Tag Archives: model tips

Upping your game- model resolutions

29 Dec

It’s that time of year again- the time we collectively freak out over our tax returns (hey, it isn’t January yet…) and many of us start looking at self-improvement, myself included. As I have a few big projects on the go, my resolutions are little ones this year but one involves upping my game as a model. The other is setting up a new website for my professional and fiction writing.

While I have a blog in the works about the ways people shoot themselves in the foot when trying to make a living as a model (or any professional really), this one’s about the little things that make all the difference. I asked industry people how they knew they were working with a really good pro model and combined their advice with mine.
NB: When I say ‘professional’, I am referring to attitude and not whether modelling is a full-time occupation.

While I detest the phrase, this is how to “take it to the next level” as Tyra Banks would say…

1) Arrive professionally!
I considered this ‘basic’ knowledge but it came up so often I couldn’t not add it to the list.
Wear loose-fitting clothing and no underwear when travelling to photoshoots- it means there will be no lines or marks on your body that will need photoshopping out. During the photoshoot, work from less clothed to more clothed. Nude to fashion. Same reason- starting in lingerie before moving onto nude means you’ll have red marks from your bra and knickers.
If there will be a stylist, come with no make-up on at all. If not, check in advance how the photographer would like you to arrive- some models prefer to come 100% shoot-ready, others apply foundation, powder and eyebrow pencil so they can freshly do any look required with the basics already in place. This works well for studio days or if the photographer is unsure what order to shoot outfits in.

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Arriving “naked”.Β 

2) Remember your fingers and toes!
Hands are often hard to pose. One of the lessons I learned very early on in my modelling career was that unless you are going for the ‘trapped in a box’ or ‘ugly-pretty’ vibe, hands should be made as elegant as possible by:
– Posing with the sides or backs of your hands to the photographer.
– Keeping the wrists relaxed and the elbows strong. Ballerinas already know this!
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– Consciously paying attention to the way they look and feel, so you’re less likely to get spade hands (picture below), clenched fists or β€œDr Zoidberg hands” (which is when you look as though you’re impersonating a lobster and what I end up with if I don’t remember to relax!)
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Left: way back when! (photo by Gothic Image)
Right: last year (photo by Emma-Jane)

Point your toes- especially when shooting nude.It lengthens the leg and tapers it to a point rather than an angle.

3) Embrace your face
I read the BEST article about the ‘contouring’ craze recently, which mirrored my own feelings on the matter (more in a later post). Learning to do your own make-up is ‘modelling 101’ but knowing when to take some of it off is also invaluable.
Pre-Raphaelite style or very high-end Art with a capital ‘A’ photographs often feature a (seemingly) make-up-free face. Though you may rarely have to do it (especially if you’re a glamour or pin-up model), knowing how to do ‘natural’ properly and having at least one photo showing that style on your portfolio can help you if you want to move away from the more made-up genres.
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Case in point- this is Ivory Flame, photographed by Derek.

I now wear minimal make-up for art-nude work unless the photographer is going for something different- which leads me to…

4) Ask the photographer what they want to achieve.
Your job is to get more amazing shots than the photographer needs- so they are spoiled for choice by the end of the shoot. If they have not already sent you a moodboard or plan, ask them at the beginning what kind of images they would like to make.
If they’re all about going with the flow, then put your ‘muse hat’ on and offer a few ideas along with a wide variety of poses, outfits and accessories. Not everybody has a ‘plan’ so as long as they’re happy, you’re doing a good job!
Also, ask where your light is so you know which direction to look and pose toward.

5) Ask to see the back of the camera
We aren’t judging you, photographers! πŸ™‚ Models understand that the finished shots will often look nothing like what we can see in that teeny screen, but we’re looking so that we can check our side of things- the posing- is working. A model who asks to see their work is a model who wants to know if there’s a way s/he can improve and get a better shot.
Photographers: if your model asks to do something again, or asks to change pose so they no longer have a double chin/foreshortened arm/eye bag etc, they are not full of self-loathing, but working hard to make sure the raw photo is the best and most flattering photo you could possibly get! Learning to criticise our own work is part of improving as a model and a couple of photographers have seemed surprised and maybe a little sorry for me when I have pointed out a flaw I could fix. Don’t be! (Unless I run to the bathroom crying that I look like Mad Madam Mim…. and that hasn’t happened yet.) πŸ˜›
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“The magnificent, marvelous, Mad Madam Mim…”

6) Communicate en-route
Make sure you have the photographer’s number a few days before the shoot just in case of emergencies. Though I could definitely improve upon promptly replying to emails (though I do clearly note my constant travelling and 100% reply rate on my profile), I always always, always text the photographer when I am on my way to the photoshoot and again if there are any delays to my journey. This means that if I go off radar en-route (e.g. on the tube) the photographer does not automatically assume I have no-showed.

