Monday, March 2, 2009

The Photography Crisis

Models are told that if an agency asks you to pay for photos it is a scam. Yet the resolve for this is for the model to make her own photos, to use them to submit to agecies and the confusion of what is legit and what isn't when it comes to working with agencies.

A girl on Myspace recently sent me an email that read:
Hi Isobella, my name is______ and I'm an aspiring model. I'm almost 18 years old and I'm just a little over 6ft tall. I've went to two different casting shows and I've had no luck. Well they did call me back, these are two agencies that I've found on the net, they both asked for alot of money. The first one asked for over 500$ and the second one asked for another 500$ just for the photography alone. My mom didn't know much about modelling at first so she thought paying the money was fine. She ended up paying over 500$ for the first agency then she found out that they were taking models to Las Vegas to really see if they made the cut.. my mom flipped out so I ended up not going. The second agency asked for 20$ at first to take about 20 pictures n they'll call me if I made the cut..so they called me but the wanted 500$ more for the photography that's when I thought it was phoney. I've been looking for photographers at a cheap price but my step dad told me that I'm not suppose to pay for the photographers but still modelling is my dream so I thought I needed to do what I can to enter. I finally found a photographer for 90$ and I've got an interview with him the 27th March that's coming and I don't know if I should really pay for photographers..I really don't know what to do..I'm turning 18yrs old in July and I think I'm running out of time. I'm living in Montreal, Canada so it's hard because I now moved here almost three yrs ago and I don't know who's fake from who's real. I really would like to move to New York to continue modelling but I really need some advice from models already. Do you think you can help me? Please write back and let me know..Thank You soo much..

This was insight involved within my reply, I hope you find it useful:

1. Actors pay for headshot so why shouldn't models? So,it is ok to pay if your are getting a professional photographer. DO NOT look for photographers on the internet, instead look for ONLY professional photograpehrs who know the craft of photography.

2. Take control of your photo pursuits. Maybe FASHION agencies hand the girls everything (here you go) but that is only a VERY small percent of the modeling business. Most models are commercial print models, working with commercial print modeling agencies...and these girls DO have to get their own photos, headshots and make their own compcards. NOT through the agency but by themselves. Think of it this way:

How do you plan to get the agency? you mail your compcard to them! (This is what I know, I am not a fashion model, I am a print model, so there are no open calls in print. So I have had to mail my photos to an agency to get an agency. So these are my thoughts from a print modeling.)

If you wait for an agency to discover you, or PAY for photography for you then you might miss out on modeling all together. You have to put your effort in...work really hard just to sometimes get an agency. And then, who knows if they will send you on a casting. It is not an easy pursuit!

Mainly it has come down to my own work and hustle. And it is normal to MAKE your own photos adn submissions to agencies. Myself as a model make all my photography needs happen. Sure my agencies give me advice and suggestions. BUT Me, myself makes it and prints it. Then I give it to the agencies to use, market.

I DO NOT get photography though the agency and usually agencies that make this manditory are scams. I do it myself: make my own compcards, headshots, and portfolio photos. I have mailed my compcards to the print modeling agencies and that is how I have booked great modeling work. I take it upon myself to get ahead. Seriously it is typical, normal, and expected in the print world. Not every model is jet set, but many are work great jobs but THEY themselves produced their compcard and headshot.

3. Get over what you see on TV and in the media. Many girls gets ripped off, pay agencies for photos without even knowing who the photographer is and without a say or opinion. This is wrong. You should be comfortable with the photographer, Talk about it ahead of time, and know what is going on. Not just show up. Also you do not need a whole portfolio of images at the start, just the basic shots to submit to an agency. So when it comes to photos all a girl needs to start is a nice smile shot/headshot. And a full body shot showing her in a dress, fitness clothing or casual in tank top and jeans. So don't think you will need like 100 photos to start. Don't waste time or money this way.

4.. It is ok for a girl to make her own photos. Your mom could take them, you should work with a professional for a headshot and some lifestyle shots, but you will get to that later. At the start it is about mailing photos to agencies that show your face,-your smile. And you proportions. In print it is more about personality and less about height and weight. But the biggest thing when it comes to photos, the most important thing is NOT wasting money paying for what YOU DON'T need. So know AHEAD of what you need, should have, what agencies want to see. Before you get photos that DO NOT help you and cost an arm and leg. Sure it would be nice to have evrything always handed to us, but it doesn't happen like that. Many models, most models, the girls you see in commercials and non-fashion ads. Those girls are producing their own photos and mailing them to agencies and casting directors.

5. Remember if fashion doesn't work out then use more than your height and weight and use your personality and try print modeling agencies that work with girls who are workign on more advertising and commercial jobs.
It is ok to pay but I WOULD NOT through an agency. That is a scam.

I would look for a photographer, or even a photography student if you live in a smaller city or town. Try a wedding photographer, try a headshot photographer but do NOT look for photographers on the internet. You want to work with a professional, or for now just submit some snap shots that your mom took, but do not work with people who do not take their photography seriously. Someone who knows the craft of photography is best. Remember, You don't need any glamour shots, or over done fashion shots. YOU NEED SIMPLE. Smile. headshots, wear some jewerly, solid colors. Nothing to crazy. An agency wants to see you for you. So just focus on mainly a nice headshot, and full body shot that shows your smile.

Then mail, mail, mail and expect this modeling pursuit to be a challenge, it is, modeling is not an easy thing, it is a very hard pursuit, but one you can attain to and you get find opportunities, but you have to be smart about it, and not expect it to be a fairytale.

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