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On-the-Job Tips for Models

It can be a bit overwhelming when you get on set for a shoot or runway show, especially if it’s one of your first bookings. There are usually many people around doing several different things, and it can be really easy to get distracted and lose focus on your job as a model.

Whether it’s your first booking or you’re a seasoned veteran at this point, there are things you should always do as soon as you get the email from your agent confirming your booking. You always want to be prepared and professional, so read below for some tips on what to do and how to handle yourself when you’re on the job!

Always Read the Brief

Whenever you’re booked for a job, whether it be a photo shoot or runway show, you will always get an email with a ‘brief’ on the time, location, contact info, pay rate/conditions, and any other pertinent information you need to know (i.e., specific things you need to bring). Make sure you read this email thoroughly many times over to be sure you know exactly what’s going on and what’s expected of you. If they request you to bring something you don’t have, let them know immediately so they can make arrangements to make sure that item is covered. If you’re told to show up makeup ready, make sure you know what look they’re expecting of you (more natural or full glam).

Do Your Research

Once you get confirmed for a booking, do your homework and research the client and photographer ahead of time. Unless you were booked super last minute and only have enough time to get to the location, always at least have a general idea of who you’re doing the job for. Are they super commercial and cheerful, or is their vibe moodier and more editorial? Knowing what to expect will help you as a model to transform into the character the client wants.

Arrive Early

"Early is on time and on time is late" is a motto you need to live by. Models have always had the inaccurate reputation of being late, so don’t give them fuel to add to that stereotype! Once you know the time and address of where you need to be, do whatever it takes to get there early.

Have a Good Attitude

The quickest way to give yourself a less than desirable work reputation is to have a bad attitude when you’re on set. The call-time could be at the crack of dawn, your hair/makeup might look awful, or you may hate every outfit they give you, but do not complain or comment that you’re less than pleased about your current state of affairs. Remember that they are paying you to be there, and they could’ve chosen another model instead of you. If your life, morals, or health are not in danger, be humble and happy to be there.

Be Prepared

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again- a professional model is a prepared model. Even if I know a whole glam team is going to be there to take care of hair and makeup, I will still always bring my model bag that contains anything that I may need for that day (see my posts on what to pack in your runway model bag and photoshoot model bag).


The fastest way to get a bad reputation? Walk onto the set as if you're a supermodel and everyone else is at your beck and call. Or sucking up to the photographer/designer/client and dismissing the rest of the production crew. Never treat anyone on set like they are below you. Just because they aren’t in front of the camera or the one calling all the shots doesn’t mean they don’t have just as important of a role as you do.

Don't Mistreat the Clothing

Eating, drinking, sitting, and going to the restroom while wearing anyone’s clothes other than your own is a huge no-no. Be aware of your movements after you’re dressed, and be mindful of keeping your outfit from getting stepped on, torn, or snagged. If you need assistance doing something to avoid possibly ruining what you're wearing, don't hesitate to ask for help.

Also, when you remove your garments, DO NOT just leave them lying in a pile on the floor. Trust me, I know what it's like to be there all day and change into look after look, but if your garment came on a hanger, you need to put it back on that hanger before moving on to the next outfit. If you are wearing jewelry that isn't yours, be sure to hand it back to the stylist and not just leave it on a random table.

Be Present

Don't have your phone out the entire time you’re not in front of the camera. Be present and available for whatever direction is given to you. Also, take advantage of this time to network. Make it a point to say hello to everyone, from the hairstylists and makeup artists to the stylists and production crew. You never know who somebody may be able to connect you to or what friendships you will make!

Be sure you give your full attention to the people in charge when they ask for it. They make sure everything runs smoothly and have already logged many hours before you arrived. Pay attention to direction, stay focused, and remember you’re there to work.


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