Hi, All, and thanks for visiting my page! I don't always have time to get on Model Mayhem to update my port so please visit my website: www.vaughnericstewart.com
I'm an agency approved photographer who shoots many freelance jobs. I often book my models from Model Mayhem or NYC modeling agencies. I'm currently shooting lots of "boring catalog” but boring catalog pays models very well! I have other jobs that I'll be casting for soon so keep an eye out on my castings. I'm also currently testing signed models for some NYC modeling agencies -- you can see my work at Images Management, Click Models, Fenton Moon and Red Management.
Because I work with several modeling agencies and was a former Ford Model (old, old, old retro Ford Comp Card here with my photos) I often get asked 2 questions from potential models:
"How do I get into a modeling agency and how do I book more paying jobs on Model Mayhem?" I will try to answer both of these questions because essentially they have the same answer with a few differences here and there -- my passed experience should provide a pretty solid answer
...The first thing to know is that modeling is a business and it’s goes hand and hand with the multi-billion dollar business of marketing and selling product. So a model needs to be professional and handle "the business of modeling" seriously. No one wants to hire or sign an unprofessional model when money is involved so your reputation when you work and the way you "sell yourself" through your portfolio are super important.
So how do you market yourself to get an agent or get more jobs on Model Mayhem? The answer is simple -- with an amazing portfolio that sells your “look” correctly -- on Model Mayhem that begins with a "great avatar." You don't want an avatar that is a selfie or one with pimples on your face, or your face hidden with a mask or paint so you're unrecognizable, or a blurry image, or worse yet, no avatar at all! Your avatar should be outstanding and “realistically” retouched to perfection. When I put out a casting notice I’m literally swarmed with hundreds of replies and the only thing I look at initially is the avatar. If I like what I see I will look at the entire port. I don't “have time” to look at a port if I'm not impressed with the avatar -- and that's usually the case with most casting people, trust me. So have the most perfect avatar that you can obtain which best represents you is key if you want to work on Model Mayhem.
The next thing is your portfolio. Remember this is a business. When I hire a model I want them to sell the product I’m shooting. So your portfolio should make you look like you can sell anything in the genres you're trying to sell yourself in...
...If you have a great body, have great body shots that show you off. If you have a great face, have some amazing beauty shots or close-ups done. If you’re tall and look like a “hanger” (as they say in the industry) have full length, fashion shots that parade your souring stature. If you have a great smile flaunt those pearly whites. All these well thought out photographs spell out money to the casting person, agent, advertiser and you!!! A great body can yield you an underwear or sporting goods campaign. A great beauty shot can land you a make-up contract or cologne ad. A lengthy body can have you walking catwalks all over the world, and a great smile can get you tons of catalog work, a toothpaste ad or even a commercial. Great, thought-out photographs can literally soar your career while increasing your bank account. If you're really serious about modeling you should go to modeling agency websites and look at how agencies sell their models -- I can assure you they aren't painted red with black tongues wiggling out to the camera. You have to be professional and smart -- again you're selling yourself. Which brings up the next point...
...When you test with a photographer let him/her know what you want for your portfolio in exchange for what they may want for there's -- especially if the photographer got a hold of you. Also examine the photographer's portfolio and see if they are making the models look good. If you're shooting with a photographer who doesn't know how to shoot a model well or his/her images are disastrous and unmarketable you are wasting your time. Once again, this is about thinking smart -- choose a photographer that is “agency approved” and who's portfolio you really like! That way you at least know that the agencies trust and respect his or her work. Which means the photographer will shoot you the way an agent or casting person expects while adding credibility to your portfolio.
Lastly, how do you put a great portfolio together? I think there are two major routes to putting together a great portfolio and both can work equally well. However, the first one I'm about to outline takes considerable longer then the latter...
...The first route is to come on to Model Mayhem or whatever other resources you may have and look for good, credible photographers you like and ask them if they will test you -- sometimes they will and sometimes they won't -- it often depends how busy they are and if they like your look or not. Let's say you find that photographer, you shoot and he sends you back to beautiful images! Awesome! But are 2 images enough to land you a job or get you into an agents office? Most likely not so you go out and find another photographer and you obtain two more images. You obviously would continue this process until you have a great portfolio that can get some attention. All and all this will most likely take 6 months or maybe longer. So what is the second route…
...The second route works the same way with one difference. You still need to find a photographer that you really like and is:
1) Working in the industry and has connections to modeling jobs.
2) Has the proper credentials and is agency approved.
3)Who can show you the work they have done for modeling agencies.
4)And whose shooting style will flatter your look.
However, once you find this photographer you will ask him/her to put your entire portfolio together for you. Yes you will continue to add more images to your portfolio as time goes on, but this will be the essiental part of your portfolio that can get you working. Not only will this save you a lot of time but it will allow you to confidentially begin to submit yourself for modeling jobs and start seeking out agents within a month or so. This will require the photographer to do 9 to 12 great looks -- a few close-ups (usually called a beauty shot for women), body shots (if you have the body), commercial shots that can sell you to agents because that is where they make the bulk of their money, and definitely some casual to high fashion shots. However, this route will most likely make it so you have to INVEST IN YOURSELF! Which means you will have to figure out a budget for yourself and try to work something out with the photographer according to that budget. Yes that means you'll have to shell out a few bucks to make things happen but it also means you don’t waste time shooting with many photographers (some good, some bad) for a long period of time. In one month or less you can be working on Model Mayhem with great images while seeing and submitting photographs to modeling agents. This relatively small investment in your modeling career can quickly pay huge dividends in the future!!!
I just placed a few examples of what I have done for a few models on MM and a few that are signed to agencies in my Model Mayhem portfolio. If you need to get a hold of me for any questions you may have regarding modeling you can contact me here on MM or through my website.
Good luck!! Vaughn.