Modelling Classes

How to Become a Model

There is more to modelling than simply standing around looking beautiful, there is also a quite a bit of skill involved that can be developed over time or through lessens. Although no former training is required to become a model, many aspiring and working models do find themselves enrolling in modelling school to give themselves an edge over their competitors.

Modelling school can provide


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Doing the Research

How to become a model in Australia

Taking the modelling world by storm is no mean feat – in fact, it’s an incredibly ambitious career move that is certainly not for the faint of heart. As an aspiring model, you’ll need to develop a thick skin as taking feedback (and sometimes criticism) on board from your clients and agencies will become a part of life… this may seem harsh, but this feedback is what is going to help you grow as a model and ultimately, land bigger, better and greater paying jobs that will increase your profile and help you build a great portfolio.

Like actors, artists and musicians, there can be many years of auditions, casting calls, rejections, highs and lows. That’s why – before you start your dream – you need to make sure to do your research and understand the ins and outs of the industry so that you can make the most of the opportunities that come your way!

First of all, it’s important to understand that especially at the start of your modelling career, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Many models change niches over their career and some models decide that modelling isn’t for them. As such, we recommend keeping a second job at the start of your modelling career to ensure that you have enough money to pay your day to day living expenses without relying solely on sporadic modelling work. As it can take many years to break into the industry (if at all), you’ll need to be realistic about your initial income and the amount of work that it may take to “make your big break” in as a model.

Often, making it big as a model can echo the age old saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know”. Plenty of successful models have extensive connections to directors, casting agents, photographers, designers and other models; all of whom can help them work their way up the ladder as a budding model…. So, get out there and network!

Many models these days are also the children of celebrities, such as Iris Law (daughter of actor Jude Law), Kaia Jordan Gerber (daughter of model Cindy Crawford), Amelia Gray Hamlin and Delilah Belle Hamline (daughters of actress Lisa Rinna) and Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid (daughters of TV personality Yolanda Hadid).

As such, understanding that it’s not just about looks but connections and personality also comes into play. It’s critical to learn early on that you will not always be the right choice for every casting, and that’s okay! You must be able to deal with this rejection and develop a thick skin. It can be easy to take rejections personally but remember, just because you are knocked back for a job doesn’t mean that you can’t/won’t be successful. It’s all contextual!

Also, sadly not everyone in the industry will have your best interests at heart even if they claim that they do. This is a harsh reality and one that many will struggle to learn (as it’s natural to want to see the good in people and, as an experienced model, take the advice of anyone in the industry more experienced than you) but you must be cautious. For instance, unethical photographers may take advantage of your lack of experience and try to charge you higher rates to take your starting portfolio shots. It’s also important to know about maintaining your health as a model… the modelling industry has a notoriously bad reputation for coercing models (especially young models or inexperienced models) to change their body shapes to fit the industry, but this can come at a cost.

Know and understand your chosen niche, your suitability for that niche and what you’re willing or not willing to do to be successful. Remember, changing your body shape drastically to suit the industry is not only unhealthy (and can lead to lots of health problems later in life) but also doesn’t guarantee you work as a model.
What will assist you to get modelling jobs is to be friendly and personable, work hard, network, be courteous and make the most of the opportunities that come your way.

Lastly, always ensure that you research your chosen agency before you sign up… google them, look for reviews and if possible, ask other models that are signed to their books for their opinions on the agency.

If something doesn’t feel right, then the agency might not be the right fit for you.

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Modelling FAQs

How to become a model in Australia


How do I become a model?
There is more than one way to break into the world of modelling, from signing your self up to a reputable agency to starting your career off as an Instagram Model, ensure you thoroughly research your option by starting right here!

How tall do you have to be to be a model?
Assuming you are looking to get into high fashion modelling, agents will be looking for models around the 5’9 to 6’0 feet height, that is around 1.79 metres! Pretty tall huh! But don’t fret if you’re not towering above your friends and family, there are plenty of other careers you can forge in the modelling world, read more about your options here

How to become a model at 13, 14, 15, 16 etc? 
Regardless of whether you are starting your child’s career at 6 or interested in becoming a mature age model at 60 research is the key to ensure you are appropriately informed about the industry, ensure your expectations are realistic, read more about how to get started in our article on How to Become a Model in Australia.

How do I get scouted or discovered by a modelling agency?
In the past most people were discovered by modelling scouts travelling far and beyond on the look out for fresh and unique faces Airports, schools and shopping centres were hotbeds for the next face of Gucci or LV. These days talent agents don’t have to leave the comfort of their office, they simply have to open Snap-chat, Instagram or Youtube to find beautiful faces from all around the world. So its imperative that you get creating your online portfolio.



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Building your portfolio

How to become a model in Australia

As a model, your portfolio represents your livelihood. Whether you’re freelance or represented by an agency, a portfolio that showcases your best looks can help you advance your career and book the next big job – and regardless of what kind of modelling experience you have, selecting the right images that highlight your strengths as a professional proves to anyone hiring that you’re serious about your modelling career.

When you’re first starting out as a model, it’s not required that you have professional photos, simple snapshots are all you need to find out if an agency is interested in you. These snapshots can be taken on an iPhone in high quality or with a friend holding a digital camera (or even by yourself with your camera on a timer!)

But, if an agency is interested in you but is unsure if they’re ready to sign you to their books, the agency may request that you build your portfolio and work on developing your look. For new models, this can be a confusing time especially if they are unsure on the best way to go about building their portfolio in a way that highlights their best assets so they’re more attractive to agencies.

So what do agencies look for in your snapshots?
Agencies will be looking to see some specific shots in your portfolio in the beginning of your modelling career – this will help them to best see your potential and book you for the right jobs that will earn you the most and allow you to best build up your portfolio for future opportunities. Agencies specifically look for shots that show your versatility as a model and your ability to express yourself. They also like to see how well a model can tell a story or capture an emotion in their photos… storytelling is powerful!

