I’m often asked “How can I make money shooting models?” I’ve listed a few questions I would ask…
- what part of the country are you in
- do you have a studio, do you need a studio
- are there agencies where you are
- is there a market
- what kind of market are you in
- what do the agencies need, want; commerical, fashion or both
- what kind of models; agency, glamour, internet
- modeling schools
My first suggestion which is probably what you’re doing already is to Test, Test and Test…then Test some more.
But here is the key… do the right kind of testing for the market you’re after. So lets pick one.
Mid level agency commercial market. (you want to get your foot in the door)
Suggestion #1: White, white and more white as in high key. This would be my top choice of advice. Why? you ask. Well I want my model photography to do double duty, and that would be? Commercial Clients…clients with $$$. Models on the whole don’t have much money. So I’m using my model shoots to build up my commercial book. What goes into a $700 model shoot isn’t much different than a more expensive commercial shoot. The above images were all shot for commercial clients that planned on extracting the model off the background for the most part. The difference in fees can be great but not the actual shooting.
95% of my commercial clients ask for the same thing! High Key White Paper Background. Why? So they can possibly extract the model from the background and drop them on whatever background they choose.
- So every studio should have a kick ass “full length” high key setup.
- Suggestion #2: Smiles and lots of them. The alligator smile the “Mary Duprie” HEY smile, laughing smile, walking away smile, off camera smile, coy smile…..hey you get the idea. There are many ways to smile.
- Suggestion #3: Movement, show that the model can move, prove it in your shots. If everything looks posed (via portrait photography methods) the client might be reluctant to hire your model. Prove that the model will move if hired. My goal is to try and get my model as many “direct bookings” as possible. To bypass the go-see process can be a great time saver to a model. The posing should look effortless. Hands are a dead give away as to a models experience.
Sharp, clean and simple, don’t over style and not too sexy. “You can’t be criticized for what you leave out of an image, but you can be criticized for what you put it.”
Learn to shoot a kick ass model headshot (learn what makes a great model headshot in a future post!) Remember commercial modeling covers all age groups, not just hot chicks! If you look around ads will bear this out.
Study high end catalogs for posing help, versus editorials (remember I’m talking commercial agency looks) Saks Fifth Ave, Spiegels, Neiman Marcus, Pink by Victorias Secret ect. No over exaggerated/contorted poses.
Think Target, Macy’s, Nordstrums, Soma Lingerie (owned by Chico’s), Banana Republic, ect
Pay attentions to ads for things like TJ Max, Costco, Home Goods, American Express, Apple. The cover of In-Style magazine is the high key i’m talking about. High end bridal magazines have great posing and styling, my favorite is Grace Ormonds’ Wedding Style.
So working on images to submit to commercial modeling agencies will have the added advantage of increasing your commercial book if shot in the right way, that would be my ultimate goal.
Pretty sells and always will.
Remember these are just “my” opinions, your mileage my differ…just sayin