Frequently Asked Questions.

Portfolio - What is it

It’s a collection of your modeling pictures. How many pictures you need varies. You should only keep strong pictures; you are only as good as your worst picture! Models should aim for quality not quantity! Avoid using 2 pictures of the same shoot (meaning same look) Black and White is the favorite of the industry. 9 by 12 inches are the standard size. Your agency will require you to buy 11 by 14 inches for their book (portfolio). A basic but versatile portfolio would have a casual head shot, styled head shot, body shot (conservative swimsuit or lingerie), a fashion shot (sexy) , action shot, an editorial shot and even a catalogue shot. As you gain experience replace the older pictures with newer one. Keep your best picture at the end to leave a lasting impression! Do not wear jewellery for those prints; it takes the attention away from you. The wrong choice of undergarments may show panty line or bra straps and will distract the viewer (on the job, or in interviews it can mean the difference between looking professional or not).

Tailor your portfolio for your strengths and the type of modeling you are doing.

Hiring Make-up & Hair Stylist

It is about marketing YOU:

Things one needs to consider when hiring makeup artist and stylist for your portfolio:


They Should be technically excellent and almost always very creative without being cliche’. The big difference is that if you give them ten faces to work on, they approach each face uniquely and work to bring out the unique features of that face. When they are done you will have ten faces that look incredible but you will not have ten faces with the same kind of makeup. Your modeling portfolio or acting headshot is NOT about how great your photographer is or how creative your makeup artist is.  With this in mind – do your research on:

  • Their Portfolio: Have you seen samples of their work that were created with the same photographer that you have hired to do your shoot? For me, my makeup artist is a crucial part of my process. Working with an artist that I do not know or who does not share my same standards will severely handicap my work and affect the outcome of the shoot.
  • Hair: Do they do it? Are they any good at it? If your budget is limited you need an artist that can do both and do both really well. Hair will make or break a photo faster than the makeup will.
  • Color science: How much do they know about it? Ask them if they know what color fluorescent lights are and what happens when you photograph pale pink lipstick under fluorescent lights. Why does this matter? Because photographers use many different types of light. In my studio I shoot with everything from studio strobes to tungsten and fluorescent lights and outside in direct sunlight and heavy shade. Even though our eyes don’t realize it – each of these types of lighting is a very different color and the cameras and makeup realize it. While the camera can compensate for the color, the makeup doesn’t. A good makeup artist understand enough color science to know how to compensate for the different types of lighting so that you don’t wind up looking washed out or too harsh.
  • Price: Yes – that is high on my list. Cheap is rarely good and of course expensive doesn’t guarantee quality. The photos you are producing are your marketing tools. The results of this shoot determine your ability to get work. Save your pennies – hire the best and accept nothing less.
  • What do you get for your money? Your portfolio shoot is the most important shoot that you will ever do as a model. Of course you will hopefully go on to do incredible shoots for national ad campaigns or magazines, but without top notch results for your portfolio, you will never be hired for those big jobs.
  • Do they have a good eye? As a photographer, I require my makeup artists to be on set and looking over my shoulder the entire time I am shooting. Their job is to be a second set of eyes to insure that hair is in place and that outfits aren’t wrinkled or disheveled. You would be amazed how many photographers don’t take advantage of this and as a result how many makeup artists will sit down in the makeup chair and take a break while the model is on set.
  • Are they a good teacher? I instruct all of my first time models to ask lots of questions while in the makeup chair. It is not uncommon for a model to receive a call from her agency and be told that she has booked a job and needs to show up “camera ready”. That means you have to do your own hair and makeup. Obviously your makeup artist will not be able to teach you how to apply makeup while she is preparing you for a photo shoot – but most of them are able to multi-task and at least while they are doing base work and hair will have plenty of time to talk to you.


When it comes to getting help with your wardrobe, most men and women don’t know where to begin. The personal styling/image consulting industry is still in its infancy and so it’s a bit like the Wild West trying to find a stylist or wardrobe consultant that has the technical and professional experience to back up their recommendations. If you are thinking about hiring a stylist to help you put together your wardrobe and image as a one-time thing or for help each season, here are few questions you should ask or feel comfortable about before saying “let’s get started.”

