matches models with employers seeking models. For example, you may apply for a print modeling job that's posted on Models.com (www.models.com) or an ad agency might post job listings looking for new talent to fill their roster of models.

You can even be hired as a model through social media like Facebook or Instagram . These platforms are so widespread that it allows you to gain exposure for your modeling career.

 

What does it take to be a model?

Modeling is a lot more than just standing in front of the camera (although it can be just that if you're starting out). It's so much more than getting up early on a weekend to get ready for your runway casting, or styling yourself for runway as well. The most important thing about modeling is customer service . You need to be able to sell yourself, your talents and your personality.

In order to become a model you need:

  • Confidence (in yourself) - This goes without saying, models are the center of attention so they need to be confident in their sense of style, how they carry themselves etc. 
  • An outgoing personality - Models aren't mere mannequins, they need to be able to interact with people!
  • A love of the spotlight - Models are constantly in the public eye. They want to look good and need to project their personality through their style.

Models also have a few extra traits that others might not:

  • An understanding of runway walking - Models need to know all about runway including runway etiquette (kissing the ground, curtseying after a show etc.) and runway walking.
  • A knowledge of runway styles - Knowing how different runway shows are styled is very important for any models hoping to work in runway. They need to know what looks runway ready and what looks too casual or sloppy.
  • A knowledge of runway hair/makeup - Models need to know runway looks. What runway trends are going on that season/year? They need to have a runway ready look for the runway: good skin, fresh hair and makeup, gorgeous accessories etc.

 

 

How do you get into the field (contests, scouting events, referrals)

Modeling is a very competitive business. It can be tough to get your foot in the door, but there are ways you can do it! One way is through modeling contests . These are basically online (with usually an entry fee) and offline where you pay to enter. The first round of competitions will cut off those who don't make it, and the top models will get to go to the next round! After that, you can join an agency or try for modeling jobs through a job board. Contests aren't the only way to get into modeling, but they're definitely one way. Another way is using a scouting event . These are events where you go to a casting to get your photo taken by scouts or agency executives. You can go in person to one, or you can use social media and put up photos of yourself modeling (so that they can see what type of work you're interested in) at various poses, styles etc. After a while of doing this, different agencies may contact you with modeling job offers, or you can apply to a modeling contest.

Another way is through friends of yours who are also into modeling. They could send in your images to an agency and someone will recognize you from somewhere!

 

What are the different types of jobs for models ?

You can be a model in many facets including print modeling, runway modeling, social media modeling and modeling for music videos. Each of these types of modeling has their own role to play when it comes to marketing.

  • Runway model -  are paid to walk the runway and showcase designers' collections. The more lucrative a show is, the more you'll be paid! Runway models are also needed for casting calls. They will get called in to have photos taken of them walking a catwalk of sorts that is set up in the office or warehouse location. These modeling jobs pay well and are a good way to break into runway modeling. If you're lucky, you can get paid to be part of a show! Models who do walk in shows get paid more than those who just model for casting calls. You'll make even more money if you're the star/featured model for the show.
  • Print or Editorial model - are paid to have their image used in magazines, catalogs, billboards etc. Some models just do photo shoots while others appear in advertisements/commercials for products or services. They may also cut down on modeling hours and act as spokespeople for a company or product (you've seen this with many well known models like Tyra Banks, etc.)
  • Commercial Model - these jobs can be lucrative just as print modeling and runway modeling. Models get paid to hold up products or talk about a service on television!
  • Fitness Model -  are paid to show off the latest apparel or products from companies. These models have a specific look: lean, toned bodies with shapely muscle definition especially in their legs, abs etc. They also tend to be shorter and/or lighter than mainstream models (that's just how it is). Fitness modeling is a niche sector of modeling which is growing in popularity due to the influence fitness celebrities have had on social media.
  • Lingerie models are lingerie specialists. Basically, they're lingerie models that will model lingerie for lingerie lines.  They wear lingerie to make it look good and Sexy! Lingerie modeling is not for of course not for everyone, as it requires a lot of confidence to show your body while wearing different lingeries.
  • Body Modeling for clothes and jewelry designers, makeup companies, etc. like using their hands or feet.
  • Plus-Size or "Plus" or Curve models are models that are a size 14 and over; they are often seen as in advertisements for plus-size clothing, or non-traditional models. Plus-Size Models are models who have fuller bodies, typically over size 12. They can be seen as the plus-sized model of their time, such as Twiggy or Ashley Graham
  • Alternative or Edgy Models are models that have a unique look and are often seen in edgy or alternative fashion magazines
  • Fitting Models are models that designers use as "mannequins" to fit their clothes and get the right size before it is made. They are usually a little taller and thinner than average models because they need to fit into the clothes in order to be able to show off what type of sizes that will come out.
  • Promotional or Trade Show Models are models that you see in events or trade shows . Types of promotional models include: Wait staff for an event, registration and working with a company at their booth during an event. Types of trade-show models may include being in front of a product or service that's on display while wearing it so customers can see how it looks.
  • Swimwear models are models that are often showcased in magazines like Sports Illustrated with a more athletic and toned physique
  • Classic/Mature models are models that are over the age of 25 and seen modeling classic clothing
  • Child Models are models that are under the age of 18 and often found in clothing stores. Under-Eighteen Models are models that are between the ages of 14 to 17 who usually have a more innocent look

