Learn What Photos to Submit to Modeling Agencies

If you are a new model just starting out, or even a model with experience who is looking to expand your representation to bigger markets, you are likely thinking about submitting your photos to agencies for review.

Since most aspiring models do not live in major modeling markets like New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Milan or Tokyo where they can attend a go-see or open call, they will need to submit their photos by mail, email or through an online model scouting company.

Here are 12 tips to make sure you get it right the first time and improve your chances of getting signed to an agency and get booked for modeling jobs.

1
Simple Snapshots Are Fine

If you are first starting out as a model, then simple snapshots are just fine. Agencies do not expect you to have professional photos. In fact, it can actually be better if you do not have professional photos.

Why? Because good agents and scouts will always look at you as a blank canvas and how they can mold your "look" (without makeup and special lighting) into something that they and their clients are looking for.

If you submit professional shots or "tests" rather than actual "tearsheets" from jobs you have done, you can pigeonhole yourself into a look that the agent may not think is right for you.

2
Keep Makeup to a Minimum

Agents and scouts want to see the real you so it is important to keep makeup to a minimum. A little foundation, concealer, blush, mascara and lip gloss is all you need. Male models never wear makeup, but a small amount of bronzer is alright as long as it's not noticeable.

3
Keep Clothing Simple and In Good Taste

A simple pair of skinny jeans and a t-shirt are just fine. The agents and scouts are looking at you and your body proportions, not the clothing you are wearing. Never wear long dresses, prom dresses, bridal gowns or clothing that would be considered too sexual or provocative.

4
One Headshot and One Body Shot Minimum

The very minimum you should submit is one headshot and one body shot. Preferably, you should submit one headshot in which you are smiling and one not smiling, including your left and right face and body profiles.

5
Keep Hairstyles Simple

Agents and scouts want to see the length and condition of your hair, so it's important to keep your hairstyle simple and well-groomed. If you have long hair take photos of your hair down and also pulled back. Make sure your hair is in good condition. If you need a trim, get one before you take your photos. Do not submit photos of your hair with extensions or weaves. 

6
Include a Swimsuit Shot

If you are comfortable wearing a swimsuit then it is always a good idea to include some shots of you wearing either a one-piece or bikini.  Keep posing to a minimum when wearing a swimsuit because your shots can quickly go from elegant to tacky with some unfortunate poses.

7
Never Submit Nude Photos

In a nutshell, agents and scouts do not want to see you naked, ever. So, no naked shots, please.

8
Only You in the Photos

Be sure you are the only person in the photos you submit. Never submit photos of you and your friends drinking at the bar, sitting at the dinner table or partying in Vegas; leave those types of photos for you and your friends. Agents and scouts want to see you and only you. 

9
Do Not Wear Fur

Please do not wear fur in your photos. Many agents, including myself, find the use of fur in the fashion industry offensive. Besides, there is nothing about a fur coat that says "young and fresh" which is the look that agents want in their new models. Even mature models should look youthful and fresh for their age category.

10
No Fancy Clothing or Makeup on Kids

Fashion and commercial agencies in big markets like New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Milan, and Tokyo want to see real kids. They do not want to see pageant or beauty competition type children. Kids should always look like real kids, which means no makeup, frilly dresses or hairpieces. Also, food covered faces are cute for grandparents but never for agents. No food covered faces!

11
Include Your Contact Information

I can't tell you how many times new models have mailed photos to me at and they have forgotten to include their contact information. There have been numerous times that I've been interested in a model and had no way to contact them.

If you are mailing your photos be sure to include your full name, the city you live in, your email address, and day and evening phone numbers on the back of every photo.

Photos can get separated from the envelopes they came in so just putting a note with your photos is not enough. To save time, just print off some stickers with your contact information and stick one on each photo.

12
Include Your Stats

Your "stats" are your measurements. Women should always include their age, height, bust, waist and hip measurement. Men should include their age, height, chest size or jacket size (e.g. 40 Regular), and waist.

First Impressions Are Important

In the modeling industry, your photos are EVERYTHING and first impressions are equally as important! Modeling agencies receive thousands of photos every week and agents will make their decision whether or not to represent you within a matter of seconds. Therefore, it's important to always look your best even in simple snapshots and include all the information the agent needs to know about you. Don't get passed over simply because you forgot to include your stats or contact information!