  • Is their website professional and is the design appealing to you? If they can’t articulate a good professional image for themselves, what makes you think they can do it for you?
  • Do they look the part? If you are a professional or an executive, does the consultant have a professional image and hairstyle? If you’re a stay-at-home mom, does the consultant have an approachable style? If the image consultant looks like she or he could use a bit of image consulting, they are not someone you should trust your look with.
  • Do they have professional training and are they certified by an organization?
  • Did you have a conversation with them? A professional stylist will want to talk with you on the phone before ever setting an appointment. They typically will ask you about your lifestyle and want to learn a bit more about you. It’s also a good time for them to provide an overview of how they work with clients and answer any questions you may have about their services. The phone conversation is a great way to determine if you both want to move forward.
  • Do they keep you in the loop on all things financial? Do they have a client agreement and did they clearly provide you an overview of their fees and additional expenses? Some stylists charge for travel and parking — I think it’s nickle and diming a client — but make sure you know all the costs associated before you begin.
  • Are they focused on helping you develop your personal style? If their clients look the same, run! Do they have a process which helps them get to know everything about you? Stylists that go through training with Wardrobe 911 have you fill out an extensive assessment as well as do some homework prior to your first meeting so that your style is developed with you in mind, not some cookie-cutter style.
  • Do they possess the qualities of a good personal stylist? Sometimes, just asking the personal shopping department who their favorite stylists are gives you a great insight into whose good or not. They typically know! Have you used a personal stylist? What hiring tips can you provide others who are thinking about it?

Choosing Photographer

Not all photographers with a camera and website are able to deliver a unique high-quality product. Differences between photographers include experience (how long, how many), resources (equipment, facilities, personnel, contacts, access) skill (know their equipment and how to use it) and style (creativity, imagination, artistic, signature look and feel to their images).

  • Type of Photograph – Fashion, Wedding, Portraits, Events, Travel
  • Style of Image – Do you like the photographer’s work?
  • Experience / Skill – Portfolio should tell you.
  • Ability / Resources
  • Product / Services – Archival Canvas & Quality Prints, Hair &and Makeup
  • Rate / Price

Some suggestions and things to consider based on my experience.

What is your need?

What type of project or photograph is it? Answer this question first, before looking for the photographers that do THAT type of photography well. Be cautious of the photographer that claims to do “everything”. Photography is a niche profession and most photographers have strenghts and weakness. I have been asked to photogaph certain type which I don’t have much experience on, I have politely declined and have offer to recommend someone who does that type of work as their specialty.

Style / Look: Study the photographer’s work and be excited about the possibilities for your project. Ask the photographer to see examples if you dont see something similar to what you are after or give detailed information if you are wanting a specific concept. Even send examples or web links if you have something to help explain the shot. Be comfortable with the photographer’s sample work or look for someone else.

Resources: Can they do it? Most expensive gear can’t take a great images without an experienced and qualified photographer, but then some images do require specific equipments. On the other hand, a skilled photographer can do some amazing work with an inexpensice camera.

Gear: Anyone can buy a camera and build photography website, also buy few inexpensive softwares to give their images a special look for few dollar cost. However, a working photographer would invest in quality gear, which could cost him double the amount. Leave aside the studio, lighting and other equipment necessary to get it done.

Quality gear = control and predictability.
Quality Image = experience and quality qear.

Does the camera matter? Yes and No. Camera body matters the least compared to lens attached to the camera. Camera is just a box to grab light and record it. A professional lens however can separate the professional from amateurs. One of the best reasons to have and shoot in a studio or indoors is “Control of light” and predictability.

What about make-up, hair and styling? If you are paying for a professional portrait, ask about these services – it would have a huge impact on the final product for nominal fee.

Price: It is never possible to have same price for different projects also it varies from where and what it would be used for. If you are choosing a photographer based solely on price, you may or may not get what you pay for. A photographer’s rate should be commensurate with his experience and make sure you see something you like. Don’t expect the photographer to deliver something unique and different for you that you have not seen as eample of. You should question the business model and experience of a professional photographer that charges extremely low rates – how does he afford to invest so much money in his profession. The answer is, that photographer is probably a hobby and not a professional. You might be getting what you paid for.

After you pick a photographer: Scope of Work. Get a proposal before you commit to a photorgrapher. Make sure you know everything you are getting (and that what you are NOT getting). Pre-packaged offers work for some clients but ask if you are not sure about what you signing up for.

Do your homework: Know your photographer’s plan is and be prepared. Ask questions before shoot. What are wearing, how many different changes of clothes are expected. What’s the backup place in case of weather or any other issues? Ask should you bring a friend?

Trade For Print(TFP): Win-win Agreement for Models and Actors who are in need of new portfolio or comp card? My advice is to get the absolute best photographer you can afford. If you are getting started and have low budget, find a photographer who could work with you on TFP agreement. This is a mutually beneficial agreement between a model and a photographer who are attempting to launch their individual careers. You could specify the kind of portfolio, you are looking for, similarly photographer would benefit by adding on to his portfolio.

