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Do you want to be a model, but lack the connections and knowledge you need to do it? Breaking into the industry can be tough — especially if you have no idea how to get into modeling with no experience. The pros make it look effortless, like glamorous gigs and lavish lifestyles practically fall into their laps. What they usually don’t show is the hours of work they’ve put into learning their craft, working hard, and promoting themselves.

Even if you have no money, connections, or experience, you can still become a model. Anyone fearless, thick-skinned, and dedicated enough can follow the guide below to start modeling, or even learn how to start a modeling agency.

These 15 tips have been gathered from industry professionals and organized into a simple list. Just bear in mind — just because becoming a model can be simple, doesn’t mean that it’s easy.

What kind of model do you want to be?

Not all models are thin, glamorous, high-fashion types. Think back to the last advertisement you saw. It could’ve been for anything from designer shoes to dish soap, someone modeled for it. If you’re just figuring out how to become a model with no money, it’s worth exploring all of the niches available to you.

Know your strengths

Know your strengths modeling photography hashtags

A lot of people want to be supermodels or runway angels, but this isn’t feasible for most people. If you’re shorter, larger, or older than the average fashion model, that’s perfectly fine. Everyone has a strength that they can play to. If you want to learn how to become a plus-size model with no experience, look to successful plus-size models for ideas. For hair modeling, look to hair models, and so forth.

Portfolio

Portfolio modeling photography hashtags

Every model needs a portfolio. This is a selection of photos of you to let your future clients know what you look like and what you can do. You’ll want your portfolio to show you in the best light, so it pays to hire a good photographer, hairstylist, and makeup artist. It’s also a good idea to research and practice modeling poses, especially ones that highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses.

Modeling application photos

Your modeling application photos should demonstrate your versatility. Look at the best pictures from your shoots, and select the best ten to twenty to showcase in your portfolio.

Full body photo

Full-body photos are important, especially if you’re trying to get into fashion modeling. Make sure your portfolio selections show a variety of poses, moods, and styles. Avoid having the same pose and feel in every photo — you don’t know what your future clients are going to want. The more versatility you can display, the more likely you are to be hired.

Portrait photo

You’ll want to have portraits done in different angles, both smiling and not. Again, the range is the key here.

You should also look as natural as possible in your photos. Your clients want to be able to see you, unobscured by a lot of makeup.

Basic bio

Your bio should be succinct and punchy. It should communicate who you are, why you’re passionate about modeling, your niche, who you hope to work with, and what makes you unique in the industry.

Age

Don’t let your age deter you from learning how to get into modeling with no experience. Fashion models generally have short shelf lives, but art directors and companies are always looking for models of all ages.

Measurements – be honest

If you only take away one lesson on how to get into modeling with no experience, it should be this: Never lie or guess about your measurements. The person in charge of selecting a model isn’t going to deny you just because you’re over a certain size. They’re going to go by your photos. Be as accurate as possible about your numbers.

Models who routinely lie about their measurements get bad reputations. There’s a simple reason for this. If a portfolio says a model is a size eight, then all of the clothing and accessories will be selected based on that information. If the model shows up and is actually a size twelve, the stylists have to scramble to try to accommodate them so the shoot can still go forward. Being honest is being respectful of everyone’s time, effort, and money.

Update portfolio often

Your portfolio should be an accurate reflection of you. No matter how much you love a photo, it should be cut if it’s no longer accurate. Remember, you’re going to have to show up to the shoot in person. You don’t want your appearance to surprise people.

Find an agency

Find an agency how to get noticed for modeling on Instagram

It’s hard to figure out how to get into modeling with no experience. Having a modeling agency in your corner can give you a very helpful boost, especially in the beginning.

Role of an agency

A modeling agency is a liaison between models and clients, helping to find jobs and negotiate contracts between them. They also advise models based on their expertise and analysis of industry trends. They also:

Create a brand

Modeling agencies have the experience needed to help you create a distinctive brand, but also remain flexible enough to appeal to a wide array of potential clients. They can help you strike the delicate balance between uniqueness and versatility.

Provide exposure

Modeling agencies also know how to get your portfolio in front of the right pairs of eyes. They have marketing budgets and connections to other people in the industry and can help you find inroads that you might not be able if you’ve just begun learning how to get into modeling with no experience.

Job opportunities

Agencies can help you find more opportunities. They may also know of jobs or niches that you might not have even thought of but could be perfect for you.

How to start a modeling agency

Maybe you’re not just interested in how to get into modeling with no experience, you want to learn how to start a modeling agency. You might want to get into an underexplored niche or provide representation for models that often get overlooked by the mainstream.

