This page is dedicated to models of all experience levels. Most experienced models learn the following information sooner or later but it is here now so please take advantage of it. This information is important. We will be adding information and answering questions on this page so please check back often.
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Before you go looking for a photographer, figure out what you want from them. Are you looking to add some shots to your portfolio, or are you looking to get some experience in front of the camera, or are you looking for a high paying assignment? What you want from a photographer determines who you approach and how.
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Your portfolio is your visual resume. Here are some tips about getting yours into shape.
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Exposure is getting information about you to potential clients letting them know what you have to offer and that you are available for modeling work. Here are different methods of getting exposure.
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"Hello Tom! I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed working with you. I felt more comfortable with you than with any other photographer so far. I really enjoyed the shoot last Saturday! I also appreciate all that you taught me. I REALLY learned a lot.
Thank you again...."
"I just wanted to send you a little thank you note for sending me all the
responses that come in off my page from your site. As you may or may not
know, I have quite a few pages on many other sites. Out of all the pages
that I have, I get the most responses off of your site. And, with as busy
of a man that I know you are, you've been wonderful in promptly forwarding
my messages to me. I wanted to thank you for the great job that you've done
I really want to thank you for all the referrals you've sent my way. I've done really well with them, and look forward to getting many more! Your web page really works, and you do wonderful photography as well."
Thank you so much for the page you set up for me at your Web Site. Not only has the response that I have gotten been incredible, but the photographers I have been working with who have contacted me through your Web site have been upstanding, genuine and a real pleasure to work with.
The photos you have taken in our sessions together have reflected your own professionalism, quality and eye for catching the perfect moment. These characteristics have come through in the thought put together when you established my pages. When I talk with photographers who have seen my pages, they rave at the beauty you have captured and are very impressed with the pictures you have taken and made available for them to have at their fingertips.
Another beautiful feature of your Web site is that any photographer can see a sample portfolio prior to scheduling a shoot and know what kind of work the model is interested in.
If you keep up this quality of photography and the Web page info and the way you make me feel when I work with you, I may have to start paying you for our sessions.
Thanks for all your thought, planning, and your great work, most of all Tom, thanks for being a great person to work with! You are most sincere and a pleasure to work with!!!"
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WHAT IS A "ZED CARD" AND WHAT ARE THEY FOR?
A Zed card is a promotional piece used by models to send to prospective clients. They range in size and layout, but the most common zed card has a good headshot on one side and 3-4 other pictures on the other side and is around 8"x5.5" or so. The photos can be b+w, color or a combination of the two. In the past, most zed cards were b+w, but now with such good laser printers, the color zeds are more common.
Models (or their representatives) send out these cards to prospective clients to generate interest in the model or to make contact for a specific assignment. Most photographers keep a file of zeds sent by models as a database for future projects.
HOW DO I CONTACT AN AGENCY?
"I read your "Model Tips & Information" section of your website and have
gained a little more insight, thank you. However, I'm in New York, I'm 32 and have never modeled before. I am not looking to be on the cover
of Vogue but would like to finally try it since all my life people have
told me that I look like a model and photograph very well. How do a
choose an agency to even call for an interview? I am aware of the many
scams of agencies but there are a lot of agencies in the city, do I just
start calling and weeding through them?"
Before you actually contact an agency, do your homework.
Try contacting the SAG or AFTRA offices to get information about agencies. Some modeling agencies deal with these industry agencies. Also call the Better Business Bureau and see which agency(s) has complaints filed against them.
If your state has a modeling agency license department, contact them and see who carries licenses (ask for a list) or ask for a list of who has had licenses revoked recently.
DEFINE YOUR LOOK/MARKET.
If you have a look best suited to bikini/swimsuit modeling, focus your attention on agencies that have a strong presence in that industry. If you are a fashion type, head that direction and so on. Just as your portfolio should reflect what you have done/want to do, so should your agency. The majority of clients/contacts they have should mirror the kinds of work you want to do. This will help you with your target market group.
REMEMBER WHAT AGENCIES ACTUALLY DO.
Agencies are like Temporary Employment Agencies except they don't worry about your typing speed or dictation, they focus on your look. They charge both you and the client for their services. Being picked up by an agency is not the end-all solution. They just provide a more directed, concentrated market to approach with your look and talents, and they do the legwork in exchange for a commission.
REMEMBER, THEY WORK FOR YOU, ARRANGING MODELING ASSIGNMENTS FOR A PERCENTAGE OF YOUR FEE.
Instead of calling an agency for an interview, call to get "submission requirements". They will give you a format on what they require in a submission. Some agencies only start a process with semi-established models with experience and at least a partial portfolio. Others will see anyone, and the ones you should be afraid of are in this group.
If you know about the scams, then you know not to walk in without at least a headshot and resume to an interview. If you have no pictures, and the agency sets you up with a photographer, be sure you ask for all the rates involved and if they have a list of photographer's available, instead of just one. Also ask if you can use other professional photographer's for a headshot/portfolio. Regardless, you will pay for your pictures one way or another either up front with photographers you hire, or photographers they set up for you to pay on the spot or if they say they will get pictures for you, the cost will be deducted from your future earnings. Agencies hate to gamble and they usually don't.
BIG TIP. DO NOT SIGN AN EXCLUSIVE CONTRACT WITH AN AGENCY UNLESS THEY ARE ACTUALLY GETTING (NOT PROMISING) YOU ALL THE WORK YOU WANT TO DO.
WHAT I WOULD DO.
My best advice would be to find out about the particulars of the modeling industry so that you can represent yourself for smaller gigs. How releases for stock and other photographers work. What kind of questions to ask. What rates to charge and so on.
Get in touch with models on the net and ask some questions like how they got started and if they have agencies working for them.
Once I felt like I was ready to deal with a photographer, or other contact, I would post a portfolio on the net in at least a few places. I would try to generate some work experience and create a decent list of credits. Remember, it's not so much who you work for when you are starting, it's how good the tearsheets look.
After I got comfortable with dealing with assignments I set for myself, I would then contact an agency and see what they could do for me.
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ARE YOU INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT HOW TO MODEL FOR ME?
I am always looking for models for one assignment or another, and I work with models for all sorts of photo styles from bikini to very erotic nudes. If you are a model or want to try modeling and you will be in the Northern California area (I am in Hayward), feel free to send me an email about yourself consisting of your stats, age, experience, the types of modeling you want to do, and where you are located. Please send a few sample images as well if you can.
E-MAIL ME HERE TO FIND OUT IF WE CAN WORK TOGETHER.
I currently need the following models for the erotic nude work I shoot for various clients.
1) Young models (18-22)
2) BBW models
3) "Amateur" girl-next-door type models
4) "Natural" models with lots of pubic hair
5) Very Busty models
6) Models that need content for their own sites
See samples of Tom's Work in the Gallery
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