"Things" to know if you think you wanna be a model...


What does that mean? A Glossary of terms…

Agency: An agency is a company that employs people, “agents”, to find their clients, “models”, employment. (Do not forget that as a model you are the “client” of your agency… technically speaking you hire and pay them to represent you.)

Agent: An employee of an agency who represents his clients interests.

http://www.kimsdnnhosting.com/portals/aboutyouportraits/blog%20images/1994%20smile.jpgAudition: Refers to a meeting (usually video-taped) where an actor gets to showcase his/her talents for a client.

Book: A modeling portfolio.

Booker: Your print agent.

Booking: A confirmed job.

Buyer: In the fashion world… a person who buys clothing on a wholesale level from a manufacturer.

Callback: A follow up appointment after an audition so a client can see more of you. It’s generally a very good sign that the client and casting director liked what you did at the initial audition.

Campaign: An advertising strategy used to promote a product generally based on some sort of creative idea or theme. Models like to be included in these…

Casting: A casting is another way to say audition.

Client: Generally the person, or group of people (for instance a company) who are responsible for paying the bills... they are generally the final say in who will be hired.

Commission: A percentage of your income that is used to pay your agent. For instance most print agents charge twenty percent and most theatrical agents charge ten percent. Managers can charge up to thirty percent or even higher.

Copy: The name given commercial dialogue or the information you are supposed to read if you are a spokesperson. For example if you’re at a commercial audition… the first thing to ask the casting director would be “Is there any copy?”

Cold Reading: This is when you see the “copy” or “script” for the first time and are expected to read them at the audition.

http://www.kimsdnnhosting.com/portals/aboutyouportraits/blog%20images/1999%20head%20shot%20curves.jpgComp Card: A models business card with a headshot and the models name clearly spelled out on the front and three to four pictures on the back. A comp card might be specific to one agency in which case the agencies logo and contact information should be on the back or a model might use it for several agencies and use stickers to update the contact information. A models statistics such as height, clothing size, and measurements should be on the back as well.

Conflict: You will hear this term used to refer to a situation where a model, who has done a job for one company, cannot be hired to represent a similar product for another company. For instance, if you did a job for Jiff peanut butter you would have a “conflict” and could not be hired by Skippy peanut butter. This type of conflict and exclusivity is usually worked out ahead of time between your agent and the client and would be included in your contract.

Couture: High end designer fashion or the business establishments of such designers, esp. where clothes are made to order.

Direct Booking: Being hired for a job directly from your comp card. (We love these bookings!)

Exclusivity: This is an arrangement made between a model and a client, the details of which are usually worked out with an agent, in which the model agrees not to promote products in areas that would “conflict” with the client’s product. It is usually set for a period of time… such as the length of the advertising campaign and usually involves an extra payment to the model. The client will ask for this up front and a model can decide if the payment for the job is worth it or not. For instance if you take a job representing Master Card (and you’re going to be very recognizable) they may want exclusivity for all other credit cards. If you’re not going to be that recognizable and the shot is not going to be used in a very broad way then they may not ask for exclusivity and there would be no conflict.

First Refusal: This is when a client puts a model on hold for a job and is given the right to say “No Thank You” first. If another client calls to put the model on hold for the same time frame they may be offered a “second refusal.” If one of the clients is ready to book the model then the first client will be given the option to “book or release” the model.

Fit Model: A model that is hired by a designer to help determine if a garment is the right size and shape.

Go See: An appointment for a model to “go see” a client who is looking to hire a model.

Hair and Make-up Ready: This refers to showing up for a booking having done your own hair and make-up.

Hair Stylist: The person responsible for styling and fixing a models hair on a set.


Headshot: Is a tight photograph of a person’s head and the tops of shoulders, either smiling (commercial), or serious (theatrical) and is considered an “actors” calling card. Usually there is a resume attached to the back and the person’s name spelled out clearly on the front.

Hold: This term refers to when a client reserves the right to book a model or actor. An agent can put you on hold for more than one job at a time (see first refusal)

Holding Area: On a set this refers to the area where models and actors are meant to hang out when they are not actively shooting.

