Steps to take to get started:
So now that you have a good list of things NOT to do lets talk some steps you WANT to take…
Every model needs a portfolio…contrary to popular belief (mostly thanks to the scam companies out there) it’s actually possible to build a portfolio and shoot with photographers for FREE. Yes you read that right, free.
How is that possible you ask…easy. There’s thousands of photographers semi-pro, pro and novice photographers out there looking to do the same thing you are…build and/or update their portfolio. The two get together with the understanding that the photos can be used in each other’s books and it’s a win-win situation. This is commonly called TFP(Time for Prints) or TFCD (Time for CD). Essentially the model donates her time and the photographer donates the pictures. It’s a bardering type of exchange that gives everyone what they need without exchanging any money.
So where are all these thousands of photographers? Well, since they’re not making any money from shooting models you won’t find them in any place that requires you to pay for advertising. Years ago there used to be several websites dedicated to helping models and photographers connect. Sites like ModelMayhem.com and OneModelPlace.com used to be where the community went to get connected. Those sites (while still around) aren’t as popular since the development of Social Media. Now most models and photographers connect on Facebook and Instagram. Search Facebook for groups related to photography and modeling for your local area and join them. Post a few pictures of yourself and start scanning through the feed and meeting new people.
As with anything on the Internet DO YOUR RESEARCH before booking a shoot with anyone. Always check references and always bring someone with you to any shoot (especially someone you’re meeting for the first time). If you’re under 18 make sure a parent goes with you to any shoot.
Once you’ve networked with a few reputable local photographers things will start to get easier. Build rapport with these guys/gals and it will go along way. Photographers talk…and you can usually get good advice on who else in the area is worth working and who is not. Additionally they can often help steer you in the direction of the legit agencies…which ultimately is where you’ll want to end up. But you’ve got some work to do before you’ll be ready for that.