Here are some essential shots you’ll need in your portfolio:

A clean headshot, or a “beauty shot”
A beauty shot (for fashion & editorial models) or a clean head shot (for commercial models) is the first photo that you should be concentrating on for building your portfolio. A beauty shot is a colour photo of the model’s face, generally from the shoulders up, and its purpose is to show the model in their most natural state. This allows the agency and/or client to see exactly how the model looks without heavy makeup or styling so that they can best cast the model. In a clean headshot or beauty shot, you should aim to keep hairstyling, makeup and jewellery to an absolute minimum and if you’re an editorial model, you usually will not smile for a beauty shot.

A commercial headshot can be a little more relaxed than a beauty shot – it can be either black and white or colour, and can be shot anywhere from the waist up. Commercial models may choose to be smiling or not in their headshots (depending on the sort of jobs that they hope to book and the look that they want to portray).
A beauty shot or headshot should always be the first photo in your model portfolio.

A full length body shot
The second photo in a model’s portfolio should be a full length body shot that allows the client or agency to see your proportions and body type. Clothing should be form fitting and simple, this is why you’ll see many models use a full length body shot featuring them in skinny jeans and a tank top. The model should not be wearing long dresses, skirts or excessive layering that can distract/busy the photo and cover up what agencies and clients will be wanting to see!

Swimsuit shot
In Australia, if you’re over 16 years of age and feel comfortable taking a swimsuit shot), then this should also be included in your modelling portfolio for versatility (even if you’re not aspiring to be a swimsuit or lingerie model). Versatility is very important!

When doing a swimsuit shot, always consider the message that you’re sending – if you’re aspiring to make a living from swimsuit and/or lingerie modelling, you might take a more playful or sexy photo however if you’re an aspiring commercial model, simply showing yourself in a swimsuit looking fun and happy is the right tone to portray. Budding editorial models might use their swimsuit look to portray something moody and high-fashion.

Editorial fashion shot (for fashion models)
In the middle of your portfolio, don’t be afraid to get creative and have some fun! This is also where you can add some tearsheets if you have them. In fashion and editorial photos in your portfolio, express yourself – show the agents and clients your ability to move and do something interesting. Agents love to see motion shots!

Commercial shot (for commercial models)
Commercial models also need to show the agents and clients their range and ability to express themselves… in many ways, commercial modelling is very similar to acting and as such, some basic training in acting is recommended. Clients and agents will want to see a variety of emotions that you can depict so as a commercial model, you may wish to have multiple commercial shots that show you laughing, crying, surprised etc.

A smiling shot
If you don’t already have a smiling shot (as a commercial headshot or somewhere in the middle of your portfolio), then make sure to also add a good smiling head shot! Agents and clients will be looking for your beauty in your smile and teeth – but don’t worry if you don’t have perfect teeth!  In fact, many supermodels are revered for their gap toothed smiles or overbites, which are now considered sexy! In one episode of America’s Next Top Model, host Tyra Banks famously sent one of her aspiring models to the dentist to have a small gap in her teeth made even wider… this was deemed as part of her signature look!

A strong closing shot
As a rule of thumb, always end your portfolio with one of your strongest photos. A good pick is another great beauty shot or headshot with a slight variation to your opening shot.  Agents and clients will notoriously remember the first and last shot in a model’s portfolio, so make sure you go out on a high note and leave a killer impression!

When it comes to your model portfolio photos, quality matters more than quantity! If you’ve already had some experience with campaigns and jobs, be sure to include this too.

In your portfolio, keeping tight control of its content is a must. Understand your strengths as well as your weaknesses and show a potential client or agent that you can find your best angles.

In your portfolio, you’ll want to also include:

  • Your statistics (height, weight, measurements, clothing sizes hair and eye colour)
  • Any notable markings or features such as tattoos or scars
  • Relevant skills that you have (e.g. maybe you can play a sport or an instrument)
  • The type of work you’re willing to do

It’s important to know that your reputation is also as important as having an impressive portfolio… be considerate of photographer, client and agencies time, be friendly and polite and always go above and beyond to make a good first impression. It’s what people will remember, after all!

Also, it goes without saying, but be absolutely truthful in listing your statistics… it’s important to be honest so you can be cast for the right jobs (and plus, it’s not a good look if the model that turns up isn’t exactly the model that the agents were expecting based on the portfolio description).

If you do want to hire a professional photographer to help you build your portfolio, consider the following tips:

  • A good photographer isn’t cheap (and a cheap photographer usually isn’t good!).
  • “Time for” or “TF” modelling sessions are where the photographer provides their time for free in exchange for also using the photos in their portfolio – this is usually only offered by very inexperienced photographers (and thus, their quality may not be what you’re looking for – do your research carefully!).
  • Have a goal in mind that you’d like to achieve with your portfolio… what sort of model do you want to be? What jobs do you want to book? How would you like to be perceived?
  • Discuss your image ideas with your photographer upfront before the day of the shoot to ensure you’re not wasting any time or not getting what you’re after.
  • Know what’s included in the shoot price – are you required to provide your own hair and makeup? If you’re decent at styling your own hair and makeup yourself, you can save some money by not booking a HMUA & shoot package.
  • How long will the session be and how many outfit changes will be included? Will retouching be included in the price? Has the location been scouted (if applicable)? These are all questions you need to be asking your photographer.

Finally, remember that a model’s portfolio is a work in progress and should tell a story about who the model is, their personal brand and the direction their career is taking. Shoot with as many types of photos with as many photographers as you can… even if not every shoot is “portfolio worthy”, every time you shoot you’ll improve your skills and that will lead to even better shoots in the future.

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