7) Rewrite your profile notes
There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to your profile.
One: keep it concise and invite enquiries.
Two: Tell clients everything they could possibly need to know.
I can’t NOT write so I have a great big burble on my profile, BUT… it is spaced-out, separated, with headlines and font in bold. It may be lengthy to read but it is easy to read. Once you’ve saved your notes, check how they appear on the page- make sure you don’t have a wall of text and that what you’ve written is comprehensible.

8) Lose the ‘stripper rates’
I have never understood why so many models charge according to how naked they are! Β£15 per hour for fashion, Β£20 for lingerie, Β£30 for nude etc etc. How does it even work? If you’re booked for a fashion, lingerie and nude shoot, do you charge a different rate per hour? Divide the rate by the mean and median and consult the calculator? Stop this madness!!
Professionals understand that they put as much effort into a clothed shoot as into a nude shoot. They are posing for people who want to capture an image, not watch a glorified striptease. While the main ‘product’ you are selling is your appearance, it is also your skill at posing, your make-up, the guarantee that you will arrive on time etc etc etc. Therefore, your time should cost the same regardless of your state of undress- this places the value on you, not how much flesh you’re willing to show.

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“Implied clothed”. πŸ˜›
Photo by GSTim, dress by Falcieri designs

On that subject…

9) Don’t ever (EVER) have ‘secret levels’.
It is completely okay to be selective about who you work with, especially with higher levels, but hiding the fact that you pose nude (or any other level) does not work. People talk and it gives the impression that some of your work is a shameful secret.

There are many ways to be clear on the subject of levels:
– β€œI work up to and including lingerie level and take on very occasional nude work depending on the project.”
– β€œPlease note I only work to art-nude level with a few individuals I select- other enquiries about nude work will be ignored.”
– β€œI only work to open leg level with proven photographers in the genre, with extensive references provided. Thankyou for your understanding”
– Please note that as of __insert date here__ my highest level is now lingerie. (This is a good way to state that any more naked images found are simply old work and not your ‘guilty secret’).

Facial recognition software is now scarily good- photos of you are online to stay and just like celebrities who protest through lips that have tripled in size overnight that of course they haven’t had surgery, trying to hide the obvious is an exercise in futility. Post your levels honestly and people will stop obsessing!

10) Stay pro.
Leave your photographer a reference after the shoot if everything went well! Hopefully, they will do the same for you.
If your photoshoot was TF*, you are being paid in images so make sure you receive those pictures. If it’s been a while, send a polite follow-up message. Communicating well is everything.
If you have been paid, but would like to post images on your blog or facebook etc, ask first!! Some photographers are perfectly happy for you to use the images. Others are not, so always check even if it seems obvious. If you have permission to post the pictures, credit the team if there was one. (The whole team- make-up artist, stylist, etc etc- nobody likes to be left out.)

Bonus point:
Don’t nick the photographers pasty. That’s just not acceptable… πŸ˜›

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I couldn’t decide which pictures to share (as per usual) but as this awesome set from Dirk Glassly show me as the polished lady who has it all, it had to be this set! πŸ˜‰
Outfit by Lady Allura’s latex
Hair and make-up by me.

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What do models wear?

17 Feb

Also:
– Why we look like bag ladies on the tube in the morning
– How we get designers to lend us stuff
– Why we often look nothing like the way you imagined us!

Well, as you seemed to like my ‘what models eat‘ blog so much, I decided to address another few questions I get asked a lot! πŸ™‚

If you don’t care, scroll down for some insane outfits in incredible locations. πŸ˜‰
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Glamour models often arrive fully made-up because as the preferred ‘look’ can be very samey, she knows what the client wants and can arrive ready to shoot immediately. Otherwise, most models are told to arrive as blank canvasses, whether we’re agency-represented or freelance. This means that the sleepy make-up free, scraped-back hair-ed, baggy-trousered suitcase-dragging creature you see at 6am on the tube may well be a model in disguise!
No matter whether we’re fashionable, alternative, pretty and girly or any other style you can think of, the professionals (especially nude and lingerie models) will arrive in baggy outfits because they don’t leave marks on the body, saving the photographer time in photoshop.

