MODELING 101

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Do I Need a Portfolio?
When we have open call, a lot of girls apologize for not having a portfolio. And believe it or not, that’s COMPLETELY fine! In fact, it’s almost preferred. If you’re a fresh face who’s new to modeling, there’s no reason for you to have a portfolio already. No one is expecting you to have found or paid for all of the resources necessary to have done multiple photoshoots on your own; that’s what an agency is for! So please, don’t waste your money trying to do it yourself! All you need to bring to see agencies are good digitals. If you get signed, the development department of the agency will work with you to build your professional modeling portfolio. At Nous, we do everything we can to make sure that it is at no cost to the model. Every agency is different, so make sure you ask first!

What if I already have a portfolio?
If you have been signed with an agency, or have worked as a model before, your portfolio should be a collection of your previous work. It’s important to include images from any prior jobs, so that agencies and potential clients know that you already have working experience under your belt. As far as presentation goes- and we can only speak for ourselves here- it doesn’t really matter to us what your portfolio looks like! Some girls just hand over photos as-is, upload them to their phones or iPads, put them in a manilla or two-pocket folder, laminate them in a three ring binder or trapper; there are all kinds of portfolios and until you’re with an agency, it’s completely up to you how you choose to present it. To each her own!

Building Your Portfolio with an Agency
When you get signed with an agency, one of the first things they’ll do is check your grooming. Do you need your hair color adjusted? Ends trimmed? Do you need to work on your skin care or measurements? Once you’re advised, and ready to move forward, you’ll have your first professional digitals taken at the agency. The agency will then use these digitals to pitch you to photographers who might want to do a practice photoshoot with you to accumulate photos for your portfolio; this is called a “test”.

Some tests cost money, and some can be free. At Nous, if the model doesn’t want to pay for testing, we can happily set our girls up on free tests, but if you’re open to paying for your first test- that’s usually the best way to get you started quickly.

A paid test is when your agency sets you up with a photographer that you hire to photograph you for your portfolio. In LA, they can range from $100-$300 dollars (it’s higher in New York) and they may or may not include a team. A “team”, in addition to the photographer, includes a stylist, makeup artist, hair stylist or an “HMUA”, which is someone who does both hair and makeup. If your paid test doesn’t include a team, that’s totally fine and normal! Similar to your digitals, your portfolio is meant to show your natural beauty and your potential. So keep it simple! You don’t necessarily need your hair and makeup done for your portfolio images.

The benefit of paying for a test is that you have more control over the results and outcome. You’re paying for the photos, so you can ask for exactly what you want. You will also be guaranteed more looks and more resulting photos from a paid test than a free test. So if you’re in a rush to get a portfolio together so that you can start going out on castings ASAP, we think this is the way to go.

If you’re not in a rush, go out on free tests as often as you can! A free test is more of a mutual collaboration for a whole team to get experience and photos for their books. This is where things get tricky, because everyone is looking for different things to suit their different books. The makeup artist will want the makeup to be the focal point of the photos, and same goes for the photographer/photography, hair stylist/hair styling and stylist/styling. Free photoshoots are a blast because of the experimentation, variety and potentially getting to work with a large group of creative people, but it’s more likely that you’ll only get a few good photos for your book from each shoot, rather than a plethora from a paid test. An additional benefit of a free test with a team is that the experience will actually mimic the experience of working your first job more closely than a paid test with a solo photographer. As with anything else, practice makes perfect, and the experience of working with a team is absolutely essential to becoming a great working model.

Digital vs. Hard Copy
If you have an iPad or tablet, your agency can always send you the digital file of your book for you to upload and use instantly. Lots of girls do this, especially in the very start of their careers. Once you start working, we recommend investing in a tangible book that your agency provides. Ours were custom-made from scratch, using various unrelated vendors, so no one else can ever have a book that looks like a Nous Model Management book!  There’s something very powerful about arriving to castings with a beautiful, tangible book that represents your agency, instead of an iPad. But the iPad does the trick too, so ultimately it’s up to you!

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We know this seems almost too simple to make a How To about.  You’d be surprised.  There are definitely right and wrong ways to measure yourself.  To make sure the measurements you’re giving people are accurate according to industry standards, here’s a walk through of exactly where to hold the measuring tape.

Expressing Your Measurements

A model’s measurements are always taken and expressed in threes. This is a measurement of the bust, then waist, then hips, like this: 33-26.5-36.

