Starting as a new model can be an absolute minefield! Whilst the rest of society assume that modelling is money for old rope, there is a great deal more to it than pulling off a few poses and collecting a paycheck. I’m going to discuss some of the areas of modelling that will not only help keep you safe but make sure you stay ahead of the game.
What you’ll need to start.
At least ten good quality, high-resolution photographs taken by a professional photographer. Selfies and Snapchat images are an absolute no-no. Photographers want to be able to see what you look like. They aren’t interested in seeing a blurry snap of you hanging out in Long’s bar, necking a Tequila, with a pair of cartoon dog ears arising out of your head. You want to be taken seriously and be seen as a professional model, not a joker.
If you know someone who is good at taking photographs, then this may save you a little bit of money, but in my opinion, you get what you pay for. A professional portfolio of images can cost between £250 and £600+, but this is an investment in your chosen career and an essential tool in helping you find work. Do your research first and make sure you book a reputable photographer and someone that specialises in the kind of work you are seeking. A wedding portrait photographer probably isn’t going to be as good at producing red, hot glamour images, as someone who shoots that style of modelling every day.
If you are looking to shoot glamour then look for names such as Dave Mac, Riri Images or K-Thing Photography and choose a photographer who images resonate with you. Also look out to see what sort of packages different photographers offer. Some may offer £100 images for £300, but this might not include editing any of the images. It’s also been known for photographers to charge the model to take the images, and then charge them up to an extra £200 for a cd of those photographs!
Be very clear in your communication and ensure you know what you are getting precisely before you part with any cash.
Also, beware of any agency that asks for money to shoot a portfolio for you. It’s likely that they are charging you over the odds and may not even put your forward for work. Any reputable agency that feels you have the right look for their agency, will only take a small percentage 15-30% of your earnings once you have completed an assignment for them.
A good person to contact is Kirren, who organises glamour photography and has many magazine contacts . He has been in the industry for years and is well connected. He gives excellent advice to new models and should be able to put you in touch with the right people.
This depends entirely on what sort of model you aspire to be. Most fashion models will be provided with clothes on set, but you’ll want to make sure you have a few sets of lingerie, a classic white shirt and a pair of spare heels in your handbag.
If you are leaning more towards the glamour or adult industry, then I’m afraid you’ll have to invest in a new wardrobe, which you’ll need to update every few months so that your image doesn’t become stale. This includes matching lingerie and suspender sets which is essential. It’s amazing how many models turn up to shoots and say they don’t have matching underwear! Also in your kit should be several sexy baby dolls or chemises, dresses, items you can mix and match, some Basques and a selection of good quality high heels and stockings.
You’ll also be expected to do your own makeup on some shoots so invest in a good makeup brand that works for the camera. My personal favourite makeup brand is Mac, but also brands like Bobbi Brown, Dior and Estee Lauder are also highly rated. If you are on a budget, invest in a good quality foundation, that gives good coverage and a decent powder to combat excess shine. You can afford to scrimp a little more on products like mascara and lipstick and opt for brands like Maybelline, Models Own or Boujoir.
If you have no idea where to start there are loads of great tutorials on Youtube that will show you the way, such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DS5IC0Sj1g
It also goes without saying, your hygiene should be immaculate and your teeth should be white. Remove any body hair that shouldn’t be there and keep your hair freshly washed. If your nails are short or bitten, make sure you get a good manicure before a shoot or wear some false nails. One thing that a lot of UK models seem to neglect is their feet! Peeling skin and cracked feet are not attractive so give your feet plenty of TLC! Exfoliate once per week and use Pedi file on them as often as they need, then slather with a rich cream every day.
Where to advertise
There are many good UK based websites where models can upload their images and some of the best ones include:
Modelling offers – which to accept?
So far, so good! You’ve had your portfolio shot and you are looking gorgeous! You’ve uploaded your glossy images and the work offers are starting to pour in, but what should you be aware of?
A professional photographer should never approach a model with an introduction such as “Hey sexy,” or “Love your tits!’ He or she should professionally approach you, inform you of the nature of their shoot and what they hope to achieve. If the way someone communicates with you makes you feel uncomfortable, listen to your gut, it’s always right!
Ensure you read the photographers feedback on the site and if he has none, make sure you get at least two good references from him. If he is unable to supply these then he should at least be prepared to allow a chaperone to be present. If he has any problems with this, then under no circumstances accept a photoshoot.
Be wary of – Level pushers!
A photographer may ask you to do shoots beyond your levels. So, for example, you may only shoot topless, but he wants you to shoot nude. Never up your levels unless it’s something you were considering anyway. They may try all kinds of psychological tricks to persuade you such as, “I will only shoot from arty angles” or, “I will edit out your nipples/lady garden.” Once those photos are taken though, they will be out there for a long time, so make your decisions wisely.
They might promise you the world, say they will make you a star, but never allow anyone to persuade you to shoot something that you are not comfortable with.
Excessive money offers
If someone offers you a £1000 for a topless shoot, it’s not a genuine shoot. The reality is, you’ll most likely turn up at a seedy council flat, where some unwashed heaven is expecting you to perform sexual acts on him. If this ever happens to you, turn and run!
Topless shoots pay around £30-£40 per hour for an amateur shoot and a little more for a professional shoot. Whatever level you are shooting though, if it seems too good to be true then it usually is. Ask questions, ask around, do your homework and don’t fall victim to any of the dirty, little scallywags out there!
Offers of profit share when their website makes money
There are a zillion websites out there with naked models and a gazillion porn tube sites. His website isn’t going to make any money if his only plan is asking you to spend your precious time, shooting free images. Scammers like this probably have the best intentions some of the time, but don’t realise the sheer amount of work it takes to build, update and promote a website. Even then, only the very best and luckiest will survive. You’d be better off joining one of the trusted websites such as OnlyFans and having full control over your images and videos.
If you are struggling to understand what the client is telling you, then ask for everything in writing. Scam artists are very manipulative and will aim to misguide, obfuscate and confuse! They may use terminology you don’t understand, talk at cross purposes or fail to answer your questions. Again, if it doesn’t feel right, a polite ‘no thank you’ is the way forward.
Until you have some good experience behind you and understand how the modelling scene works, always let someone know the address you will be at during a shoot and when to expect you home. Don’t rely on your shoot money to get home, always keep a small amount of emergency money hidden away which is enough to get you a hot drink and some food and a train ticket or petrol home, should you need to make an early escape.
Unfortunately, Tasers are illegal to carry, but a can of strong hairspray squirted in the eyes of a wrong-un should be enough to help you make your getaway, should things get out of hand, and a rape alarm is an essential part of your kit too.
I don’t want to scare you off modelling completely, it can be an incredible industry with many reputable photographers, and there is a lot of fun to be had and money to be made. However, if you follow my checklist and make sure you are aware of the possible pitfalls, and things to look out for, then it’s going to help you stay safe.
Look after yourself, give it your all, always be your best and the rest will follow!
Article by Kaz B
Author & Writer. Columnist For The Daily Sport.