She paints the world with temperance and grace
using steadiness of hand. With great care
she goes to work. Her vision will not wait.
A hummingbird, gliding from place to place,
clever to choose each bud in her bouquet
wielding her gift of temperance and grace.
Soft, blonde hair flecked…
These days, everything is on line. From Dating to groceries you don’t really have to leave your house to find the perfect mate or make freshest salad. And though I think Social Media really disconnects us as “real live thinking and reacting” humans it is the best platform to boost your modeling career. I used it to start mine back in the days of Myspace by posting the most amazing photos I could and making my life look like it was the life everyone wanted to be apart of!
Since then there have been so many other platforms to launch your modeling debut. Almost too many to choose from!!! To understand how to get the most out of all of them would take days to explain however there are a few basic rules that will get you going. And since it’s so much to cover I will have to do it in a couple of post.
****Warning, if your only shooting and wanting to be a model more for the Facebook photos or to be Insta-Famous then your endeavors will more then likely fall short. Please don’t mistake this as a way to become “on-line famous”. Modeling is still a real job and it takes more then 100k followers to get you money, jobs and respect.
Before we start understand the Pros and Cons of using Social Media:
1) You will able to reach a larger more diverse audience and for free.
2) You can target agencies, clients and other relatable people by finding their sites and shouting them out until they notice you. Much harder to ignore a hundred tweets then it is an email.
3) You will get swag. Start shouting out brands (in a creative way) and before long you will see gifts on your doorstep. This is cheep marketing for companies since they can reach more people faster through its followers instead of buying commercials and ads. But be sure to really be genuine with your post. Swag will come easier with the more followers you have. BUT…Don’t make this your end Goal. You want to model for the companies and get paid more then you want to wear their stuff for free.
1) Your relationship may suffer. It’s often hard for who your dating to understand that what your posting isn’t personal and more for work especially when not a lot of people see modeling as work in the first place. Plus, they have to read all the creepy comments people will leave on your pics and that’s never easy. You’ll hear things from your partner like “ Why don’t you post pics of us” or “That photo is to sexy to post up”
2) Your life will start to revolve around social media. You have to keep up with what’s going on and things change by the second. Being on top of what’s trending is important. Posting at right times and with the right content is important as well. This is why PR and Marketing firms cost so much because it’s a 24 hour job. Get ready to not sleep!
3) Not all your friends will appreciate it or accept it. To keep up with the social world you will more then likely be on your phone when your hanging with your friends. You will post more photos of yourself instead of you all together because that’s what your fans want.. Believe me, this isn’t easy because I have the craziest friends and we do some pretty awesome things and I want to post them but it just doesn’t fit into my brand image so I can’t. It’s one of the many sacrifices that comes with the climb to the top.
Step by Step……Now let’s get started!
1) Decide what your brand image is. Fashion, commercial, editorial, Glamour, Swim, etc. and then be sure to stay true to your brand. It’s best if you make an outline of the things you will post about, when and where you will post them. There are sites that help you with this where you can pre write your post and schedule your times when they will go up so you don’t have to always be posting content on your sites.. Hoot Suite is the one I use.
2) Buy your website! And please make it your name, no “the only” or “miss model” before/after your name, it’s too confusing. You will thank me later. The reason why it is so important to do it before you get published in anything is because there are people who sit and look for sites to buy and sell to you at a higher price. A good example of this is when I was in Maxim Magazine Hometown Hotties. I already had my website but the other girls did not and I was contacted from a guy who had bought all of their names and wanted to know if I could contact them to so he could sell the sites. Even if you don’t do anything with it for a while just owning it (something as cheep as 10 bucks a year) if beyond valuable.
3) Make all you social media sites the same name, twitter, facebook, Instagram, Vine, etc. They all connect and it makes it easier for people to find you. Plus when others post to you it will go to the right accounts. Not to mention being consistent is the best marketing… you don’t see Nike with different names on Facebook and twitter..
4) Post but don’t bleed the feed. Couple photos on instagram a day, 4 to 5 post on Twitter and a couple on Facebook. Don’t ramble and talk about too many personal things. DO NOT POST: political views, religious views (to a certain extent, thanking God is okay) and do not put down others in the industry (no matter how bad they suck). Keep in mind that you are using this to book work and you may upset some pretty big clients and miss a major opportunity because you disagreed with their views.
5) A few personal photos are okay. People want to know your real. However, if you’re a glamour model and you start putting up photos of your boyfriend or nieces and nephews then you just killed your fans fantasies and more then likely they will unfollow you.
6) Big fan of selfies here. I have done my fair share, however don’t make all your post consist of them or else people will start to think you love yourself more then you like interacting with them.
7) If someone comments, write back. These are your fans and once you start interacting with them then they will be beyond loyal to you. This is easy at first but once you become too popular it may be hard. In that case just take a couple days a month and replay at random to fans.
Remember, the balance is to have fun but to also use it as a marketing platform. Instead of buying add space your getting your name and image in front people, companies and agencies online.
Now that you have this all done check my next posting about how to get the likes and following.
