Model Advice

From Traci Halvorson 

So you want to be a model? Great!  Hard work ahead…are you ready? Where to start: GOOGLE search:  “Model and Talent Agencies” in the CITY you live, or going to live.  Once you have a list, READ each agency’s website and CHECK their model requirements.  EMAIL your photos and info to each agency or attend their Open Call.  It takes time and research to find the right agency. Invest time to learn about the types of modeling and what is required.  Modeling is a genuine occupation that can reward you with making money and traveling.  Agencies are always going to be selective so be prepared and give it your all.

Finding a Legit Talent Agency

In California, ALL Model agencies must have a Talent Agency License from the Department of Industrial Relations. This is a mandatory license to operate as Talent Agency, book models and deduct the standard 20% agency commission.  This license is separate from a standard city business license.  Always check that each agency is licensed before you sign.    Note: Each STATE has different requirements for Talent Agencies.

Marketing Yourself

Not everyone is a pro on how to market their image. Do research on the industry and understand what is required.  Check out each agency and their Social Media pages and get insight on what type of models they promote.  Take photos and submit them online (most agencies have an online application) they don’t need to be professional photos. Careful!  DON’T send crazy photos, group photos, old photos, or wearing hats, wigs, sunglasses or too much make-up.  Definitely don’t send photos using filters or photo-shop.  Send the real you!

Becoming a professional model doesn’t happen overnight but you can get your foot in the door. The right photos can get you noticed by agencies.

Photos can be taken from your phone with these simple rules:

Color photos only taken in good light, very little or NO make-up for girls and a simple outfit that shows your figure & body type.  Send several close-up, full body and smiling photos.  To pose or not to pose?  It doesn’t matter.  IF you do have new modeling photos, include them with natural images.

Market your new photos to multiple agencies and don’t forget to include your stats and contact number. Timing is everything, if you don’t hear back, resubmit again in 3 months with different photos.  Models are often rejected due to the wrong type of photos sent or no stats. If agencies offer any feedback or advice–take it and see if it works.

What is Testing?

Testing is a photo-shoot with a professional photographer. We recommend testing with ‘agency approved’ photographers if possible.  Agencies are aligned with professional photographers to assist models build a book (portfolio).  It’s important for models to test frequently and accumulate images for a strong book and online presence.

Model agencies need a variety of photos to use for marketing and obtaining the model work. It’s normal for photographers to charge a fee + the make-up artist fee. The cost is based on how many looks (outfits) and JPEGS are received.  Many times models can arrange FREE tests on their own by networking and can also receive FREE tests from the agency once signed.

It all depends on your level of modeling, location and options.

NEW MODELS should always take the agency’s advice and make necessary changes to get signed.

NOTE: It is important to build your book with the right “type” of photos.  For example: Don’t shoot exclusively “high fashion” if you are over age 25 and looking for lifestyle work.  Testing often and having a variety of updated images helps you and your agency.  NOT staying current with your image is how models are dismissed from contracts.


STAY IN SCHOOL-Have fun! Focus on your GPA and college plans. Suggested courses:  Business, Drama, Public Relations, Marketing, Business, Photography.  After graduation, select a metropolitan city with modeling opportunities so you can combine college and modeling.  Have patience, test often and get comfortable in front of the camera.  Study fashion magazines, YouTube videos and learn a MINIMUM of 20 great model poses and how to walk well. Having confidence and a great attitude are crucial for modeling, go-sees, bookings and the rest of your life.  Stay positive and don’t give up!


It means the world to your teen to have your support when starting a modeling career.  Agents and parents work together as a team to successfully launch a new model. Here is info you will need to prepare: A parent or guardian is always required on set for any assignment if the model is under age 18.  By law, the minor must obtain an Entertainment Work Permit [EWP] to be available for paid opportunities.  The minor must get signature approval from the school and their doctor in order to complete the application. The EWP document is free and can take several weeks to process-so don’t put this off!  Once you have the document, you will carry with you at all castings and bookings.

MODELS must have reliable transportation to attend castings and bookings.  Schedule multiple photo shoots to helps build on camera confidence and increase the chances of bookings. Check your email often/daily and reply promptly and always stay in touch with your agency on a regular basis.

 Most importantly for ANY model:  Take care of yourself

Get plenty of sleep and eliminate junk food and sodas that can harm your skin & figure. Your complexion is very important as a working model. Work out and stay fit –modeling is hard work and the camera never lies.  Don’t take rejection personally—rise above the negativity and give yourself props to stay motivated and keep going.  Align yourself with positive agents who are supportive and want only the best for YOU and YOUR modeling career.

Top models never give up.
Thanks for reading…Good luck to all of you!