Preparing for photoshoot

The modeling industry is very competitive. Every photo-shoot is a chance for a model to show herself at her best, and any model is only as good as their last shoot – so there’s a strong incentive to make each photo-shoot count towards. While digital photo processing software such as Photoshop can work miracles, neither a model nor a photographer will take as much pride in highly photo shopped pictures. If you take the time to prepare well in advance of your photo-shoot, you will feel more confident and as a result, look better.

Show your body and skin at its best!


  • Work out: You may want to vary your routine to show off the muscles you’re most proud of. Or, a week before the shoot, you may want to increase the intensity of your workout. For example, if you usually do aerobics or body shaping, switch to working with gym equipment for a couple days. You will notice how well your muscles will respond. In no way does this mean you need to have a stereotypical fashion model’s body. Exercise can be great for any body and can boost confidence – and confidence is really what makes you attractive.
  • Moisturize: Hopefully you moisturize your skin regularly. If not, certainly apply moisturizer on the days before and morning of the shoot. To make your skin look smooth, supple and glowing, consider using with a hydrating cream containing exfoliates such as glycolic acid.
  • Remove: If you shave, do so 2 days before the shoot, in order to give your skin a chance to recover. If you do it yourself, follow the main rules of depilation to avoid irritation and ingrown hair:
  • cleanse your skin and exfoliate before depilation
  • do not stretch your skin when depilating
  • do not apply too much pressure when shaving or using hair depilation cream
  • do not run the shaver over one and the same spot several times or you can create irritated spots. If you have to, reapply shaving cream.
  • Color: Instead of using a solarium and prematurely aging your skin due to UV damage, consider using self-tanning creams and bronzing products. Choose a light type that gives you a chance to regulate intensity with each application and to avoid disasters like uneven color, lines and spots. Experiment with these products well in advance of your shoot, so you know that the color will look right for you. Try to avoid tan lines.
  • Watch it: Avoid too much salt and iodine in your diet. Salt can lead to water retention in the skin and the skin surface does not look smooth and tight but tired and bumpy. Iodine, for example in sushi and marine dishes, can trigger break-outs. Include more fiber into your diet it will help your body to get rid of toxins, and drink plenty of water.
  • Spots: If you do get a pimple the day of the shoot, do not touch it, as you will make it redder and harder to cover. Most photographers have no problem with one or two pimples as these can be easily covered with makeup or digitally removed by photoshop. If you have serious acne problems, be sure that your photographer knows this in advance.
  • Caution: Do not experiment with new skin treatments the night before the shoot. Any new treatment can cause skin irritations or allergic reactions. Test out the treatments well in advance of the shoot in order to know how your skin will react and how long your skin needs to recover.

What more preparation

  • Hair: If you dye your hair, make sure that you have had your roots recently treated. Studio lighting can exaggerate dark roots.
  • Nails: Make sure your finger and toe nails look clean and manicured. Use a clear nail polish which will go with any color clothing. If you must color your nails use a neutral white or cream. Red nails will look strange if your outfit is blue.
  • Makeup: If there will be a makeup artist at the shoot, arrive with no makeup on. Otherwise, you will loose time and potentially irritate your skin (and your photographer) when the makeup comes off. If you will be doing your own makeup, remember that photography lighting and the heat from the lights tend to make the skin look shinier than usual. Do not use any shiny or bright make-up that might cause reflection or glare during the photoshoot. Apply a base to smooth your skin and make it look consistent. Use mascara to bring out your eyes. Bring several colors of lipstick that you can apply depending on the color of clothing.
  • Wear antiperspirant. Avoid using any deodorant which may stain clothing.
  • Posing: Practice your poses before the shoot. This is especially advisable if you are a beginning model. Flip through some magazines and find the poses you like. Practice your facial expressions and poses in front of a mirror so you can see how you look at your best. Often exaggerated or unusual poses look most interesting. Wild and disheveled hair may be better for you than the well-groomed look. Do not be afraid to experiment and try new things. It will be much better than standing like a stick in front of the camera.
  • What to wear to the shoot: If your shoot is glamour, swimwear or lingerie, wear loose fitting gym clothes which have no elastic bands. Do not wear underwear. Underwear leaves lines on the skin, which can require 30-60 minutes to disappear.
  • Get plenty of rest: Have a good night’s sleep the night before the shoot. Avoid partying the night before a photoshoot. Alcohol and cigarette smoke, even smoke in the air, can make your eyes red and puffy. Also, if you are a smoker bring down the number of cigarettes your smoke or stop completely before the shoot. Smoking deprives skin of oxygen and nutrients and makes it look gray. Invest the time to make yourself look the best you can be so you can feel confident during the shoot. If you feel great about yourself, you will exude confidence. Confidence shows and will help to make your photos the best they can be.

