Careers: Modeling/male boy req's



So, after years of constantly hearing "OMG why aren't you a male model already?" from people, I've decided to take some snapshots and submit them to modeling agencies.

Don't ask me why people feel this way...personally, I think I'm decently attractive, but I don't think I'm "all that". But I'm giving it a try anyway, because I've got nothing to lose, right?

So my question is, what should I be doing as a total noob? I've researched these agencies' websites and I plan on following submission guidelines...but is there anything else I should know? Insider tips for success, or anything? Can you advise me about how to set up my submission pics so they look top-notch?

Should I style my hair or leave it natural? Should I leave my facial stubble or go clean-shaven? Do those things matter?

Is there something special everyone is looking for? I'm not bony, but I'm definitely not that a problem?

I have good straight teeth, but to be honest, they could do with some whitening. I see lots of pictures showing guys who smile without showing their teeth. Should I bother with whitening yet? It's pretty expensive and I'd rather not shell out that money unless I really need to right now.


Age: 32
Height: 6'1
Weight: 170
Waist: 34
Inseam: 32
Chest: 36
Hair: brown
Eyes: brown
Race: white/mixed (I'm German on mom's side, and Romani Gypsy on dad's side...which makes me olive-skinned)
Body type: Slim

I'm attaching two pics so you can get a general idea. Should I even bother submitting? I have a list of about 25 agencies I might submit to.

Thanks Keith, appreciate it.


ANSWER: Hello Rob,

Thanks for reaching out to me for information. I can't tell you have many people (male and female) get into modeling because people tell them they should. With modeling, at some point it takes more then your looks and build to be a successful male model. To be successful, it takes talent, drive, desire and ability to overcome objection.

To answer your questions, I need to ask you some questions. How did you decide on which agency's to approach and why? Did you have a Comp with resume to attach to your submission? Did you consider freelance modeling first to gain experience for your resume?

My insider tip is to not take the same approach as everyone else and give an agent, agency or PR firm a reason to represent you. Simple snapshots alone generally won't do it. My recommendation to any age individual wanting to get into modeling is to be prepared, understand what you're getting into and what the industry is looking for. Study your competition and see what they have that you don't and visa versa. Modeling needs to be treated as a job and approached as such. If you have not had success sending snapshots to modeling agency's you simply found online, maybe the reason is you simply blend with the hundreds of other who have been told they should be models or you're not including the photos and resume they are looking for.

Despite what agency's web sites may say, the more professional your resume and photos look the better chance you'll have of getting in the front door. Going in without any experience or amateur photos is really just a waste of time. Hire a professional model or actor photographer to take a variety of headshots and portraits. Show diversity with your looks. The more looks you can pull off the better. If you look too one dimensional, you'll get passed up. A good way to get high quality modeling portfolio photos without paying a small fortune is to find photographers in your area willing to shoot TFP.

Make sure your portfolio consists of a a full-length, front image from head to toe fully clothed, a full-length front image in a bathing suit or shorts, a head shot straight on with no smile, a head shot of your face in profile and a head shot of your face straight on with a smile. Include one casual portrait photo and one casual full body photo. Remember, quantity is not not as important as quality. Besides shooting TFP with photographers for portfolio photos and experience, do some TFP work with smaller designers, MUA's or anyone else you can team with. Look at it like an unpaid internship and resume builder.

Good Luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Keith, thanks for the awesome answers. Lots of great info here! I hope you won't mind a followup question.

I did some modeling as a child--actually both my brother and I did. We were in textbooks, and also in a few holiday ads for major grocery store chains around the ages of 9-10. Does this count for experience, or was that too long ago? Should I mention this when submitting?

About the resume. Many places don't ask for a resume, so how would I go about submitting one? I have a BA degree, and I've been working for about five years in digital marketing...does that help at all? How would I go about finding freelance modeling work if I don't know "how" to do modeling as a noob? I'd hate to show up someplace and be totally clueless and waste people's time. And what's a "comp"?

Regarding the photos. Of course, I believe what you're saying here. But why do all the websites specifically say "don't bother taking professional photos, because we want to see what you look like naturally"? They also suggest not using hair products, fancy backgrounds, props, special lighting, or makeup--they also say specifically, "Don't pose or try to 'act'." If they're looking for professional-grade studio photos, why don't they simply ask for them instead of asking for "natural snapshot" submissions?

One last thing, please. You mention showing them a variety of looks. So should I take one shot in a shirt and tie, one in my board shorts, one in my jeans and t-shirt, etc? Is that what you mean? My sister is a professional photographer, but she doesn't do hair or this necessary for taking portfolio pictures?

Hello Rob,

Any experience related to modeling would be wise to use in my opinion as long as it can be verified. If not, I would not mention it.

Remember, modeling, acting, singing auditions, etc ... are auditions for a job. If you go empty handed to a job interview, you likely won't be considered. Depending on the audition, they may or may not accept a traditionally written resume. For modeling auditions, also known as go-see, a model had a nice 8x10 headshot and printed on the back of it is your resume including all vitals, experience and contact information. A comp card is also know as a composite or ZED and is usually a 5x7, which includes a few collage photos along with your vitals and and maybe email, but no work experience.  I recommend having both available. Here are a couple links with examples:

When an agency says they want naturally looking photos what they are referring to are polaroids. A polaroid is a collage of unedited, no makeup or fancy hair styles. It is very natural and untouched in any way. Polaroids are full body posture photos standing normally with your hands at your side. A front, side and rear photo is usually enough but it can be really how you want as long as it's natural. The photos are collage into 1 like a comp or composite. For women, the photos are in a bikini and men shorts with no shirt. No vitals or contact info is included. Here are some examples:

As far as having or not having professional photos, By asking for professional photos it can look discriminatory as not all people can afford a professional portfolio. It's your choice, but again, it's a job interview and you want to represent all your looks the best way possible. Some people write their own resume, others pay a professional resume writer to do it. Look at the sample model comp cards and polaroids and use them as your guideline because that's your competition.

As far as marketing yourself, since you work in digital marketing, you should already know about the benefits of a professional figure Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and so on. For models, there are several online free model portfolio web sites. One of the most popular is Model Mayhem. I would also recommend creating a personal web site for modeling. You can find modeling opportunities through the same resources and also by networking with photographers, MUA's, event planners, freelance designers and so one.


Careers: Modeling

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I can answer questions about modeling from both a male model and photographers perspective such as: * How old or young can someone be to get into modeling? * What is the best age to get into modeling? * Is modeling just for the very tall and thin girls or muscular guys? * How do you know if you have what it takes to become a model? * What do photographers look for in a model? * How do you learn to pose? * What is body awareness and how important is it to becoming a successful model? * How do you prepare for a photoshoot? * Selecting modeling genres that are right for you? From the business side, I can answer questions related to: * How to get started in modeling? * Freelance modeling and self representation versus signing with an agency. * How to find auditions and other modeling opportunities. * Finding and building a free online modeling profile sites and networking groups/events. * Developing your own free or subscription modeling website?


I started out as a male model when I was 15 and modeled for several photographers, artists and figure drawing classes until I was 22 years old. Today, I'm a published and agency recommended professional freelance photographer from Southern California. I have over 10 years specializing in fashion, lifestyle, portraiture, editorial, actor headshots, swimwear, glamour, boudoir, lingerie, artistic, nude, erotic and theme specific photography. I'm also experienced in model portfolio and web site development, model tear sheets, posters, calendars and other model promotional items.


I model freelance part time and studied at the Los Angeles School of Photography. I host bi-monthly workshops (which include a photoshoot) for amateur models of ALL ages.

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