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how to become a fashion model © Surinder Singh

Fashion Articles

How to become a fashion model

by Surinder Singh

Your guide to fashion modeling in India ...

There are numerous fashion models starving in each and every country to be a successful fashion model, but most will never be successful. There is very short life span of model's job swinging up and down in question of appearance, experience and talent. It is not as easy as seen catwalk on ramp. It's hardwork with full determination and dedication on other's direction within given time as it is not an 8 to 5 job. It's a some how small business and you alone are responsible for it's takeoff or downfall.

To start a modeling carrier you must be bold enough to face relative and friend's criticism. Especially if you are an Indian female then you must think of your post marriage disturbance in question of modeling in todays bold glamourous world. If you are tall, slender and unusually attractive enough in good shape to go for modeling, again pause to ask yourself a few honest questions that are you have the patience, professional attitude, aptitude, discipline, interpersonal skills, communication skills, stamina, confidence, business skills, etc.? If you think you do after all these if and buts, then go for it - and - go with a big Bang!

What is Model Portfolio? Why do I need it?
You do need a professional model portfolio to present yourself as a model if you want to pursue a professional modeling carrer. Model Portfolio is a collection of your modeling photographs. Number of pictures varies according to need and requirement. It is better to include only WOW! kind of pictures, you are only as good as your worst picture! You should aim for quality not quantity! Avoid using 2 pictures of the same shoot/look in same dress or background. If you have a good golden era - Black and White, then you must include in portfolio as it is the favorite of the industry. 8 by 10 inches are the standard size. Your agency may require you to bring an 11 x 14 inches for their book (portfolio) but 8 x 10 inches are the standard. A basic but versatile portfolio would have a casual high quality head shot, styled head shot, body shot (conservative lingerie or swimsuit), a fashion hot shot (sexy look), action shot, an editorial shot and even a catalogue shot. As you gain experience replace the older pictures with newer one. Keep your best picture at the end to leave a lasting impression! Do not wear heavy jewellry , it may takes the attention away from you. Design your portfolio for your strengths. Versatility is good but don't get caught up in trying to be everything. Stick to what you are suited for and the type of modeling you are interested in. If you want to be a swim wear model, you must have swim wear shots in your portfolio.

If you are lucky enough you may get a chance to get your portfolio free by photographer or talent search agency. Ohterwise you can request to a good portfolio photographer to shoot your portfolio for Time For Prints (TFP). After your first trial portfolio and with some experience you may hire a professional portfolio photographer for your professional portfolio, as you required to update your portfolio according to your current looks & figure.

What are Composite Cards (Comp Cards, Index Cards, Zeds/Seds)?
Composite cards known by many different names. They were originally created by a German named Sabastian Sed (pronounced Zed). Because of the difference in German and English pronunciations, Seds became known as Zeds. Composite cards are miniature portfolios which are mass produced. They are kind of like business cards, only larger (normally 5-1/2" x 8-1/2"). The front of the composite card is usually a model's headshot with her name typeset on the photo (or on a border of the photo), and the back has a series of photos featuring the model in different photographic styles. The back of the card also typically has the models stats (age, measurements, hair & eye colour, weight, height, clothing sizes, etc.) as well as the contact information of the agency the model is signed with.

Most composite cards are black and white, however, many from larger agencies are in full colour. The actual style of the comp card can vary widely, so many agencies have a "stock design" that they recommend that models use. As with portfolio photos, models are responsible for paying for their own composite cards. Since you'll need a new set of comp cards each year, don't buy "in bulk" just to end up throwing away hundreds of unused cards. When you are starting out, 100-200 is a good number to order. You can always get more in the future if you run out.

If you are not with an agency, a professional photographer who shoots composites and portfolios can help in recommending photo selection, design, and a good local printer. There are also numerous companies who print up composite cards through "mail order." Make sure to request samples of their work before making an order, because quality levels vary drastically among suppliers.

Composite cards are meant to be given out generously. Always keep some in your portfolio to hand out to clients, and make sure that you keep a ready supply with your agency so that they can send them out to prospects as well.

Is there any home work?
Yes, you have to do a lot of home work as you need to put a lot of thought & imagination into each and every piece you are going to use for a particular shot. So learn to pose, learn to create a special mood for each and every shot, learn to express, learn to comunicate with eyes while shooting, to learn what type of costume & hair style suits you and above all learn to present your skills on & off stage. Better make a commitment to yourself to keep the same look for a year. You must be look alike to your portfolio. If you gained some extra pounds, do excercise to keep yourself fit, reshoot your portfolio if unable to do so. Don't use baggy clothes, use smart clothes to keep smart & sexy look.

How to present in modeling world?
You have to decide yourself how and in which way you want to present yourself in modeling world. You may go straight by yourself and starts as freelance model, or via model co-ordinator or by joining a modeling agency. Although joining a modeling agency is better option if you really want to pursue a professional modeling carrier.

This is where your have to think hard to take your own decission to figure out what sort of model do you want to be. Do you want to be: earthy? sincere?, sensual?, thoughtful?, wholesome?, glamorous?, sexy?, a tease?, playful?, or girl-next-door? If you want to be more than one of these personalities as a model you will have to put together combined themes in your portfolio that show how you can change from one personality to another. It must be shown in portfolio to believe it by your audience.

It really helps your marketing if you can focus in on one personality aspect and develop an on-camera personality that reinforces and promotes that personality. This is what the industry calls becoming type-cast. It may not be the ultimate long-term solution, but it has worked very successfully for launching a lot of careers in modeling and acting. And you too try it to boost your carrer.


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