Modeling is a great way to make some extra money or even a full-time career. If you’re photogenic and enjoy being in front of the camera, it could be the perfect job for you! Plus, being a model can be a lot of fun.
However, just like any career, modeling isn’t an easy field to break into. There is a lot of competition, and you will need to work hard to stand out from the crowd.
A recent study conducted by Pew Research Canada found that 62% of women and a whopping 78% of men quit modeling within two years of starting.
There are a few key reasons people give up on modeling: they get discouraged because they’re not booking any jobs, don’t like the industry’s competitive and cutthroat environment, or simply don’t have the time to invest in their career.
If you’re thinking about becoming a model in Canada, here’s what you need to know about the industry and how to get started.
Table of Contents
What is Modeling?
Modeling is a form of art. It involves posing for photographers, artists, or other clients to create a visual representation of their products or ideas. A model can work in various settings, from fashion shows and photoshoots to commercials and print ads.
There are two main types of modeling: commercial and fashion. Commercial models typically pose for products, services, or ideas, while fashion models showcase clothing and other fashion items.
How to Become a Model in Canada
Like any other career, there are several steps and requirements you’ll need to meet before starting modeling. The only difference is that you’ll be working in an industry where the book judges you! So, here’s an overview of what you need to do to become a model in Canada to put your best foot forward.
It’s vital you evaluate yourself in the mirror. The modeling industry is shallow, and you will be judged based on your looks, height, limbs, and body structure. Therefore, you need to be honest with yourself. If you’re not the right look, there’s no shame in accepting that and looking for other opportunities. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Height: If you’re a woman, are you above 5ft 7 inches? Or, if you’re a man, are you at least 5ft 10 inches. If you’re not, you have fewer chances at different kinds of modeling, but it’s not impossible.
- Are you Photogenic: The best way you can tell if you’re photogenic is by taking a picture with a Polaroid camera or in a Turtleneck sweater. If you look good in either of the pictures, you are photogenic. That’s because it’s very hard to look good in a turtleneck or Polaroid pictures.
- Can you Pose: We don’t mean for Instagram pictures; anyone can do that. Commercial models can throw down 30-35 poses in 1 minute. You are at a good start if you can do half that number fluidly.
- Are you a Team Player: A commercial photoshoot is a collaborative process between models, photographers, stylists, makeup artists, creative directors, and clients. You have to listen, gauge, and constantly evaluate yourself while on set.
- Be Honest With Yourself: Browse through modeling agency websites and have a look at the roster. This will give you a good idea about your standing and whether you have it in you to be on the list. It’s not only about your looks; it’s about your professionalism, your ability to convey emotions through your face and eyes, and being a team player.
Do Your Research
Now that you have an idea about what the modeling industry looks for, it’s time to do your research. There are different types of modeling, and you need to know which one is right for you. Here are some of the most common types of modeling:
- Fashion Modeling: Fashion models work in runway shows, photoshoots, editorial print ads, and lookbooks to showcase clothing and other fashion items.
- Commercial Modeling: Commercial models pose for products, services, or ideas. They can work in various settings, from print ads and commercials to in-store displays.
- Plus-Size Modeling: Plus-size models are used to promote plus-size clothing and other products.
- Lifestyle Modeling: Lifestyle models embody a lifestyle or look. They can work in various settings, from fitness and health to travel and leisure.
- Beauty: Beauty models are used to sell cosmetics, skincare, and other beauty products.
Everyone’s aspiration is being a fashion model; however, commercial and lifestyle modeling is more lucrative and in demand.
Collaborate with Newcomer Photographers or Friends
The best way to get your foot in the door is by collaborating with newbie photographers or your friends. You should not care about the quality of the pictures you get at this stage, as you will never use them again. Instead, it’s all about getting the practice of being in front of the camera.
By collaborating with photographers, you can get an idea of the process, how to take direction, and what is expected of you during a photo shoot. If you don’t have any photographer friends, you can find many online looking to collaborate with new models, especially on Facebook.
