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The Basics You Need To Start Your Modelling Career

If you’re looking to start your modelling journey, but have absolutely no idea where to start, you’ve come to the right place! I get asked all the time about how I started modelling, and if I have any tips for people wanting to start modelling. And I love it! I love to share what I know with young models starting out their careers, but I want to be sure they know what to expect. The way that I got into modelling was a bit random, and it was surprisingly easy, but that is not always the case. If you want to start modelling, it is critical that you know what you want to achieve and not to expect it to be easy. Dissect what makes you want to be a model? Is it something you’re willing to work hard for? Do you think it will be easy and glamorous? Do you want to show off to the people in your life? Are you confident in yourself and can you handle all of the harsh comments about you and your appearance? Know that you won’t be able to withstand it if you’re extremely insecure, or have a really hard time with rejection. All of this is very important to think about before really starting your journey.

As a kid, people often told me I should be a model, but I wasn’t really sure what that meant, so I didn’t think about it too hard. Until one day, when I was 13. My mom had hired a personal stylist, she came to our house and I loved fashion so of course I wanted to be a part of it. We were hanging out in my living room, and I can still remember where I was sitting when she said to me, “I have a friend who owns a modelling agency, and I think you would be perfect for it, you should reach out to her.” My mom and I were a bit confused but we thought sure, why not? We reached out, sent her my first ever digitals (Which were horrible…. Stay tuned on my advice on how to take proper digitals). But we never heard back. I didn’t really think too hard about it because I had never seriously considered a modelling career. An entire year later, I was taking acting classes deep in downtown Calgary, and this stylist reached out to her friend again because she really believed in me. And this time, we heard back! The agency wanted to meet me and my mom! So we went to a coffee shop downtown and met the agency director for the first time. It was a boutique agency, so it had a personal feel, which I liked. From the first moment we met, we all knew it was a perfect fit. Taylor (my agent) gave us the whole rundown of what to expect, what her agency was about, development, how much things would cost. She took my measurements right in the middle of the coffee shop, and she offered me a contract on the spot. This moment changed my entire life, and I genuinely can not express how grateful I am for the women who believed in me. My mom and I kind of had no idea what had just happened, but we were excited. We signed the contract a few weeks later and the rest is history.

Taylor and I before my first contract

After this, I spent 3 years on development. We had always known the goal was to go international, but we wanted to wait until I was 16. But of course, Covid came along and pushed that back a bit. So I did test shoots, posing practice, walking practice, and trained a lot to get to a point where me and Taylor were confident with where I was at. Unfortunately, about a year and a half ago, she had to close down the agency, but she still wanted to help me get a contract abroad. Taylor has become family to me, and without her support I am certain I would never have made it to where I am today. She is still a big part of my career as a scout and mentor, but she also introduced me to my current mother agency, which is amazing and I am so happy to work with. Overall, I have been exceptionally lucky with the amount of support and training I have received, but I still know of and have experienced the challenges that come with contracts and agents.

That’s enough about me, you want to know how you can get started. First things first, you need digitals. Find some good lighting and a plain background. Minimal makeup, natural but tidy hair, and some tight black clothes to show off your figure. Black skinny jeans and a bodysuit work just fine. And of course some heels, preferably black. Sometimes agencies will also ask for digitals in a black bikini, so make sure you check that first. Take photos front facing, both side profiles, and your back. Take full body, half body and close ups. Some diverse poses are good, as well as simple straight poses and also smiles and some straight face. Then you want to take an introduction video. Smile, say your name, age, height and weight, then show your profiles and a few poses. End with another smile and a wave. Catwalk videos are also good but not always required. Those are pretty straightforward.

Once you have digitals you like, you can start proposing yourself. Figure out what kind of agency you need. Is it a mother agency that will get you contracts abroad? Or a local agency that can book you work in your city and neighbouring cities? This depends on what your goals are, but the two agencies cannot always do it all for you, so know what it is you’re looking for. I don’t personally want to work in Canada, so I am happy to have an agency that only finds me international contracts. Look up online the best agencies internationally or locally. Read what other models say about the agency, what kind of look they may be looking for. If you have model friends, ask them their opinions. My advice is to find at least 10 agencies you’re interested in. Then email all of them. Introduce yourself, say why you’re interested in working with them. Attach your digitals and leave your contact information if they’re interested in talking more. Keep is short and to the point, but friendly. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t hear back, it’s all a part of the process. Once you find an agency you want to sign with, and they offer you a contract, the fun can begin. Be sure to read through the contract carefully and ensure you and your agency have goals that align. You might have to invest a bit for some test shoots, but you shouldn’t be spending money to sign with an agency.

Examples of my most recent polariods

Finally, once you have an agency, the real work can begin. Spend a lot of time practising posing, facial expressions, and walking. If your mother agency offers to help you that is even better, but if not, you have to do it yourself. I was lucky to receive a lot of training from my agency, as well as getting to join in the first ever Coco Rocha Model Camp in Canada. It set a really good foundation for me. Find models you look up to, watch them when they’re modelling (if you want to follow me on instagram, I wouldn’t complain). Find videos online. But mostly, get comfortable moving quickly and interacting with the camera. Practise as many poses as you possibly can and keep them in your repertoire. Same with facial expressions, keep your eyes engaged at all times. I still spend time rehearsing in front of the mirror when I want to keep up with my posing. You should never stop improving. Then you can take those skills to do some test shoots. Ask your agency to help you set them up. Depending on where you live, some places you need to pay for some photographers, but a lot of photographers will collaborate with you for free. Get some creative images, some beauty images, and some simple portraits. Try to show your diversity while maintaining your niche look. And after all of this, your agency can start proposing you for placement or for jobs!

Some inspiration for good images to have in your portfolio

And there you have it! My basic intro to modelling. I could probably write 3 more blogs on all of this stuff, because there are a lot of things that go into a modelling career, so let me know if there is anything you want to know about in more detail! This is a long one so thank you if you made it all the way to the end. And if you’re confused about the posing, sign up for my email list to get updates on the blog posts that are coming, because I have some posing pointers coming soon ... .Thank you for reading, and I hope you learned a bit about how the modelling industry can work. Don’t let yourself get discouraged because you are absolutely capable of achieving everything you want, it just may take some time. Until next time,

Sammie Taylor

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