I am so often asked “How do I start as a model” and I have to say that there is no easy answer to this.
First of all, are you sure this is what you want! If the answer is yes and if you are at least 5 feet tall, slim and beautiful, and confident and between the ages of 14 and 18, the chances are slim that you will make it.
But you need something to be to your advantage it is so important that you have little or no chance without just as well giving up and resuming your high school education.
So what’s so important is that it makes or inhibits you, the answer to that is pretty simple, it’s your mom. Without her blessing and indeed her help you are not going anywhere near.
Let’s start with the law, you are under the age of 18 and cannot be photographed without parental consent and cannot participate in a photo shoot with a photographer unless your parent or guardian is present at the shoot.
Now you understand the importance of this as it protects not only the underage model but also the photographer.
After the shooting session, an ‘Exemption minor model’ form must be signed by the parent or legal guardian on behalf of the minor. This form is a standard document in the box and it gives the photographer and their client permission to use the photos for any advertising purposes, in exchange for a modeling fee agreed in advance and paid after the shoot.
How do you get discovered and believe me, this is the hard part. Years ago when I was a full-time advertising/fashion photographer it was sometimes just good enough to be found by the photographer and his opinion would add some weight when the model presented some recent photos of herself to a modeling agency, provided they met all of the above requirements. But nowadays things have changed with young hopeful models posting their photos all over the internet and of course, many modeling agencies have an online presence as well.
But I know a story of a 14-year-old girl in London, who at the time had no idea that she wanted to be a model, but was doing ‘Work Experience’ over the summer holidays in the offices of one of the British Fashion Magazines when she was ‘scouted’ by a representative of a modeling agency.
Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time, of course, this doesn’t stop you from applying to all the top agencies yourself, seeing as many as you can and if you are as good as you say you are and if they are looking to that special look, you may be in luck. But not without hard work, discipline, and dedication.
For example, healthy eating and living, or in other words eating correctly and going to bed early. This healthy lifestyle also includes daily exercise to keep your body in shape.
Unless you’re committed, when the time comes and you find yourself gaining an extra pound or two, you only have yourself to blame for not getting the job.
Last August, I received an email from a 14-year-old girl who wanted to be a model. She’d seen my website, read my “wanting to be a model” comments, and wanted my opinion on her appearance. I played it again and explained that I would take some test shots in exchange for adding a page of these photos to my website.
I contacted her mother and we made an appointment to shoot at my favorite beach location, this page has now become one of the most popular on the website. I think you should take a look.
About the author: I am from London. I started during the Swinging Sixties and London was a decent place to be. At the time, we were taking fashion photos from the catalog with a 10X8 inch View camera, so the color transparency images would be the same size as the image on the catalog page, I have to tell you now that that was quite a challenge.