Whether you want to walk the runways of the world for the biggest brands and most famous designers or get your foot in the door with some local promotional opportunities, breaking into the modelling industry can be daunting. Many men and women of all ages aspire to pursue a career in modelling but simply don’t know where to start.

No matter what your goals are, one thing is certain. You will need a portfolio!

Most modelling agencies will insist on having their in-house photographer take some snapshots to send out to potential casting directors. These images will most often me makeup free and in natural (mostly flat) lighting. They will probably include head shots, two thirds portraits and full length images front on, side on and from behind and will be used to decide whether or not you naturally have the look the client is looking for.

The thing is that these images aren’t generally very striking and don’t easily turn heads.

If you want to grab attention and give the impression that you are ready for commercial shoots, booking a portrait session with a photographer who’s work you admire can be invaluable.

You’ll get real world experience in what a genuine studio or location shoot involves, assistance from an experienced photographer with your posing, facial expressions and how to work with the light and of course you’ll receive a set of stunning photos which you can use to attract agency attention or gain commercial work on a freelance basis.


Now that you’re starting to build you portfolio, here are some further tips on how you can start to build a following and make waves in the market.

Social Media

We are now firmly in the age of social media and have been for many years. To not have an online presence really is a missed opportunity so set yourself up with at least an Instagram and Facebook account if you haven’t already.

Post your best photos along with some more casual, story driven shots to keep it real and remain relatable to your followers. Post at least 2 or 3 times per week and remember to use relevant hashtags to help new fans find you among the crowd.

Sites like can help you choose the top hashtags for your post and see what hashtags are trending right now. With some luck you may end up being a featured post on the Instagram “Explore“ page which will give you a HUGE boost in visibility.

Hashtags #FTW!

Understand your market

There are so many different avenues to take with your modelling career. You could get paid to do promotional work at events, get hired to be the face of a brand or to be in TV commercials or even movies.

If you already know what kind of model you’d like to be you are already one step ahead of the competition. Now is the time to start creating your road map to success.

An agency that specialises in high end couture probably won’t be too interested in a portfolio that is full of grungy, glamour or fitness portraits. Therefore it is important that you choose the shoots you include in your portfolio carefully.

Tailor your work to target the type of jobs you’d like to be hired for. If someone likes what they see they will be likely to hire you for the same style.

Google Google GOOGLE!

Check out agencies in your area and compare what they have to offer, what they focus on and whether or not they are the right fit for you.

Once you have a shortlist, research the models these agencies represent and take note of what they’re doing to get noticed and the kind of work they are getting.

Watch YouTube channels on modelling techniques and photography techniques and “top 10 things you need to know about the modelling industry” videos and websites. Learn as much as you can so that when the time comes, you are super prepared and ready to face any challenge you come across.


Get yourself in front of as many people in the industry as you can. If the decision makers don’t know you exist, how can they be expected to hire you?

Be a joy to work with and people will remember you. Maybe the photographer or lighting assistant you work with today will end up in a casting director position a couple of years from now and remember how great you were to work with?

Have patience

Know that modelling is a tough career to break into in a big way. Many aspiring models never end up on the catwalks of Paris or London but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it everything you’ve got if that is where you want to be.

Have a backup plan but keep up the pace with shoots and networking. The more you shoot and the more you put yourself out there the better you’ll become and the more people will know about you which is the only way to get job offers in the big city.

Get known as the person who is not just a pretty face but also talented, flexible, professional and approachable.