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Perfect photos for submitting to modelling agencies

If you are approaching a modelling agency out of the blue, you’ll probably need to send in some photographs. This article gives advice on how to give yourself the best chance of getting that callback to be invited for an interview.

What photos?

You will usually need to send at least one head shot (face and shoulders) and one full length (head to toe). They should be face on, unless the agency submission guidelines specifically request profile.

Professional or holiday snaps?

It’s not necessary to use professional photographs when approaching a modelling agency, but you’re not going to do yourself any favours by sending in blurry, low quality images either. If you do have access to a professional photographer, it’s worth taking advantage of to give yourself the best chance to get your foot in the door. If you do need to get a non-photographer to take the photo, you still need to use a decent digital camera (a phone camera is simply not going to cut it) and take a lot (think at least 20 or 30) in order to choose the best.

modelling photosBackground and lighting

Keep the background plain and non-distracting, preferably a pale background to help with lighting. Natural light in the day is best, but not when it’s too sunny, or highlights and shadows become to harsh. If the light has to be artificial, make sure it’s sufficient.


You may be tempted to give it your biggest grin, but actually agents prefer to see a neutral expression, as it gives them a better idea of bone structure and the potential for different expressions. Also avoid pouting, this is an even worse idea than smiling.


The best pose is standing up straight, head tall, shoulders back. This is harder than you might think to do naturally, but it will give the agent the best idea of your bodyshape and posture. Striking a dramatic pose isn’t going to impress a modelling agent who sees professional models in all kinds of poses every day.


Unless you’re submitting to a glamour modelling agency, it’s not necessary to be overly revealing in your photographs, but at the same time, you can’t wear lots of clothes that cover up your figure. Shorts or a skirt and a vest top are perfect.


If hair is long, tie it back in a ponytail so it’s not obscuring your face. Hair must be perfectly clean and in great condition. This is not the place to try out eye-catching hairstyles – the agent wants to see what they’ve got to work with, not you or your friend’s handiness with a bottle of hairspray.


Ideally, don’t wear any make-up at all. Again, a modelling agent wants to see you, and the more make-up you have covering up your natural features, the harder it will be for them to see. Covering blemishes with make-up is also short-sighted. They’ll be seen when you go in for an interview. Better to honest now, and who knows, maybe they’ll find that mole gives your look character…

Other tips

Drink lots of water in the days before you’re having your photos taken, and eat lots of fruit and green vegetables. This will give your skin the best chance of being fresh and glowing.

Just before the photos are taken, do a little light exercise. This will bring colour to your cheeks and if you feel energised, it will come across in the photos.

When having a photo taken, try to avoid holding your breath. A lot of people do this instinctively, but it comes across as stiffness in the final picture.