12 tips for sending modeling photos to agencies
Since most aspiring models don't live in the big modeling markets like New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Milan or Tokyo, where they can attend a go-see or open casting, they have to send their photos by mail, e-mail or through an online recruitment agency. Whether you're a new model just starting out, or even an experienced model looking to expand your representation to larger markets, these twelve tips will help you get your photos right the first time, as well as improve your chances of signing with an agency and getting hired for modeling jobs.

of 12
Simple photos are best
If you're just starting out as a model, simple shots will do. Agencies don't expect you to have professional photos from a well-developed portfolio. In fact, it may even be preferable to have no professional photos at all, as agencies want to see the real you.

Good agents and recruiters will see you as a blank canvas and think about how they can shape your look to match what they and their clients are looking for. If you submit professional photos or photos where you pose more or less like a character, you risk locking yourself into a particular look.

of 12
Don't wear too much make-up
Agents and recruiters want to see the real you, so it's important to keep make-up to a minimum. Think of your face as a model. A little foundation, concealer, blush, mascara and lip gloss are all you need. Male models generally don't need to wear make-up, but a small amount of bronzer is acceptable as long as it's not visible. If your face tends to be oily, you can wear a translucent powder to eliminate highlights.

of 12
Simple, tasteful clothes
A simple pair of well-fitting jeans and a t-shirt are perfect for your photos.

Agents and recruiters are interested in you and your body proportions, not the clothes you wear. Never dress in black tie, ball gowns or wedding attire. Never wear clothes that could be considered too sexual or provocative, including extremely low-cut shirts and jeans that come down very low on the hips.

of 12
Include a head shot and a body shot
The minimum you need to submit is a head shot and a body shot. The rule of thumb is to choose your best photos that show off your best features. Preferably, include a few photos of you smiling and a few photos of you in a neutral mood.

Be sure to include both the left and right sides of your face, as everyone has a "good side" that photographs better. In addition, you should send body profiles where you are not obscured by surrounding objects, even furniture or landscaping such as trees or rocks.

of 12
Choose a simple hairstyle
Agents and recruiters want to see the length and condition of your hair, so it's important to have a simple, neat hairstyle.

Make sure your hair is in good condition. If you need a haircut, coloring or trimming, see your hairdresser and colorist before taking your photos.

If you have long hair, take photos with your hair loose and pulled back.

of 12
Include a swimsuit photo
If you're comfortable in a swimsuit, it's always a good idea to include photos of you in a one-piece or bikini. Limit the poses when you're wearing a swimsuit, as your photos can quickly go from elegant to tasteless with regrettable poses.

of 12
Never submit nude (or suggestive) photos
In a nutshell, agents and recruiters don't want to see you naked, ever. Even photos that suggest nudity are off-limits. If you have a fabulous photo of yourself, but it shows a lot of belly (and lower), don't send it.

of 12
Only you in the photos
Make sure you're the only person in the photos you send. Agents and recruiters want to see you, and only you. You need to be a blank slate they can dress up and paint to tell a story and sell a product or service.

You don't want your photos to tell a story. Never submit photos of you and your friends drinking at the bar, playing pool or partying in Las Vegas. Save those photos for your social media platforms.

of 12
Don't wear fur
Please don't wear fur of any kind, anywhere, in your photos. And that includes fake fur, which can be hard to distinguish from the real thing. Many agents find the use of fur in the fashion industry shocking. Plus, there's nothing "young and fresh" about a fur coat, which is the look agents are looking for in new models. Even middle-aged models need to look young and fresh for their age category.

of 12
No fancy clothes or make-up for children
Fashion and advertising agencies in major markets like New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Milan and Tokyo want to see real children. They don't want Barbie dolls or beauty pageant photos.

To make children's photos look real, make sure headshots show clean faces, no make-up, no frilly dresses or suits with bow ties, and no hairpieces. Similarly, food-covered faces are cute for grandparents but never for agents.

You can use your smartphone to snap a photo of your child at the local playground or a backyard barbecue. In fact, you probably already have a model-worthy photo in your smartphone.

of 12
Include all your contact details
There have been many times when I've been interested in a model and couldn't contact them because they'd forgotten to include their contact details.

If you're mailing your photos, be sure to include your full name, city, e-mail address and day and evening phone numbers on the back of each photo. Photos can be separated from the envelopes in which they were placed, so it's not enough to attach a note to your photos.

To save time and ensure that the scouts have all your information, print stickers at home with your contact details and affix one to each photo. There are plenty of online stationers where you can get cheap stickers made if you don't feel comfortable making them yourself. Don't get too fancy with your stickers: the idea is to be visible to the scouts. Choose a white background and an easy-to-read black font.

of 12
Include your statistics
Your statistics are your key metrics and data. Women should always include their age, height, chest, waist and hip measurements. Men should include their age, height, chest and waist circumference, jacket size and pant length. Also note any distinguishing marks, such as freckles, moles or visible tattoos.

First impressions are important
In the modeling business, your photos are everything, and first impressions are just as important.

Modeling agencies receive thousands of photos every week, and agents decide whether or not to represent you within seconds. Therefore, it's important to always look your best (and appropriately so), even in simple snapshots. You should also include all the statistical information agents need to represent you. Don't be dismissed simply because you forgot to include your contact details and they had no way of reaching you.

January 26, 2023