Improv: Acting out pretend scenarios.

Industrial: Refers to a print or commercial job that will be used for corporate or industry purposes only. The general public won’t see the images so there is usually no reason for a conflict.

Lifestyle Modeling: Another way to say Commercial modeling or to portray “real life” situations.

Mark: A specific spot you are given to stand on while you are working on a set. Equipment will be set up based on this very important spot so once you are given one… don’t move!!

Make-up Artist: Person hired to apply and maintain your make-up while you are working on a set. (Hint: make good friends with your hair and make-up person!)

Monologue: A longer piece of script that is usually memorized by an actor where the actor speaks alone. An actor should have a comedic and a dramatic monologue in his/her arsenal of tools at all times.

MOS: Filming without sound.

Outtakes: The pictures taken by a photographer that are not used by the client. Sometimes it is possible for a model to ask for some of these after a client has made their selection. This can be a great way to build your portfolio.

Open Call: A casting session, usually by an agency that is open to anyone. You do not need an appointment.

Portfolio: A collection of pictures put together in a book by a model and/or their agent that is used to market the model. This is an ongoing process and should be done thoughtfully and thoroughly to portray the model in a variety of poses and expressions.

Rate: Ex: Day rate, Hourly Rate, Editorial rate… The amount of pay a client has agreed to pay a model for working a certain amount of time. This money is usually sent to the agent who takes their commission and then forwards the remaining amount to the model.

Release: This is a form that a photographer or client will ask a model to sign before every model shoot. I highly recommend that you forward all releases to your agent or make sure you have gone over all the details in a release with your agent ahead of time. If you have to sign a release on the set just make a note next to your signature that says *as agreed by________, and insert your agent’s name in the blank.

Residuals: Pay per use system set up to reimburse actors for each time a commercial he or she appears in is aired on network television.

Showroom: A showroom is a space where a clothing manufacturer’s sales staff will show a clothing line to various retail buyers. Showroom models will be hired to help model the clothes for the buyers showing them off to their best advantage.

Sides: A piece of a theatrical script used to audition actors with.

Slate: This is the first thing an actor does in an audition. The casting director will ask you to “slate” usually your name your agency and may ask to see your profiles and your hands. The casting director records this information to help identify you to the client. The slate begins when the casting director turns on the camera. It is a simple thing to do but make sure you practice this out loud at home ahead of time!

http://www.kimsdnnhosting.com/portals/aboutyouportraits/blog%20images/1989%2006%20Cosmo.jpgSlice of Life: The re-enactment of a scene from everyday life.

Storyboard: Usually an illustrated pictorial, laid out in boxes that describes each shot of a commercial or film. A storyboard will often be posted near the “sign-in” sheet for an audition. It is very important to get a good look at the storyboard before you go in to audition and figure out what your character is doing as best as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask the casting director questions pertaining to the storyboard if you have them.

Stylist: Usually this refers to the wardrobe stylist on the set.

Tear sheet: A page from a magazine or brochure that features you as a model. Hopefully you will want to “tear” this page out and put it in your portfolio.

Union: There are no active models unions (but there have been attempts to form them) but there are very powerful unions that actors must join in order to shoot the majority of television commercials. The Screen Actors Guild, being the main union for on-camera work and AFTRA(American Federation of Radio and TV Artists) being the main union for Voice-over and radio ads.

Usage fee: There are many different ways to use ads and the usage fee is a fee negotiated by your agent that is separate from your day rate. The extra fee will be paid by the client for the right to use your image in various advertising settings. For instance, using the image on a card stand in a store might be considered “point of purchase” usage. Consumer ads or billboards might also be a separate fee.

Vignette: A short piece of action. A commercial, for example, can be made up of multiple vignettes.

Voice Over: A recording of someone speaking usually overlaid onto a commercial or promo.

