Lately, I've received more and more inquiries from aspiring models who "need" portraits to send to modeling agencies – they hope to be signed and believe the first thing they need to do is pay for professional photos. Here's the thing: modeling agencies don't need (and don't want) professional portraits of you!
If you are reaching out to an agency, do not go out and spend hundreds of dollars on professional portraits (photographer friends, don't hate me!). Paying for professional photos comes later, but in the beginning, all you need to send are "digitals". Digitals are the modern Polaroid. Back in the day, agents used to snap a Polaroid of each potential model at their casting calls. It allowed them to instantly see how that person photographed and get a feel for their raw talent. "Digitals" are the the updated version of just that – it's the easiest way for an agency to see how you photograph.
Here are a few suggestions when taking your own digitals:
- First and foremost: Keep it simple! Ask your mom or a friend to take the photos on your iPhone
- Selfies don't count!! That "above and angled down" look is completely wrong
- Use a solid colored wall outside or a wall in your home (as long as there is plenty of window light)
- Keep your hair natural and out of your face – try putting it up for at least one photo
- Wear very minimal makeup or avoid it all together
- Wear dark skinny jeans, a tank top, and heels – no accessories!
- Do not retouch or edit the photos in any way
TIP: Modeling agencies will never ask you to send nudity or inappropriate photos. If an "agent" asks you for these types of photos, they are not with a real agency!
Here are a few examples of GOOD digitals! These would be great to send to an agency and would give you the best response rate.
And just for fun, here are a few examples of BAD digitals (featuring me)! These would not be good to send to an agency and would most likely give you a low response rate.
The exposure is too dark and there is too much hair in my face
This is just obvious – please don't send snapchat filters to an agency!!
It was way too sunny, bad outfit, and
the background is distracting
The "selfie" angle is not telling of your facial structure. Grab a friend to help you take them
So there you have it! When you're ready to approach an agency just snap some photos like these, include your name, height, measurements, and contact info (or a parent's if you're under 18), and you're good to go! PS – don't lie about your height. If you say you're 5'8 and you're really 5'5, the agency is going to realize the second you walk into their office and then you've wasted both of your time. Being honest and keeping your digitals simple is the best thing you can do!