A promising career can be over before it gets started

"Be nice, accept the word 'no' gracefully, tomorrow is another day, don't gloat if you get the big part, and most of all, just show up."

Here are some of the most common career killing mistakes most models and parents make - and how to avoid them.

Not utilizing pro photographers and real makeup artists is the #1 career killing mistake most beginner models make.

Your portfolio (or "book") is only as good as your weakest shot. If you look great in most of your shots, but lousy in one or two - a casting director will most likely remember the bad ones.

Good make up artists and pro photographers are essential. ALWAYS use a real stylist to do your makeup and hair. (This does not apply to young children, however, who should NOT be wearing makeup in photos.)

Trying to save a few bucks by cutting corners can cost you thousands of dollars in wasted time and lost jobs.

Variety is also a key factor. The more "looks" you have in your book, the better your chances are for getting work.

Does your book show you can look 16 years old as well as 26? Does your book show you can look like an editorial model as well as a catalog model?

If you have nothing but catalog type shots in your portfolio, that is the type of work you are going to get offers for. (You will get the types of work you show in your portfolio - and every GOOD look you can come up with for your book improves your marketability. )

You can also have multiple books. If you want to market yourself in several areas, have separate books for each of those market segments.

A lifestyle agency is not going to be able to get you work (or want to deal with you at all) if you have nothing but fashion shots in your book. Put together two or three different books that specifically target the work you are going after.

Presentation is also very important

Color copies? No! Potential employers are MUCH more impressed with a model that shows professional PRINTS in a nice presentation book or portfolio.

Make no mistake.... Your book is your visual resume and your success depends on it.

Would you submit a job resume written in pencil on yellow tablet paper for a $10 an hour job?

Why would you show junk photos as your VISUAL resume for a $200 an hour job?


"As a model you are expected to look flawless in all of your pictures. We are all human, we all get blemishes and we all have flaws. Fashion, however, is about fantasy and perfection. All of your pictures should be flawless. All of the supermodels and all of the magazines retouch, so do what the professionals do. A flawless picture is worth it's weight in gold." - Model and Talent Bible

before pro makeup / retouching
after pro makeup / retouching
before pro makeup / retouching
after pro makeup / retouching

How to keep looking good so you won't need a lot of photo retouching

Stay out of nightclubs and bars, especially ones where you might run into other models, crew members, agents, potential employers, etc.

It says on your resume' you're 19, remember? If you are seen in nightclubs and bars at all hours of the night you will very quickly become known as a "party girl" and not a real model.

Successful, working models go to castings, take long walks, go to bed early and drink lots of water - not alcohol.

If you want people to think you are disciplined enough to get up for a 6 am call for makeup, don't let anyone see you - or photograph you - in a bar.

(If Lindsey Lohan can't get away with it, how can you?)



NEVER send potential employers links to myspace, onemodelplace, exploretalent, model mayhem - or any of the other hundreds of model wannabe sites - as you will NOT be taken seriously.

Paris Hilton gets paid big money to show up at a club. You are not Paris Hilton - so directing potential employers to myspace to look at amateur pictures of you in a nightclub with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other will only serve to make you look foolish and unreliable.

Kate Moss? Yeah, we saw the pictures too. When you start making 18 Million Dollars a year like Kate Moss did this year and you have fifty different people that depend on you working so they can make their mortgage payments - you might be able to get away with partying all night too. BUT, you will not be able to get away with it in the beginning stages and it would be a career killing mistake to even try.

Do not show modeling school "diplomas", amateur TFP pictures, Glamour Shots, web-cam shots, prom pictures, year book pictures, cheer leading pictures, basketball uniform pictures, pageant pictures, photo day pictures, bikini contest pictures, you and your friends on spring break pictures, wedding pictures, etc.

Do not put low quality prints or photos in your book.

Do not put "age inappropriate" or overly sexy amateur glamour photos in your book.

If you have fuzzy, grainy, trashy, amateur looking images in your book - that is how you will be perceived.

An image is only "half baked" when it first comes out of the camera, and it will need to be "photoshopped" (retouched) by a professional for anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour or more before it can be printed out.

Do not expect professional photographers to hand you over negatives or digital files so you can sabotage their efforts to make you look like a real model by making and showing cheap copies.

(You have every right in the world to ruin your own career if you want to - but you do not have the right to ruin the photographer's career in the process.)

Do not expect to get high quality prints or enlargements from your home printer as prints made on a home printer not only look unprofessional - they will fade within a few weeks, much sooner if left in direct sunlight.

It costs time and money to make a professional print. Professional retouching software and archival inks and papers costs more than consumer software, inks and papers - but the prints will last up to 200 years.

(Also, don't forget, Federal Copyright Law gives the creator of an image exclusive legal ownership and the exclusive right to reproduce the image in any form so, not only is it inadvisable, it is actually illegal to publish, copy or reproduce a photographic image without the express written permission from the creator of the image.)

More career killing mistakes and how to avoid them

Imagine if you and a thousand other people joined the army tomorrow and each person brought with them a list of terms and conditions for the army to follow - and each list was different.

Do not expect to walk into every interview, test shoot or job situation with a laundry list of demands that everyone must follow as if you are doing them a big favor just by showing up.

(It is much more likely that they are doing you a favor, especially in the beginning stages, so conduct yourself accordingly. )

Casting directors and crew members are there to get a specific job done - economically and in as short a time frame as possible.

They are not there to entertain or baby sit - so do not expect them to cater to you and do not expect them to have a lot of time to chat.

Some of the best agencies and some of the best production companies have small offices in unpretentious buildings - as most of the work they are involved in is done 'in the field' or on location....

Do not complain if you don't get a big suite or a dressing room with all the conveniences.

Elaborate sets and fancy dressing rooms are rare. You may have one for one job in ten - so expect to make do with whatever facilities are available, especially on location.

If you want "glamour" (pageantry, purple curtains, chandeliers, red carpets, strobe lights, etc.) go to a modeling school or a "model talent convention."

There you will find lots of people to entertain you for the day and nod their heads in agreement to all your musings (in exchange for several thousand dollars).

Just don't expect anything to come of it.

NEVER "trash talk" anyone EVER and do not be rude or complain to assistants, receptionists, etc. as...

1.) Your behavior will immediately be telegraphed "up the line" and you will kill your chances of ever working with that company.

2.) Assistants and receptionists often get promoted very quickly and you may very well meet the "lowly assistant" (turned booker or producer or director) on future castings.... They will remember you - and it is very unlikely you will be able to correct the negative impression you first made.

Common sense guidelines also apply....

Smart parents keep a low profile and do not intervene and do not complain about real world working conditions.

Smart parents give their model offspring an opportunity to demonstrate they are flexible, cooperative and independent.

Imagine for a moment that you are a school principal or a business owner and someone brought friends and relatives with them to their first day of school or to their first day at work....

Or, imagine a crew of 30 people on a set - each one of them with one relative and one friend visiting for the day. (60 extra people stumbling around makes it almost impossible to get any work done. )

Crew members are not permitted to bring friends and family on set and (with the exception of young children) the same goes for models and talent.

Showing up with an entourage can get you sent home, never asked back and, of course, the entire incident will be reported to your agency - who will probably drop you like a rock.

In many cases (quite often in fact) new models are so inflexible and have such a long list of conditions and demands - or they have such unreasonable expectations - or their appearance changes so drastically - that they make it almost impossible for themselves get signed or booked.

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