How To Start A Modeling Career

Being a model is more than just about posing in front of a camera. It can give you confidence, as well as help you to keep on top of your own money management and understand different contracts.

It can also lead to other career choices, such as acting and starting up your own fashion label. This is especially true when the modeling jobs dry up.

However, it is extremely competitive, and salary expectations can vary widely depending on your reputation and demand as a model, as well as the kind of modeling jobs that you undertake.

If being a model is something you are interested in pursuing, then let us take a look at how to get into modeling as a career choice.

Types Of Modeling

There are many different types of modeling jobs available, so the first thing that you will need to know is what area you would like to focus on.

You will also need to understand that not every type of modeling career will be available to you, due to some having certain restrictions.

For example, to be a model on a runway for a luxury fashion house, there are normally height and body shape restrictions. This is because the brand will have a particular look that can fit into their couture.

Whilst this is not very inclusive, it is something you will have to make note of. There could be exceptions though, especially if you are not expecting to walk for Chanel as your first ‘gig’.

Smaller brands may be looking for a variety of different models to walk the runway, even during Fashion Week. Never underestimate brands who are not as well known, because one day they could be.

Whilst fashion modeling may be for the tall, commercial modeling means a person can be any shape or size making it a great place to start. This could be magazine work or even a catalog – it just all depends on what the client wants.

The Myths Of Modeling

Whilst TV shows and movies can make modeling look glamorous, for the most part, it actually is not. Models spend a lot of their time waiting around, as well as posing for hours in front of a photographer.

Even though modeling can take you to new places, it can feel lonely as you jet from one city to another, and never get to see it because you are working on location.

If modeling is something you want to do because you know that you want to be in front of the camera, then go for it. But if it is for the lifestyle, then perhaps find a job that will give you the opportunity to experience what you are looking for. Modeling may not be it.

There is a lot of hard work and self-commitment involved, especially at the beginning when you are hoping to make a name for yourself. There will become a time when you reap the benefits, but it will not happen overnight.

Where To Begin


If modeling is a career that you want to pursue, then it can be difficult to know where to start. Whilst you might look great in a photo, you will need to know how to do more than just smile in a selfie.

Choosing A Modeling Career Path

Before you start contacting agencies, you will want to work out what type of modeling you would like to do. You will need to be realistic whilst you plan this out, because at 5 foot 4, you cannot expect to be a top runway model.

Once you have narrowed down your options and have a clear path, you can then move onto building a portfolio of images.

Build A Portfolio

You do not need to pay a photographer to build a professional portfolio for you. If this is the option you want to take, then that is absolutely fine, but it is easier and much cheaper to ask a friend to do it for you – just make sure they are good at taking photographs!

Another option is to work with upcoming photographers who are willing to take pictures as a way to also build up their portfolio. This means it is a win-win for both of you.

Whilst going this route is great, make sure that the results are professional and feature close-ups, full-lengths, various locations and outfits. The last thing you want is some highly processed and bland photos that could have been created via self-timer on a smartphone.

Contact An Agency

You can work alone without the help of a third person, but having an agency involved usually gets you the big jobs – unless you have built up a big following over social media and brands start to notice you.

An agency will want to see your portfolio, and they may take a few candid photos of you in their office, so be prepared. Think of it as an audition, but do not over-pose and instead stay relaxed.

Even though an agency might sound exciting, do make sure it is reputable. There are many so-called modeling agencies out there, so aim to get in touch with the ones you know, rather than an agency that takes on anyone that you saw advertised online.

Grab Opportunities

Seizing opportunities is a great way to expand your network and experience, ultimately leading you to gaining confidence.

If there is an advert which says they need volunteer runway models for a local charity show, then go for it. It will not only be a fun experience, but you can add it to your modeling resume.

It is worth noting that stepping out of your comfort zone just because it is a modeling opportunity does not mean you have to take up the role.

Always make sure that the modeling job is something you are interested in, and that it will benefit you, rather than make you regret it.

Make The Most Of Social Media

Social media is the new way of showcasing your modeling abilities to the world. It is not unusual to post pictures of yourself on Instagram, and is a great way to build up a casual online portfolio.

If you do not set your profile to private, brands may also take note of your modeling abilities. Even so, they are also looking at the type of person you are, so you will need to showcase your personality through social media as well.

Also, unfortunately a higher number of ‘followers’ is usually better, as brands tend to look for people who make a good impression. If you work hard at building up your own self-image as a brand, you could get into modeling just by doing this.

Final Words

Modeling as a career choice can reap many benefits if you do well, but it also should not be taken lightly. It is highly competitive, and can make you feel self-conscious if you never learn to stop taking job rejections personally.

Even so, being a model can be a great experience that can take you all over the world, as well as help you to make new connections and friendships.

Getting into the industry is not easy, and the career may not last as long as you would like, but it can certainly help you to gain confidence and move on to other jobs.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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