Young/New models have so many misconceptions about what it is to "model". How to model. What a model does. The details... I've selected several videos that show a behind the scenes look. I selected these because of the statement they make on being empowered and feminine. The statement they make on trust and bond between photographer and model. The statement they make on all the hard work and extra details that are not shown in the photograph.
But before we get to that we have to start at the beginning.
If you want to be a model that means you want a job. A JOB requires professionalism. Professionalism requires timeliness, attention to detail, communication and preparation.
Timeliness: Normally a lot of time and money are involved in any photo session. Sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. Being late to a shoot isn't just unprofessional... it is costly. It shows total disrespect for other professionals. No-Showing is the ultimate form of unprofessional behavior.
Detail: Your skin, hair, body, nails all must be in a state of top performance. Just like a race car driver expects all the parts to work in the race car, so does a photographer/client expect a model's parts to be in detailed order. Further, this attention to detail is also important in your business dealings.
Communication: If you can not commit to returning every email in 24 hours you might consider another line of work. Communication is very important. It builds trust and confidence. As well, your ability to communicate your needs to a photographer/client is VERY important. Being scared or timid about mentioning certain limitations or boundaries before a shoot is unprofessional. Telling a photographer you actually are NOT comfortable doing sheer lingerie after the shoot has started is unprofessional. And costly.
Preparation: An unprepared model is an unprofessional model. Your gear, your equipment (YOU), your business should all be in prepared order before you show up to a shoot. Skin clear, body fit and well rested. You need to be able to perform at your maximum potential. Photographers/clients are not paying you for a service. Rather they are buying a result. You must meet or exceed expectations.
If you have confidence that you can be professional, timely, detailed, prepared and communicate effectively... then read on!
You need to be realistic. Model ≠ Pretty
There are several types of models.
Fashion models make lots of money. They walk runways and sell clothes.
Commercial models make the most money on average and sell everything!
There is also Art modeling where you collaborate with a photographer to create a piece of art. This is the highest form of modeling. Because you and the photographer create 100% of the value. No mobile phone. No blue jeans. No sports drink. No added value.
If you are 5'5" tall (or less) you will NOT be a fashion model. No matter what a local small agency tells you. No matter how pretty your face it will not happen. Fashion models are clothes hangers. They are a certain size.
The good news is that there is almost no height standard for commercial models. But your body must be in proportion. Now... does this mean that at 5'5" you will never get fashion work? No... but it does mean you will not make a living at it.
Many models (most models) freelance. Meaning they book some of their own work. If not all. An agency is a nice thing to have. Often you can have two or three. But more and more models are booking their own work. For more info go here: http://selfmademodel.com/buynow.php
Just like a princess's clothes don't make you a princess... well a model agency doesn't make you a professional model. There are tons of agencies out there. Most are total wastes of your time and money. Working as a professional model making a significant portion of your income makes you a model... at least in my eyes.
Finally... Nudity. To some extent all models show skin and display character, themes and ideas that are not how they behave on a daily basis. Models are actors. If you can not come to terms with acting like a diva, slut, tramp, princess, harlot or whatever the work calls for then you might want to consider other work. Dressing up like a princess doesn't make you a princess. Nor does dressing like a slut make you a slut.
Decide early what your boundaries are. Stick to them. But understand that your mental hang ups are not helping you professionally. If you are scared of what the folks back home might think, modeling might not be for you. That said... ignoring the consequences of your actions is equally unprofessional. Only you can decide your comfort zone and boundaries. Be honest with yourself. The Business IS what the Business IS. It will not change for you.
This video of Emma Watson demonstrates her moving from pose to pose, following direction from the photographer, and some great dramatic "hard" poses. Oh... and Emma is cute as hell!
Adriana Lima is a Goddess. Let's just be clear about that! This a GQ magazine shoot. Noteworthy in this video is the professional nature Adriana displays. She is totally nude but 100% focused on the shoot. No less than 6 others are present and she isn't phased. Adriana also demonstrates some great soft poses and a few more provocative ones. Also noteworthy is the fact that there was no real "nudity" in the GQ calendar. No nips, butts or Vajayjay. Was it because Adriana spent the whole shoot fidgeting with her hair, bottoms, palm leaves in order to cover up? Or was it because Adriana is a professional and has a contract that details the outcome of the shoot and what the public sees! Hand's can't cover nipples near as well as contracts can!!!
This time a Pirelli Calendar shoot. Gisele talks about pushing herself to give the photographer what he wants. It's about trusting professionals to do their jobs. Lots of great hard poses here. Dramatic.
Here we have Miranda Kerr modeling the Cotton line for Victoria's Secret. This is a bit of a "commercial" more than a how to... But take note of the soft poses and all the production going into this shoot. Victoria's Secret has a unique style.
One of my favorite videos. This Pirelli Calendar really shows the importance of the photographer/model relationship and how trust is everything. All the poses here are organic and natural. No hard poses. For models struggling with "nudity" issues pay particular attention to the photographer and model interviews. For the models this is feminine and EMPOWERING. That's right. They don't feel cheap or exploited. They feel powerful. In control. Dominant. Not all the things society has branded the nude female form.
If you are a new model or considering it as a profession this will help you. I will leave you with a few cautions.
1. Check references. Professionals don't bring boyfriends to photoshoots. If you are booking your own work you have a professional responsibility for your own safety. You can't do a good job modeling if you are not comfortable.
2. All agencies are businesses. Businesses are designed to look out for the business's interests first. Not yours!!! Small agencies will tell you what you want to hear to keep you on the roster. Keep that in mind.
3. Commercial models can and do work as nude models. But it is limited and select work. Agencies will try to keep you from very lucrative and artistically satisfying work. Don't let them. But be selective and discuss boundaries and limits with clients/photographers ahead of time.
4. Under 18 models should in most cases avoid any work involving nudity. There are exceptions. Nudity under 18 is not illegal in most places. But... it is very frowned on if not done in a very professional way. Trust is a major factor in this type of work. Many in our culture believe that pubescent nudity under the age of 18 is defacto pornography. This type of backward thinking has no artistic precedent and is a relatively new social construction.