 

 

What's the role of modeling agencies and how they work with models?

Modeling agencies are not just for female models; they work with both male and female models. Modeling agencies arrange photo shoots, book test-shoots with brands, assist in the booking of photo shoot jobs by scouting talent and securing them on behalf of clients. 

How does a model agency make money?   A model agency earns a commission on any work booked for their model. The model will have to pay their model agency fee (usually 20%). The model is also required to pay the model agency fee and model agency tax if they are not officially signed to the model agency. The model will only start earning money once a client pays their model agency for representation.

What are the requirements for an aspiring model?  

There is absolutely no limit with regards to age or size. New models can start out as young as 12 years old and as old as 89 years old! A lot of factors play a role in the decision of whether a modeling agency can take on a model or not. These factors usually consist of appearance, personality and attitude. Some agencies require portfolios from models who are interested to apply for their representation while some others prefer to go by recommendations. 

What is the best way to get signed?

It is important for aspiring models to get recommendations. The best way to find a reputable modeling agency is by word of mouth and via online searches based on location, but most importantly, recommendations from people who have actually worked with the modeling agencies before. If you are coming from overseas then getting in touch with local agents can be done through email or even facebook messaging (most of them nowadays).

 

 

How to build your portfolio?

Here is a list of tips on how to have a killer modeling portfolio:

  • Have several professionally shot model photos in your model portfolio
  • Try to dress like a model. Most models are wearing high fashion, and look great makes you look better!
  • Include some model head shots as well as full length modeling shots
  • It is best to have an 8x10 inch glossy print of each picture in your model portfolio (not digital copies)
  • Include model cards with your model portfolio. Have model cards printed in sets that you can leave behind at each modeling job

 

 

Do you need modeling classes or to go to modeling school?

Why modeling school or modeling classes? The simple answer is yes! Here's why: With modeling, you're selling a lifestyle. Clothes can go out of style, but good looks never will. Good looks help sell everything and anything else in the world. You need to be able to walk, talk, look great on camera, and have a good attitude. A modeling school will teach you how to do all of these things in a professional way, so that once you start working, you're already at a great advantage over the other models who don't have experience with modeling schools.

Which modeling school should I go to? For those who decide to get modeling classes, there are many modeling schools in the world. However, you'll want to make sure that your modeling school is reputable and respected in their industry.

What exactly will I learn? The basics! The way a model walks, sits, smiles, and talks is all learned in modeling classes. You learn a lot about yourself through modeling school, as it forces you to be completely self-aware of how your body works. It'll help you lose weight, gain muscle tone, improve posture, and even get rid of bad habits that many people have!

With the basics under your belt, you'll be able to translate those into different looks and styles. Why? Because modeling is all about looks! A model can't just dress however they want and expect to book a job as a designer's muse or whatever type of look they're going for in the photo shoot. That's where modeling classes or model coach will come in handy; if you just want to be a commercial model, you'll have to learn how to dress and present yourself in different styles that are appropriate for your body type.

