I Want To Be A Model, But I Am Not Sure Which Type?

This month I asked my good friend and ,Fashion Guru, Charles McDonald, to write two articles to answer several questions on modelling and how to go about becoming a model. Take a look and please reblog and leave some comments. You can also read Charlie’s Fashion Blog Here.

Types of Modeling

The market determines what models are needed. These needs tend to cluster into market segments and allow us to look at types of models. It is important to understand the type of model you want to be. By understanding the type of modeling you are interested in you can learn what the requirements are and if you can meet them. This also helps in avoiding getting ripped off. I have seen the greatest number of rip-offs and bad business decision happen when a wannabe model is thinking of one type of modeling (usually high fashion) and a scout, agent, photographer, etc. is recruiting for another (life style, Playboy glamour). So it is very important you understand what type of modeling you are interested in.

Fashion Modeling

The Garment and Beauty product industries are large users of models. People want to see what clothes or beauty products look like on somebody. Your high-fashion, designer-label garments, are designed for what fashion designers view as the “ideal woman.” This is someone tall and slender, somewhat leggy, with a swan like neck and very young. In major markets like New York, this is someone who is 5’9″ to 6′ tall and from a size 8 to a size 0 depending on what is in. For men it is at least 6 foot tall and a 40 regular – of course, you have to have that “look” to go with the clothes. In secondary markets we would like to have this but often work with fashion models that don’t meet these measurements. It is more important you just have a look of being tall and slender and that the sample clothes will fit you. The “look” can run from classic beauty to some extreme looks for fashion.

If you are going to work in front of the camera you need to be photogenic, and this you won’t know until you do a test shoot. Usually the face is oval shape, with symmetry to the facial features. Eyes are almond shape. The cheekbones should be strong and nose straight and proportioned. Lips should be full. All of this just puts you in the general category; from there it is a matter of what the market demands are.

On the money – Top New York High Fashion models (there are just a handful of these folks) make more money then any other models (As high as eight million a year). By contrast a model doing a fashion show at a local mall may get paid nothing. This shows the wide range of income one might expect in fashion modeling. Most folks who try to make it as fashion models will earn almost nothing so don’t quit your day job.

Types of Fashion modeling:

FASHION EDITORIAL MODELING – Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Cosmo, etc. – these and many other magazines today that focus on fashion have lots of editorial pages they must fill each month. Many of these editorial pages feature models wearing what the magazine thinks will be the next trend in fashion. Editorial work does not pay as well as other types of high fashion modeling but it is great for building a model’s reputation and getting tear sheets for one’s portfolio. Also, because fashion magazines are not as constrained as advertising work, they can use more ‘extreme’ and ‘special beauty’ models in their pages.

FASHION RUNWAY MODELING – Clothing designers traditionally show their new collections twice a year (Fall and Spring) to perspective (store) buyers. (buyers is a key word here, if some one is putting on a fashion show without buyer then it is entertainment) As an example, the New York Ready Wear shows just finished with 110 designers presenting collections for Fall 2000 (post 9/11 the number of designers has fallen 30%, note 2010 slow economy has not been kind to the fashion industry). Designers present these collections to a gathering of buyers by sending models down a walkway or runway. How well a model brings the clothes to life and shows important features of the garments can determine how well they sell. So it is worth it to a designer to have the most ideal models show these collections. This leads to why models have to meet very strict requirements and why they get such high fees for this type of work (modeling agencies have also forced up fees). These young models tend to be very tall, slender and move very well in clothes.

FASHION CATALOGUE MODELING – There are a lot of clothing catalogs produced. These catalogues, whether business-to-business, store, or direct marketing, require models to pose in the clothes they are trying to sell. Generally, catalog models are picked for a project because they represent the ideal of the market segment for which that catalog is targeted. Often times this is the classic beauty – tall, slender, healthy, and beautiful. The marketing idea is for transference, i.e. if you buy these clothes you will look as nice as the person pictured in the catalog. Catalogue modeling usually pays well because of the volume of photos that must be taken.

