What type of model do you really want to be?

This article is written by a member of our expert community. It expresses that member’s views only. We welcome other perspectives. Here’s how to contribute to MM EDU.

I spent over 30 years working with aspiring models, not just as a photographer, but mainly a fashion show producer.  I interviewed, trained, rehearsed and traveled around the country with hundreds of models.  The one thing they all had in common, aside from being runway models, was a desire to also be fashion, commercial, swimwear etc. print models.  I got into photography shortly after I started producing shows, mainly because I always had beautiful subjects to shoot.  The entire experience gave me an opportunity to talk to models and listen to their frustrations and successes in the modeling industry. Because of my association with them and photography, I developed relationships with local and state modeling agencies and helped get many of them representation.

Models: Braun and Lauren

When I retired from producing fashion shows, I continued to photograph aspiring models and learned a lot about how they went about trying to break into modeling, for instance by getting on sites like Model Mayhem.  I learned by joining Model Mayhem and by communicating with models across the country that many do not have a good idea of the actual type of model they want to be, or an awareness of the type of model that they could possibly become professionally.

Models: Jada Stoudemire and Hannah Stoudemire

People have pictures of themselves taken for different reasons.  Some were told they have a nice look and should pursue modeling, others because they always wanted to be a model. Some just want to network with like-minded people.  Some take pictures for “art” sake and others do it just for fun. Whatever the reasons, people take pictures and enjoy posting them online for others to look, comment on and possibly get them work.

Models:  Dominique Whitten and Karolina Mitka

I always ask people on this site what type of model they specifically want to become. Many seem to hope that something magically will happen just by virtue that they posted pictures online. Maybe someone will “discover” them and offer them modeling work.  It’s sort of a “throw it up against the wall and see what sticks” mentality and it has been known to occasionally work.

Models: Mellisa and Khaloud

But knowing specifically what type of model you want to become is very helpful in setting the direction you should go when taking pictures, and setting the tone for your portfolio. Plus, it attracts the type of photographers, makeup artists, hair stylist etc. that are looking to work with that type of model.  It especially helps if you have a desire to model professionally.  Decide if your interest is Fashion, Commercial, Fitness, Glamour, Swimsuit, Lingerie or Hair modeling.

Models: Ang Marie, Jessica Graie and Denise Pace

If you are not sure what type of model you are best suited to be, or have questions, ask photographers and models by going into the Model Mayhem forums and getting their opinions.

WARNING:  You may not get exactly what you were hoping to hear, but chances are you will receive honest appraisals of your potential and what direction is best for you to go in modeling.


Leroy Crayton has been photographing and working with aspiring models for over 30 years. He has produced fashion shows all over the US, and helped many models develop their runway and print career.

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