I’ve been asked a number of questions by models that are just starting out. As some of them are common questions I thought the replies, and other issues prompted by them, were worthy of a post. I’ll be adding to this post over time so if you’ve got anything you think should be added please feel free to share it.

Should I update my profile if I have my hair cut or coloured?

YES! Anything that makes a change to your look; hair, a tan, tattoos, piercings, etc should be reflected in your profile. If you’ve got future bookings in the diary talk to the photographer first, they may have a concept in mind that relies on an aspect of your look. If you have piercings be sure to let the photographer know which if any can be removed.

What should I have in my portfolio?

As much variety as possible! Everyone’s tastes are different and what may get skipped past quickly by one person may stop another in their tracks. As the portfolio grows look at all the photos from a shoot and keep trimming the set down until you’ve got the best one or two.  Have a mix from extreme close ups to full length.  Keep in mind comments from people that have seen them. Even if you’re not so keen on a shot, if it got a lot of good feedback it should stay.

What should I say about myself on my portfolio web site(s)?

Don’t put too much personal stuff. It’s not a dating or friendship site. Keep that sort of thing to Facebook and the likes. You want information about modelling and photography, shoots you’ve done or would like to do. Some of the sites will allow you to select different things from a list. Fashion, Swimwear, glamour, body parts, etc., others may expect you to spell it out.  Only put things that you are very comfortable doing.  If you’ve never done something before be very upfront about it, tell the photographer that you’d like to try something new. The last thing you want is awkward moments and photos where you look uncomfortable.

Put up information about your clothes and shoe sizes, height etc. The photographer may want to pair you up with another model, height differences could be an issue.

I’m a dancer, is it worth mentioning?

My personal experience is that dancers are very much aware of their bodies, balance, how to move and pose. If you’ve had dance lessons of any description say at least ‘dancer’ your profile.

Should I sign up to more than one web pages profile site?

Unless you’ve got a very active agent getting a queue of photographers wanting to work with you, get yourself on as many portfolio sites as you have the time to update. Eg Model Mayhem, Net-Portfolio, PureStorm, etc.

Where sites allow it (some will want a paid for account) make reference to your other sites and profiles. On Flickr put MM and your ID number under all your photos. Those familiar with Model Mayhem will know how to find your profile.

I’m not happy handing out my phone number, but I can’t read my emails when I’m out. Any ideas?

Phone numbers are something some are reluctant to hand out, making planning a shoot that much harder. Give each photographer a new and unique phone number if you’re not sure about them yet.  How? With firms such as Flextel.co.uk a phone number forwarding service can allow you to assign a number per photograher. Most of the companies providing these services don’t charge for an account, they make their money through a percentage of the call charges. The service can change the CLID to the forwarding number you’ve picked so you know who’s calling no matter which phone they call from (downside, they must give you their contact number to return any calls). If for whatever reason you don’t want contact from them again you can delete their forwarding number or point it to an answer phone service. Much better than having multiple phones or having to change mobile numbers.

I don’t know if I trust a photographer who’s asked to work with me, what should I do?

Based on the opening disclamers in some models profiles on sites like Model Mayhem, it’s clear that a few people are using such sites to try and get dates with models. Try and answer a few simple questions; Is the photographer your going to work with established with their own studio or use a studio that knows them well? Have they worked with other models that can give you references? Where are you expected to work? Until you’ve worked with a photographer and trust them you may want to insist you use reputable studios or public places. If you’re uncomfortable insist on bringing a chaperone. If they’re a professional they’ll understand.

How can I show the photographer what things I’d like to try?

One good way is to sign up to sites like Flickr. On Flickr a basic account is free. Not only can you upload your photos but you can search for those of others and mark them as Favourites or add up to 18 of them to a Gallery (of which you can have many). Be warned that some photographers (myself included) don’t like it when people add lots of favourites and have no photos of their own, so upload at least a couple, set up your buddy icon and put something about yourself in the profile.  Model Mayhem allows you to add photos to lists, Net-Portfolio allows favourites for premium members.

My partner is a model too, should I ask the photographer to work with us both?

I’d recommend you get a good understanding of what the photographer wants first. Maybe drop it into conversation if the subject of working with others is raised. Make sure your portfolio has some shots of you together and put them at random points in your portfolio. Don’t get too upset if the photographer asks you to work with another person, keep in mind that you may have been picked to compliment the other person, not the other way around.

Should I get things printed?

If you’re going on casting calls for face to face time YES! Even though we live in a digital age with online portfolios there’s nothing quite like paging through a well printed set of photographs.

Can I bring someone with me?

As long as they’ll be comfortable with the nature of the shoot yes. It will help you relax, your photographer might also benefit from an extra pair of hands and eyes if they are willing to help out.