FASHION PRINT MODELING – This is fashion and beauty for print advertising. It can be display ads or collateral print materials. This is the most demanding work to get but pays the best because of usage and exclusives (this is where models make millions). These are the ads that can make or break a designer’s reputation. With these ads it is very important that the concept, photo, and model work perfectly to convey the ‘image’ that is wanted.

FASHION SHOW ROOM MODELING – Modeling for buyers in the designer’s show room. This is lower pay but very regular work, it could even be a full time job. Only happens where there are designer show rooms.

FASHION LINGERIE MODELING – Because this type of modeling may be more revealing it requires very good body tone and proportions.

FASHION SWIM SUIT MODELING – Again, more revealing requires excellent body tone and a healthy look.

FASHION FITNESS MODELING – As health and fitness has moved more into the public consciousness a greater demand has grown in this type of modeling. Of course being in the city with the corporate headquarters for Nike, Adidas, and Columbia Sportswear makes it very noticeable here. Where once everyone exercised in baggy gray sweats, fitness attire continues to evolve and become more everyday wear. Add to this all of the fitness, health, and outdoor lifestyle magazines that are on the newsstands and you have a fast growing category for modeling.

FASHION FIT MODELING – Fit models have the perfect proportions for a given clothing size. Garment manufactures and designers hire fit models to use to piece together new creations, see how they move, and develop their patterns. The key for a fit model is to never gain or loose an inch. A clothing manufacturer may hire a fit model as a permanent salary position. It is one type of legitimate modeling that you can see advertised in the classified section of the newspaper.

FASHION INFORMAL MODELING – This once was very popular (the ’80s) in smaller markets. Usually it would be at ladies’ lunches where models would wander between tables wearing designer clothes from local fashion boutiques. The models would describe the outfit they wore and where to buy it. Not big money, but a place to start and gain confidence in a small market.

FURTHER DIVISIONS – These categories can have further sub-categories for size – petite and plus, and for age – children, pre teen, and mature. Petite size models usually are 5’2″ to 5’6″. Plus size is the same height as standard size models but size 14 -16. Main stream models usually start in around 14 years of age and go to their early twenties. Obviously pre-teen is before this age and mature is everything after it.

A category of modeling will only be found where there are clients to support it. Since almost all of the fashion magazines are based in New York, that is where you will find work in the fashion editorial modeling category.

Body Part Modeling

Body part modeling is a special category that belongs in both fashion and commercial modeling. This is the use of just part of the body in a photograph. Often standard models that look great in full-length shots or headshots don’t look so good close up. Their hands or feet may look horrible. This is where the body parts model comes in. We will set up a shoot using the standard model’s face but the body part model’s hands and it looks like it is just one person. Usually body part models will specialize in just one part of the body like hands, feet, legs, ears, or neck.

Hand models are one type of body part model that I have had more call for. With hand models we look for long slender graceful hand and fingers. We also look for smooth (no wrinkles, hair or large pours), clear (no blemishes or irregular color) skin, and very good nails. The ability to pose the hand in a relaxed graceful fashion is very important.

Body parts model follow a similar path as regular models with finding modeling agencies, building portfolios and having comp cards. They simply pursue a very special niche market.

Commercial Modeling

Commercial modeling is sort of the catch all for everything that isn’t fashion and isn’t glamour. It is vast and diverse. The physical requirements can vary greatly. The ‘look’ can be mother, business executive, scientist, glamorous beauty, etc. The pay can be good but not to the level of the top fashion model and commercial models tend to find work less often. But it can be an area on can work part time at their whole life. Again, the purpose is to sell something – a product, service, or idea.

Some Categories of Commercial Modeling are:

COMMERCIAL PRODUCT MODELING – Generally we are generating a photo to sell a product and the model is used to show how the product is used. Also, model may be used to convey an image about a product. An example would be a model dressed like a doctor holding a blood pressure device. This gives an image of medical authority being behind the product. There is also the old technique of selling a product by putting someone attractive by it. Although it may not be politically correct to do this, it still is done and it works. People stop to look at a pretty face, not at another computer box. The physical requirements and look for commercial product modeling can vary a great deal. It all depends on the image or story you are trying to tell. This is where character models are used.

