WHY MOST MODELING CLASSES ARE A SCAM!
Stop getting hustled!
Welcome back to the Silver Foxx Studio (SFS) blog. Again this section is to cover things that inspire me, techniques that might help other photographers on their journey, model information, perspectives, behind the scenes, and pretty much anything else that’s on my mind about Silver Foxx Studio and the photography industry…and sometimes the honesty will be harsh so make sure you have thick skin. I have spent the last two years learning my new craft with a complete “outside perspective” of this industry. And in the last year, I as just a photographer, have secured four different female models, paid gigs that resulted in each of them receiving $300 in payment along with $500 worth of apparel they got to keep for only two photos shoots, with a fifth model receiving $200 for one job at a local venue. And what I said in my last blog and will say again here, is that this industry needs a little more standardization and a lot more professionalism. So this post is going to offer some insight to models…
Let’s start out by discussing what a model is; a model is nothing more than a person who helps a client sell their product or services, the long and short of it….they are a salesperson. So what does that mean? It means that when you appear in an ad, on a billboard, or in a TV commercial, you won’t be appearing as yourself. The client won’t be showing YOUR name. You will be acting – portraying a character, and depicting a lifestyle while showcasing their product or service, and your job as a professional model is to sell it!
Before we move on though we need to have real talk for a second, and this is going to be a hard pill to swallow for some…not everyone can be a model no matter how much passion and drive you have. You must have realistic expectations. Also, If you are not helping sell a product or service and are just wanting any and every photographer to take solid photos of you because you want to increase your photo selection for Instagram, then you aren’t a model. Honestly, no client cares what you like, or how you like to dress, or how you like to wear your hair and makeup. If you are hired, you will be told how to dress and how to wear your hair and makeup!
Now that we got that out of the way, allow me to quickly highlight the difference between amateur and experienced models. Amateur models are new to the industry regardless of age. They may have been approached by a photographer, encouraged by friends and family members, or approached by model scout (although probably very rare) since legitimate Model Scouts, are receiving high volumes of submissions from experienced models on a regular basis. An experienced model however, has done several photo sessions for some service or product and probably required little direction because of confidence and practice regarding posing. However, the majority of these experienced models have modeled nothing more than a local boutiques fashion wear, or photographers brand/business, to include those ridiculous online “Magazines” that some of these Photographers create to claim they are published. For models there’s nothing wrong with this, but the model loses credibility when every other week, they post a new photo with a new photographer or the newest boutique, and state they are the best (Side note: there is a reason why big name brands have a non-compete clause with their brand models/brand ambassadors…you don’t see Charlize Theron doing Chanel Commercials, it’s because she is the golden girl of Doir and has been since 2011). So if confidence in posing is the major difference between amateur and experienced models then how does a model get there.
“THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO EXPERIENCE”
This is a phrase that a former Commander of mine used to say. It’s simple phrase but full of truth, and something I think many people today disregard. In a world of Instafame “Models”, and overnight sensations via viral videos, people want to bypass the journey, the trials and tribulations, the highs and the lows, and just want things given to them. So, many models refuse to put in the work that it takes to become a signed model. Those that actually put in the work, typically reach out to photographers, makeup artist, and agencies they think they can trust, to guide them on their journey. The problem is many of these people, are selling snake oil; and in my opinion the biggest bottle of snake oil is the Modeling Classes. These classes are being offered as Intro and Advanced Levels, sometimes with an Intermediate Level thrown in between if the “School” is really trying to hustle Models. These classes can be as little as $600 for six months. Or as expensive as $2,400 for a week. So what do you get from these classes. How to pose? How to take direction from photographers? How to work with hair and makeup teams? Maybe a complete portfolio? A connection with a model agency? There’s a 99% chance the answer to these questions are…Maybe, Not Exactly, Not Exactly, Nope, and Hahahaha.
As I pointed out earlier, models are more than just a living hanger for clothes. And posing, while important, can be learned by watching YouTube (click here to watch a great body positive model tutorial), studying photos, reading books on posing, practicing in a mirror, and working with different people. But if a model thinks that taking a posing class from one of these fuskis is going to impress a Model Scout they couldn’t be more wrong. If the person instructing the modeling class was any good, what are their credentials? Did they ever get picked up by Ford Modeling or a brand name clothing line? Why are they still in your hometown and not in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Paris? My guess is they purchased the same book that you can buy at Barnes and Noble and practice on your own. Here are a couple of links to books to get you started, and what I use to assist and coordinate with models. ( Photographing Women 1,000 Poses and Study of Pose: 1,000 poses by Coco Rocha )
Let’s dissect the classes offering instruction on professionalism working with Photographers and HMUA. I can tell you right away this is generally worthless, as each Photographer directs differently, and wants things done differently, and HMUA have their own processes they prefer as well, so if you are taking modeling classes that cover this on top of posing then really all they are teaching is how to work with their company specific photographer and/or HMUA, or if it’s a photographer or HMUA instructing, how to work with them specifically. This can be learned either through hiring them and having a client meeting ahead of time, or it can be accomplished while doing a TFT shoot like I discussed in my previous blog .
So, if these classes that are instructing posing, as well as working with photographers/HMUA aren’t really all that beneficial maybe it’s the complete Model Portfolio you walk away with. So my first question to the models out there is, how much research have you all done regarding what Ford Model Scouts are looking for in a portfolio? I can tell you, I have seen plenty of local Model’s “Model Portfolios” on Instagram and you haven’t even come close to the mark of what a legitimate Agency wants. I can also tell you that if you want a real model portfolio this needs to be purchased, not TFT. Why? Because, this is an investment in your future and you need to have the majority say in what shots, the type of lighting, the poses, and the print quality resolution. This only happens when you hire a photographer. So when these classes you take have only one genre whether it be Fantasy Fairy or Boudoir Photos with heavy makeup, you are paying to build that photographer’s and HMUA’s portfolio. If you are only provided with one or two photos that aren’t the best ones at the end of the photo session, then you were tricked into paying for a TFT. Remember the portfolio should be built based on your goals, and realistic expectations of what you could actually model, and should be as natural as possible (this means the agencies don’t want to see you caked in makeup but rather want to see your natural face). As of right now within the industry, typically if you don’t fall within 5”8 to 5”11, with a dress size of 4-6 US, with a typical bust size of 34, and an age range from 14 to 25, then you won’t be a High Fashion Model, because fashion designers are using this body style template for their shows. The point being is if you don’t fall within these ranges but have a ton of Avant-Garde High Fashion style photos or Runway photos from local clothing lines hosting their own Fashion week, then understand when you submit your information to an agency along with your portfolio, you will not be taken seriously and more than likely passed over.
So my question still remains. What are you getting when you purchase these classes? Probably not as much as you were led to believe. What I can tell you is, that if you hire SFS to build your portfolio we will sit down and discuss realistically what you want to accomplish in the modeling world, develop photos that you will actually feel confident in sending to agencies like Ford, Elite, and even DNA all based out of New York, and help you with getting you to your next stepping stone on the path to your goals. While this has been directed towards mainly female aspiring models this also applies to male aspiring models. Stop being mislead by these people/businesses, and come back next week as I discuss “How Models Are Killing Their Own Industry”.