Commercial Modeling Tips: Insider Secrets to Success (Part 2 of 3)

Beautiful woman posing with shopping bags and luggage
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This is Part 2 of a 3 Part Article. Please click here for Part 1 of Commercial Modeling - Insider Tips for a Successful Career

How Does Casting Work for Commercial Models?

Commercial models are booked in quite a few ways! Some might be sent to casting calls by their agency, while others might find jobs through referrals.

Here are a few scenarios:

  • A local restaurant needs some photos of food for their menu or their advertisements. They contact a photographer, and the photographer asks if they’d also like some shots of families eating. The restaurant thinks this is a great idea but has no idea where to find models or how much it’ll cost. The photographer, having worked in the industry for quite a while, knows some excellent models that fit within the client’s budget and offers to source his favorite ones.
  • An ad agency gets in touch with local modeling agencies and sends over their criteria (for example a Caucasian female between the ages of 50 and 60 or an African American male between the ages of 20 and 25). The models who fit the bill then attend a casting call (sometimes called a go-see or a cattle call) and the client and ad agency pick the best model(s) for the job.  

Sometimes clients contact photographers directly. They’ll give the photographer some general guidelines (“We want 3 guys and a girl”), then it’s up to the photographer to contact all of the models he knows and likes and put together a go-see.  

What Do Casting Directors, Photographers, and Other Industry Professionals Look for in a Commercial Model?

You may be surprised to learn that what you look like is #5 on the list! More important than looks, clients are looking for models who are reliable, responsible, respectful, and accessible.

Can they get in touch with you? Do you return phone calls? The commercial models who get the most work are always the ones who meet all of this criteria. If you have issues, nobody will want to work with you.

What Is a Comp Card?

A comp card, also called a composite card, composite sheet, or z card, is a marketing tool that models use to promote themselves.

It’s essentially a business card that contains the model’s stats and contact information as well as several professional photos. There’s no set formula for the layout, but there’s typically one photo on the front and three or four shots on the back.

What Are Some of the Biggest Mistakes Commercial Models Make When Choosing a Photographer?

Hiring the wrong photographer to put together your commercial looks. Not all wedding photographers can photograph models, and not all photojournalists can photograph models! What you need is to find a photographer who specializes in making comp cards that sell. 

Your comp card is your calling card—your most important tool. So not only do you want to find a professional commercial modeling photographer, but you also want to find one who goes the extra mile to capture believable moments with a variety of expressions and emotions (ie. no cheesy poses in front of purple curtains). Want to look like a teacher? Then get inside a school. Want to look like a salesperson? Then go inside a store. The right photographer will make your photos look like ads, not like snapshots taken in your backyard, which is alright for fashion models but not for professional commercial models.


Click here to go to Part 3 of Commercial Modeling - Insider Secrets to Success

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