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Types of Modeling

    High Fashion Modeling is the modeling for famous fashion houses and designer, either at fashion shows or in publications. The pay rate is the highest among all modeling jobs. Of course, the advertisers' expectations also run high. To get this kind of job you must be experienced and known model with a proven track record for this type of modeling.

    A female model should be 14-19 years old
    Mainstream range 5'9"-5'11"
    Some exceptions being between 5.8"-6.0"
    Weight needs to be between 108-130lbs, in proportion to height
    Dress sizes 6-8
    Desired measurements around 34B-24-34


    FASHION EDITORIAL MODELING - Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Cosmo, etc. - these and many other magazines today that focus on fashion have lots of editorial pages they must fill each month. Many of these editorial pages feature models wearing what the magazine thinks will be the next trend in fashion. Editorial work does not pay as well as other types of high fashion modeling but it is great for building a model's reputation and getting tear sheets for one's portfolio. Also, because fashion magazines are not as constrained as advertising work, they can use more 'extreme' and 'special beauty' models in their pages.

    FASHION RUNWAY MODELING - Clothing designers traditionally show their new collections twice a year (Fall and Spring) to perspective (store) buyers. (buyers is a key word here, if some one is putting on a fashion show without buyer then it is entertainment) As an example, the New York Ready Wear shows just finished with 110 designers presenting collections for Fall 2000 (post 9/11 the number of designers has fallen 30%, note 2010 slow economy has not been kind to the fashion industry). Designers present these collections to a gathering of buyers by sending models down a walkway or runway. How well a model brings the clothes to life and shows important features of the garments can determine how well they sell. So it is worth it to a designer to have the most ideal models show these collections. This leads to why models have to meet very strict requirements and why they get such high fees for this type of work (modeling agencies have also forced up fees). These young models tend to be very tall, slender and move very well in clothes.

    FASHION CATALOG MODELING - There are a lot of clothing catalogs produced. (I know because my significant other gets most of them and tries to keep them all in business by constantly buying from them.) These catalogs, whether business-to-business, store, or direct marketing, require models to pose in the clothes they are trying to sell. Generally, catalog models are picked for a project because they represent the ideal of the market segment for which that catalog is targeted. Often times this is the classic beauty - tall, slender, healthy, and beautiful. The marketing idea is for transference, i.e. if you buy these clothes you will look as nice as the person pictured in the catalog. Catalog modeling usually pays well because of the volume of photos that must be taken. When I was sharing space with a couple of photographers who shot for a department store chain they could be shooting for weeks with models to produce at catalog.

    FASHION PRINT MODELING - This is fashion and beauty for print advertising. It can be display ads or collateral print materials. This is the most demanding work to get but pays the best because of usage and exclusives (this is where models make millions). These are the ads that can make or break a designer's reputation. With these ads it is very important that the concept, photo, and model work perfectly to convey the 'image' that is wanted.

    FASHION SHOW ROOM MODELING - Modeling for buyers in the designer's show room. This is lower pay but very regular work, it could even be a full time job. Only happens where there are designer show rooms.

    FASHION LINGERIE MODELING - Because this type of modeling may be more revealing it requires very good body tone and proportions.

    FASHION BATHING SUIT MODELING - Again, more revealing requires excellent body tone and a healthy look. A number of years ago (like 30, boy am I getting old) we had Jantzen and White Stag here in Portland. Back then I was a competitive swimmer and they would come around the pool and hire models from the swim team - in this case the models were very fit.

    FASHION FITNESS MODELING - As health and fitness has moved more into the public consciousness a greater demand has grown in this type of modeling. Of course being in the city with the corporate headquarters for Nike, Adidas, and Columbia Sportswear makes it very noticeable here. Where once everyone exercised in baggy gray sweats, fitness attire continues to evolve and become more everyday wear. Add to this all of the fitness, health, and outdoor lifestyle magazines that are on the newsstands and you have a fast growing category for modeling.

