How to gain modelling experience

For those who have never modelled before, gaining experience can be invaluable!

Not only will it give you a much better understanding of how the industry works and what happens on the day of a shoot, but it will also boost your portfolio.

When Models Direct puts you forward for a job, clients will always look at your portfolio to see what you have done before, as well as to decide whether you might be the model they are seeking for that particular job.

And if you have photographs from a previous shoot, videos you have taken part in and even a show reel they can watch, this will really help your chances of being selected!

But everyone has to begin somewhere, so how do you get going in the modelling business from a complete standing start?

Here are our suggestions for gaining valuable experience and generating some good portfolio material:

Read your local paper and magazine (online and in print) to see if they run their own fashion shoots – many of them do and they may well be looking for people prepared to model for them free of charge. Contact the fashion or features editor, tell them you are looking to become a model and will happily take part in a few shoots if they will allow you to use the photography within your portfolio. You can also link to the shoot itself or upload the fashion spread itself to show prospective clients what you have done.

See if the work of any local fashion photographers appears in the local media. If so, contact them directly with the same aim. Ensure they are reputable individuals, with a long history in the business and an identifiable local base. Explain to them that you are just starting out and would like some work experience and would therefore be willing to model free of charge a couple of times in exchange for portfolio pictures. Anyone under the age of 18 should ask their parents or guardians to ensure the photographer is genuine on their behalf.

Local charities often host fund-raising fashion shows. Keep an eye out and if you see any advertised, approach them, give them your details and say you would love to take part. Check whether they have an official photographer or videographer attending. If so, explain to them you are just starting out as a model, are offering your time voluntarily and would be very grateful if you could use their images or film to promote yourself (but not for any commercial purposes).

Keep tabs on your local charities on social media. From time to time you might see them posting videos about the work they do. Why not contact them about this too? Tell them you would be happy to take part in some of these short films free of charge, in exchange for having permission to use the videos.

Look up your local technical and sixth form colleges, as well as art schools and universities. See if any of them run good photography or film making courses. If so, email the course leader with your details. Explain that you would be happy to take part in photo shoots and film productions in exchange for a good collection of photographs or having permission to use the film for self-promotion.

Good luck! And remember we all have to start somewhere!