Taking Your Measurements

Wear something super thin to make sure you’re not adding any extra length. Jeans, even skinny jeans, are the worst! Stick with leggings and a cotton or sheer tank if you can.  The MOST important thing to aim for when taking your measurements is to have someone else measure you if possible. This way, they can see you from all sides to make sure the tape is held in the right places. If you don’t have someone to help, stand in front of a mirror and do the best you can to note proper placement of the tape all the way around you.  Use a flexible measuring tape, not the stiff retractable kind from the hardware store. You can pick one up at most drug stores.

Bust

When measuring your bust, make sure you’re wearing a bra that doesn’t manipulate your natural form, or just skip the bra altogether (woo!).  Have whoever’s measuring you start with their arms around you, holding the tape with both hands at zero.  Then have them spread their arms to allow for the tape to be wrapped to the front.   Bring the two sides of the tape around front to meet in the middle, making sure the tape is pulled tight and centered to where your bra would be in the back, but not tight enough to make an indent.  The notch where the tape meets zero in the front is your bust measurement.  Here the bust measurement is 33.

Waist

This one is pretty simple.  Pull your shirt up and find the tiniest cross section of your waist.  Keep your abs tight and your posture straight, but don’t suck in.  Have your measurer start the same way as they did for your bust.  Both hands around behind you at zero, then stretch to give the tape enough length to be brought around front, and meet in the middle.  Waist measurement as seen here is a 26.5″.

Hips

The hips measurement is often the most important and telling measurement for models.  The biggest mistake that girls make when taking their hip measurement is placing the tape where your belt would be.  To properly measure your hip line, make your feet touch. Stand straight.  Now, find the widest part of your tush in the back.  This is your starting point.  Same method, start around back and pull forward to the front, tight but not tight enough to indent, and meeting around front.  The measurement here is 36.

 

All done!  Write your measurements on your digitals and have them handy for your next casting. Always make sure your measurements are up to date!  Check them before giving them out or bringing them to open call.  Good luck!

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Holly, Bridget, Faith, Zelly, Zeda, Davia, Wase, and Rachel goofing around in our office!

Girls tell us all the time that they have no idea what to do or what to bring with them when they show up for our open call (which, by the way, is always from 3-4pm every Tues-Thurs in case you were wondering). Our open call is super simple; so don’t sweat it! Here’s what you need to know before you come to see us:

Be Prepared. 
If you read our post about how to take your own digitals, you know that agencies want to see your natural beauty. Leave the makeup, heels and fancy bodycon dresses at home. Instead, pick out a pair of leggings or skinny jeans and pair them with a simple tank or tee. Also, skip the curling iron, and just put your hair up in a simple top knot.

Portfolios.

If you’ve already been working as a model either professionally or recreationally, you’ve probably kept a collection of all the work you’ve done thus far. That’s a perfect example of a portfolio. But if this is your first time taking a stab at modeling: NO PORTFOLIO IS NECESSARY! We don’t need you to go out of your way paying for photo shoots out of your own pocket just to impress us. If we love you, we’ll take care of building you a top-notch (and free) portfolio once you’re signed with us. All we need to see are a few simple, clear, straightforward photos called digitals.

 

When to see us.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

3pm-4pm

Where to find us.
Right next to the historic Ivy Restaurant in the Beverly Hills/West Hollywood area of Los Angeles.

GPS:
117 North Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles CA
90048

 

Arriving. 

When you arrive, you’ll see a receptionist at the top of the stairs. Walk through the glass door and let Laura, who will be sitting at the desk, know that you’re there for open call. She’ll ask you to have a seat, and not too long after, Jen will come out to meet you. Her questions are always the same:

  1. How old are you?
  2. How tall are you?
  3. Do you live in the area?

Be honest ladies! If you get signed, we’ll have a copy of your drivers license with your real age. Don’t bother adding an inch to your height, if we like your look, we’ll measure you. And regarding whether or not you live in LA, it’s a yes or no question! ” If I get signed I could live here” isn’t an option. Yes, or no. Modeling in LA is largely casting-based. We need you to be currently living in town to be able to go to castings if you want to book jobs!

Side note: If you have any agency affiliations, like a talent manager or mother agent, this would be the time to let us know.

