Being a model is something that means you have to always be on and constantly focus on who and what you are trying to be. This is one reason why I highly recommend that models have a “modeling name” to separate your modeling life from your real life. Yes, the two intermingle a lot, but this gives you some wiggle room between the two. Why would you want that? Simply because there will be times when you need a break or that you don’t want modeling to infiltrate your personal life. And, if something happens in your modeling life that you don’t want your personal life to know about, there is that separation that keeps them separate – some family member searching for images of you on Google won’t pull up that sexy bathing suit glamour image that you did last summer. As I indicated, this is just a little wiggle room. It isn’t a block between the two.
Another thing you want to do is work with many photographers and art directors. Try to qualify the photographer to make sure it isn’t a GWC (guy/gal with camera). This means doing some research on who they are and the type of work they mostly do as a photographer. Also look at the people who they associate with in the industry – frequently photographers work in packs like dogs. You can be assured if more than one of them shoot something you don’t want to do, they all shoot styles you don’t want to do. If it means doing a shoot with a photographer for free when you normally charge because it may lead to work, then it would be good for you to do a shoot. It is working for those photographers and art directors that will get you paying jobs as a model. It is key for photographers and art directors to have a steady flow of talent in their books – if you substantially change your looks, you will want to reshoot with that photographer or model. As a photographer, most clients have specific looks or goals in mind for the images that are taken. Having just a few models to choose for work makes it difficult for them to get work. Just beware that some photographers and directors will make a decision on what they see from you already, and you may have to pay for them to do a shoot. As a photographer who has very little time for free shoots with models, I have found a small set of models who I work with as test models – they put up with just about anything I through at them through. Frequently, you will find that there are models who photographers like working just like I do. If you can become one for a good photographer, you can be assured of getting excellent exposure to their clients.
When you go to a go see, portfolio review, or similar activity, it is very important that you always put your best showing of who you are. Decisions are made in seconds based on their gut feeling and past experiences. Time is frequently a very rare commodity. You must look your best and have your best to present. You need to establish report with the people around you quickly. Remember to have your best in the front of your book, as there is a possibility they won’t go very far through it.
As has been mentioned, time is important. It is important that you be able to evaluate a person’s work that is highly stylized and highly edited to something unreal. People who do castings and make the decisions for casting a specific model position sometimes can’t tell the difference. This means that if the image is created by someone who they don’t know, the image will be discounted and be a negative because they can’t trust what they see. It doesn’t matter how good the image looks – it can’t be trusted as being the real “you”. If you have any highly stylized and creative looking images, be sure to include who shot the image, who the makeup artist was, who styled the hair, if an art director or styling coordinator was used and who they were, along with the date it was done. While this doesn’t fix the problem, it will do a lot to let the person making the decisions to know enough to trust the image.
Finally, don’t think that TFP is just for those people who are starting out. They aren’t. Professional models do them all the time. They often pay for the images they have taken of themselves. Don’t think that you are ever so experienced that you are too good to pay for your images or work TFP. You may be short changing yourself if you do.