Voucher:  A voucher is a “payment coupon” supplied by your print agency. The voucher is to be filled out at the end of a booking and is to be signed by either the photographer or the client before leaving the set. It is usually printed in triplicate… one copy being for the client, one to turn into the agency and one for the model. It will include information about who is responsible for payment, the hours worked, the models rate, and the agency commission. It is what the model turns in to his agent in order to get paid.

Wardrobe: The clothing you wear while shooting on a set. Do not spill anything on your wardrobe!

How do I find the right agency?

Now that you know why you want to be a model… and I assume by now that you’ve had a good long talk with yourself in the mirror and made note of your possible obstacles as well as your tremendous assets the next thing to do is to find the appropriate agency for you. The first step is to research all of your available agency options and then come up with a plan.


Fashion Agency:


For example, if you’ve decided that fashion modeling is right for you then I would suggest you do a quick Google search of fashion agencies in your area. I just did a search for New York fashion modeling agencies and got two great articles listing descriptions of the top ten agencies for men and the top ten agencies for women. 

Start by establishing a list of potentially good agencies for you along with their web addresses and contact information. Each agency has a different approach to finding “new faces” so you need to determine exactly what that is and keep track. For instance, Ford Models wants you to upload snapshots to their web-site. They want digital stills of you in full length, three quarters, and close up… their web site has very specific examples of how this should be done.  Other agencies have “open calls” where you can go see them in person. They will post a time and date every week or two where you can walk in.

It is important to pay attention to the details that each agency specifies for making submissions and follow their protocol. If your pictures or submissions don’t work, change something, update something and try again.

Should I get professional pictures?

It’s about this point that you may be asking yourself if you should have professional pictures taken.

For fashion agencies, the answer is not necessarily. It varies by agency. Start by looking through magazine ads and editorial spreads for models that look like you and gather together a file of ideas. If you go to agency websites you can take a look at the model cards and see if there is a photographer’s credit. Try calling the photographers used by the agency you like best to see if they do “testing” or if they do head shots? A lot of this will boil down to how much you are willing to invest. Just be aware that once you do sign with an agency they will want you to shoot with the photographers of their choosing to start your book and this will usually be at a cost to you.

I encourage you to be creative, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend up front. Check with local schools that offer photography courses. It never hurts to ask or to practice.

Commercial Print Agencies:

If you are submitting yourself to commercial print agencies you will definitely want a professional head shot taken. Again, I would recommend a search of local head shot photographers online and see what you come up with. You can also call the agency you are interested in submitting yourself to and see if they would be willing to recommend someone.

If you can you will also want to have a full length and three quarter shot (mid-thigh to head) done as well as a serious (theatrical) close up and a smiling (commercial) close up. I would have them available in a portfolio to show the agent but would wait to put a card together until you get feedback. If you wind up signing with an agency they often have their own format for printing cards and you will want to have your cards made through them.

A rule of thumb about taking pictures you plan on submitting to an agency, the pictures should look like you. It would be silly to take obscure looking, heavily made up, heavily re-touched photo’s and submit them to an agency. Even if they decide to call you in, if your photos are too misleading they will want nothing to do with you.

Focus on is expression, and variety of expression. Look at pictures and advertisements that draw your eye to them. What is it about the model or models that seems compelling? It’s not always about smiling… sometimes you need to look compelling with a head ache or tooth ache. Some times you need to look like you’re about to sneeze or maybe you just won the lottery. Shooting these types of pictures for your card should be fun and creative and represent the “inner you.” So do your homework by tearing out pictures and getting an idea file going.

Practice in front of a mirror! Take a look at those pictures again. How are the models standing? What are they doing with their hands? How are their hands placed in their pockets or holding a product? A mirror is a great tool for beginning models and I suggest you get comfortable using one. Make small movements and see what works best for your face, your body. Just being aware of the different expressions and angles will help you to create variety of poses. Have fun!

To find the right commercial print agency you might have to search a little harder. Each state has an online production guide which will list the agencies that production companies work with. This is a good place to start if you are in a smaller market and you’re not sure who to trust. Another excellent resource is a publication called Ross Reports… which is now available online. Ross Reports also has lists of professional, licensed agents and agencies.

