How to become a model

I first started a models guide in 2002. It quickly became one of the most respected resources on the Internet for aspiring models. For its ten year anniversary in 2012, it was completely revised.

I regret that time constraints no longer allow me to update Wolf’s Models Guide. Rather than publishing out-of-date information, I have decided to stop its publication.

The core rules, however, will probably not go out of fashion quickly:

  1. If you want to be signed up by an agency, you do not need a portfolio. Check out the submission guidelines on their websites: Generally, one clear headshot and one full-length shot are all they want to see initially. These do not need to be produced professionally.
  2. If an agency asks you to pay money for signing up, being on their books, a portfolio, etc., it is likely to be a scam. Never pay money to an agency and remember that reputable agencies do not ask for your money.
  3. If you want to market your talents on one of the online modelling sites, you will need a few photographs to begin with but a handful of clear amateur shots should suffice. Photographers may contact you and offer to work “for time” – you put in your time and talents and in exchange you get images for your portfolio. No money changes hands.
  4. If you have fallen for a scam, report it to the police and/or trading standards, and then write it off to experience. You are very unlikely to get your money back.

Here are some popular modelling scams that you should be able to spot easily and avoid:

  1. Self-named agents, media recruitment agencies and Internet modelling sites (including certain portfolio hosting sites), who promise to find you work but don’t. They only pose as agencies and make their money purely by selling (often over-priced and low quality) portfolios to aspiring models. More ways of making money for pretend-agencies include joining fees and annual fees. The most you get, if you are lucky, is a listing on a useless website that nobody visits.
  2. Facilitators are companies that make it clear that they are not model agencies but claim that they will submit your photos and details to model agencies. Facilitators trick you into thinking that you need a model portfolio – not so. The facilitator will then refer you to a photographer or photo studio to have a portfolio produced and, once, this is achieved, to model agencies, which charge upfront fees. Facilitator, photo studio and model agency are often one and the same, and they all want you to sign up with them for a fee. Popular sales pitch: “We already have work for you but you first need to sign up with us and have a portfolio produced …”, which usually comes with a heavy price tag.
  3. People, who claim to represent an actual photographer or agency but don’t and who try to pull off an advance-fee fraud. They all have one aim: To take as much money as they can from you without providing anything in exchange. They are good at making you think that passing on their “once in a lifetime opportunity” will make your dream of becoming a model end. Don’t be naïve, don’t become a victim: If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Really!

Last updated: 28 March 2015