Decide on a niche

What kind of models do you want to represent? You may want to sign plus-size models, models with visible disabilities, or hand models that hold props for photoshoots, for example.

Build a talent pool

To be an agency, you need a talent pool. Scout models with strong portfolios that fit your niche.

Create a budget

You’ll need to create a business plan and a budget. This budget will have to cover licensing, a tax identification number, insurance, and marketing. Depending on your location and specific needs, the startup costs for a modeling agency can run from approximately $2,000 to over $10,000.

Have patience

It can take some time for your agency to break even, let alone turn a profit. In the beginning, focus on signing talent and building industry connections.

How to become a model with no money

Are you flat broke? That’s okay! There are plenty of ways to build a no- or low-cost modeling portfolio.

Have a friend take the photos

Have a friend take the photos how to get noticed for modeling on Instagram

Do you have a friend who’s a photographer? See if they’re willing to work out a deal to help you with your photoshoots.

Create a free profile on models.com

Create a free profile on models.com how to get noticed for modeling on Instagram

Models.com allows you to make a profile for free, which can give you some exposure and an easy place to direct people who ask to see your portfolio.

Create a comp card

Create a comp card how to get noticed for modeling on Instagram

A comp card is like a business card that shows the best of a model’s portfolio.

Comp cards are typically 8.5″x5.5″ and printed on cardstock. Having them professionally printed can be pricey, so you may want to start out by creating an online comp card if you’re trying to figure out how to become a model with no money.

Promote yourself on Instagram

Use Instagram to show your modeling shots, images that demonstrate why you’re passionate about modeling, and pictures that show your unique strengths.

Hashtags are your new best friend

Hashtags are your new best friend modeling photography hashtags

You can grow your following and increase your exposure by using the most frequently-used hashtags on the platform. There are search engines that can help you discover what hashtags are the most popular and get recommendations for your posts.

Tag brands

Wearing your favorite designer? Doing a makeup tutorial with your favorite brand? Tag them! Brands may even ask to repost them to their own feeds, which can drive traffic to your profile and increase your exposure.

Use the #scoutme

Use the #scoutme what are modeling agencies looking for

Want to let brands and agencies know that you’re available for modeling work? Tell them! Tag your photos with #scoutme or #scoutingmodels to target people who are specifically looking for the face of their next shoot.

Online modeling groups

Online modeling groups what are modeling agencies looking for

Online modeling groups are a great source for tips, tricks, and emotional support. If you’re just figuring out how to become a plus-size model with no experience, for example, a group geared toward plus-size modeling can let you in on industry information that can help you launch your career.

Casting call

You’ve got a portfolio, you have a stack of comp cards, and you’re at your first casting call. Now what?

Always act professionally

No matter how it goes, always act professionally. Be polite, cooperative, and respectful. Clients might love your portfolio but will skip you if you seem difficult to work with.

Have portfolio and comp cards in hand

Come prepared! You probably won’t be able to display your full range at a casting call, so your comp cards and portfolio will help give your potential client an idea of what you’re capable of.

Send a follow-up

Following up will show your interest and enthusiasm for the job, and make sure that your name stays fresh in your potential client’s memory.

Keep it to the point

You don’t want to make yourself a nuisance here — a short, to-the-point message, is all you need. Greet them, tell them your name, and ask whatever you need to ask.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions

Don’t hesitate to ask questions how to get noticed as a model

Asking questions will demonstrate your interest and curiosity about the project. If you’re just learning how to become a plus-size model with no experience, for example, it can also let you know what to expect from future casting calls and shoots.

Be prepared to work hard

Modeling only looks easy. There are hours of standing, hot lights, and uncomfortable poses, and you have to do it all while making everything look effortless. Be ready to work hard and maintain a professional demeanor.

Find a coach

Find a coach how to get noticed for modeling on Instagram

A modeling coach can help you determine your strengths and learn how to pose, move, and appear naturally in front of a camera.

No coach? Have a friend help you critique your photos so you can learn how to get the effect that you want.

Practice being in front of a camera

Most people become tense in pictures, and it shows. The best way to get over this is to desensitize yourself with practice in front of a camera. Play with different poses, lighting, and compositions.

Always carry your portfolio and comp cards

Always carry your portfolio and comp cards

You never know where your next client may come from. Keep your portfolio and comp cards on you so you can show them to anyone who’s interested. Even if they aren’t a potential client, they might know one!

Learning how to get into modeling with no experience is simpler than it seems. Modeling is a competitive industry, and success depends on luck and persistence alongside a good portfolio. If you have a solid portfolio and comp cards that show your versatility and uniqueness as a model, are honest in your bio and conduct yourself professionally, you can succeed.

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