10 Sure Fire Ways to Fail Miserably At Modeling (A Photographer’s Perspective)

I swear I’m nice as pie… but amateur models sometimes bring out the worst in me!  As a professional, working photographer with a business to run and schedules to meet, it’s frustrating to come across so many aspiring models who do not treat the business of modeling like a business.  Many are just going through the motions as if they want to fail.  Or collecting a few images to post on Facebook before moving on to something else.  And if that’s the case then please read this article, but  pay attention to only the bold, numbered items.  You’ll be on the quick path to nowhere faster than Miley Cyrus can twerk her butt… I guarantee it!  But for the rest of you out there who are serious about succeeding at modeling: please read between those bold lines and I’ll see you on the other end.

I now present to you: 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Fail Miserably at Modeling.  Enjoy!  🙂

1. Don’t Read Messages

Dead air makes me nervous!  If I message a model and don’t hear back within 24 hours, I’ll assume you’re not interested or available.  Worse is to ask questions that have already been answered by email or sitemail or texting.  It tells me you’re not interested enough to read what I’m saying, or maybe you don’t mind wasting my time.

2.  Ignore Phone Calls

That phone that’s constantly in your hand can do more than send texts and snap selfies in the mirror.  If your client calls, don’t screen it and respond with a text.  And for the love of God, don’t announce bad news by texting!  If you hide behind a text, we will safely assume you’re lying about the reasons you are running late or can’t make it.  Try picking up the phone and calling…  you’ll impress the heck out of everyone.

3.  Be a Diva

I kid you not: everyone in this industry knows everyone else and talks behind each other’s backs.  Not just locally, coast-to-coast we all seem to be up in each other’s business.  Us photographer types LOVE to share horror stories about models we hate.  If you have a bad attitude at photo shoots or make our lives difficult, we return the favor in kind.

4.  Arrive Empty-Handed

We’re all human and make mistakes.  It’s easy to forget something on the day of a shoot.  But if you are asked to bring certain items and show up with only half of what was requested, you’ve just ruined the shoot for everyone involved.  Nice work (not!)

5. Show Up Late

On behalf of all photographers I make this desperate plea:  Please, please, please show up on time for your shoot!  By “on time” I mean a little early.  Chronic lateness seems to be the single biggest disease affecting our modeling youth today.  Seriously… get in the car 15 minutes earlier.  Better to show up looking like Hell, than to show up late.

6.  Rely on your GPS

Since we’re on the subject of lateness –  I’m always amazed how people living in a technological society do not know how to read a map.  I have seen this scenario too many times:  new model jumps into her car to drive to a photo shoot, enters the address into a GPS or phone, and discovers the location is further away than she thought it was.  Don’t be a dummy, enter the address into Mapquest or Google Maps the night before.  KThnxBye.

7.  Party Like a Rock Star!

Do I really need to say this?  Yes, I do.  Clubbing is a deep, dark hole which seems to suck up so much of our modeling talent.  Don’t go partying till the wee hours the night before a shoot. You’re going to wake up looking and feeling terrible… if you wake up at all.

8.  Stay Put

Unless you live in New York or Los Angeles, there’s just not that much modeling work in your own backyard.  If you can’t travel outside of your local area, at least on occasion, you’ll never make it.   Sometimes you gotta go where the action is.

9.  Wait to be Discovered

Pretty is not enough.  Talent is not always necessary.  These are minimum requirements that everyone should possess in the industry.  Ambition, salesmanship and personality will get you farther, faster and if I were a betting man, I’d lay my money on ambition.  Don’t sit on your hands waiting for the world to beat a path to your door.   Get out and knock on doors instead.

10.  Work in Retail

I’m not joking : QUIT YOUR DAY JOB.    If you are serious about modeling, you need to be available to model.  That not only means having time for photo shoots and events, but also to go to meetings and castings, and to investigate potential clients and agencies.  Not to mention all the messaging that goes into the daily life of a model.  There’s a zillion little details that will eat up all your time.  If you have a retail gig with crazy hours that change every week, clients and agencies can’t be expected to care to keep up with your schedule.  It’s not unusual for a job to go to the first person who is available for a last-minute booking.


If you’ve read this far, and read all the text on the page (not just the bold stuff) then you are well on your way to modeling success.  I wish you nothing but the best!  🙂

Written by Jim Jurica