There are a few things you should keep in mind before collaborating:
Decide Your Looks
What are you going to wear? What kind of makeup do you want to put on yourself? Where do you want to shoot, studio or outdoor? Pinterest is your best friend, and you can create different boards for each look you want to achieve. This will give the photographer a good idea of your style and what you’re looking for.
Create a Shoot Mood Board
A shoot mood board is like a vision board but for your photoshoot. This will help the photographer understand your style and what kind of vibe you’re going for.
Choose your Poses
Look up some poses on Pinterest and save them to your phone. Then, you can refer to your phone during the shoot and try out some of the poses.
Do Some Research About The Photographer
There are many creeps out there, and you don’t want to end up in a compromising position. So Google the photographer and see if there are any red flags. You can also ask groups on Facebook if anyone has heard of the person.
Have a Friend with You
If you can, bring a friend with you to the shoot. They can help you with your poses and make sure you’re comfortable and safe.
Never Shoot Nude Unless You Want To
There is absolutely no value in nude images, so don’t do it unless you’re comfortable with it. If the photographer asks you to shoot nude, it’s probably because they’re a creep, and you should leave immediately.
Start Looking for Modeling Agencies
Now that you have some experience under your belt, it’s time to start looking for modeling agencies. Look up agencies in your area and see if they’re a good fit for you. Make sure to do your research on the agency before signing anything.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when looking for an agency:
Type of Agency
There are two types of modeling agencies, scouting agencies and mother agencies. Scouting agencies are usually smaller and specialize in a specific type of modeling. Mother agencies are larger and have more experience with the industry.
The Agency’s Requirements
Each agency has different requirements, so make sure you fit their requirements before applying. For example, some agencies only represent models that are a certain height. Also, find out if you qualify for their open calls, which can be found on their website.
The Agency’s Reputation
Modeling agency scams are, unfortunately, widespread. Make sure you do your research on the agency and read reviews before signing anything. Here are modeling agency red flags you should watch out for:
- If an Agency Asks for Money, Run!:A legitimate agency will never ask you for money upfront. They should invest in you, not the other way around. If an agency asks for any sort of payment before representation, it’s probably a scam.
- Beware of Promises: Be wary of agencies that make promises they can’t keep. If an agency guarantees you work, it’s probably too good to be true.
- Photo Mill Agency: These types of agencies will force you to shoot with photographers they recommend for overpriced photos and then send you on go-sees that lead nowhere. They make their money by selling you photos, not getting you to work.
- Forcing You to Sign-On: A good agency will never force you to sign a contract. They should give you enough time to read and understand the contract before signing anything.
- Paying for Comp-Cards: This is the digital age, and comp-cards shouldn’t cost anything since it’s online. If an agency asks you to pay for your comp-cards, it’s a red flag.
- Mall Scouting: A good agency will never recruit models from public spaces or social media. They should have an open call, or you should submit your photos to them.
- Nudity: A reputable agency will never ask you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Nudity should only be brought up for a specific shoot and with your consent.
Now that you know what to look for in an agency, it’s time to start applying.
The first step is to go through the agencies’ websites and see if they’re currently holding open calls. If they are, make sure you meet their requirements and then go to the open call.
If the agency doesn’t have any open calls, you can submit your photos directly to them. Make sure to follow their submission guidelines.
Some agencies will have you fill out a form online, while others might ask you to send in physical copies of your photos and information.
After you’ve applied, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to hear back from the agency.
If the agency is interested in you, they’ll call you in for an interview. This is your chance to sell yourself and make a good impression. It’s vital that you dress appropriately, a white top or t-shirt with fitting jeans would be ideal.
Your portfolio should be with you at the interview as well. The agency will want to see what kind of experience you have and what kind of modeling you’re interested in. Be confident, and remember that the agency is just as interested in you as you are in them. This is your chance to ask any questions you might have about the industry or the agency.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions
The agency will most likely ask you questions about your experience, why you want to be a model, and what kind of modeling you’re interested in. They might also ask you about your availability and if you’re willing to travel.