Before and after… SIX YEARS AGO!!! I was modelling for the gone but much-missed HMSlatex.
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You know when you walk straight past somebody because they aren’t in the place you associate them with? (e.g. walking straight past your karate instructor because they aren’t in whites with a black belt?) I’ve found tying my hair up is the perfect disguise! I’ve lost count of the people who have mailed me saying “I thought I saw you but wasn’t sure…” Another model friend swears by the “Felicity effect”- wearing glasses = incognito! πŸ˜›
This is Felicity Smoak in Arrow. The glasses are to show you she’s a geek because all geeks on TV must wear glasses. πŸ˜› She takes them off and- boom- different person. Apparently.
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This is why we look different to the way you imagine us:
It’s funny how often I find that photographers know models from one particular style we shoot, with no idea about the others! (It seems the art-nude and fetish worlds rarely cross paths.) As my art-nude pictures are often ethereal, classically beautiful and pre-Raphaelite inspired, some people can expect a long-skirted romantic to come skipping along.
*sound of New Rocks stomping down the train platform*
The same happens with many of my model friends known for certain looks they do very well- it’s a facet of their personality that they love to express and they’re not only versatile on camera but choose another facet to show off in their everyday world.

Instagram models are a different story as they mostly make a living from their sponsors and advertising. (I wrote a whole blog about the way that works here) That means they have to keep things as consistent with their projected image as possible. It seems like a very easy lifestyle, getting paid simply to take a selfie, but in my opinion there’s far more pressure on Instagram models than freelance models, as even their personal lives have to remain ‘on brand’. Often, what they wear is what they’re paid to wear- and that’s why they’re usually more recognisable in the street than other models.

I’m currently sponsored by Yummy Gummy latex, Orchid Corsetry and Louise Ferdinand Lingerie. Pictures below are Yummy Gummy and Louise Ferdinand- you’ll see Orchid Corsetry later in this post. (Yes I’ve lost weight- the bottom picture was a few years ago, the top was a few months ago).
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Photo by Proteus Photography
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I once read a rant from a very famous and now retired fetish model, who was sick of new models contacting her asking which photographers pay and which designers lend clothes for free.
“You know what they’re saying to me? I don’t want to work for anything so just give me money and clothes!”
It’s hard as a new model to know where to start and I can understand the temptation to ask more experienced models for all the information but professional models build up working relationships over a long period of time. If you’d like to work with a designer and work towards sponsorship, this will give you a good chance:

1) Prepare your portfolio
Have a lot of good quality pictures that would persuade a designer you are worth working with. If your first shoots are all basic fashion from your own wardrobe, that is no problem at all as long as you look good in them, but think about who you approach. For example, a lingerie designer is unlikely to offer you work if you have no lingerie pictures.
Treat it like a job application. No “hey bayb, wanna shoot?”

2) Stick your neck out
Apply to casting calls for fashion shows and photoshoots. You’re more likely to have the trust of a designer if you’ve actually met them in person! If they have no castings, offer to pay a deposit (and pay it!) This shows you’re serious about taking care of the items. Though I have built a good reputation, I still offer to pay deposits.

3) Be reliable
Give designers your correct measurements. I’ve seen a true fashion show horror story or two! If they need the outfit back by a certain day, make sure it gets sent back in time. If the outfit is damaged, let them know straight away. Accidents happen, but pretending they didn’t and sending back a broken outfit is not cool.I’ve had mishaps myself and the designers appreciated honesty.

It’s always worth an ask- the least somebody can do is say no, and you could have a new and lovely working relationship! πŸ˜€

It takes a hell of a lot of trust to allow your model to not only borrow your outfit but take it out of the country and into a lot of grimy overgrown places covered in dust, so thankyou so much to Orchid Corsetry, Dead Lotus Couture and Cyberesque for letting me do just that last year.
I worked with photographers Magpie Tommy, James Kerwin and fellow model Jade Stacy Maria in Belgium on an urbex tour. You’ve already seen the nudes, so here are the rest of our shots! Photos are watermarked with the credits.

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I love the way different photographers can produce totally different images in the same location. Tom’s is above, James’s are below. Jade and I are wearing Dead Lotus Couture.
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We didn’t think we were going to manage this incredible castle location but after a couple of adventures and an uphill scramble, here we were! I’m wearing Orchid Corsetry with a veil made by me. I haven’t forgotten to tell you the thrilling tale but for now, here are some pictures… πŸ˜‰
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We were running out of light and I really wish we’d had more time at the location below as there were so many more things I wanted to do! Another time perhaps… πŸ˜‰ Outfit by Cyberesque.
Apparently this bit is called “the rhino” but I think the structures look more like catfish…
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And my favourite shooting location of all! I loved the different places for very different reasons but as you all know my love of nature, this was an amazing place to be and to shoot. While Tom and James were shooting Jade, I sat taking close-ups of my own and pretending I was in another strange world. πŸ™‚
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I’m on a few new adventures this year and can’t wait to see where life takes me next. As for today, it’s been a productive one!
– I painted my doors
– Made a lovely smoked mackerel and beetroot salad
– Blogged (yay!)
– Recorded a short story I’m working on
– Am trying my hand at making chia seed pudding for the first time. Wish me luck! πŸ˜›

More adventures coming your way…

ROSWELL xxx