Saturday, March 28, 2009

Preparing for a photoshoot

A girl over 25 recently asked me about preparing for a photoshoot. This was part of my reply:

Your outfits should be simple. solid colors no crazy desgns or logos. Simple balck dress, jeans and tank top or cute denim jacket or something. I would look at magazines such as Redbook, Cosmo, Marie Claire and get inspired. Notice the ads inside.

I think the best time of day is in the morning like shooting between 9 am and 11am... or 2pm and 4 pm personally.

But a professional photographer should know what is best and the shoot should NOT take all day. You should discuss what you need ahead of time so make sure to do that. You want to focus on getting the nice headshot and full body shots you will need for your commercial print agency submissions and making your compcard. Sure you could shoot other things but make sure you get what you need done first.

For makeup if you can not afford a makeup artist go to a makeup counter at a department store or Sephora. For photography the main thing is having a nice natural lookig foundation, and then making your eyes pop but not tooo tooo much just enough. An example of a good headshot is the girls on the boxes of the hair color, go to the drug store and observe...also when you meet with a makeup artist you should bring with you some samples of the makeup you want from magazine tearsheets you have ripped out. I I would simply ask to have your "eyes done" and Show the makeup artist your examples, and then purchase the eyeliner or mascara for touch ups. Your lips can be natural or with chapstick r some gloss or lipstick.

You might want a more done up look but you also want to totally have a natural look. A not trying to hard look, just a nice pretty headshot.

No matter what you should look like you when the makeup is done, your hair should be natural maybe with more volume but honestly the photos should be an honest portrayal of you, you want the shots to look like you. So nothing nuts or too fashionista...just natural.

It is best to look at ads and get inspired, look at modeling agency websites and communicate with the photographer what YOU need. :)

By thinking of the ads and modeling jobs you can picture yourself realistically doing it will help you plan your photos.

I hope this helps and you have a nice weekend,


Click these past blog posts about modeling photos and making a compcard:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cheap photography tips for models

As you might have noticed I use this blog often to share my replies to girls who ask me questions.

A girl recently ask me how to find the cheapest photography for a compcard, this was part of my reply:

I suggest visiting a photography school or a local college where students are learning, you could be a model for the class and get some headshots done for free.

You could also research headshot photographers in your town.

Sometimes wedding photographers shoot commercial work and headshots as well so be prepared to negotiate a rate you can afford. No matter what you want to work with a professional, someone who knows the craft of photography. That is the best.

A way to save money is to focus on getting the photos that you NEED for a compcard, not just a whole portfolio. Some photographers charge ALOT for a whole portfolio of images but you can save money by just getting what you need. You really only need like two looks and you need a couple close up shots and a couple other shots that involve you in action doing something, laughing, walking down the street, being you, holding a handbag, smiling, walking a dog, putting on makeup. Looking like an ad for something. For a shorter girl commercial print modeling is the best way to go about modeling, for pint modeling you need SMILE shots, energy shots, shots that show your personality because these types of models are needed to model lifestyle products for ads and commercials. So think of the products and ads you realistically think you CAN model and share your ideas with the photographer. A nice headshot, facial shot can be the best shot a model can have. It is best to observe ads that involve headshots, closeups, to get inspired.

And be honest about your budget, if you only have $50 or $100 try to get the most you can out of it that will help you. It is about getting shots that WILL help you, shots an print agency wants to see, so study print agencies, study ads, and focus on getting the shots you need...Just a headshot would be a good start and another couple shots that shows your full body smiling.

1. Know what photos you need. You do not need a whole portfolio. You just need a nice headshot smiling and a full body shot smiling, you could be in a dress for this, or fitness clothing or jeans and tank top.

2. When looking at the photographers work ask yourself, "is this person credible, does this person know the craft of photography or just how to hold a camera? Focus also on lighting and clarity of the shots. Compare the work of the photographer to the photos on the modeling agency's website of models that you want to work with.

3. When meeting the photographer. Explain what YOU need don't just listen and be treated like a rag doll told what you need. Before you even meet the photographer you need to have a clue to what you need. When you meet a photographer meet in a public place or bring a friend. Ask to see samples of the photographers work, their portfolio. You can also bring samples of the type of photos you are looking to out samples from your homework and be prepared to KNOW what you need. Save money and time.

I recently wrote a post on finding a photographer- it is based on hand modeling but the insight can be helpful towards your own pursuits as well.

For printing I use but here also is insight on printing a compcard:

Over-all you should be prepared for a lot of work. Modeling is about what you make of it, the research you do, the trying you put in, the mailing to agencies, re-mailing, trying again and again and being active within your own self promotion.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Working with a photographer- are you clueless?

Recently a girl wrote me on Myspace and stressed how nervous she was because she had a compcard shoot coming up and had no clue what to do or expect.

This was my reply:

You might want to consider delaying the shoot or re-scheduling it until you have spoken to the photographer more in detail about what the shoot will involve. Don't waste time or money.

When it comes to the photos you will need it is best to do some homework looking in lifestyle magazines.

It is best to look at headshots too, look at print ads for lifestyle products, and to go to the shoot with samples of photos you want to create...not just the photographer lead the way. If you want to be a model you have to want to be apart of it. You have to be very much apart of it and be very hands-on with your pursuits. Know what you need. Look at print agency websites and notice what photos the models have.