Most professional agencies today have websites. Before submitting yourself check out who they represent and what type of work their clients are getting.


What will I be expected to do as a model? Ten simple tips…

So, you are going in on an open call… or maybe you have an appointment to meet an agent, or maybe you’re going on your first go-see. As with any business, keep in mind that you have to start somewhere and just remind yourself (and others) that it is okay to be a beginner. You just want to be an informed beginner and stick with the basic commonsense practices you would follow applying and interviewing for any job.

1. Show up ten to fifteen minutes before any scheduled appointment.

2. Take the time to make sure that you are “groomed” and presentable and look appropriate for the type of casting or go-see you are going on. When your agent calls with the appointment information ask questions! What is my age range? Do they have a description of who the character is or what they’re doing? If you’re going in on a Seven-Up ad and are playing the part of a seventeen year old daughter… check out other soda ads in magazines or on the internet. What are they wearing? If you’re playing the part of a Mom, are you going in as a career mom or a soccer mom? If you’re going in for a specific fashion client… look up their ads and then dress accordingly.

If you are meeting with an agent for the first time you want to show up looking like a client they would want to represent. So do your homework. Choose your wardrobe, hair style and make-up carefully. In general a good rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Neatly pressed, well fitted clothes in solid colors and simple make-up work almost all of the time.

Do not wear loud jewelry. You want them to see and remember you! Not your fashion statement.

3. Communicate. If you are running late or if something has happened and you can’t make your appointment, call your agent. Keep your explanations short and to the point and ask for advice.

4. Know where you are going and how you are going to get there ahead of time. If you don’t have a GPS… use a Google Maps or Map Quest. Be ready to look up train schedules, as well as subway and bus lines.

5. If you’re being sent out by an agent always have your comp card and portfolio with you for print go-sees. For commercial auditions make sure you have a head shot and resume.

If you’re going in to see an agent, remember the agency submission protocol and be prepared.

6. When you show up for the go-see look for the sign in sheet. If there is a receptionist and you have been told to ask for someone by name, check in with them.

7. Smile, relax, breathe… confidence is key. You may or may not be right for the job or the agency but you always want to leave a good impression. If the casting director likes you they will call you back for the things you are right for in the future. If an agent likes your look they may make suggestions and ask you to come back.

8. If you don’t know something… ask! It’s alright to be a beginner; it’s not alright to pretend you know something that you do not.

9. Be polite and do not complain until you are far, far away.  Do not make the mistake of venting about “ridiculous” copy or “ugly clothes” while leaving the building. You never know who you’re riding in the elevator with!

10. Stand up straight, speak clearly, make eye contact and say thank you! Remember all the good manners you were taught in kindergarten.

Modeling Tools, what do I need?



You need pictures! At some point you will need professional quality photographs. These pictures should show a variety of “looks” and expressions and should be shaped around the type of modeling jobs you are pursuing.

If you have started working with a fashion agency, your booker will help set up appointments for you with testing photographers. In general “test” shots will not require you to pay the photographer but you will be shooting a look that the photographer wants to shoot which may or may not work for your portfolio. If you want to get the kind of shots you and your agent think you need right away you may be expected to pay a photographer a fee to do a shoot for you. Most agencies have a go-to photographer for this purpose.

If you are working for a commercial agency the same scenario can exist. Your agent may know of some commercial photographers who are looking to build their portfolios and may be willing to shoot models for free. But again, if you want control of exactly what type of headshots you are shooting you will be better off paying a good photographer. 


You will need a portfolio. If you have signed with a fashion agency they will provide you with a portfolio or “book.” The book will usually have the agency logo and design as well as contact information printed on the front. Fashion books are typically 9” X 12” and will hold up to fifty pictures. Generally speaking your strongest headshot or picture will appear on the first page and on the pages that follow… the strongest shots will appear on the right hand side with a complementary picture on the left. The process of picking pictures for your portfolio is usually a constant debate between you and your agent or booker. Also, the newer pictures should be closer to the front and as pictures become older they should be moved towards the back. Keep in mind that while you want a variety of shots and expressions it is important that a client come away with a strong sense of who you are and what “type” you portray. In other words you don’t want to overwhelm them with “looks.” So often, less is more. I have been guilty of not heeding this advice in the past and I think my bookings have suffered from it.  Again I think the best advice is to keep your book updated as best you can and to keep it simple.