Now get off this blog…there’s too many selfies to take and not enough time to post!!
Recently while talking to a good friend of mine who happens to also be a very talented photographer it was brought to my attention that there is a misconception about what makes a model a model. While shooting the past few weeks he had the pleasure of working with a model who made a statement that not only rub him the wrong way but completely offended me when I heard the story even though it wasn’t directly intended for my ears. The statement was that she only works with photographers who shoot agency models and that anyone who is not with an agency can’t call themselves a model.
While I am a big supporter of having an agency to represent you, I know better then most that just because you don’t have one does’t mean you are not professional. I have worked over 20 years without an agent and have been on over 15 covers of magazines and worked with some of the top people this industry has to offer. Is this big time?, No. But just making a point that I have worked hard and made a good living as a unrepresented model and there are others out there who have done the same and deserve the title of being called a model more then some of those who are agency represented.
On the photographer side of things, shooting for agencies doesn’t pay. Test shoots allow you to work with beautiful people but they are not about creativity, they are about simplicity and booking the model paid work. Agencies have hundreds of photographers asking them to shoot why would they offer up any form of financial compensation?! Plus that’s not the only kind of photography. What about calendar, swim, catalogues, Advertising campaigns, etc.? Do you think that they only include agency models? This is how you make money as a photographer, by shooting products and advertising. If you were offered $20,000 to shoot an Ad but it didn’t include an agency rep’d model would you turn it down? You’d be an idiot if you said yes because only shooting agency models makes the models money while your left with great images but empty pockets. The only way to advance in your career as a photographer is to not limit yourself. Agency models are great for starting out and building your book but once you’ve advanced to a certian level of talent it’s time to move on and start getting paid for it.
The definition of a model as referred to by Merriam-Webster is : “One who is employed to display clothes or other merchandise.” Nothing about being signed with an agency.
I think its a wonderful thing when models are fortunate enough to be signed with a high-end agency. But I also think it’s a beautiful thing when a model doesn’t have someone doing a lot of the work and can make it happen on their own too because being a model doesn’t mean your just pretty or that you look good on camera it also means that people look up to you and aspire to be like you and want to buy the things you model and wear. Being a model is being a role model not only to those people but also to the little girls and boys who read magazines and dream of walking runways themselves one day. And if I had stopped when the first agency I went too said no to representing me then my dream would have ended there. But instead I took it and ran and haven’t looked back and hopefully because of it I inspire others who dream of things that seem impossible and keep pushing through, never slowing down when the world tells you no. To me, it’s more then a title. Being a model is a way of life.
I’m a believer in Plastic Surgery, having had work done myself (breast augmentation), but only to a certain extent. Because of this I feel I can weigh in on both sides of the argument. We all have things about us we hate… There is much truth to what they say “We are our own worst critic”. But it’s not your looks that’s the problem and it will never be the answer and it’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think your not. Plastic surgery can’t fix insecurities that lay within us.
With that said the contrary can be true and some work can help boost your career. Take me for instance, my breast is what got me noticed. But at the same time it also limited me into a world of Maxim, Playboy and Swimwear. Would I do it all over again? Not sure…I love all of those things and I am incredibly grateful for them but once you get type casted its hard to do something else. My point is be careful in your choices. It’s an important decision and you need to figure out if it works into your longterm goals and plans. Think about where you want to be and what type of model you want to become and THEN what it will take to get you there.
I think the real problem with Plastic surgery is that it can be addicting, it teaches us to live under a microscope where we notice every tiny detail and learn to doubt them enough to change them. And the modeling industry only feeds the monster. Everyday we put ourselves out their for the world to pick apart, how could it not effect our egos?! This is why being just a pretty face isn’t enough, you have to also be strong. A successful model is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at them. Remember that and you might just learn to love yourself just the way you are.
Being able to move in front of the camera is critical in building a diverse strong portfolio. Learning and being in tune with your body will help achieve better photos. Their are many ways you can practice this, one of the most popular is studding poses in magazines. Just make sure you study the right magazine for your look your trying to achieve. If you want to shoot High Fashion or editorial then W or Vogue magazine is best to look at. If it’s a more commercial look you seek then studding Marie Claire or even the adds in magazines will work. Once you found things you like study those poses in front of a mirror. Watch yourself and how you move. Is your face turned to much to the side? Did you lose one of your arms in the pose (positioned behind your back)? Do you hands look natural or stiff? There are many things you have to keep in mind all while hold a beautiful effortless face. The more you study the more natural it will become and before long you’ll notice that you do it just not in front of the camera but in everyday life as well. Now that you think you have your poses down take it to the camera. Shoot. Shoot as much as you can. Then study the photos. Is their pattern? Do you have enough variety? What works and what habits do you need to lose? Being able to compare your photos with the ones you studied and knowing the difference is half the battle, practice is the key and if done right you will look more like a model then a barbie doll in front of a lens. Always remember to have fun and don’t be afraid to try new things…. it’s a photo, if it doesn’t work you don’t have to use it just make a note not to do it the next time. On the other side…if it does work then you just set yourself apart form the other photos and may have a winning pic that can shoot you into stardom.
