Archive for the model & talent tips Category

What is Testing?

Posted in model & talent tips on April 2, 2010 by Clayton Hall

Model & Talent Tip #10:

If you are looking for representation and to be booked for paying jobs as a model or talent, common sense should tell you that you should never present yourself to an agent or potential client in anything less than a professional manner.   That means you should have outstanding photographs of yourself showing your creative range along with professional level training and skills if you are a talent.  If you walk through an agency’s front door unprepared or just simply send in snapshots, even if you are qualified, nine times out of ten your canoe will have sunk before you even begin paddling.  There is just far too much that can go wrong with this approach.

However, if you are fortunate enough to actually send in a snapshot, have an agent call you up for an interview and sign you, guess what the first thing they’re going to tell you is?


Jamie did her homework and it sure paid off!  She sent the Empire West Studios portfolio that you see here to Ford Chicago and they recommended to Ford Robert Black in Scottsdale that they meet her.

If you are the type of person that figures…”if they like me that much…they should pay for my pictures”…I highly recommend you keep your day job! This is your career…your business…the agents job is just to help you market and book yourself. It is the model’s or talent’s responsibility to get the best professional sales and marketing tools possible and when you’re starting your career a great portfolio book and an impressive JPEG portfolio for emailing should be considered serious investments.

Once you’ve signed with an agent, they’re going to hand you a list with their “approved” testing photographers. “Testing photographers” are traditionally photographers who are just learning and starting out themselves and looking to build their own portfolios. The “approved” part means their photos are “usable” by the agency but the cost factor will still be in the hundreds of dollars for a session. The problem is that since these are new photographers you may be lucky to get one or two “usable” pictures out of a session…sometimes none. There are some commercial pros that shoot for agencies on the side for extra money, but they still don’t specialize in Model & Talent Photography so there’s no guarantee of outstanding work that shows off the model’s range of abilities and the cost will be, most likely, higher.

At the same time, Jamie also sent her portfolio to The Leighton Agency.  Their immediate interest in her created quite a competition between the two agencies.

Even after you’ve secured representation, you’ll need to prove that you can do the job before a client will book you for serious money. You do this by showing outstanding photographs in your portfolio and performing in person for the client’s casting director if you’re a talent.   To start getting work you’ll need at least ten to fifteen great shots in your book. With “testing” photographers, it could take you more than a year to put just a “usable” book together let alone a great book, with the cost factor now spiraling beyond your means. The other side of the coin is if you take too long putting an impressive book together, the agency itself will lose interest in working with you and eventually drop you. Getting an outstanding selection of photographs pulled together in a timely manner is of utmost importance if you’re serious about a career as a model or talent.

At Empire West Studios with the completion of your portfolio book and JPEG portfolio for emailing, you will not only be ready to get an agent but you will be ready for client bookings…what we call “client ready”…and we have the success stories and references to back that up!

So make sure you do your homework and are professionally prepared to make your best first impression.  If you do, chances are your success is simply waiting for you to walk through the agency’s front door after all.

Leighton finally won with a slightly different contractual agreement and Jamie broke into the business.  Not too long ago I heard from a source that she had been offered a $100,000 modeling contract.  For this 17 year old, being properly prepared sure did pay off .


Models…Get It Right From The Start!

Posted in model & talent tips on March 26, 2010 by Clayton Hall

Model & Talent Tip #1:  “Start with you!  In the world of modeling YOU are the product and you can’t go to market until the product is right, tried and tested and ready for sale…you could potentially save thousands and thousands of dollars by making sure you are “ready to go to market” before you even walk in the door of an agency…Nothing is worse than meeting someone who is unprepared…” ~ Marcia Rothschild Moellers, Model Agent and Author, “So You Want To Be A Fashion Model?

Bobbi, age 14, 5’9″, 120 lbs. A model’s “willowy look” adds to the illusion
of height and makes clothes look great.

obbi’s hotteen cover in full performance mode shows how great clothes
look on a model type frame.