Fashion models have to work on their books constantly. Commercial or lifestyle models do not need to constantly update their books. This is because commercial clients are generally interested in “what the models really look like in that moment.” Therefore the go-see process and the Polaroid or digital stills that are taken on the go-see will count for more than a flashy portfolio. On a commercial print casting the clients will usually ask for a comp card and take a digital snapshot but it is rare that they will even look at a portfolio. For the last sixteen years or so that I have been a commercial model in New York I have used a “minibook.” This is a smaller portfolio that holds 5” X 7” images. I find that it is easier to carry around and keep updated than the heavier and bigger 9” X 12”. No one has ever complained.

Comp Card:

You will need a “Comp Card” or what was once known as a Zed card. A comp card is a models business card and is usually 5 ½” X 8 ½” with one close up picture on the front and three to four pictures on the back. You will want your name spelled out clearly on the front and your agencies name and contact information on the back along with your height, weight, and body measurements. If you work for more than one agency you can use stickers to update the card for each go-see. Your agency should supply you with some stickers with their logo and contact info clearly spelled out.

A good comp card is a key to success in this business. Over the years I have found out that the more I resemble the picture on the front of my card the more work I am likely to get. This is particularly true for commercial clients. In most cases clients have pre-selected the people they want to see and they have done this by looking at your card. If you show up and look nothing like your card then most likely they aren’t going to hire you. Subsequently, if clients are looking for someone who looks like you in person but your card doesn’t represent you well, you might not get the go-see for a job that you could be right for.

Work with your agents and bookers and come up with the right mix of pictures for you. While the front should be a strong head shot the back should have a variety of looks and expressions, including at least one full length picture. Some of the pictures should be smiling and some serious. Your choices should be guided by the type of work you are going in for.

As your look or type changes make sure you change your card. It’s also okay to have different cards for different clients. After I had my first son, for instance, I would use him on my commercial print cards and was booked for many “young Mom” jobs. Once, while we were shooting new pictures for a card, we were sitting on the floor and a little studio dog jumped onto our laps. I used a picture with the dog and my son on a card and I ended booking a number of “pet” ads including the cover of a Purina Dog Chow bag. So think about what pictures you use carefully and if your card is not working, change it.

Headshot and Resume:

If you are going in for television commercials you will need a commercial headshot (also known as an actors 8X10) and resume. I have sat in seminar after seminar with casting directors trying to describe the perfect headshot and what should be included on a resume. The answers were always different so just know ahead of time that you aren’t going to please everyone. It is absolutely the most difficult challenge to pick one picture that you can print up and leave behind at an audition that sums up your entire personality, so don’t try… just get as close to that as you can.

Besides being of perfect technical quality the thing that is most important in any head shot is the expression in the eyes. The eyes must have “life.” A good head shot photographer will help you achieve this.

Your head shot should look like a very attractive version of you, not someone else. I once had a headshot for a year or more that I thought was just beautiful… in it I looked sexy and interesting and slightly ethnic. When I would walk in the door with peaches and cream skin and freckles… the casting people would kind of scratch their heads. In person I looked more like I was from Ireland, not the Bronx… so the person they thought they were calling in to audition didn’t exist. I may have loved that headshot but in the end it didn’t help my career at all.

If you do a search of “headshots” or “headshot photographers” you will find a lot of good examples. Check out the ones that draw your eye to them. Note the wardrobe and shoulders and how the face is framed. When you shoot your pictures try several different shirt styles and make sure to move your shoulders and arms… do not stay frozen. Make sure your face is relaxed and keep your thoughts moving. Head shots are supposed to be shot straight on but it’s amazing what a big difference subtle changes in chin or body posture can create.

