Many people wrongly believe that when they get started in the with a talent management agency in the modelling industry they will need to pay out a lot to a photographer in order to build their first portfolio of images in order to win work. However, this is actually very rarely the case.
A common scam you might have heard about within the industry is that the agency will ask for money up front and organise a photo shoot for you. In fact, all a talent management agency will need to get you started is some natural shots. Your appearance will be more obvious in these and your personality is likely to come across as well.
If you don’t like photos you already have, you can ask a friend to take a few snaps of you just to get your profile started, or you can look into time for prints modelling (TFP).
What is time for prints?
TFP works well because it is mutually beneficial. It offers photographers the chance to practice using a studio, taking portrait shots, or just try out a new technique without the pressure of working for a client or having to bribe friends into posing for them.
In return, the model receives copies of the prints (or a CD with digital versions) from the photo shoot which they can then use in their portfolio. The photographer might ask the model to sign a release on the photos so that they can sell them at a later date, but this should be discussed before getting started.
There are different reasons models might want to do TFP as well as getting started with their portfolio. It can also give you some practise in front of the camera when you haven’t had many jobs. It’s very easy to free to feel like you’re getting a bit rusty if you haven’t done any modelling for a while, and old nerves which you thought you’d shook could come creeping back.
Preparing for a TFP shoot
As with any modelling, preparation is key. You should think about what you’re trying to achieve, and plan accordingly. If you just want to get a little practise in before an audition or a meeting with a talent management agency
If you’re looking to get more photographs for your portfolio, it’s a good idea to bring a range of outfits. If you’re going to be changing, make sure you also have appropriate underwear for the different styles and shapes of clothing you’re wearing, because it’s very rare that one type will make every outfit look great.
Because it isn’t a usual photo shoot, there will be no one to do your hair or make up, so if you’re not confident enough to do it yourself you might want to make an appointment at a salon near the photographer’s studio. This way you’ll be able to make sure you’re looking your best. There’s no need to go over the top though as a lot of the work you’re likely to pick up won’t be of a high fashion ilk – there are many more jobs in the catalogue style market.
Remember to bring some make up for touch ups, as well as hair grips and hair spray in case you’re struggling to get your hair to behave. Both grips and the spray will come in handy for other things, like making little adjustments to outfits, and the hairspray can stop static on tights.
Finally, speak to the photography a couple of days before you’ve arranged to meet to make sure everything is in place – there’s nothing worse than getting yourself all ready and then travelling only to find that your appointment has been cancelled or double booked for example.
If you’re still not sure what to expect, speak to your talent management agency for more details about TFP modelling and the kind of images they want in your portfolio.