A girl on facebook recently asked me: "I'm a little confused as to when I need to get professional pictures done. I noticed that some agencies prefer to see candid snapshots as opposed to pro pics. But then other agencies request the submission of professional headshots, etc. Should I start with snapshots and go from there? I'm trying to avoid paying for pro pics twice."
All professional print modeling agencies, (not fashion agencies but commercial print modeing agencies,) prefer you usually to mail a compcard in the postal snail mail. Which means you should start producing your photos as soon as you want a print modeling agency to represent you. Also it is more professional when you mail a comp card with professional photos to an agency vs. snap shots. Also for your own good it is best to have a compcard because the majority of print modeling agencies do not make compcards for you. They will use the cards you provide for the agency to use.
It might sound a bit complicated and the truth of print modeling is very different than fashion modeling. In Fashion Modeling the agents provide marketing materials and are more hands-on with their models...for Print Modeling it is totally different. A shorter girl will find opportunities in Commercial Print Modeling and a shorter girl needs a compcard to start her submissions to agencies, the comp card is her marketing tool, for getting the agency in the first place, and also using that comp card for castings.
I think you should get professional photos done the moment you are considering working as a model, and after you do some more research on what print modeling is and how to work as a model, you should set up a photo shoot with a professional photographer. It is better to go to the shoot with a plan and know ahead of time the type of photos you need and the type of modeling you want to do, so you don't waste time and money. Tips for the photos you need are here:
No matter what modeling is tough, a lot of hands on work, and a shorter girl really does a lot more of the marketing and hands on production and creating of her photos. Like an actor creates a headshot a model needs her compcard, even before the agency, because the compcard presents that you "can" model, and shows the agency how you look in photographs. The photos should give a sense of your personality, because print agencies like to see that.
It is a "make it happen for your self" world. It is a "do it yourself" world now.
It takes investing in yourself, time and money to get legit opportunities. The world is full of scams because more and more girls want to be models, which means...more scams. So here are some posts on why you need a compcard and creating the right photos for it, and how to market yourself and compcard:
The more you put into your pursuits the more you get. Aim high!