Marcia’s absolutely correct, folks!  In today’s competitive climate of model conventions, portfolio websites, over solicited model agencies and American Idol reality talent shows it is more important than ever to give yourself the winner’s edge before ever approaching an agency or attending a convention for representation.  First do a self-assessment.  Do I physically have what it takes:  For men and women you must be in good, toned shape.  For a couture fashion model in one of the major fashion centers like New York, London, Paris or Milan a good starting point to begin your career is to be between the ages of 14-22, be 5’9″ (barefoot) or taller, about 125 pounds (size 2-6 max), clear skin and good bone structure.  A fashion model can be slightly shorter (5’8″) in the secondary markets like Phoenix.  Petites 5’4″ to 5’8″.  For female catalog models it’s sizes 4-8.  For plus models it’s size 10 and up but the model must be toned and in good shape!  Men 5’10” to 6’4″, jacket size 38 to 42.  Men’s starting age can vary upwards.  However, a talent such as an actor, dancer, vocalist, etc. need not worry as much about height and weight requirements except for the fact that a good look certainly helps.  However, a talent must have proven professional level ability in the performing artsSecondly, you should have or develop an outgoing, intelligent and inquisitive personality.  Be polite to all you meet and learn how to probe and converse with people.  You must be a pleasure to work with!  Thirdly, have the best photographs made of you by an established photo studio that specializes in Model & Talent Photography.  The photos should show closeups of your face and full lengths of your body in action not just standing still. We call this Performance Photography at Empire West Studios and that’s all that we do.  Combine your self-assessment with a portfolio that looks like it came right out of a fashion magazine and you’ll be far ahead of the pack when you walk into that agency or convention.  Their only question to you will be…”Wow…where have YOU been?”

“Movement attracts!” goes advertising’s rule-of-thumb…no wonder
Bobbi’s action packed montage caught the eye of an agent in Dallas, TX,
one of the largest junior catalog markets in the country.

Chinese model Xin Zhang, 22, 5’11” is perfect for runway (5’10″+)
and edgy editorial fashion.

Performance Photography

Posted in model & talent tips on February 23, 2010 by Clayton Hall

Model & Talent Tip #5

As a prospective model and/or talent, you must separate yourself from the crowd in order to secure representation and book work.  The first place to start is with a stunning portfolio of photographs. Your book will need, what I like to call, the WOW FACTOR!  Wow is achieved primarily through a discipline called Performance Photography, which is the exact opposite of posing like a statue.  It is, in essence, a performance by the model or talent for the photographer. It’s non-stop action…either slow or fast, on or off the ground…that makes for a spontaneous and electric non-contrived photo.  Since few would-be or even professional models have been taught how to do this, it really is a breath of fresh air when industry pros see a portfolio of pictures that literally jump right off the page at them.  This shows that you REEEALY have talent and can work free and loose in a professional environment in front of a cast and crew.

There are different levels of Performance Photography. Anyone can lean on a tree, sit on a couch, skip down the sidewalk or jump over the net on the tennis court.  But how many can be captured perfectly flying through the air, clothes and hair defying gravity, gorgeous make-up punctuated by a beautiful smile, all on a piece of seamless 9-foot wide studio paper in about a five foot working space?  Not many.  And veteran agents and clients realize this immediately when looking at your portfolio.  Performance Photography done on a piece of background paper in a studio setting is the ultimate test of a model and talent…and if “performed” correctly, will capture people’s attention every time over all other types of photography.

With a clientele ranging from New York to Los Angeles, Empire West Studios in Tempe, AZ is regarded as one of the best Model & Talent Photography studios in the nation.  Contact Empire West regarding outstanding MODEL & TALENT PHOTOGRAPHY for CHILDREN, TEENS and ADULTS.  We provide you with the WOW FACTOR edge that will separate you from the pack, get you noticed, and kick start your career in the Fashion and Entertainment Industries.

31 years Experience…15 Years in Tempe…Work is 100% guaranteed…Referrals Valleywide.  Visit our website, check out our amazing photography, and then call 480-303-9359 to schedule your FREE initial consultation.

Model and Talent or Fashion and Beauty Photography?

Posted in model & talent tips on February 16, 2010 by Clayton Hall


Model & Talent Photography is actually a sub-specialty of the Fashion & Beauty discipline in that all the same photographic techniques are used for both.  However, the difference lies in the focus of attention and the end use.  When making fashion or beauty photographs, the photographer is ultimately trying to sell clothes or beauty products for a client, or to highlight new fashion designs in a magazine spread using professional models.  Sometimes a client is after an overall mood using well known or controversial talent, but most of the time the clothes come first…to the point that, sometimes, the model’s face is not even visible in the picture.  On the other hand, Model & Talent Photography is strictly focused on showing off the abilities of aspiring models or talent for the purpose of securing representation and work for them in the Fashion or Entertainment Industries.  This photography approach requires outfits or “looks” to be current, however not overstated or too trendy, in order to keep the attention on the performance of the model or talent.  Model & Talent photographs are packaged both in a portfolio book for in-person presentations and a portfolio website for promotion to agents, clients and magazines via the internet.

Empire West Studios – Model & Talent Photography