Carden Photography – Portrait and Wedding Photographer in Tullahoma, Tennessee

October 17, 2015

Modeling Q&A

Filed under: Carden Photography,ramblings — Norris Carden @ 2:08 pm

I am frequently asked about modeling. I am no expert in that business, but do have experience working with models. I have helped building many modeling portfolios, provided some direction and even occasionally hire models for both personal and commercial projects. I have worked with models from beginners to established models represented by the Ford Agency.

My initial advice for anyone contemplating modeling as a hobby or career:

  • Modeling “schools” are a waste of money.
  • Real agencies don’t charge fees to represent you… they get paid only when you work in the form of commission from your compensation.
  • The best portfolios contain variety, so when building your portfolio work with more than one photographer. There are professionals who occasionally help out beginners by trading their services for yours and providing some images in trade. There are also amateur photographers who need models to help them learn. That said, you often get what you pay for, so if you don’t get the best portfolio by trading, be ready to pay a professional.
  • Use common sense and beware of scams, fraudsters, hucksters and creeps… and there is also what’s known as the “guy with camera” or GWC.
  • Your safety is of absolute importance. Check references from other models. Unfortunately there are a few creeps out there posing as photographers. Don’t be afraid to check the sexual predator registrations.

My trade time is currently very limited due to client demands. However I do try to do at least one trade session per month.

Of course I am available for hire to help build or expand your modeling portfolio. A simple headshot session is $150 and includes one edited hi-res file and the license to use that image for any promotional purpose. Portfolio builder sessions start at $400 for 2 hours and includes digital negatives of the artist’s selected images. MUA and hair are HIGHLY recommended and can be arranged.  I can also provide headshot prints, comp cards and business cards.


Here are some good resources for those who are interested in modeling.

Modeling 101 – An information resource for new models

This is an excellent FAQ that covers quite a bit of information for anyone thinking of becoming a model.

Biggest Mistakes Aspiring Models Make 

A good little video pointing out the biggest mistakes many aspiring models make.

The Self-Made Model – Success Without Agencies
An excellent book by veteran fashion model Christie Gabriel. Available for Kindle or in paperback.

Articles by Dekilah
More excellent reading from an experienced model with advice for both models and photographers. I especially recommend the When & Why Might A Model Be Paid article. (Some images on Dekilah’s site are 18+. I  only recommend her articles. I have never met or worked with her.)

Posing advice from Kristy Jessica
A frustration of working with inexperienced models is having to direct every little bit of their posing. Photographers expect a professional model won’t need every movement directed. Full-time independent model Kristy Jessica has shared a video and ebook on her glamour posing flow.

Model Mayhem
IMHO, the best modeling portfolio site on the Net. The site has models, photographers, makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, hair stylists, retouchers, artist/painters, body painters, clothing designers and digital artists from around the world from all levels of experience. To sign up for a new portfolio (it’s free), you need a bio and at least four  quality images that meet the requirements (no selfies, no cheap cell phone or webcam pics, all showing face, at least one full length). I have had a MM portfolio since 2005.

The Power of Makeup!
If you’ve ever wondered how powerful makeup is for a model, check out this video of Nikkie doing only one side of her face.

I haven’t had time to review this yet, but from first glance it could have good information: 7 ‘Secret’ Ways For Models To Make More Money

Modeling Agencies

Remember that a real modeling agency shouldn’t charge a fee to represent you. They get paid only when you work in the form of commission from your compensation. I have worked with individuals who have been represented by the following agencies.

Here’s a list of more agencies in Tennessee and a supposedly complete listing by state.

Nashville Parent article on getting kids into the biz.


Originally published August 19, 2013. Updated many times with more and better information.

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks so much for including my blog post in your great list of resources. I also enjoyed your link to Dekilah’s tips. #keepryzing 🙂

    Comment by Jason Fonceca — September 19, 2015 @ 8:35 pm

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