Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why casting and model online portfolio services are a waste of time

I am writing this after reading the bio of a model online portfolio service website and how it wrongly communicated that the service was better than an agent or working with a professional modeling agency.

The Internet, it seems like the perfect place to promote yourself as a model. Actually, it is not. It is the other way around. You can appear very amateur.

Things are a waste of time:

Paying a monthly fee to be on a modeling or talent online portfolio services. If you do not have physical printed compcard or headshot made you can not work in the legit modeling industry. Not at all. You need to market yourself properly and you need your professional marketing tools to do so. Don't think a website or social site will make you famous or discovered by a scouting agent. No. It just doesn't happen like that the majority of the time. There are a few rare occasions, but typically a girl should not be using an online portfolio service with thoughts of being discovered.

You may feel that you are opening your opportunities by putting your face and photos out there on an internet casting website or online portfolio website, but the odds are a professional brand in Paris is not hunting on the internet for a model in a small American city. I suggest being honest with yourself and understand that you have to start with self promotion, and doing it in a professional way, and that you do have to work your way up towards bigger opportunities, and being discovered is not the current state of the world, it is about discovering yourself and marketing it in a professional, legit, respected way.

If you think a London or Paris based fashion designer or magazine will fly a random aspiring new model they see on an internet casting service over and make her a star in their ad campaign or editorial, you have to wake up. Also it is quite dangerous and a lot of risk is involved, without an agency working with you or professional industry person. So don't think Paris will be calling because you have your face on a model portfolio social site. Don't get scammed or worse!

An online portfolio services is just a place to upload photos, anyone can do it, and while it allows the compliment that "anyone can try" it also means "anyone", it doesn't mean "professional" those who are serious. Placing your photo on an internet social site doesn’t not mean you are a model or will be. I also don’t think you should use it as a source to market your self to get modeling work. Hence the above warning and also here are more reasons why:

Professional cleints, brands, magazine editors, marketing professionals, who hire models for print, editorial and commercial work, do not want to waste time and money. Professionals are using models at modeling agencies typically or casting or talent agencies, because they do not want to waste time with a girl who is clueless about modeling, doesn't know how to pose, and it not capable of getting the job done. A photo alone on a online portfolio service doesn't express if the girl can "really" model something well and get the job done. It is just a photo. A pretty face doesn't mean she is on time, capable, and a good model.

Having your photos on an online portfolio service or hosting site is a waste of money.

It is better to invest in professional photography, compcards, and headshots, and print them out and mail them in the postal mail to real professional legit print and talent agencies. Typically NOT high fashion if you are short, but commercial print agencies to start.

Hits, clicks, comments, do not mean you are a model. You are not a model until you are working with brands, and have modeled for something, and to do so it takes more than the internet.

I am glad you found my blog, my radio show, and I hope my advocating on the web helps you but I stress to NOT use the Internet as your prime source to promote yourself if you are serious about modeling. Legit agencies want you to send your compcard in the mail to them. Not be referred to your social site or online portfolio service. It is amateur. The future is self promotion, but there is a difference between self promoting yourself to amateur-land, and successfully growing and accomplishing your goals.

If your goals are big then aim higher, want more, get more. It takes work, hands on effort, great marketing skills, and knowing how to present yourself and knowing your assets to get ahead. It is not a short-cut of flattery and hits and clicks and comments that make you a model, it is knowing how to take what you have and translate that into photos that sell you well so that a brand, magazine, agent, company will want to hire you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Isobella. I have a question. You see, I paid an annual membership fee for a casting website in my country Philippines ( It's a well known casting website in my country and its been running for almost 5 years now. A lot of people have tried it and it actually helps you get a job. I know you said it's just a waste of time but where I live, most people don't even know how to get in touch with agencies. I don't even know their addresses. If I did have a real comcard instead of a virtual one, how the heck am I going to send it if I don't even know their address is?

Any advice?

Unknown said...

I use google. I suggest googling: print modeling agencies + your city. Talent agencies + your city.
Casting directors + your city.

I think it is good to use the Internet as a research tool, but i don't think a web site will make you a model, or be discovered by real agents. Also the world is about discovering yoruself and knowing yourself and knowing how to market what you have, what you Do have in ways that can benefit you and your goals. Normally, professional print modeling agencies are not hunting on the web for models. Normally well known brands and respected magazines and product marketing professionals are not looking on the web for models. They go to an agency because it is a better and easier experience to get a model the agency knows is a good model. How do they know the girl is real and serious and is on time and a good model just from her profile? It is not reliable soley. Therefore a girl who wants to model should make a comp card, get a nice headshot created and focus on mailing the agencies by postal mail and use the Internet as a research tool, but don't rely on it for your success. Using the internet as a research tool is a good idea but to bank on it as a sole way to get legit and real modeling opprotunities with brands, magazines and respected products and projects, it is unlikely.

Also, getting a modeling job doesn't mean it is a good one. You have to make sure it is legit and is something that can lead to more work depending on what your goals are.

The internet and virtual world doesn't replace the actual real modeling tools an ambitious striving model really needs. A comp card, a protfolio. You need a comp card, physical, printed, and professional, you would then mail this card to the agencies, in hopes they like your look, personality, and the energy you show within it, (it is best as a shorter model to show photos that show your personality and that you can model a product naturally, also beauty shots and shots of you modeling handsbags, shoes, accessories is best, or act like you are talking on a phone and present photos that represent what commercial print modeling is. Fashion agencies as a shorter girl will be VERY tough.)

P.s: MOST legit print modeling agencies do not advertise that they are looking for models, they are too busy booking their models and working with clients, so if you want to model with agencies you should research agencies in your area, get some stamps and mail them your photos. A shorter model is more hands-on and self-made in many ways, she makes her own comp card and model marketing materials and for print modeling the agencies typically do not provide the marketing tools, you do. Like an artist buys his paint, a model gets her marketing materials and a virtual comp card is not best to rely on. At a casting you have to most of the time still leave a comp card, physically with the casting director, editor, art director, etc, and you wouldn't say "oh just go to my profile online." It doesn't work like that....not typically.

I hope this helps. Shorter girls can find opportunities but it is about how much you invest in yourself, the time you put in the effort, which add up to getting opportunities. ~isobella

BriaB said...

Hi isabell i recentley joined and It seems like a great site with photograhers who are trying to expand thier portfolio in return to expand mine aswell. Does it sound like a good deal. Also im a petite model and im marketing myself as a beauty model.. get back to me ass soon as possible.

Unknown said...

I am not a fan of social modeling sites, most (more likely ALL) are full of amatuers/ non professionals...skip it. ~Isobella