Photo by Maxine Helfman
When I started as a model everything was shot on film. There were no 1200 pic photo shoots and every shot had to be right from the start because no one photoshopped meaning that there was a limited number of photographers that were talented enough to work with. Every model who wanted to build their portfolio (unless they were signed with a large agency) had to pay. And it was worth it. Today any person with a point and shoot camera and a working sense of Photoshop calls themselves a professional photographer. Not only will they shoot TFP (trade for print) but many times they will pay the model to shoot. Why is this bad?
1.) If you rely only on photoshop to make you look great then you will never learn what poses works and what doesn’t. Plus you’ll be more inclined to not take as good care of your body and face if you know it can all be made to look perfect on the computer later. What happened to the days when models went to bed early before a shoot to make sure there were no dark circles or bag under their eyes?! Remember models, if all your pics are heavily photoshopped then you will disappoint your castings and not get the job when you show up not looking anything like your photos. Plus, your not fooling anyone. Were humans with pores and creases, not aliens with blurred smooth skin. Imperfections can be beautiful.
2.) Your getting an inexperienced photographer who can’t teach you how to pose and express yourself in front of the camera. How will you ever learn your angles and lighting if the photographer doesn’t even know them himself?! Experienced photographers know how to focus on your best features and what looks go well with your look, avoiding you shooting things that will never book you work…ie. a commercial model being shot only in high fashion is completely useless to her career.
3.) Chances are if your being paid or shooting for free you will be asked to shoot : Nudes, lingerie or implied nudes. What better way into guilting you to take your clothes off then to say that that’s what they paid you for. Pay them and shoot what you want and need for your book. Nudes may take you to Playboy but there’s 100,000 other magazines to shoot for too and can get you just as noticed.
4.) If your paying then you will make sure you get what you need. It’s your money, you worked hard for it and because of that you will do your homework…study poses, look at magazines, talk to your agent about what looks you need for your book, workout, take care of your skin, etc. You’ll take it more seriously instead of taking it for granted.
5.) Working with a well know photographer = more jobs you’ll book. Most of the adds I’ve shot I got from my photog friends. Good photographers work on big projects and if they have worked with you and like the way you look and handle yourself they will more then likely refer you to be the model for the job he’s shooting. Who is Joe Blow with the FTP’s shooting for?!….no one.
Even though we don’t shoot film anymore doesn’t mean we can’t model as if we do. Try and get it right from the start, the 2 seconds it takes to adjust a pose during shooting saves 20 minutes of work later in Photoshop. If you do your homework and try your hardest and shoot with a respected photographer then you will end up with a strong portfolio that will get you jobs that will prolong your career and give you the building blocks to a successful one as well.
Your interested in modeling so you study magazines, practice your walk, spend hours posing in front of the mirror and watch every ANTM episode. However modeling is more then just looks and a walk, you also have to be a “real person” who can “act” and have a good “business sense” in order to be successful. If modeling were only about looks then it would be nearly impossible to work…
Do you really think that agencies have a shortage of beautiful people? Go to any mall and in a matter of minutes you will find someone with the right height, look, body or uniqueness…You have to learn how stand out or else you will become the same face that’s been washed ashore all too often.
By saying you have to be a “Real Person” I mean that you have to be someone that the consumer can relate to. Most of the time in your modeling carer your selling a product, people want to see themselves using / wearing / visiting that same product so being relatable or rather “real” could mean you getting the job or not. If the person hiring you can’t relate to you then the consumer won’t be able to either.
Acting: I’m not saying you have to strive for an Oscar but chances are your not going to be hired to be yourself. In advertising no one really cares what your favorite food is, music you like or how you prefer to wear your hair. You are being paid to portray a character so you need to have the ability to make people believe in what your selling. Remember, advertisers want to get the best return on investment and that is in the product your selling and not you, don’t overshadow the product but instead make the consumer believe its what you wear / use / do everyday.
Business Sense: To me, this is the most important. Modeling is a business just like any other and in order to be successful you need to learn how to be accountable. If you are modeling for an agency then you need to understand that that agency is investing their time, money and name in you and not showing up for jobs, showing up late, not listen to advice, and not being respectful will ultimately get you fired just like you would from any other job. If you are modeling for yourself, then you are your own CEO, CFO and CMO. You need to learn how to find new clients, book jobs, work the jobs and bill for the jobs all while traveling and keeping up with your look and talent. If you can’t invoice, return calls, search the web, and balance travel then you will eventually fail.
Modeling is a lot of hard work and dedication. You have to put yourself out there and learn how to take rejection. But the rewards can be great. I have learned so many things in my 16 years that I’ve applied to other jobs and life experiences. I have traveled the world and scene rare and beautiful things, an opportunity I would have never had being from a small town. People saying modeling is superficial and egotistical with a short expiration date. I believe that if you believe in yourself and really focus on your career then modeling will supply you with more then just work but the start of many new beginnings and lessons that will last a lifetime.
Photographer : Shu Hui Yang www.shuhuiyang.com