Depending on the photographer you use you may want to hire a make up artist. Most head shot photographers will have one they work with often. If you do your own makeup practice your look ahead of time. Make sure to start out light and then add as you go. It is far easier to add makeup than it is to take it away. 

As far as your resume goes… it’s best to discuss this with your agent. It’s okay to be “new” in the business… but you should try to come up with something to put on your resume if only to have something to talk about. Ask your agent for possible examples to copy… or look them up on the internet. Think back to everything you may have done that might be relevant and then pare that down to represent your best work situations.


How should I do to prepare for a photo shoot?

Well this depends a lot on what the shoot is for but there are certainly basics preparations that you will want to make. Here’s a list:

You want to be well rested.

You want to have accurate details of where the shoot location is, what is your “call time?” and have a good plan on how you are going to get there. Also, if you’re driving where will you park?

You want to have the contact information of someone on the set, for instance the producer or photographer… your agent should have this information and it is only to be used in case of an emergency or if you are running late. (Do not be late!!)

In most cases you will be asked to bring “wardrobe.” Your agent will give your phone number to the “stylist” and they will call you with information about what to bring or the client may give the information directly to your agent. Bring what you can but be honest about what you don’t have. For instance it’s okay to say “No I don’t have a purple polka dot sweater.” You don’t have to go out and buy one. Having said that, it is always good to have a selection of spotless basics on hand (great jeans, khaki’s, flats, assorted high heels, solid t-shirts, collared shirts…) What you need to bring will vary greatly depending on what the shoot is for but for advertising they will usually ask for the basics. If it’s a fashion shoot you may be asked to bring a pair of black heels. You must show up with the best selection that you can but just know that nine times out of ten the stylist/clients will not even look at what you brought. Don’t take it personally.

Always have a bag of “nude” colored lingerie… including nude hose, panties and a couple of nude bras. I recommend a racer-back style bra as well as a strapless and a basic un-padded bra… it’s also good to have a body shaper with you unless you are perfectly flawless. A good nude camisole can come in handy as well.

If you are asked to get a manicure by the client, get a receipt and you will be reimbursed for it. If nothing is said about it then make sure your hands and nails are perfectly clean and natural looking. In all of the years I worked as a model only once was I asked to wear colored nail polish… and the client supplied their own manicurist on the day of the shoot (Mary Kay Cosmetics… very long and very pink!) Do not show up with colored nails unless you had them that way at the casting and bring polish remover in case they want you to take it off. It’s good to have a simple nail kit with you… clear polish, clippers, remover pads and a file should do.

Your agent will tell you if you should come with “clean hair or clean face” or if you should show up “hair and makeup ready.”

If you are told to come with “clean hair and face” do exactly that… makeup artists get cranky when they have to start by cleaning off your face. Once in a while you may have to show up wearing makeup if you are coming from a casting or audition… just make sure to show up a little early… let the makeup artist know that you were working and ask them what they want you to do. If you are told to come with a “clean face” and nothing is mentioned about the hair… again I would come with your hair done the way you had it done for the casting. Most likely this means that there will be a make-up artist on set but maybe not a hair stylist. Either way it is usually better to err on the side of being ready but do not overdo it. Bring a simple make-up kit even if there is a make-up artist and bring a bottle of hair spray and a few clips even if there is a hair stylist… you never know when someone might get stuck in traffic and if you pull out your own makeup or curling iron you might just save the day.

If you are to show up “hair and makeup ready” a good rule of thumb is to keep it very light and again to keep in mind how you did your hair and make-up for the casting. Just remember it is far easier to add a little black eyeliner than it is to take it off so do not overdo it. If there is going to be no hair and make-up person on the set… bring everything but the kitchen sink!  By the way all of this applies to guys as well as girls… guys, bring your hair gel and a basic powder… everybody gets shiny!