COMMERCIAL LIFESTYLE MODELING – Models are used in photos showing a period of life or doing something in life. The photo might be an older couple walking on the beach and the photo is used in the advertising materials for a new retirement resort. Or a photo of a young couple playing in a park with their children and the photo is used in an ad for a life insurance company. The models are used to act out some concept or idea of life. The physical requirements, age, size, etc. can vary greatly. But most often they use the “beautiful people” in these photos rather then real folks off the street.

COMMERCIAL CORPORATE MODELING – Corporate modeling is like Lifestyle but it always has a business theme. Again physical requirements can vary greatly, but usually attractive people are used – although sometimes character models are used.

PRODUCT DEMO – In smaller markets this seems to be a favorite area to start models. Models stand in front of, or in a store or mall, and hand out free samples of something. The idea is they want someone attractive that people will be drawn to and will work for just a few hours or a few days. When you are young and starting out this pays better then any regular job and it can really build your confidence around people.

TRADE SHOW MODELING – Once again attractive people are attention getters. When a trade show comes to town some exhibitors may hire models to hand out literature at their booths. One of the classics examples of this is the auto show. Again, it gives some income when you are starting out and gets you in front of the public.

SPORTS/ATHETICALLY PROFICIENT/FITNESS – This is kind of lumping a lot together but this has been a growing area in modeling. With sport attire companies like Nike and the increase number of personal sports, fitness and outdoor magazines the need for models that look like they actually know what they are doing has grown. The idea is to look good and actual be proficient at the activity being photographed.

HOBBY MODELING – This is modeling for the fun of it, to help out a cause or a place to get started. Some folks may never make a living at modeling but enjoy being in front of the camera or being on the runway. It also ties in with organization that might put on a fashion show as a fundraiser. There have also been cases where some one may start modeling just for fun and this may some day lead to a career.

ALTERNATIVE MODELING – This term has been coined for the whole gothic/punk modeling. This is a very specialize niche

EXTRAS MODELING -This is where you just need someone to put in a photo. When doing an outdoor tourist bureau type photos you often find you need someone hiking a trail or standing at an overlook, this is where you need a warm body to help animate the photo. This type of modeling does not pay much and may even be done on spec, but if you like doing outdoors or tourist activities it is a chance to make money while having fun. This type of modeling can be open to all ages and sizes.

Glamour Modeling

Glamour modeling is modeling for photos with a sexual theme. This might be a simple soft or hard type photos. They can include bikini, sexy outfits and lingerie modeling. On the soft level, photos can be used for calendars, posters, and other pin-up girl products. You can’t pick up a car magazine without seeing a babe by the car or truck. As one moves to greater states of undress you move to the adult entertainment industry with high-end men’s magazines like Playboy and then on down to the low-end back-ally magazines. But it is the Internet that dominates this field and is now loaded with all levels of sexual model photos. Glamour modeling and its triple X component is a very big industry. Top glamour models can make as much as top fashion models. But what is different from other types of modeling is all grade levels in glamour modeling can make good money and it is common for an established model to make over 50,000 pounds a year. There are no height or size requirements as in fashion modeling. Where fashion modeling wants you to look like a beanstalk, glamour modeling wants you to have curves like a young Pamela Anderson. Where fashion may want a ‘special beauty look’, glamour modeling wants traditional drop dead gorgeous; where fashion really only happens in New York, glamour can happen anywhere and does.

You have to be over 18 to do glamour modeling even soft . With the way the laws are today a photographer runs a real risk doing any kind of sexy photo with someone under 18. With news story reporting mothers are being thrown in jail for photographing their own children taking a bath and putting the photo in a family album, I think the risk is too great and the return too small to do any glamour work with someone under 18. But this field is wide open once one is of legal age. Unlike fashion modeling where you career is over by the time you are 30 with glamour your career could be just getting started. There is even demand for good looking grandmothers in their 50′s and 60’s.

