Tips

How to become a successful model

  • Confidence. Clients are looking for someone who is confident and can sell a product convincingly. If you're not naturally confident, consider using one of the many self-help books or CDs available that can help you to build up self-confidence. To renew your confidence in your looks, remind yourself of compliments you've received from others.

  • A 'thick skin'. You must be able to handle the rejection that every model faces, while still putting yourself forward whenever there's a chance of getting the job. You can't expect to meet the expectations of every client. Try to think, 'It's good if I get the job, but if they don't want my look I won't feel bad about it'.

  • Stamina. A model needs to be fit and healthy so they can work all day and still look good at the end of it. Maintain a healthy diet and work out at least three times a week. If you can't afford a gym, walking and running are great exercises that anyone can do. If you're too busy to exercise, build exercise into your daily routine by walking to work or to the shops.

  • Independence. Professional models may have to travel often, so you need an independent spirit and a self-starting attitude. You'll need to get yourself up in the morning and make sure you arrive at the job on time and ready to perform. You also need to be comfortable if you need to be by yourself for long periods.

  • Organisation. You need to be well organised in order to keep track of the dates, times and locations of your castings and appointments. Keep a paper diary with you or use one of the many online tools available to enter and edit your appointments. Keep all your papers in a single safe and secure location.

  • Willpower. Working models can't afford to indulge in drink, drugs or partying. You must have the will power to say NO. An agency will drop a model very quickly if it becomes clear that his or her lifestyle could affect her work - or the agency's reputation.

  • Availability and responsiveness. Make sure it's easy for agencies to get in touch with you if they need to. When you have a confirmed job, communicate with the photographer/agency as much as you can, and answer their queries as quickly as possible.

  • Fashion. Keep up with the latest styles and clothing trends, particularly those that suit your looks and style. Keep your portfolio updated with shots that use recent looks.

  • Persistence. This is perhaps the most important attribute of all. It takes a lot of work to be a professional model! It's no good waiting for work to come to you - you need the get-up-and-go attitude of someone who sets goals and goes after them. As George Bernard Shaw said, 'The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.'

 

 

Modelling Poses and Facial Expressions

In almost every modelling assignment, photographers need their models to convey some kind of emotion through their facial expression or body position.

You can work on facial expressions by practising them in a mirror. Everything you feel is reflected in your face, and models need to be adept at projecting all the major emotions. Make a list of key emotions (love, hate, sorrow, joy etc.) and practise expressing each emotion in front of a mirror. After you have practised for a while, try out your skills on a friend and see if they can tell what emotion you are conveying.

How to smile

Learning how to smile sounds ridiculous - surely everyone can do it? In fact, smiling 'to order' is a real skill, and one that professional models need to master.

To improve your smiling skills, position yourself in front of a mirror and practise the following steps.

  • Put your lips together without moving them. Look at your face in the mirror, concentrating on the eyes. At first, they're lifeless. Now lift up the corners of your mouth and watch your eyes come alive.

  • To create a smile, say "MMM" without opening your mouth. No teeth should be showing. Don't forget to turn the corners of your mouth up.

  • To create a broader smile, say "MMM" again with your mouth still closed and again, don't forget to turn up the corners of the mouth.

  • This time say "ME", whilst opening your mouth and showing your teeth but keeping it soft. Next say "ME" again, this time with a big smile showing all your teeth.

  • When you say "HEY," you produce a very natural facial expression. Say "HEY" and hold it - you will notice your tongue is coming forward and your lips are apart. Now try it again, saying "HEY" with a smiling expression.

  • Create a gaunt look by saying the word "POOR", keeping the lips very soft and sultry and holding for a few seconds.

  • To achieve an open and happy laugh try saying "HAA", remembering to focus your gaze on someone or something to avoid a "lifeless" look.

Posing

You can practise posing in front of a full-length mirror. Check out some fashion catalogues to find the most popular poses. Pay attention to the tilt of the head, the position of the hands and the turn of the ankle. These little things can make a big difference - just as with facial expressions, your body posture can convey a variety of emotions. Consider taking up activities that teach you how to move your body gracefully. Dancers and gymnasts move well in front of the camera because they know how to create long sweeping lines with their bodies.

Both facial expressions and poses can be improved by practising with props, products and wardrobe. Examples of props could be a floppy hat, a long shawl or a beach ball. The idea is to practise using and reacting to the prop.

Since one of the key areas of modelling is promotional and marketing work, it is a good idea to practise with a product that might be sold - a perfume, household product or foodstuff, for example. Practise holding the product so it may be clearly seen and you don't cover the label.

In fashion shoots, you'll be selling clothes, so practise showing the important features of each item. Show off the pockets, collar and belt or how the garment moves. You need to bring attention to whatever makes the garment interesting.

Fashion Girl