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Written by portrait photographer Nicholas Moegly.
This article will cover some of the resources and simple steps that will help you get into modeling and fashion photography. Like most types of photography, it’s all about creating your network and niche.
Lets be honest, no model or agency is going to hire you if you don’t have any modeling or fashion pieces in your portfolio. You have to start somewhere, so find some friends who are up for modeling for you and hone your skills practicing with them. When you’re just starting you’ll most likely do a lot of shoots for free, but focus on getting in as much good work as possible and it will pay off down the road. If your friends are happy with your photos, they’ll most likely show their friends and as well as put them on Facebook and other social sites, which will only help in getting you exposure.
After working with several friends, you should at least have a handful of shots that you’re happy with, now it’s time to move onto working with some real models and designers.
One way is to join Model Mayhem. Model Mayhem is a social networking site for models, photographers, make up artists, fashion designers, and agencies. Every user has a profile of their work, and you can easily search for models and designers in your area. Create a profile and post only your best photos. Models, agencies, and publications will post casting calls that you can respond to, and you can even create your own casting calls to look for people in your area.
There are many different skill levels on the site, so if you’re still learning you can team up with others that are new to the industry as well. What and if you charge for shoots will all depend on your skill level and portfolio. Some models will charge you to photograph them, some photographers will charge models and designers for a shoot, and some will do a trade so that you can help each other better your portfolios. Find models in your area you’d like to work with and most likely they’ll find you as well. Use this site to build a network of people and relationships, because gaining attention from other models, designers, and agencies is exactly what you want.
Another way to find more serious work is by reaching out to local privately owned clothing and apparel stores. Many of these smaller stores will either have custom clothing or carry merchandise from smaller suppliers and may not have promotional photography or photos of their merchandise. This is a good way to get into the fashion side of photography because clothing companies want to see that you can make their merchandise look great. It doesn’t matter how small the company or store you start shooting for is, it’s all about the shots you get from it that you can take to the next store or company.
Once you have an impressive portfolio and have worked with several models and designers you’ll find that people will start coming to you. Just like anything else in this world, when someone sees that their friend has something nice, they will want it too. When the people you’ve worked with post your photos on their social sites and catalogs, their friends and acquaintances in the industry may want to work with you too. Make sure those people that want to work with you can find you easily by having an online portfolio, facebook, twitter etc…
Now you have a great portfolio, models and designers that want to work with you, and a social network of people in the industry. From here you can decided whether to work freelance or submit your portfolio to agencies, publications, designers, studios etc… No matter what you decided, always keep shooting. A stagnant portfolio isn’t appealing to anyone, so keep adding and growing yours while you grow your network as well.
All photos used in this post © Nicholas Moegly. Nicholas Moegly is a portrait photographer from Cincinnati, OH. View his work at www.nicholasmoegly.com.