Commercial Modeling Tips: Insider Secrets to Success (Part 3 of 3)

Commercial Model Aaron Marcus. Aaron Marcus

This is Part 3 of a 3 Part Article

Please click here for Part 1 of Commercial Modeling - Insider Tips for a Successful Career

Mistake #2: Agreeing to something called TFP: Trade for Prints or Time for Prints. This is an arrangement between a model and photographer where no money exchanges hands. Instead, the model receives a limited license for the best photographs from the shoot, and in return the photographer gets to boost their portfolio or test out new equipment.

While TFP arrangements may sound like a great deal (who doesn’t love free stuff?), there’s a good chance that the photographer isn’t experienced enough to produce quality, believable photos. Remember, when it comes to comp cards, you only have one chance to put forth the impression that you’re serious about modeling and that you want to do it right. 

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What should commercial models wear in their comp card photos?

Commercial models need to be really careful with their wardrobes. Your clothing should be like nice wallpaper—something that enhances the photo but does not make people stare. So, steer clear of primary colors  such as red, blue, and yellow, and instead stick with soft pastels, earth tones, and black and white. Avoid gaudy jewelry and bold patterns like floral or plaids, and leave your wedding ring at home unless it suits the particular look or image you are portraying.

Also, choose clothing without logos or brand names. If a competing company sees your comp card, they won’t hire you for that reason alone.

In a nutshell, don’t wear anything that will take the attention away from you. Unlike fashion photography, which is all about the clothes, commercial photography is all about looking like an ad.


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What are some good examples of poses for children or teenagers?

The best poses are the ones that come naturally to you. Remember, commercial models of any age shouldn’t try too hard to look like a model. It’s all about being believable!

If you’re looking for some guidance for yourself or your child, take a look at the advertising supplements that come with your local newspaper or browse the online portfolios of kids in your age group. These fantastic (and free!) resources will show all types of poses and will reassure you that the more natural you look, the better you look. 

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Should male models show off their abs in their comp card?

The basic rule is: If you don’t have a 6 pack, don’t take your shirt off. There are plenty of looks you can create that don’t require showing skin, such as a business look, father look, or husband look.

That said, if you have an athletic body, by all means show it off! But don’t just stand there with your abs hanging out. You still need to incorporate them into a believable commercial pose, like tossing around a football or hanging with friends at the beach.



Click here to learn more about Aaron Marcus and how you can book a One on One Coaching Session with him to help you succeed in your commercial modeling career.