How to become a professional model by Aram K

Modeling and photography¬†business is tough. Standards are changing every day. The concept of “supermodel” is pretty much gone now. There are few elite people in the industry that are still carrying¬†the “supermodel” title, but they are dying breed. Same goes to photographers. Back in the days, there were few people out who carried the “elite” title, not anymore. Partially, technology is to blame for that. The vast availability of cheap digital cameras, social media market, and few other factors are to blame. Despite all those obstacles you can still do it. The industry has been changing all the times. Just because it’s hard now, it doesn’t mean it was easy to back in the days. One very important rule is, you have to be able to adapt. Like Bruce Lee said once, you have to become a water and take a shape. I personally know tons of people who firmly believes in things they believed ten years ago. Well, they are not going anymore. I know tons of photographers still shooting with low-resolution cameras, lying to themselves that 8mp is enough, I know tons of models who keeps striking same ridiculous poses and never improves. If you want to make it as a model, you can’t be like this. Here is my take how to become a professional model.

Go out there and shoot

What seems to be straight forward concept, a majority of “young” models don’t do. As every professional, I try to photograph as much as I can and always experiment. In my experience, one of the biggest problems in the industry I noticed as a photographer, that there is tons of “flakes” among models. They don’t follow up, ignore, or simply don’t show up. All of this would be fine, but don’t complain later about social media how you want to be a professional model and you being miss understood. Don’t play a victim, be serious what about goals.

Shoot with right people

That concept goes for both models and photographers. If you want to become a model, you have to shoot with the best. Don’t waste your time with mediocre talent. When I was starting as a photographer, I wasted tons of time with terrible models. Nobody is perfect, but at least you have to try to do your best. The photoshoot is time and money, even if you not paying anything. Once you gonna start becoming more professional, time and money become the most precious thing in your life. Don’t waste it.

Don’t settle for less

As mentioned above, don’t settle for poor quality. If you just starting, don’t upload entire crappy photoshoot online, just because you think you have to fill your website fast. Select only best of the best photos. It’s not about the quantity. As a filmmaker and photographer, I cast people for the various shoots, I don’t care that you have hundreds of crappy photos online, I always look at the quality of those images. If they poor, your chances on being cast as a talent are very slim. I’d rather see 1 amazing photos than 50 mediocre ones.

What kind of model are you?

Before you break into the world and start building your portfolio, make a decision what kind of model are you going to be. You may think, what is the difference? The difference is huge. For example, if you want to be famous on Instagram, type of photography that popular there is way below the level from the photography let’s say for Vogue magazine. Posting your ass every day may get you some followers on Instagram, but it won’t get you anywhere in the professional world. Real magazines, agencies, clients, want’s to see true professional work, unless showing your ass is what you want to do.

What’s next?

So you got it all figured out what’s next? Now start building your portfolio. There are tons of amateur photographers who will gladly photograph you as TFP, Trade for Prints. Very good mutual benefit option. Basically, both parties work for images to add to their portfolio work. It’s a great way to start. Be warned, though, as it’s a great option to practice being in front of the camera, in most cases, quality if work you gonna get is way below expected. As obviously in this scenario most likely photographer and the model are amateurs. Once you feel comfortable in front of the camera, hire a real photographer. Start building legit portfolio that you can use for youw website. Despite the fact that social media is very popular, you should have your own website. It looks professional and gives clients extra security that you are being serious about your work. Showing clients your Instagram page is very unprofessional. Make sure that your website also looks very good, I’ve seen tons of terrible looking websites that have “amateur” written all over. Don’t be that kind of model. Invest resources to get yourself out there. Things won’t happen without an effort. Be friendly, don’t burn bridges, be nice and respectful to your photographers and crew. Nobody wants to work with you if you act like a diva, in fact, many models I photographed who been very nice and chill during the photoshoot, we still talk and help each other out. Networking is the key. I helped people to get cast in Vogue, ELLE, Low Rider, HBO, NICKELODEON and many others.

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Aram K

Photographer, Cinematographer, DI Colorist at FILM LUT
Fashion, Portrait and Commercial Photographer.
DI Freelance Film Colorist.
San Diego - Los Angeles - WorldWide