Introduction to Modeling

Model Photo Test Shoot

If you want to be a top fashion model, it only happens in New York. Fashion modeling does not take place in small town America. The designers are not there, the fashion magazines are not there, and the show rooms are not there. The really BIG FASHION happens in New York and they play by their own rules. If they find you and you have the look they want for that season, then they have the photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists, clothing stylists, art directors, and budgets to make it work. What I am about to say means very little to the fashion elite. But if you are trying to get into modeling or you're in a minor fashion market doing catalog work, character work, product support work, or other secondary work, then this information holds true.

The modeling industry is quite diverse. However, the part that most people have seen glamorized is the life of the fashion Supermodel. For some, the idea of a jet-set life style is very appealing but, let me tell you, you stand a better chance of winning the power ball lottery then becoming one of the dozen or so Supermodels. Which points to a harsh reality of modeling - most people who try to make a living as a model will fail. Fortunately, for many, just trying to make it is personally rewarding. You will never know if you might have what it takes if you never try.

The following information may give you some ideas of what it takes to be a model and how to get started. This information not only looks at fashion modeling but, also, other types of modeling. The material covers some of the basics. Only through proper training and hard work, however, can you become a professional model. I hope you will use this as a starting point to decide if modeling is right for you and may it give you some direction towards starting a career.

An Outsiders View

Model at Sunset

In becoming informed about modeling you should question the information you read. I have found many sources of information on modeling that present themselves as legitimate and caring often have a hidden agenda. To this end let me tell you up front my view of the modeling industry is that of an outsider. I have never worked in New York (and have no desire to) and I have never modeled for or worked in a big modeling agency. I have been in photography since 1972 and have made my living as a commercial photographer (the folks that hire models) for the past 25 years (more on my background and this site can found on the "about this site" section of the web site). I do not have fantastic "insider information" or "hot tips on how to become a model." What is presented here is what I have gained through the experience of working with models, modeling agencies, and clients in smaller markets. These are the same smaller markets and towns that most models come from. Also, this information comes from my personal research and study of the industry (I am trying to find work to). I don't have all of the answers, so please just take this information as an old photographers outsiders view of the modeling industry.