Imagine being cast for a high-end swimsuit shoot as the beach babe, but instead of wearing an expensive designer bikini from Paris like they had imagined, you show up at the photo shoot wearing last season's swimsuit from Target. You've just lost the respect of your modeling agency or modeling agent, and they won't be booking you for any more photo shoots.

If you're a model who wants to land high-end work, make sure that you get modeling classes because it'll help you stand out among the other models. There are some modeling schools that will even cater to your specific type of modeling work and style, so if you know where your career is going, do a little research beforehand to make sure the modeling school you choose will help you reach those goals.

What will I learn about in my modeling classes? A wide variety of things! Modeling is all about the image you're putting out there; it's not just about being beautiful. Yes, you will be taught about the importance of keeping up with your personal hygiene (especially when you're working in front of an audience during a photo shoot), but more importantly, you'll learn how to present yourself to others and make the most out of every situation.

 

Who are important people who will meet to become a successful model?

Here's a list if important people who will encounter in the modeling and fashion industry :

Casting Directors

Casting directors are the people who decide on what models are picked to be cast for a client/project. They screen and test potential new talents, look at your past work from agencies (if you're signed w/ one), or scout the streets for fresh faces. There is usually 3-4 casting directors who pick out an average of 20 girls for each show. They are very picky, so the most important thing is to make a lasting impression when you have your one chance at a casting.The people in this industry have ONE goal in mind - to be successful. Everyone is looking for their next big break or success story. If you offer them that, they will be your number one fan and will do whatever they can to make you into the star that you could be. It's very competitive in this industry, so being a team player is important and people skills are big because it will help you build long lasting relationships in the business.

Professional Photographers

Professional photographers are the people who shoot new faces for a modeling agency (scouted by the casting director). The photographer will take your headshot (the most important image) and portfolio photos that will be sent to the agency. The photographers are not all bad - the right type of photographer can make or break an aspiring model. So it really depends on how you look at it. Don't be afraid to speak up if the photographer is making you uncomfortable or awkward in any way.

Professional makeup artist

Professional makeup artist are people who will make your face look flawless and beautiful on that big day for the headshot. No matter how good you think you look, they can always make you look 100x better!

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers are the people who actually design the clothing. They make the sample garments that you will wear for your show or catalog shoot. You can always have input in what style of clothes you want to wear, but it also depends on their schedule if they are able to reach a compromise with your ideas or not.

Established brands

Established brands are the already successful companies that have a strong following and fan base. It's always good to work with these types of brands because their exposure in the industry is very well known.

Modeling Agents

Modeling agents are the people who represent models in public and legal matters. The agency will have their contracts signed by a lawyer, but most of the time you don't even look at it because they will explain everything for you before it is officially signed. This is one thing that should be reviewed thoroughly by yourself or your parents (with some guidance from a lawyer who is familiar with the industry) before it is signed. This will protect you from any type of exploitation or fraud that can happen in the business. There are many great modeling agencies that are fair and honest, but there are also agencies that take advantage of young girls for their own gain.

 

Launch your modeling career!

When you want to be a model, it's important not only that you get the right look and skills for the job - but also that you have an understanding of how modeling works. You'll need to know who is involved in your industry so that when opportunities arise, both parties are able to work together effectively. If this sounds like something you're interested in, then what are you waiting for? This blog post has gone through all aspects of what being a model entails. We hope this article helped dispel any myths about models and answered any questions about where to start down the path towards becoming one yourself. Never be afraid to ask questions!

Model Launcher is the world's most innovative program for aspiring models. With our 6-day online course, we teach people how to become a model in just six days! You don't need any experience and can even work as a freelance model if you're not interested in signing with an agency. It's never been easier to get started on your modeling career than it is today!

We know that becoming a successful model takes time and dedication, so we've made sure that this program will give you all of the tools necessary to succeed. Our instructors have years of industry experience and are ready to help you every step of the way. You'll learn everything from walking techniques, how to pose for pictures, and more! And at the end of our course, we'll provide feedback on your photos so they're perfect when submitting them anywhere else. This is one opportunity that shouldn't be missed out on - sign up now before it's too late!

Click here right now for more information about Model Launcher or click here if you're ready to enroll in our 6-day online course today!

Don't miss a beat!

New tips, stories and advice delivered to your inbox. 

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.