Modelling Tips – For Beginners

How to become a model in Australia

There are lots of tips and truths that you’ll learn about the modelling industry as your career progresses, however, if you want to really fast track and become a better model faster, consider these seven top tips to being a better model.

Tip One: Get comfortable with the mirror.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time in front of the camera and a room full of strangers, posing and contorting your body in ways that wouldn’t be natural in any other circumstance – often, what looks good for the camera isn’t a natural pose (but on camera, it appears effortless… that’s the skill of modelling!). Make sure to spend time in front of the mirror perfecting your poses and learning how your body looks in various forms and angles. Then, when shooting, try to imagine your mirror behind the photographers’ camera and visualise how your body shapes may look to the photographer. As a rule of thumb, whatever is closest to the camera will appear the largest. If you lean in close with your face, your head will appear largest, If you tilt your waist backwards on the contrary, your waist will appear smallest… so consider what you hope to magnify, minimise and achieve in each image.

Tip Two: Don’t be a moth.
Notice when you’re starting to creep closer to the light in your photo… this will create dramatic light and shadow effects. Many models are tempted to move towards the light naturally but this can annoy your photographer who is trying to get a very specific spot. Make sure to take direction from your photographer – if they tell you to move your body in a way that doesn’t necessarily feel natural, don’t resist! They’re experienced and they’re seeing the angles that you’re not. It helps to have a basic understanding of how light works, for instance how shadows may be cast across your body and face depending on how you move. If you learn early on how light falls and your key light that makes you look the best, then you can work with this and create some gorgeous shots. Your photographer will also truly appreciate if you understand light!

Tip Three: Don’t squash your body parts.
What we mean by this is to create space between your limbs and body. To illustrate this, imagine a posing in a group photo. You’re at the end of the group and you push your arm into your chest while standing sideways… and when you see the photo, you’ll likely think, “Gosh my arm looks fat!”… but if you instead put your hand on your hip and create space between your arm and body, your arm will look thinner (this is commonly known as “skinny arm”). The same applies for literally any body part. Creating space creates an optical illusion of a slimmer appearance and squashing creates an optical illusion of a bulkier appearance. This small manoeuvre of a few centimetres makes a huge difference!

Tip Four: Don’t rotate your eyes too much.
As a guideline, follow the line of your nose with the direction of your gaze in order to keep your sight line central. When you over-rotate your eyes too much to any side, your eyes can look scary or too large! Similarly, understand how far you can turn your head before your jaw and nose look too prominent. Models will often pose with their heads at an angle (as it looks more coy and approachable, which is considered sexy) so understand the tipping point of this angle.

Tip Five: Fake your curves if you don’t have them naturally.
Even in thin models, a curvy silhouette is still sometimes required in shoots (with the body making an accentuated ‘S’ shape) so if you don’t possess natural curves, learn to move your body (for instance, by popping your hip) in a way that creates the illusion of curves.

Tip Six: Use your props to your advantage.
This includes your clothing! If you’re wearing a flowing garment, play with the movement of the garment and evoke the mood that you feel the garment designer is trying to portray. Similarly, consider the context of your location, as this will impact how you interact with it and how the photos that you get. Also, make sure that your poses are always complementary to what you’re trying to sell (if you’re wearing a form fitting dress, highlight your silhouette… if you’re wearing a flowing dress, interact with its movement).

Tip Seven: Have a kit of modelling basics, and take it with you everywhere.
This kit will be comprised of things like nude and/or black underwear, face wipes, moisturiser, makeup remover, safety pins and bobby pins, a straw for drinks (don’t ruin your lipstick!), water, snacks (like Glucojel Jelly Beans to give you energy), spare pairs of stockings for lingerie shoots, hairspray, a hairbrush, eyelash glue… anything that your hair or MUA might not have on hand. Or, on occasion, if your hair and MUA team have to leave the shoot before your part is done and you need a touch up – you don’t want to be caught short.

Above all, remember – if you’re pursuing the modelling dream, it’s because you love modelling and you want to succeed… so make the most of it! Have fun, be creative and never be afraid to ask for modelling tips and feedback for beginners or ask for help from those around you (especially those who are more experienced).

Be professional, work hard and stay humble and you’ll always be well respected by clients and agents alike!

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Types of models

How to become a model in Australia

When many people think of models, the image that immediately springs to mind is a high fashion model or a supermodel – such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum or Miranda Kerr. However, high fashion models and catwalk models represent only a small part of the industry!