This field is easy to get started in, as there are a lot of photographers who would love to do test shoots and photo assignments on spec. Finding work and getting test shoots has been made easy with several web sites that cater to this field, although getting top high paying work can take as much effort as becoming a high fashion model. I will leave details and how this is all done to some other web sites.

Charles McDonald, Episode Fashion Management.

Episode Fashion Management

Episode Fashion Management commissioned me to shoot their new Marketing Campaign in Barcelona at the beginning of January. CEO Charlie McDonald was to feature in the photoshoot, with the theme Fashion Disciples.

Models  Model William Carlos and Jasmin, worked with Charlie to create some wonderful looks for the Brand. A special thank you goes out to Sheila Serrano Makeup Artist for not only providing excellent makeup and hair, but also translation as my Spanish wad and is terrible, I am endeavouring to improve!

In 2012 I want to show more behind the scenes action on photoshoots and interviews, at the end of the photoshoot I interviewed Charlie and Charlie Interviewed me about my work and projects. Take a look at the video below and please leave some comments on Youtube.

You can view some of my holiday snaps from the trip to Barcelona on my Daily Blog, don’t forget to subscribe to my Daily Blog Feed to keep up-to-date with my latest work, castings and news.

 (Rory Lewis)

 (Rory Lewis)

 (Rory Lewis)

Barcelona Studio 115

Its a work day today, shooting for Episode Management in Barcelona at Studio Shoot 115, my first shoot of 2012 I might add. I was commissioned to shoot a promotional campaign for my good friend Charles McDonald CEO of Episode who will be promoting their services in Fashion and Event Management in Barcelona.

Stay tuned for the results of the shoot and some behind the scenes interviews and footage. Models Jasmin and William and Makeup Artist Sheila Serrano did a wonderful job. I’m looking forward to working with them again in the near future.

Studio Shoot 115


Lingerie is an area, which my portfolio has been lacking for sometime, and this week I arranged a test with Model Kate Waldron @ Nemesis Models. We shot at the Abode Hotel in Manchester with hair and makeup by Nita Malata.

Frustration! was the theme I wanted to convey in these images, and Model Kate created some amazing looks and shapes. I am looking forward to working with Kate on another project next week.

I will also be jetting off to Barcelona on the 29th for two weeks and I’m interested in testing while I’m their so please get in touch.

 (Rory Lewis)

 (Rory Lewis)

 (Rory Lewis)

 (Rory Lewis)

 (Rory Lewis)

Kit Test

Your Portfolio is the most important asset to any model, photographer, fashion stylist, hair stylist and makeup artist. To be competitive you must update your portfolio regularly with new work taking the opportunity to learn new skills, helping to provide your future clients with the best photography possible.

Religiously I test twice a month; either working on my own projects or collaborating with other creatives on theirs. In 2012 I will be doing a great deal of Testing, if you are a model, designer, fashion stylist, makeup artist, hair stylist or retoucher please get in touch.

This week I arranged a test with Kit from Nemesis Models at the Liverpool Studio. Kit was looking for some Topshop style edgy photography for her book and we spent half a day working on several looks. The images look great and I’m looking forward to working with Kit again the near future. Nita Malata did a wonderful job with hair & makeup.

Kit, Fashion, Rory Lewis Photographer, Liverpool, Manchester, Blonde, Model, Hair & Beauty, Nikon D700, (Rory Lewis)

Kit, Fashion, Rory Lewis Photographer, Liverpool, Manchester, Blonde, Model, Hair & Beauty, Nikon D700, (Rory Lewis)

Kit, Fashion, Rory Lewis Photographer, Liverpool, Manchester, Blonde, Model, Hair & Beauty, Nikon D700, (Rory Lewis)

Lingerie Shoot Preview

Testing with Kate Waldron Model today at the Abode Hotel in Manchester, just flicking through the shots now and they are looking great. Thank you to Nita Malata Makeup Artist and Chun Yuen for Assisting me. I should have the edited images up in a few days.

