Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Submitting photos to agencies, open calls and models starting out tips

A girl who is 4'11 emailed me about modeling, asking "Do you have any advice for a girl that's starting out like myself? I have submitted my photos to agencies but I have had ZERO luck, and what is the best way and do you have any advice as far as going to open call castings?"

With her question mind, here is some insight that will also help your own pursuits as a shorter self-made model.

These days it is a self-made world, and with print modeling agencies, they often work with many models non-exclusively, and it is important to know how to approach the right agencies with the right photos.
Striving as a model, and getting opportunities involves, marketing, research and time.

So get ready to research, craft the right photos, find the right agencies and spend time learning about what opportunities are realistically out there for a shorter girl to pursue. Print modeling is best for a shorter girl to pursue, print models are all ages and sizes and your goal is to find a print modeling agency that works with all sizes and all types and ages. There are many out there so you will have to hunt, (often they do not advertise themselves) but there are many out there! The best way to get in touch is with mailing your comp card.
Before you should create a comp card you should know your assets, being 4'11 is tiny, but let's think about what is marketable about yourself beyond height? You should know your assets, it will help you craft photos and not waste time. If you do not know your assets spend time focusing on discovering them. What would make you a good model? Why should a brand hire you? Why would an agency want to work with? What types of products, brands, magazines could you realistic modeling for.   Usually a client won't be looking for a 4'11 model, I mean a brand isn't contacting an agency or looking for a short girl for their ad campaign usually, so you want to think about other assets you have that make you marketable. When creating photos, bring out those assets in your photos, your smile, personality, do you model products well,  does the shot look like it could be an ad for a lifestyle product.  Remember, there is more to "starting modeling" than being infront of the camera, it is about creating shots that can be marketable.

Ok, on to open calls, open call castings can often be a waste of time because everyone and their sister shows up and you wait for hours and hours, but if it is for a project you think you have a good shot at, and a respected brand, magazine, product, production company, I would go early! Like try to be one of the first people there, for open calls usually if it starts at 10am, I suggest you should go at like 9:30 or 9:45 because people will prob already be waiting outside the door.

Here are also some things to keep in mind to skip when pursuing modeling:

1. Skip model site and social media sites promoting "you can model" or "a network of models", MOST of these sites are amateur and scamville awaits! 2. Skip modeling schools, not needed, print modeling is about being you, and so you just need to practice being yourself and modeling products at the same time naturally, a handbag, accessories, non-high fashion lifestyle products. 3. There are many so-called modeling agencies out there, which charge crazy fees for photo packages, so beware of this scam.

When it comes to photos, a main misconception of shorter models is that the agency does it all for you. Many short girls think showing up to an open call and having the agency invest in them is the way, it is so in print modeling. A professional print agency doesn't hold open calls and also doesn't typically make your comp card or prepare your marketing materials for you, (And also keep in mind you might not get "signed" either, although not being signed doesn't mean you can't model.) There are a lot of other misconceptions out there too.

So  prevent scams and save money, I'd roll up your sleeves, and start planning to create your own marketing material, photos, comp card, portfolio, and put some management skills into your own pursuits.

Once you have your photogaphy, comp cards and marketing materials, you will then mail your material by postal mail to agencies.  (or follow the directions they suggest on their website on how to submit to them. Print agencies typically suggest postal mail)

Without a comp card  I would have never worked with an agencies. The comp card is what I mailed to get their attention. And making my own comp cards was routine. And for a shorter girl this is normal, because she will end up freelancing and working non-exclusive mostly with agencies. And print modeling agencies would rather you be already prepared and ready.

You mail the agencies a comp card in the mail with your phone number on the card, they know why you are sending it, to introduce yourself and in hopes to work with them. Print agencies like that you already have a comp card, and it is a must-have for aspiring models trying to get agencies, and all print models. When you approach an agency with your comp card is shows you are already ready to go on castings and prepared and already knowing how to model natural. Print agencies don't craft your career, they are a great to work with, but they do not often craft your career for you.

A shorter girl can work with agencies but there are some important factors she should know, here are some tips on preparing to work with agencies, and making comp cards.

First, here is insight on what print modeling is:

And here is the difference between print modeling and fashion modeling:

These are the Model Marketing Tool Basics (the things you need to start modeling):

Making a comp card:

It is very important that the photographer/s you work with understand what print modeling is, here's why, read these:

Here are tips on finding a professional photographer:

These posts from my blog are based on the modeling agency mindset for the short girl:

And here are some tips for modeling in a small town:

Mailing your photos to agencies might sound weird, but already being prepared is important, and there are a ton of other issues that come with getting the photography, photographer, and comp card put together, but for a shorter girl the process of sending photos to agencies, and being a model, is ALOT different than fashion. Fashion agencies tend to invest in their models and for print modeling the model has a lot of hands-on prep behind the scenes work to do! Being prepared leads to opportunities and a shorter model needs her marketing tools. It is best to already be prepared with professional photos already, a compcard and portfolio, it shows the print agency you are ready to work, serious and ambitious. So go and get some print modeling photos together, invest in yourself and goals, get a nice headshot and some smiling shots that have a catalog appeal and commercial print vibe, shots that bring out your assets, and study what print modeling means, and look at ads for products of all types in lifestyle magazines.  Modeling isn't just about height and measurements, but for a shorter girl it is ALOT of hands-on work.

I hope this helps,  ~Isobella

Psst: If you haven't yet, check out my book Short Stuff: on the job with an x-small model, you can read a sample here. And on my website you can also read free excerpts of my books.  Strive on no matter your height!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!