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So you want to model? Well then take notes...Modeling Etiquette 101

Mar 21, 2013 03:52PM

Modeling Etiquette


 Yvette Fintland 


So you want to be a model. Ever heard the saying “first impression will make it or break it?” It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner model or a professional model.  You must always act professional and respectful towards your co-workers.  If any issues that you’re not happy with during a shoot come up, keep your cool and discuss it with your agent or person in charge after the shoot.  I often see models no matter how much or how little experience they may have act like everyone is there for them.  Keep in mind that in this tuff industry you must have thick skin and try your best not to take things too personal.  If you show up to a shoot with a poor attitude believe me when I say “you will not be hired” to work again with that group of photographers, make-up artist, hair stylists and your conduct most likely will also be reported to your agent.  If an agent feels you are difficult to work with, you will not be booked for jobs.  Another down fall for some model’s is talking too much during a shoot, not paying attention to directions from photographer or director and talking negative about other models.  This alone will give you a reputation that will not get you much work. However, letting people walk all over you is not a way to go about it either.  If you demand respect you should give it right back.  As a professional model for over 30 years I have experienced good and bad situations.  Everything is not always peachy but I do my best to deal with the situations at hand professionally.  As a model you also have the right to refuse to work with someone you don’t feel comfortable working with.  The best way to handle this situation is to simply say you are not available.  No need to go in to details unless asked by your agent.  Your agent should always give you details about the type of job you are being hired for.  This should give you an idea what to bring with you on the shoot date.  Most jobs you just show up and everything is provided for you.  However, this is not always the case.  Keep in mind that agents are not sitters and most likely will not be at the job site. Husbands, boyfriends or any friend for that matter is not okay to bring to a shoot.  For 18 under models it is recommended that an adult be present and must not interfere with the shoot.


One very important detail that so many models do not take care of is self maintenance.  The list below will give you some guidelines to go by and keep in mind before any shoot.


  • Show up on time (usually 10-15 minutes before scheduled time)
  • Clear skin (this includes no bruises, if you have a bruise cover with makeup)
  • Clean hair (Do not wash the same day of shoot)
  • White clean teeth (Crest Whitening Strips work well on a last minute basis)
  • Manicured finger nails and toes (a soft natural look is best)
  • Drink plenty of water to hydrate skin
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep before shoot date
  • Good hygiene is always expected from a model

The above are just basic guidelines to keep in mind before your shoots.  Many models now days also have tattoos and piercings.  Nothing wrong with that, but do expect for your work opportunities to be much less than not having tattoos or body piercings.

It really depends on the type of work and what you are wearing if it will cover the tattoos/piercing or not.  Please do not expect for photographers to photo shop the tattoos and erase them from your skin.  Photographers have a lot on their plate and stress in making sure the shoot and pictures turn out well.  Their reputation lies on their work and many models that have no idea how much time and work is involved in photo shopping tend to expect this from photographers.  Although, there are some tattoo friendly print work available the chances are once you’ve been used for print work or commercial ad for a certain company you will not be used again.  Rarely are models used twice to promote a company unless under a contract deal.  With that said, keep piercings and tattoos to a minimum if you want to be taken seriously in the modeling industry.


Leave the drama at home.  No one wants to hear your personal problems during a shoot.  This can also be looked at as negative attitude and if it brings you down it can affect your co-workers.  Focus on your job and all will be fine.  A positive and upbeat attitude is what is expected of models.


Everyone is replaceable in the industry.  If you are sick a day before the shoot, it is recommended you call your agent or person in charge of shoot.  It is always appreciated by agents to get ample notice in case you have to be replaced with another model.  Remember, agents work hard at trying to coordinate talent, respect their time and appreciate them as they appreciate you.  A no-call no-show is not acceptable.  If you decide to blow off a job and not make the effort to report, remember you are not only making yourself look bad but you also will be held accountable for making the agent and photographer look bad.  This will label you as the “no-call, no-show model” and I don’t know of any agent that will book a talent that does not respect or appreciate their time.  Most likely, you will be black listed in the industry and good luck booking shoots.  By the way, it doesn’t matter if it is a paid job or if you had agreed to do a trade job.  Remember the talent is usually the least denominator in the industry and can easily be replaced.  Modeling is a job and it is expected of any model to treat it like a job.


Reap the rewards after all the hard work.  As a model, there is nothing more satisfying than to see your self in print ads, bill boards, magazines, fashion shows and the list goes on.  Make the effort to collect your print work or photos so you can add them to your portfolio.  Not everything should be included in your portfolio and your agent is the best person to ask in helping you choose the right photos that will market you.  Every model is different and not all models can pull off every aspect of the modeling industry.  Discuss with your agent what areas you are most marketable in and concentrate on building your experience in those areas.

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