Model Release - How Important?

Model release is a document that stipulates the terms under which one party may use pictures taken of another party. Most of the time, it’s a brief (one paragraph) statement, although it can also be a lengthy contract full of stipulations on payment schedules, lists of permitted and non-permitted uses, legal rights and sometimes even limitations on the amount of money you can sue the other party for in the event of a contract violation. A model release can say whatever you want it to say—long or short—as long as both parties agree to it. It can also be retroactive; you can shoot first and get the release later. (In fact, sometimes photographers don’t bother getting a release unless they have an opportunity to use the picture in a way that would require one.

Photo Retouch - Is it important?

All original/RAW files will need editing to some degree. What to retouch and how much is matter of taste and wll vary. Portrait editing typically involve removing blemishes, whitening teeth, brightening eyes and so on. Advanced editing/retouch are also available when requested with different pricing.

Model/Actor (For TFP): If there are photographs from your session that you’d like to have retouched, you should consider contacting a professional photography service that provides retouching services. You may also ask the photographer if he or she will provide you with electronic versions of any images they elect to retouch from your session. Most photographers offer that service for a nomial fee. It’s important to remember that the small amount of monies you may pay for retouching will make a huge difference in the quality of your final photographs.

Comp Card - How does it work?

Comp card is a card with a few pictures on it. It also has the information on how to reach modelling agency. It contains your statistic and measurements. They cost between Rs.2,000/- to Rs.3,500/- for 200 cards. The model pays for them and your agency will tell you how many you need to get started. Depends if Agency demands it, usually not applicable in India.

How to become model?

Few tips on how to start modelling, how to make the right choices and what to expect from the industry. Despite the glamour and hype you have seen about the modelling profession, it’s hard work, it’s boring (sometimes), it’s tedious, it’s filled with rejection, ups and downs, It’s a lifestyle, not an 8-5 job. Not all jobs pay well. Unless you are seriously committed about modelling, willing to work at it on your own time, live a healthy life style, etc., you will not succeed as a model. You have to understand that there are many people who want to be models. They are doing everything they can to be successful. Are you willing to put the time and energy into competing with these people, 24 hrs a day? GIST: This is just a tip of Iceberg.

Inner strength to be a model?

Are you tall and slender and unusually attractive enough that you are as good or better looking than most other models? You also need to have the tenancy, patience, aptitude, interpersonal skills, communication skills, stamina, confidence, business skills, etc.? If you think you do, then you can try to be a model. Modelling can be fun, exciting, and adventurous. Be sure to maintain realistic expectations however, the chances of becoming a successful or famous model are less.

Approaching agency / Co-ordinator?

The model must have a portfolio, and comp cards. The agency/coordinator provides you with work (That is their main purpose. It is safe to say that they work for you). These agencies make a commission on your fee and percentage varies from agency to agency. Be warned about agencies/coordinators who ask for money up front! Also check to see if they are reputable and genuine. The agency/coordinator should provide you with a few photographers name. It’s your choice to get the photographer you want. Pay the photographer for the photo shoots not the agency/coordinator. The agency/coordinator provides you with safe working environment and looks after legalities of the paper work for the job. They provide their clients with “Professional” models. Keep copies of all-important papers, such as contracts etc. You may need these if you have a dispute with the agency/coordinator. It is wise to choose the agency/coordinator carefully so you can stay with that them. Constantly changing them gives you a reputation of being flighty and unprofessional.

Since in India there is no system for accrediting Modelling Agencies. It would be best advised for you to look up our co-ordinator section. The oldest way to go about it is to visit them. Book an appointment ahead of time by phone. Bring at least 2 pictures. They don’t have to be professional pictures. A head shot, natural and clear. Also a full length shot that somewhat reveals your figure, a clingy dress , swimsuit, figure flattering clothes or other tight fittings garments should be worn. Forget about baggy clothes! It will tip off viewers that you have something to hide. Ask lots of questions. Ask to see what work their models are currently doing? Ask for names and phone number of clients and call them to verify the information, be concerned if they promise you work right away or promise you high salaries. If they don’t allow you time to think about it or if they use pressure techniques to sign the contract, be concerned. They should not ask for money up-front for classes or training. Be concerned if the they claim to be looking for ordinary people. Reputed agencies/coordinators might have open interviews during the week, give them a call and find out. Also you can send your photo and resume as mentioned earlier.