Thankfully, for those looking to break into modelling there are many other types of models – this presents a great opportunity for novice models to break into the industry, gain experience and increase their exposure to that they can work their way up the ladder. And, luckily, models of all types can make a great income.
Considering becoming a model? Let’s explore some of the most popular model types:

Fashion Model / Editorial Model
If you’ve ever picked up an issue of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle or other high-end fashion magazines, you’ll see fashion/editorial models lining the pages. Fashion models typically work for high end designers such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Editorial models are usually very tall and slim, with the typical measurements being 5’9 to 6’0 in height with a 33” bust, 23” waist and 33” hips. However, these measurements aren’t set in stone and agencies are searching for “the complete packages” so models who are taller, shorter, curvier or slimmer with great personalities, unique features or other selling points can still find work in this niche.

Runway Model / Catwalk Model
Runway models, as a prerequisite, must be tall! Runway models usually have a minimum height of 5’9 with precise measurements -this is so that they can easily fit into a range of clothing that the designers are going to be presenting at their fashion shows. Generally, designers prefer their catwalk models to all be a fairly uniform shape and size to minimise the number of alterations necessary to the garments backstage… having a team of models all roughly of the same proportions ensures that the backstage crew can easily assist the models in quickly dressing and getting back out onto the runway. Runway model measurements are usually no greater than 34” bust, 23” waist and 34” hips. Whilst fashion/editorial models are usually hired by an agency, runway models are hired by designers.

Commercial Model
Commercial models can be any age, size and height – which is great news for budding models hoping to break into the industry! Commercial models are used to help sell products and services so as a commercial model, you can expect to find yourself in product advertisements that are used to sell anything from housewares to food products, travel industry services, tech devices and consumables. Commercial models aren’t required to attend modelling classes or have any qualification (as often, it’s just about being discovered by the right brand (via your agent) and having “the right look” for a particular advert). However, it is highly recommended for aspiring commercial models to set themselves off on the right food by attending some basic acting classes.

Fitness Model
Fitness models must be toned, healthy, in tip top shape and with great muscle tone. There are usually no size or height requirements for fitness modelling, but being in great shape is a prerequisite. Many modelling agencies now have fitness modelling departments but many fitness models also choose to be self-represented and find work through social media platforms such as Instagram, which is now a very popular promotional tool for many Australian fitness models. Fitness models can expect to help promote active wear, gym equipment, diet and nutrition services and even tourism (as Australia is renowned internationally for having a fit, healthy and sunkissed, beachy image). Read more…

Plus Size Model / Curvy Model
“Plus size” in the modelling industry refers to models who are an AU Size 12 and over. Although an AU Size 12 isn’t considered as “plus size” in everyday life, the modelling industry (which is generally considered a very petite market) uses curvy bodies that are on the smallest possible end of the “plus size” spectrum to model clothes. Right now as the world and social media embraces body positivity, there is a great demand for fuller figures and the market for curvy models is incredibly diverse.

Petite Model
A petite model is generally on the shorter side, at 5’4 or under. Petite models may find it more difficult to find work as fashion models, however petite models can still find plenty of work in other niches such as print, glamour, commercial or promotional modelling.

Swimsuit Model / Lingerie Model
Swimsuit and lingerie models are generally curvier and more voluptuous than editorial models and can model lingerie, undergarments, swimsuits and more. These types of models are sometimes also referred to as Glamour Models, and this niche focuses highly on the model’s sex appeal, beauty and body than it does anything else.  Glamour models are usually quite sexually suggestive in content and pose and are mostly geared at a male audience. Whilst there are no height or size requirements, swimsuit and lingerie models must be 18 years or over, legally. Models of this niche are typically hired to star in bikini, swimsuit, lingerie and form fitting attire –  they may find work through an agent, however many swimsuit and lingerie models also find work freelance, as a commercial model or a print model. If you’re just starting out as a swimsuit or lingerie model, we strongly recommend first having an agent rather than going straight into freelance to ensure you’re earning what you’re worth and aren’t being taken advantage of. You’ll find swimsuit, lingerie and glamour models in the pages of Maxim, FHM and other similar magazines. Some glamour modelling involves nudity, so this type of model should be very comfortable and confident in their body.

