Getting Started as a Model

So, you want to be the next big thing on Instagram and get sponsorships and endorsements thrown your way every five minutes? Well, just post a bunch of photos, buy followers and hope for the best like most models out there. If, however, you want to be a recognized and respected model while maintaining a professional modeling career, you’re going to have to put in much more work. I hope this post gives you a sense of what it’s like to start a legitimate, and fulfilling career or hobby in modeling.

How Do I Get Started as a Model?

I get this question a lot! I strongly feel if you are trying to become a legitimate figure in your local modeling industry, the first thing you need is a developed portfolio. No matter what type of modeling you want to pursue, whether it be fashion, commercial, promotional, alternative, runway, etc., you need something to show clients your potential and diversity. While most models today maintain a portfolio on Instagram, many will also have a printed portfolio to bring to shoots and auditions.

You will also need a composition card (‘comp card’) which showcases your measurements, height, shoe, and dress size, especially if you want to be represented by a modeling agency. Your comp card will be your business card–something you can pass out and share.

It’s important to state here that building a portfolio will require an initial investment on your part, i.e. $$$$$, especially if you want quality photos. When you are new to an industry, you have to put in your own time and money to become an established presence. Don’t expect professional photographers to just volunteer to shoot you for free.

How Do I Build a Portfolio?

To start a portfolio, you need to start taking photos! Join local Facebook photography and modeling groups and follow local photographers on Instagram. Advertise yourself as a new model and volunteer for as many ‘Trade for Print’ (TFP) shoots as you can. TFP shoots essentially mean you are shooting with a photographer without getting paid, and they keep all rights to the photos. In return, you get a select few images for your own personal use. For a new model, it’s a win-win. You don’t pay anything for edits and get exposure to your local photography scene. Always look for opportunities to shoot with a variety of photographers and be willing to invest for the great ones.

If you are interested, sign with a local modeling agency. They can provide all sorts of connections and help get your portfolio started as well. You should also start making a presence in your local fashion scene, whether that be doing shoots with well-known photographers, auditioning for one of the many local fashion shows, or trying promotional or commercial modeling gigs.

Finally, do not limit yourself to one kind or style of modeling. Purposefully push yourself out of your comfort zone and say yes to shoots you never thought you would have liked. That being said, never push yourself to do something you think is unsafe or makes you extremely uncomfortable. Your goal is to have a well-diversified portfolio that shows you in a variety of styles and poses, making you a viable option for a multitude of shoots on demand.

I hope this post helped give you a sense of what starting out it as a model A diverse and well-done portfolio combined with a professional attitude will get you far in starting a career or hobby as a model.

IZ Nicole XOXO

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IZ Nicole

Denver, CO

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