How to Be a Model

Traveling the world, meeting new and interesting people and an attractive salary all make modeling one of the most sought-after professions in the world. With so much competition and so many scams in the modeling industry, we here at One Model Place cut through all the confusion with this step-by-step guide to help you launch your modeling career.

Click on a topic to jump to the corresponding section:

Step One: Practice, Practice, Practice

Step Two: Build Your Portfolio

Step Three: Know Your Measurements

Step Four: Identify and Contact Local Agencies

Step Five: Castings and Go-Sees

Step Six: Learn How to Deal with Rejection

Step Seven: Your First Booking


Step One: Practice, Practice, Practice

The most important thing you can do as a model is to practice modeling. Learn new poses, know your angles, and practice your runway walk.

Determining your best angles is really just a matter of studying your face. Set a digital camera to a timer and try different angles. You will be able to see immediately which angles are the most flattering

Posing is a little trickier. The classic model pose is your body angled three quarters towards the camera with one foot in front of the other and one shoulder closer to the camera. If you tilt your head slightly and look straight ahead, you appear to be looking at the viewer no matter where you’re shot from. The important thing here is you never face the camera head on. Keep your body always at a slight angle.

Be aware that your eyes are always open and your neck is extended. Always relax your shoulders so you don’t lose your neck in the shot. If the photographer is lower than you, look more or less directly forward (as to not close your eyes in the shot). To avoid a double-chin, start with your chin flat to the camera lens and then tilt it down ever so slightly.

There are many different kinds of runway walks and no model walks exactly the same as another. Watch some runway footage and study how the models walk. It’s important to have good posture; straighten your body without being too rigid. Find a spot to stare at straight ahead when you’re walking and don’t look down. Keep your arms, hands, and fingers relaxed and take long strides. The most important factor, however, is to walk with confidence. Practice and you’ll get there.

Step Two: Build Your Portfolio

Pretty much any agency or designer will want to see your portfolio before considering you as a model. Your portfolio is all your professional modeling pictures in a 9 x 12 book. You will want to have some professional photos in your book before courting an agency or going to a go-see. If you have enough money to pay for photos, then you really don’t need to do anything but show up looking gorgeous and get some quality prints.

If you’re on a budget, FTP is a great way to start. OMP makes this easy in the Castings section; simply select “Personal Project” from the dropdown menu and find photographers in your area looking to expand their portfolios. You can also do this with hair stylists and make-up artists, provided you give them photos for their portfolio as well.

You can also contact a local art or photography school’s photography department and ask if there are any photography classes in need of models. Students might not give you the highest quality photos, but it will be free and you can build your portfolio.

Some agencies will want you to have comp cards also, which is a card with your headshot on the front and credible photos and your measurements/details on the back. Again, you can order these for yourself if you have the budget, but if not, you can print your own with the help of a photographer friend.

Step Three: Know Your Measurements

This one is simple. Bust, waist, hip, inseam and thigh, these are the measurements you need to know by heart. If you don’t already have a measuring tape, you can buy one at any craft store. As a general rule, when measuring, you want the tape to lie flat on your skin, not so tight that it makes a dent in your skin.

An accurate bust measurement is taken from fullest part of the bust. You don’t measure underneath the bust like you would for a bra measurement. You should measure without a bra or with the thinnest bra you have. Measuring with a padded bra will give you the wrong measurement.

The waist measurement is the smallest part of your waist, usually where your belly button is. Do not suck in your stomach. This goes also for the hip measurement. The hip measurement is taken from the fullest part of your bottom, not where your hipbones are.
Now that you have your measurements, you’re ready to start contacting agencies.

Step Four: Identify and Contact Local Agencies

One Model Place is a great resource to find and contact modeling agencies. You can go to our Agencies page, where you’ll find over 150 different agencies to choose from. You can sort by region to find agencies nearest you. Once you’ve selected your top 3-5 choices, you can start to contact them.

Call or e-mail agencies to find out their requirements for submission. Once you have all the required materials put together, you can submit your measurements and photos to the agencies you want. Once you submit, the ball is in their court. However, remember that persistence is key. Sometimes an agency will want to meet you in person. This is a good thing. If you don’t hear anything, keep trying.

Step Five: Castings and Go-Sees

If you are chosen by the agency, congratulations! Now you will be called for castings and go-sees. These are your job interviews. When you get called for a casting, the agency will give you the logistical information: who, what, when, where and why. They will tell you what to wear and what to bring.

It is very important to be on time – in fact, arrive early. Plan a little extra time for traffic delays, subway break-downs, or anything else that could make you late. Make sure you bring your portfolio and comp cards with you.

Wear little to no makeup and pull your hair back from your face so prospective clients see you naturally. Wear simple clothing that is flattering to your figure. A good standard outfit is a pair of dark skinny jeans or leggings, a fitted tank top and high heels. You might be asked to try on clothes at a go-see, so remember to wear appropriate undergarments. Nails should be short with a clear or pastel colored polish.

Remember to be friendly, patient and courteous. A good attitude can go a long way, and clients like to work with models that are pleasant to be around. Whatever you do, don’t be a diva!

Step Six: Learn How to Deal with Rejection

Sometimes, an agency or a casting director will tell you no. It is incredibly important to understand that there is nothing wrong with you if you’re not picked. There could be 200 models at a casting where they only need one person. Clients select models with a very specific set of needs. You can be the most beautiful person in the room, but if you don’t fit the profile of what the client needs, you won’t get the job. Know that rejection is going to happen, and don’t get discouraged. Keep trying.

Step Seven: Your First Booking

Congratulations! You’ve booked a job. The agency will tell you the logistics information for the job, just like with the casting call. Again, arrive early! Whatever they ask you to bring, bring extra. A small sewing kit, lotion, double-sided tape, hair ties/bobby pins, hairspray and your ID are items you should always have in your kit. Show up to the shoot with nothing on your nails and no jewelry. Bring your portfolio and comp cards with you.

At any shoot, it’s a good idea to bring your own makeup and hair styling equipment just in case. You also want to bring additional wardrobe. You should always bring a nude-colored bra and thong as part of your wardrobe in case you are asked to wear white. Many people think white doesn’t show under white shirts, but they do. Nude is the way to go.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you could receive future jobs from this client if they like you. Always be polite, courteous and flexible. For safety reasons, let someone know where you’re going before every shoot.


Now that you’ve booked your first job, you are officially a working model. Keep going and build up your portfolio. Keep these etiquette rules in mind and be mindful to develop contacts with photographers, agencies and casting directors. Networking is probably the biggest thing that shapes modeling careers.

Post questions in the forum to connect with other models and professionals in the industry. Our community is packed with models of all experience levels who can give you advice and guidance.

OMP is here to help you with your career. Get started today.

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4 Responses to How to Be a Model

  1. Melissa van der Merwe says:

    WoW! Best website on planet earth, its got all the advice & tips I need to become a model : ) thank you OMP

  2. hi ,
    i want to be a modal
    but how can i be as a modal
    plz………… tall me about that
    what should i do ……………

  3. Frank Joseph says:

    dis’s nice

  4. Linda says:

    I really like this website. Thank you.
    I used to model years ago and now that my kids are grown, Its time for me to continue my career in modeling. It has helped me refresh my poses and all that is needed to be a model. I also had a couple photographers already speak with me. It totally got me excited. Thank you again.

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