    FASHION FIT MODELING - Fit models have the perfect proportions for a given clothing size. Garment manufactures and designers hire fit models to use to piece together new creations, see how they move, and develop their patterns. The key for a fit model is to never gain or loose an inch. A clothing manufacturer may hire a fit model as a permanent salary position. It is one type of legitimate modeling that you can see advertised in the classified section of the newspaper. I used to see ads for fit models in our local newspaper for Jantzen and Pendleton, but no more.

    FASHION TEAROOM MODELING - This once was very popular (the '80s) in smaller markets. Usually it would be at ladies' luncheons where models would wander between tables wearing designer clothes from local fashion boutiques. The models would describe the outfit they wore and where to buy it. Not big bucks, but a place to start and gain confidence in a small market.

    FURTHER DIVISIONS - These categories can have further sub-categories for size - petite and plus, and for age - children, preteen, and mature. Petite size models usually are 5'2" to 5'6". Plus size is the same height as standard size models but size 14 -16. Main stream models usually start in around 14 years of age and go to their early twenties. Obviously pre-teen is before this age and mature is everything after it.

    A category of modeling will only be found where there are clients to support it. Since almost all of the fashion magazines are based in New York, that is where you will find work in the fashion editorial modeling category.


    Glamour modeling is modeling for photos with a sexual theme. This might be a simple cheesecake or beefcake photo. They can include bikini, sexy outfits and lingerie modeling. On the cheesecake level, photos can be used for calendars, posters, and other pin-up girl products. You can't pick up a car magazine without seeing a babe by the car or truck. As one moves to greater states of undress you move to the adult entertainment industry with high-end men's magazines like Playboy and then on down to the low-end back-ally magazines. But it is the Internet that dominates this field and is now loaded with all levels of sexual model photos. Glamour modeling and its triple X component is a very big industry. Top glamour models can make as much as top fashion models. But what is different from other types of modeling is all grade levels in glamour modeling can make good money and it is common for an established model to make over $100,000 a year. There are no height or size requirements as in fashion modeling. Where fashion modeling wants you to look like a beanstalk, glamour modeling wants you to have curves like a young Pamela Anderson. Where fashion may want a 'special beauty look', glamour modeling wants traditional drop dead gorgeous; where fashion really only happens in New York, glamour can happen anywhere and does.

    You have to be over 18 to do glamour modeling even cheesecake. With the way the laws are today a photographer runs a real risk doing any kind of sexy photo with someone under 18. With news story reporting mothers are being thrown in jail for photographing their own children taking a bath and putting the photo in a family album, I think the risk is too great and the return too small to do any glamour work with someone under 18. But this field is wide open once one is of legal age. Unlike fashion modeling where you career is over by the time you are 30 with glamour your career could be just getting started. There is even demand for good looking grandmothers in their 50's and 60’s.
    This field is easy to get started in, as there are a lot of photographers who would love to do test shoots and photo assignments on spec. Finding work and getting test shoots has been made easy with several web sites that cater to this field, although getting top high paying work can take as much effort as becoming a high fashion model. I will leave details and how this is all done to some other web sites. But a couple of references are that covers the bikini, lingerie market and for a how to book on success as an adult internet model.


    Body part modeling is a specialty division. You model your foot, hand, leg, neck, etc. You have to have a perfect body part; that means no veins showing, perfect nails if hand or foot, no scars, no wrinkles, it needs to be clean, without blemishes. With hand models, agencies usually look for hands with long slender fingers. 

    Models in this division will also follow the same path as a regular model in the terms of finding an agency, building a portfolio and comp card.


    In this division of modeling you will most likely be doing commercial print work and catalogue; there is other work, like high fashion, if you fit the height and weight requirements, but catalogue and print work make up most of the demographic of work received in this division of modeling.

    Ages 13-17


    Commercial modeling is sort of the catch all for everything that isn't fashion and isn't glamour. It is vast and diverse. The physical requirements can vary greatly. The 'look' can be mom, business executive, scientist, glamorous beauty, etc. The pay can be good but not to the level of the top fashion model and commercial models tend to find work less often. But it can be an area on can work part time at their whole life. Again, the purpose is to sell something - a product, service, or idea.


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