One of the quickest ways to go from a new and inexperienced model to an established model, or even an established model to a professional for that matter, is by shooting and shooting some more. In fact, the more photo shoots you have under your belt the more professional you will appear to uncertain clients. More photo shoots lead to more experience in front of the camera, more photos, better portfolios, and better composite cards. More shoots also lead to more connections and a greater network of photographers, clients, stylists, bookers, and the list goes on.
The more photos you have to choose from the more variety and options you have. If you only have 5 photos then whether they are good or not you will likely need them all. But if you have 25 photos to choose from you can put the best photos on display and do away with some of the weaker ones. Then when it comes to presenting your portfolio to hopeful clients and agencies you can hand them a book full good photos instead of a book with 5 poor photos. This is the downfall of most models, not enough good photos. To add to this, your composite card depends on your photos as it is basically a large business card compiled of your best photographs. So once again you see, without many good photos you are severely limited and your opportunities will be also.
Another major benefit of shooting often is the experience you will get in front of the camera. This is crucial for any model to be successful. Models need to look natural in front of the camera. They need to look comfortable while shooting. If they are not, the photos and the photographer will notice immediately. This will negatively affect your shoot and your chances of getting called back to shoot again. Experience is what separates the decent models from the successful models.
One of the greatest indirect benefits of shooting often is all of the connections and networking that you will be able to take part in. You will be introduced to numerous clients, stylists (make-up and hair), photographers, etc. and this is exactly what you want; to build a network of people who know, trust, and love what you do. This is one of the most important aspects of modeling: networking. Numerous models have gone on to do amazing things all because they knew the right people, not because they were the greatest model. Your connections will take you places that you cannot go by yourself. Everyone needs help and your connections can help you get there.
Now in the beginning, many of your photo shoots will be test shoots or unpaid. You will likely be shooting on somewhat of a barter system: photographers need models to shoot and models need photographers to shoot them, and both need pictures to enhance their portfolio’s. But if possible, individuals looking to get their modeling career on the fast track to success should pay the extra money and shoot with the best. Find a good photographer in your area and don’t be afraid to pay for their services. Here’s one reason why. People work harder for money. A photographer will likely work harder and longer for you if he or she is actually getting paid for their time. If they are not going to get much out of the deal then one can hardly expect them to make sure their shots are remarkable. But if you are a paying customer you can expect more and will likely get more. In my early years of modeling I shot with roughly twenty different photographers. The only photographs I still use are the ones that I paid for because they are simply that good. I may have spent a few hundred dollars on them, but they have made me thousands in return. Think of it as an investment in your modeling career, in your portfolio, in your comp card. Your photo choices will affect all of these things. Great photos will get you more jobs and make you look more professional. Once ready to do so, find a couple of great photographers in the area and don’t be afraid to pay for their services. These may be shots that you use for the next ten years and help you land countless more jobs than the next guy or gal.