In my first post we discussed modeling as a small business. In this 2nd post in the series, we’ll cover the basics of marketing.
Any business, when they are getting ready to open their doors to customers, needs to advertise. How will they know you are there if you don’t tell them! So for a model, that means getting photos done. Here comes the hard part. How do you know who can give you a great photo when you yourself have no idea what you’re doing?
That’s a great question. My first move, would be to find a legitimate agency, call them and ask them to make some references. Most often, the agency has a list of approved photographers.
You can also search social media. Use hashtags for your area. See if there are any modeling groups or photographer groups that you can join.
But BEWARE! These groups are not governed by Vogue. Therefore, not everyone in them is going to be able to offer you what you need. And just because they own a camera, doesn’t qualify them.
Look at the posts. See what is being put out. If a photographer only posts naked girl photos, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to provide you with high fashion photos. Also, just because there is one person in the group who seems to have the loudest bark, and posts the most often, doesn’t qualify them as a subject matter expert. Look for the opposite.
My thought is, if someone is working as much as they say they are, then they should be too busy to post 12 times a day on social media.
Also, look for photographers who other photographers are complimenting, or whose pictures have the most comments or likes. Now, again, if it’s a naked person in the photo, you have to consider that as part of the reason why it’s getting so much attention.
When it comes to hiring a photographer for your shoot, there is more to consider than the fact that they own a camera. Many photographers nowadays have no fashion background and have never worked for a fashion client. Why would you think they could offer you help with your career?
For many, the dream of being a model is all they have. I get it, I’ve been there. There is this stigma about modeling that it’s all glamor and glitz and fabulous locations, schmoozing and such. But the reality, well, that’s a different story.
For some people, modeling is the legitimization of their value. If they can say they are a model, then they must be beautiful, and for some people, that’s what is desperately needed. It’s also a way to feel included in an otherwise elite and often times exclusionary group. So yeah, why wouldn’t you want to be a model?
But as stated in my first post, there is so much more to this business. If you are truly looking to make a dent, you can’t do it without the number one marketing tool; a photo.
Ok, so you put it out there on social media you need pictures taken. All of a sudden, you get inboxed with solicitations from all over. Friends recommend their kids’ grad photo photographer. They share their wedding pics with you. Baby photoshoots are blasted all over. And of course, let’s not forget the boudoir photoshoot images….
Thank all your friends, then message me. None of these photographers can give you what you need.
The modeling industry has very specific things they look for. If you are soliciting an agency for representation, they are not interested in edited, professional photos. They want polaroid style pictures of just you as you. Clean, natural and in body-con clothing so they can see what the starting point is. Also, if you said you are a graduate of any particular modeling school or such, you can kiss your career goodbye. But we’ll talk training at a later date.
Nothing against wedding photographers, or boudoir photographers, I’m sure they are amazing in their specialty, but to present a photo to a fashion client, takes a specific eye.
You want to look for the photographer working in the fashion industry. All their photos are of fashion. You’ll also want to look for photos that aren’t just pretty photos, but photos that you’d see in a fashion magazine. If you aren’t sure, hold up the magazine to the photos, that will give you a great idea.
In smaller markets, the competition to get business is so great, many photographers market themselves across several genres because there isn’t enough business in their specialty to sustain income, but don’t get too excited quite yet.
Yes, some photographers can cross over, but again, you’ll have to look at their pictures next to magazine photos. If a wedding photogs pics look like the photos in the wedding magazines, then YES, they can shoot you. But, if the photos look like Uncle Bob took them, I’d say keep searching.
Just because they’ll shoot you for free, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Have you heard the phrase, quality vs quantity? This holds true for photographers.
Another thing to pay attention to when you are choosing your photographer, is who are you modeling for?
If you have no idea who your client base is, then you won’t know how to structure your shoot, nor will your photographer. Why are you taking pictures in the first place?
Are you plus size? Tattooed? Runway? Editorial? Junior? Missy? Are you African American? Caucasian? Asian? Fit?
Just shooting random photos isn’t going to help your career or help you get discovered. You’ll need to do some research to see who is booking models that look like you? And then once you’ve figured that out, you’re one step closer to setting up that photoshoot.
If you approach this business, one step at a time, you’ll not only save money but time and you’ll get a greater return on your investment because you chose to take it slow and do your homework.
Next up, you have your photos…what do you do with them?
I am available for private one on one coaching. For more information email me at firstname.lastname@example.org