Have Your Questions Ready
This is also your chance to ask the agency questions. Make sure you have a list of questions ready to get all the information you need.
The Testing Phase
After the interview, the agency will decide if they want to sign you or not. If they do, you’ll enter the testing phase.
The agency will set up a test shoot with a photographer or an in-house employee they work with. This is to see how you take direction and look on camera.
If the agency is interested in you, they’ll send you on go-sees. A go-see is an audition for a specific job. You’ll need to bring your portfolio with you so the client can see your work.
Pay for a Portfolio
Once you have representation from an agency, it’s most likely that they will provide photographer recommendations for you to create your professional portfolio. A portfolio is a compilation of your best photos that shows off your range as a model. It should include a variety of looks, such as commercial, high fashion, beauty, etc. It’s essential to have a strong portfolio because it’s what gets you work.
Your agency should be able to help you with this and guide you on what kind of photos to include. You can also expect to pay for your hair and makeup for the shoot and the photographer’s fee.
It’s crucial to pick a photographer who has good reviews, specializes within your modeling niche and fits your budget.
It’s so important to keep shooting and working in the first few years of your career. It’ll be hard work, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Start by taking on free work, then small jobs, and work your way up. Make sure you’re always networking and meeting new people in the industry.
It would be best if you also kept your portfolio up-to-date with your latest photos. This way, when an agency or client asks to see your work, you have a selection of your best photos to show them.
Here are a few more tips for you to better your chances of becoming a model in Canada:
- Pose Constantly: This isn’t just for when you’re in front of the camera. Posing is a skill that you need to practice all the time. You can do this by observing professional models and practicing in front of the mirror.
- Be Confident: This is so important. No one wants to work with a model who isn’t confident in themselves. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
- Know Your Worth: Be confident in your rates, and don’t take on jobs that don’t pay enough. It’s essential to know your worth as a model and only work with clients who are willing to pay you what you’re worth.
- Keep Learning: The modeling industry is constantly changing, and you need to change with it. Stay up-to-date on the latest trends and learn as much as you can about the industry.
- Pinterest is Your BFF: Use Pinterest to get inspiration for poses, hairstyles, and makeup looks. You can also use it to find out what’s trending in the fashion world.
- Be Professional: This industry is all about first impressions. It would help if you were professional at all times, both in-person and online. This means being punctual, polite, and respectful.
- Never Give Up: Pursuing a modeling career is not easy. There will be a lot of rejections, and you’ll probably get discouraged at times. But if this is something you’re passionate about, don’t give up. Keep pushing forward, and eventually, you’ll reach your goals.
Becoming a model in Canada is not an easy feat. But if you’re determined and willing to put in the work, it’s definitely possible. Remember always to be professional and confident and never give up on your dreams.
What are the Best Cities for Modeling in Canada?
The best cities for modeling in Canada are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. These cities have the most fashion weeks and the most modeling agencies.
Is Becoming a Model Hard?
Becoming a model can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. You need to be dedicated and willing to put in the work. You also need to be confident and professional.
How Much Does Modeling Pay?
This depends on the job. Some jobs may pay $100 while others may pay $3,000 or more. It all depends on the client, the project, and your experience level.
What Do Modeling Agencies Look for?
Modeling agencies are looking for all shapes, sizes, and heights models. They’re also looking for models with a unique look, professionalism, and confidence.
How to Apply for Modeling?
The first step is to create a portfolio of your best photos. You can then start contacting modeling agencies or clients directly.
What Are the Best Modeling Agencies in Canada?
Some of the best modeling agencies in Canada include Dulcedo Management, B&M Models, Anita Norris, Elite Models, and Sutherland Models.
How to Build a Modeling Portfolio?
The best way to build a modeling portfolio is to hire a professional photographer. However, you can also find free or low-cost options by contacting your local photography school or searching online.
How Tall Do You Have to Be for Modeling?
There is no set height requirement for modeling. However, most runway and high fashion models are at least 5’9″.
What Are the Different Types of Modeling?
There are many different types of modeling, including runway, commercial, editorial, fitness, plus-size, and more.