Bring an agency voucher. A voucher (see definitions) is a “payment coupon” supplied by your print agency. The voucher is to be filled out at the end of a booking and is to be signed by either the photographer or the client before leaving the set. (Just ask… “Who should sign my voucher?”) It is usually printed in triplicate… one copy being for the client, one to turn into the agency and one for the model. It will include information about who is responsible for payment, the hours worked, the models rate, and the agency commission. It is what the model turns in to his agent in order to get paid. Your agent may tell you ahead of time how to fill out the voucher… if not just ask the producer or photographer for the information. The voucher information is important but if the job is big enough there will probably be a well negotiated contract that your agent has for you to sign. If you have any questions or concerns just say… “I need to call my agent.”

Should I sign a release?

http://www.kimsdnnhosting.com/portals/aboutyouportraits/blog%20images/1990%20gold.jpgThere are two answers to this question… never sign anything! And of course… you need to sign it! Here’s a simple way to tactfully move all paperwork forward and has always worked for me. When you sign a release… which by the way will read something like this: “I sign away all rights I have ever had… including my first born… “(They can sound awful…) what you want to do is just above where you sign your name you put a little * and write in “As agreed by __________” and where the blank is put in the name of your agency. You will get a copy and you will keep it in a file or hand it over to your agent. This will solve the photographers’ paperwork problem and will give your agent the right to negotiate usage fees if and when the pictures are used in a way that you did not agree to. Photographers in my experience are wonderful people to be trusted… but don’t leave out that phrase.

How and when do I get paid?

You get paid by turning in your voucher to the appropriate accounting person at your agency… or to your booker. Some agencies will pay you right away… (Maybe every Friday) some will wait until they receive the check from the client to pay you. Either way the agency will take its commission from your check, 20% for print agencies (in this country) and 10% for TV agents… then they will cut you a check for the remaining amount.

Taxes are taken out usually only for Union, or W2 work… for instance TV commercials. Print income is usually considered freelance and will not be taxed upfront. You will receive a 1099 statement from your agency at the end of the year and you will be expected to pay taxes on that amount.

I recommend having a good accountant and discussing your tax situation with one as soon as possible. You are going to want to keep a diary with all expenses for “job search” listed… It’s important to know how to handle this accurately. For instance, parking fees or taxi’s rides are deductible while going on go-sees but not when going on bookings, so it’s important to keep those expenses separate.


“Should I get a tan?”

I think this question is important to consider because as a model you are always shooting ads out of season. For instance summer clothing ads are always shot in the winter and Christmas ads are usually shot in August. In other words if you are used to being a beach bunny and love to show off your bronze glow at the end of the summer you may not be booked to shoot that Christmas ad sitting on Santa’s knee or any of the other winter clothing ads you might otherwise be right for because your bronze glow would certainly look out of place. So it is important to manage your time in the sun.

In the long run I think consistency is important. When I was shooting fashion catalogs the New York models were forever being sent to work in Florida. The reason for this, I was told, was that the models living in Florida tended to be too tan for your basic catalog shoot. Especially if it was a shoot for fall or winter clothing. On the flip side I once shot a campaign for the island of Aruba and the week before I left I did go to a tanning salon a couple of times but mostly relied on those tanning gels to give myself a “healthy island glow.”  The two weeks I spent filming in Aruba I did pretty much everything I could to stay out of the sun when I wasn’t shooting because I didn’t want to burn or look inconsistent in the shots.

If you plan on being in this industry for very long you will have to sort out your relationship with the sun. In my opinion, no matter who you are or what color you are, the more consistent you keep your skin tone the better off you will be. Healthy is always better… and good healthy skin is a must.


http://www.kimsdnnhosting.com/Portals/_default/Containers/FlexiSkinSuite/images/spacer.gif “I’ve got my first booking what am I supposed to do now?”

This is a wonderful question because it means you’re working! If you’ve done your homework, followed the simple guidelines posted here, you just need to show up, listen, follow directions, breathe, relax and have a great time! The hard part is done. Hopefully you have a team of professionals who are going to make sure you look exactly like the client wants you to look… a photographer who will guide you and an agent you can turn to if questions come up.