Over the years we have interviewed top male UK models. Reputation and a top portfolio are why they have been so successful. The male model can have just as exciting a career as his female peer, providing he is willing to subject himself to the same regime and public scrutiny. Most models will tell you that like acting, it’s a continuous round of auditions, headshots, measurements, diets and real-world disappointment. But the rewards can be there if you are blessed with looks, the correct height and physique and are resilient enough to pursue your dream. Photographers and creative directors are part of this circle of life, so we present some common-sense advice for all concerned both young and naïve and for the ‘old lags ‘in the industry.
Watch The Birdie
It’s important for the potential model to develop a good, varied portfolio. Any model worth his /her salt should be able to show a wide gamut of facial emotions as well as being able to show in a wide variety of poses. Like actors, male models should not be surprised (Within Reason) to be working with a varied number of photographers and although both photographer and model may have their favorites they enjoy working with, they should both be equally flexible and professional in their approach to their prospective assignment. Remember, everyone had to start somewhere and the more you work and gain experience the more your confidence will build whatever side of the lens you are on.
Be A Good Role Model
Bad news travels fast and so do bad references so it’s important to stay professional, be on time, don’t cancel at the last minute and don’t be startled in front or behind the camera like a rabbit in headlights. Crudely at the basic level, it’s all about a job of work, albeit more creative and you are simply exchanging goods and services. If both model and photographer have built up a wide-reaching portfolio they will be more than likely be hired by an agency and word of mouth is just as important as a good book of work. It’s a very intensive business and models should use every professional opportunity to become established and secure representation with a reputable agency, photographers likewise.
Being The Right Tool For The Job
Creatives usually have a specific ‘type’ in mind when they are sourcing a shoot or campaign. Do they need a high fashion editorial? Is it lifestyle marketing or a swimwear image? Whatever the role there will be a predetermined set of criteria that is sought, it could be height, physique, age range, skin tone or ethnicity. It’s important to discuss with your agent and potential photographer what ‘niche’ your creative image fits into. Like acting, you may not fit the requirement of a particular creative director now but next time around you could be eminently suitable. Learn to cope with the inevitable disappointments in a cool and professional manner and relish the success as you expand your contact sheets.
As a creative, you may stumble on a model portfolio that is out of date. If that happens respectfully request to see recent work. This could be on social media sites and could be the only way their clients gain exposure so don’t automatically assume the model aunt’ working. The most important aspect of being a model is staying current with the work and if a model cannot produce recent images or evidence then beware the time and investment in a shoot unless by mutual arrangement. Time really is money in the fashion industry and if a model doesn’t have a recent digital image without it being edited or retouched professionally it’s a sure sign to treat with caution.
If you be model, photographer or creative heed the expression ‘Buyer beware’.