Parts Model
A parts model specialises in modelling body parts such as hands, legs, feet and eyes. It might seem like a very specific niche, however jewellery stores hire parts models every day – if you’ve ever seen an advertisement for jewellery, watches or shoes… that advertisement will have been filled by a parts model. Clients searching for parts models look for well-proportioned body parts and those who can fit into sample sizes of shoes, gloves or jewellery. You may not recognise the face of a parts model… but you’ll definitely recognise their body! Parts models are well advised to take some introductory classes to learn the best ways to hold their bodies so that they look the most elegant and best showcase the products. Parts models also have to be able to hold their poses still for hours at a time (for instance, if modelling an entire jewellery catalogue!) so steadiness and endurance is a must – although this can be learned with experience.

Promotional Model
A promotional model, much like a commercial model, is hired to drive consumer demand for products, services and brands. While commercial models appear primarily in advertisements, promotional models will instead appear at trade shows and exhibitions – as such, holding poses still for hours at a time is not required so promotional models need not have extensive training – instead promotional models must ensure that they are personable, friendly and approachable (and of course, beautiful!) as they’ll be interacting with crowds. Promotional models also can appear at conventions, concerts, bars, parties or other live events. Promotional modelling is increasingly becoming a popular form of advertising so with plenty of demand, many aspiring models seek to start here!

Child Model
Many children these days are models – and child models need loads of personality! A child model must be able to work well on set and around strangers and for children, and professional headshots and agency representation isn’t required (so parents looking for their children to become child models need not shell out a lot of money at the start of their child’s career).  If you’re a parent of a child model, be prepared to be flexible in your schedule! Many famous models started out as child models, including Natalie Portman and Brooke Shields. Read more…

Mature Age Model
A mature age model is a model over the age of 40 and these days, mature age models are in high demand! Marketing experts understand that campaigns now seek to feature diversity and need to reflect their target demographic. Guidelines for mature age models aren’t as strict as they are for catalogue or commercial models, so many mature age models enter the industry at a later age and can still find fulfilling, high-earning work in this niche. Read more…

Other less common categories of models include alternative (“alt”) models, pinup models, art models and social influencers.

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Modelling Tips – On the Job

How to become a model in Australia

Modelling isn’t all glitz and glamour! As any established model will tell you, it’s hard work, long hours, grit and ambition… and that’s just the job itself! The other half of being a model is keeping yourself in shape, being friendly and personable and of course, being professional!

Here are 7 essential tips how to be professional as a model:

Tip 1: Make sure your portfolio photos actually represent you.
This may seem very obvious but ensure that your portfolio photos are an accurate representation of how you actually look. Many clients will have specific requirements for their jobs and there is nothing worse for a client than booking a model based on their portfolio only to have the model turn up and look nothing like the image that their portfolio portrayed! There is a fine line between artistic license and trickery, so make sure any creative or highly styled versions of yourself that you portray in your portfolio still show glimpses of what you look like. Similarly, be sure to let your booker know of any changes that you’re making to your appearance (e.g. if you’re a blonde and your portfolio shows you as a blonde – a client that books you wanting a blonde will be shocked if you show up having dyed your hair red… and your booker will be none too happy that you didn’t let them know!)

Tip 2: Always be punctual.
Models who frequently run late to jobs will rapidly develop themselves reputations as being divas… and you definitely want to avoid this! If you are on time to all your modelling jobs, talent bookers and clients alike will remember your professionalism and will be more like to book you again in the future.

Tip 3: Be courteous.
Modelling is largely based on your appearance, but your clients and talent bookers will also remember your personality. Being polite and courteous will ensure that you make a good impression and if your clients and bookers have a good experience with your personality, they’re more likely to book you for bigger and better jobs. Remember, modelling is just like any other job so be respectful.

Tip 4: Be contactable 24/7.
In modelling, jobs come in at all hours of the day and often at short notice… too many models have lost a major booking because they haven’t answered their phone or checked their emails. If you’re frequently uncontactable, bookers will lose interest in you altogether.

Tip 5: Be considerate of your booker’s time.
Your booker will also be looking after tens or hundreds of other models so although you are understandably anxious to book more jobs or see the outcome of a campaign that you’ve booked, but try not to hassle your booker.

Tip 6: Come prepared.
Make sure you read the briefs given to you by your agency so you’re fully aware of exactly what’s expected of you when you arrive. If there’s anything that you need clarification on, make sure to talk with your manager ahead of time and importantly, read the grooming brief (as some jobs may require to arrive with a bare face, washed hair etc).

Tip 7: Never feel as though you’re above the job.
Not every job will have the biggest budget however, every job you book is good exposure and benefits your career and portfolio. You’ll also gain valuable work experience.

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