Evaluation.
Jen will ask for your polaroids, portfolio, or whatever else you’ve brought to show us and will review them with the rest of the Nous team. If we think you have potential, we’ll bring you into the heart of the office to get measured and meet the agents. At Nous, your awesome personality is important, so don’t be shy! Say hello to everyone and don’t forget to smile!

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If the board wants to move forward with evaluating you, we’ll have you fill out an info sheet and have our in-house photographer take a few photos.

While the team is reviewing everything that we’ve collected from you, we’ll have you sit back out in reception or in our Style Lounge.

Last but not least, Jen will come back out to let you know what the verdict is.

Fingers crossed! We’ve given you all the tools you need to succeed. We’re always looking for fresh faces to join our crew, so come on in and see us! What have you got to lose?

Not able to make our open call times? Submit your digitals online here.

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Welcome to the first Nous Zine Industry Insider
We’ve noticed that there aren’t that many quality resources for girls who want to be models. There’s a lot to know! We want to make sure every girl has the best chances possible of getting signed – in comes the Nous Zine Industry Insider.

Going forward, we’ll be sharing modeling hacks and industry secrets that provide you with all you need to know about breaking into the biz. We’ll cover everything from open call to casting calls, getting signed to staying signed.

Today, we’re going to cover the very first step to getting signed: Taking the right kind of photos to bring with you to open call.

Open Call is a No Selfie Zone
Many girls tell us when they come in that they didn’t know what kind of photos to bring, and that’s totally okay!

Some girls just pull up their Instagram or Facebook accounts on their phones. Which can be fine, but the truth of the matter is that your selfies aren’t going to do the trick. Why? Because the angle of a selfie isn’t very telling of what you actually look like. All we really want to see is you at your simplest self, both close ups and full body, from a few different angles. Enter: the “digital”.

Digitals are the New Polaroid
Anyone remember back in the day when digital and phone cameras weren’t even a thing yet? We don’t blame you if you don’t; it’s hard to remember life before the iPhone! Way back agencies used to take Polaroids of models who came in for open call so that they could immediately see what they photographed like instead of waiting to develop film. Now that we have digital cameras and don’t need to rely on instant film to see the photo right away, a “digital” is the same thing as what used to be called “polaroids”. It’s just an instant, raw, accurate representation of how the model photographs. No bells and whistles, just you.

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1. Get Prepared

We don’t want to see how pretty you could be, we want to see how pretty you are! These makeunder tips will prepare you for your best digitals:

· Take off the heavy makeup. Very light, natural makeup or even no makeup at all is best!

· Get your hair out of your face. We love a good top knot!

· Take off your jewelry and accessories.

· Pick out some super simple clothes. You know your wardrobe and your body, pick a top and a bottom that are form-flattering. No dresses or skirts! They’ll hide your beautiful waist and legs. We suggest a basic tee or spaghetti strap tank with skinny jeans or shorts.

2. It’s all about the light
If the place that you take your photos is too dark or too light, the photos won’t show your true beauty accurately. Find a spot that is lit by the sun but isn’t in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will either over-light you, making you look washed out, or will create unflattering shadows. Shaded areas with light close nearby are perfect. Feel it out and go with the flow, trying out different options. Once you find your perfect spot, remember what time you took the photos for next time! The sun moves and sometimes a spot that worked earlier in the day, may not work later.

3. Ready to shoot
Incase we haven’t already made it clear, digitals aren’t fancy! Grab your friend, your mom, or even a camera, laptop or phone with a self-timing app like TimerCam. Whoever is taking your photos, just make sure it’s not you behind the lens; this is your time to shine! Whether it’s a device or whoever you can rope in for a few minutes to help you out, take at least a dozen photos of each of these angles, giving yourself options to pick out your favorites.

Here are some of the models’ top-notch digitals paired with “don’t” photos, as created by Jen and Laura from the in-house Nous team:

Donezo!
When you’re all finished and have picked your favorite of each angle, do not photoshop or alter your new digitals!! They’re perfect just the way they are. Don’t put them on a USB thumb drive, and no need to get them specially printed. If you plan on coming to our open call just upload them to your phone or tablet, or print them out at home and bring them with you! If you’d rather send them to us online, submit by uploading the files here. Fingers crossed ladies! Consider yourself officially prepared for the first step to becoming a model.

Stay tuned for our next Industry Insider: What to Expect at Open Call.