Lingerie Shoot

Busy Month of Model Portfolios Liverpool & Manchester

October has been a busy month, shooting nearly a dozen Model Portfolios in Liverpool and Manchester. Model Portfolio Photoshoots are a big part of my job as a professional photographer. With 10 years of industry experience I know which shots clients and agencies are expecting, every week models that are just starting out contact me requesting advice on modeling, and information on my packages.

“Because I know the industry and how it works I don’t like to give false hope and take the time to listen to my clients, finding out what each is trying to achieve giving them the best advice and direction.”

Sometimes I have artists, singers, actors and actresses who are looking for a specific package to suit their needs.

Every one of my model portfolio photoshoots is bespoke; no two images are ever the same. I take the time to create images that get you noticed by potential clients; providing an after care service if you have any questions or concerns about the modeling industry. I stay in touch with my clients if they need a portfolio update or advice I am always available.


Liverpool Daily Post Fashion, Fashion, Malmaison, Hotel, Designer, Rory Lewis Photographer, Photography, Model Portfolios, (Rory Lewis)

Anouska Bolton Lee, Photoshoot, 2010, Manchester, Rory Lewis Photographer, Photography, Fashion, Editorial, Circle Club, Manchester, Sexy, Models, Model, (Rory Lewis)

Voodou Liverpool Summer 2008 Rory Lewis Photographer (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Winter Fashion Feature

This week I was commissioned to shoot a Winter Fashion Editorial in conjunction with Vidal Sassoon and Selfridges, which will be published in December.  I don’t normally shoot a great deal of fashion but the images look great.

The photos where taken at the Circle Club in Manchester. The Circle has been a favourite venue of mine for a number of years, will pop some images of the magazine spread once it is released.

Winter Fashion, Editorial, Rory Lewis Photographer, Rory Lewis Photography, Liverpool, Manchester, Manchester, Circle Club, Bartons Arcade, (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Winter Fashion, Editorial, Rory Lewis Photographer, Rory Lewis Photography, Liverpool, Manchester, Manchester, Circle Club, Bartons Arcade, (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Winter Fashion, Editorial, Rory Lewis Photographer, Rory Lewis Photography, Liverpool, Manchester, Manchester, Circle Club, Bartons Arcade, (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Danielle’s Model Portfolio

Danielle a rising actress recenlty commissioned me to shoot some modelling/acting shots to start a portfolio. I called in a favour at the Abode Hotel in Manchester, a wonderful location for photoshoots and we spent a few hours creating several looks.

I like it when clients know what they want and Danielle presented me with some inspirational shots; which we where able to work through. If you are a model or budding actress please contact me i’m sure I can tailor make an affordable package to meet your needs.

Danielle Actress Portfolio

Danielle Actress Portfolio

Danielle Actress Portfolio

Danielle Actress Portfolio

Kay’s Model Portfolio

I often receive emails from aspiring models asking about model portfolio photoshoots. What happens on the day? Does my shoot include hair and makeup? How many changes? What clothes do I need to bring?

I thought It would be helpful if I recorded some small videos on my iPhone in the next few months of models experinces; to help answer some of those questions showing behind the scenes footage and the end results.

Kay booked Portfolio Package 01 (£159.00), 1 hour photoshoot with 2 changes and includes a makeup artist. Kay already a professional model wanted to update her existing model portfolio with some new photography, so package 01 was ideal. The package is also a good choice for those who want to have a model tryout, it is a fun experience and if you feel modelling is for you then It can lead to a rewarding career.

Kay’s Model Portfolio Rory Lewis Photographer

Check out Kay’s model portfolio experience on the video below and if you are interested in modelling and looking for a model portfolio in the Liverpool & Manchester area then please get in touch. You can also view all my packages on my Model Portfolio Page. I will be adding more videos over the next few weeks so please subscribe to my blog for regular updates.

Kay’s Model Portfolio Rory Lewis Photographer

Kay’s Model Portfolio