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Ways to contact a model agency

It is very easy - simply register with us and get your free model evaluation!Whatever way you decide to make contact with an agency, they will need a couple of photos of you to see how well your features stand up to being photographed.

All you really need for this is you, a friend and a digital camera.

Most agencies require a head-shot (head and shoulders, taken from the front) and a full body-shot (head to toe, again taken head-on). Before snapping away, always check the agency's website first as they will usually have a page that stipulates application requirements - some agencies prefer a head-shot and a profile-shot. Don't worry if your photographer isn't brimming with previous experience: a good agent will be able to tell if you are photogenic from non-professional snapshots.

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These photos need to be shot in good light (natural or artificial). The background needs to be as clutter-free as you can make it – standing against a blank wall is perfect. In terms of posing, stand up straight with your shoulders back. It's easier said than done, but resist the compulsion to smile or pout. Most agencies prefer a relaxed, neutral expression so they can get a good idea of your bone structure and how it reads on camera.

Like the photo, you must present yourself as a clean, uncluttered canvas. Do not make the common mistake of over-dressing. A simple vest and a good pair of jeans are ideal.

With hair and make-up, think pared down but polished. Clean hair is a must – if it is long, pull it back off your face into a ponytail. For women, use make-up sparingly to define your features so they don't wash out on camera. However much make-up you think you might need, decrease it by 25%. An agent wants to see you , not what you can do with a Ruby & Millie retractable eye pencil. For male and female models, upping your daily intake of water for a few days before you're due to take your photos is also a good idea, as your skin will be properly hydrated and will look its best.

Attention to detail here is crucial: self-presentation is all-important when making that first vital connection with an agency. You want to show your potential to its full advantage. If you need more detailed advice, Models Connect can advise you on what agencies are looking for. Consult photo guide. This will give you pointers on what types of photographs are acceptable, along with advice on how to measure yourself accurately.

Once you are armed with two photos that you are happy with, there are three main ways to contact a modelling agency :

  • By post
  • By email
  • In person

Contacting an agency by post is fairly straightforward. Send your photos, along with a SAE and brief covering letter (outlining any previous experience and your vital statistics), to the agency marking the envelope for the attention of the ‘New Faces Division' (every agency has one).

Your vital statistics for modelling will be the following:

  • Height
  • Chest / bust size
  • Waist & hip measurements
  • Age
  • Hair and eye colour
  • Dress & shoe size

When compiling your statistics, always be honest. It may be tempting to shave off an inch or two off your waist measurement, or add a few inches to your height – but it would be a mistake. If you state your height as 5'9” when you're actually 5'6”, the agent will not thank you for wasting their time when they agree to meet you in person.

The process is very similar when submitting your details to a model agency by email. Many agency websites now have the facility to allow you to upload your photographs directly to them. Again, expect to fill in a form online with your statistics and contact details – honesty is the best policy! If contacting an agency via the internet is the best option for you, Models Connect can help: we have an established network of modelling agencies that use the website to scout for new talent. Registering with Models Connect is a way of making that valuable contact with the industry – once you have registered you can create an online profile of yourself (including your downloaded photos) which can be sent forward directly to any of the agencies within the Models Connect network.

Some agencies have regular ‘open castings', which anyone can attend and meet with agents to see if they have what it takes. To see if your chosen agency does this, phone them to check.

Alternatively, if the agency does not do this, and you are able to get to London easily, you can ring up and book an appointment to see an agent (clarify when calling that you need to be seen by someone in the New Faces Division). Many agencies have particular days or times set aside to see ‘walk-ins'. When deciding on what to wear think back to how you presented yourself in the photo and go with that look. Think clean, modern and polished. By dressing in this way, you are presenting yourself as a blank canvas onto which an agent can project and speculate how best to fit you into an already-teeming industry. Presenting yourself in this way also has the added bonus of making you look professional, and flags up to the agent that you know what you're doing. Don't forget to bring your photos along with you as an agent will need to see how your features translate on film, as well as seeing you in person.

Whatever way you decide to make contact with an agency, you will receive some kind of feedback. Listen, look and learn. Listen to advice and constructive criticism offered. Be prepared for the fact that some of it may not be what you want to hear.

If an agent suggests that you may not be right for that sector of the industry because of a height issue (many agencies won't accept models under 5'9” for editorial work), don't automatically give up: if you are very young (aged 16 or under), it might be worth waiting six months to see if you grow some more. If you're older and about as grown as you're likely to get, be realistic. If you're 5' 7” and desperately want to break into high-fashion modelling, you will have to accept that the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against you. Yes, Kate Moss did it but there is a reason why the ‘exception to the rule' is never written in the plural. It's certainly not impossible, but in order to break through that barrier you will have to be truly exceptional.

When you are contacting agencies, accept that rejection is all part and parcel of the experience, and be flexible and open-minded in terms of looking for opportunities. If an agent suggests that you explore a different sector of the modelling industry, don't be afraid to ask for recommendations on where to go next. It's a big modelling world out there - if you are not quite right for one area, you may fit in perfectly somewhere else!

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