Quick bites to impress Agency / Co-ordinator

  • Don’t contact the agency by email unless their web site specifically requests you to do so.
  • Have a portfolio (your photos should represent the market that you are trying to work in) and comp card prepared before contacting any agencies.
  • Don’t be on time – Be early – 15 minutes early.
  • You should dress simply in solid colored clothing (Carry yourself with confidence – your efforts will be noticed as will you).
  • Never wear jewelry – Make sure that they see you and only you–leave the shiny baubles at home.
  • Smile a lot – show lots of personality.
  • Take notes – do be sure to jot down important information.
  • Ask lots of questions: Do NOT make your first or last question “How much does each job pay?” In fact – do NOT ask that question at all. There is a lesson that is taught to all journalists. . . Never ask a question that you don’t know the answer to. Live by this rule. Do your research in advance. Ask questions that will make you seem intelligent and business like.
  • If you don’t understand something – ASK them to repeat it or explain it.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Send a follow-up thank you note.

If you have lasted past 30 seconds and they haven’t kicked you to the curb it means that they either like you or are just being polite. Either way – from this point on – it is not about how pretty you are. You need to impress them with how you present yourself. Sit up straight in the chair, smile, and make lots of eye contact. Speak clearly and do NOT tell them your life story. Do you really think they care?

30 Min Preparation

Dressing up for an evening out is not hard. An irresistible party clothes complemented by simple make-up and hassle free hair is all you need to create an evening look. Professionals advise to wear make-up that looks simple, feminine and, most importantly, realistic.

Make a fresh start: Wash your face either by using a face wash or with clean water. Dap your face with wet tissue or towel. Cover your face with a little moisturizer and wait for it to dry. Apply a concealer to hide spots and dark circles. Dot thin coats of concealer in the inner circle under the eye, around the lips and other dark skin area. The concealer should be one or two coats lighter than the foundation, else face will look heavy. And make sure you apply it only where needed.

Choose a foundation to match your skin tone: Using the right foundation makes your skin look flawless and smooth. To achieve perfect precision one must blend well. Use an oil-free foundation, starting at the centre of your face, blend it carefully with a slightly damp sponge all over the face, especially chin, around the nostrils and under the jaw-line. Foundation blended well on the jaw-line avoids demarcation lines. Set it with translucent or compact powder for a matte and refined finish.

Eyeshadows accentuate eyes, making them look bigger and brighter. Use an eyeshadow that compliments the colour of your eyes. Apply eyeshadow right over the eyelid. Draw a thin line of eyeliner on your upper lid, close to the lashes. Use a soft tipped eye pencil over the line for a smudgy effect. Apply mascara in an upward and outward manner. To make your lashes look thicker, powder them before the first layer of mascara is dry. Then apply the second coat. For defined lashes use lash comb and curler.

Even the prettiest of make-up looks unfinished without blusher. It adds life and glow to every skin colour. Use powder blush or tinting powder. Dust the blusher right on the apple of your checks with a large brush patches, so blend it outwards with a big brush in semi-circular motions. Do not go close to the nose.

Now on to your lips: To give your lips a luscious look first draw the outline of your lips with a lip pencil. Line them with a neutral colour. Blend inward to prevent the lipstick from bleeding. Use a lip brush to apply the lipstick. Powder your lips after the first coat to prevent it from fading. Apply a second coat of lipstick. And finally use lip gloss on the centre of your lower lip to give that sexy pout look.

Hair: always complete the make up first and then do the hairstyle. Your hair should have texture and shine without stiffness for an easy and sexy style. Avoid using hair spray. If you have long and straight hair it is best to leave them open. Wash your hair with a shampoo first and then use a good conditioner. Leave it for ten minutes and then wash it with cold water. Avoid back combing for long hair. When dry, brush it well in an outward direction using a soft brush.

We can try different hairstyles if you have short or mid length hair. If you have curly it to create an instant style. Do not wash your hair on the same day if you want to style them. For a sleeker looks, toss your hair completely back and make a neat low bun or tie a top knot. To create side strings take a few hair from each side, wet them and pin up. After ten minutes carefully remove the pin and let the strings loose. To make it last longer use little hairspray. Add volume to your hair by using diffusers and drying systems that include dryers and rollers. Hair ornaments and accessories could be included to create a different look. Pamper yourself with them and make a pretty statement