I have written many posts on what a model needs for her compcard on my blogs and on my youtube videos and I would scroll over my blog before your shoot......the main things are:

a nice friendly smile shot, and shots that show your personality and show you in action, like a print ad for a a product. So imagine the products you would want to model.

Again it is best to look at ads to get inspired. Not fashion ads but ads for lifestyle products.

You might want to have some shots of you running in fitness clothing, or walking down the street walking a dog smiling, the idea is to be yourself, not fake. It is best to look at ads and share examples with the photographer. Don't just show up and expect to be told what you to do...this your pursuit, so make sure you do your homework and be prepared...and have a plan, know what you need and get inspired before you plan a shoot.

Otherwise you will go clueless to a shoot and basically waste time and money.

Try to imagine what you CAN model. DO not produce shots that are tooo fashiony -a print agency doesn't want to see that. They want to see personality, your real self. You being you. So don't over do the makeup and stick to basic colors. Nothing too busy on your tee-shirt no logos, just simple!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Modeling tips and advice videos

Here are a few of my latest modeling tips and advice videos. More can be found at

Modeling payment process:

Modeling poses for hand modeling and shoe modeling:

Monday, March 16, 2009

America's Next Top Model Casting Doom

I was running around the city this weekend ALOT, but I wasn't at the ANTM casting in NYC this weekend, however from what I hear the open call was totally disorganized and thousands of girls came out for it. Yet many of them found America's Next Top Model Casting Doom and this video can explain more:

I am sure only about 200 girls were seen. I think the media hype and the lines is what the show wants, hype. Well it sure got it.

I think if a girl wants to be a model she has to work hard, not wait in line and bet all her pursuits on one casting call for a TV Show. Don't fret shorties. Pick your heels up off the ground, grab your boobstraps and be realistic and smart about what you want, in modeling and life.

Being discovered as a model just doesn't happen anymore. Being picked for a show doesn't mean you will be a success anyways. It is all about what do you in the now and how hard you work.

Mailing your compcards and headshots to an agency, talent agency, casting director is really how you get ahead, especially if you are a new model. You have to mail your material, you have to have material, and you have to work hard.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Styli-Style Cosmetics interview-innovative beauty

Earlier today I interviewed the founders of Styli-Style Cosmetics. We covered the business and consumer side of the beauty industry and the roots of the Styli-Style Brand. All of their products are under $10 but with the quality of high end brands such as Chanel.

You can view the products here and buy and try them at your local CVS, Duane Reade, Rite Aid, Fred Meyer, HEB, Bed, Bath & Beyond and 1,500 over-the-counter beauty supply stores. You can't miss it!

They also have a commercial which features some of their newest innovations and trends here.

My favorite product is the Line & Seal 24 hour eye-liner- in Carbon Black, it is sleek and smooth, glides on easy. Doesn't hurt my eye. I also like the Smokey Eye pencil which is a pencil that isn't even an eye pencil, it isn't an eye shadow, or liner, it is all three in one, with a few easy strokes your eyes are ready and sultry!

There is a special going on right now at Styli-Style and for $24.99 you can get
1 Soho Flat Lip Pencil, 1 Flat Pencil Sharpener, 3 Hipsticks (Cool, Mojo and Hippie Chick), 1 Flat Lip Pencil (Madison), 1 Flat Eye Pencil (Cairo), 1 Matte Black Liquid Eye Liner, 1 product pamphlet and 1 Black Pouch. I think the pouch is very handy for girls on the go, I like it.

To listen to the interview click this link:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lingerie Shopping for less

I pride in knowing I can get hot lingerie, panties and bras for fewer than twenty dollars. Curing money-crunching times, lingerie is an item we can all afford. Here are the places I go to shop hot lingerie without the high price:

Lingerie is also something we CAN afford right now to buy so buy wise and even for undies look for a deal.

Finding a Photographer:The Photography Crisis

Models are told that if an agency asks you to pay for photos it is a scam. Yet the resolve for this is for the model to make her own photos, to use them to submit to agecies and the confusion of what is legit and what isn't when it comes to working with agencies.

A girl on Myspace recently sent me an email that read:
Hi Isobella, my name is______ and I'm an aspiring model. I'm almost 18 years old and I'm just a little over 6ft tall. I've went to two different casting shows and I've had no luck. Well they did call me back, these are two agencies that I've found on the net, they both asked for alot of money. The first one asked for over 500$ and the second one asked for another 500$ just for the photography alone. My mom didn't know much about modelling at first so she thought paying the money was fine. She ended up paying over 500$ for the first agency then she found out that they were taking models to Las Vegas to really see if they made the cut.. my mom flipped out so I ended up not going. The second agency asked for 20$ at first to take about 20 pictures n they'll call me if I made the they called me but the wanted 500$ more for the photography that's when I thought it was phoney. I've been looking for photographers at a cheap price but my step dad told me that I'm not suppose to pay for the photographers but still modelling is my dream so I thought I needed to do what I can to enter. I finally found a photographer for 90$ and I've got an interview with him the 27th March that's coming and I don't know if I should really pay for photographers..I really don't know what to do..I'm turning 18yrs old in July and I think I'm running out of time. I'm living in Montreal, Canada so it's hard because I now moved here almost three yrs ago and I don't know who's fake from who's real. I really would like to move to New York to continue modelling but I really need some advice from models already. Do you think you can help me? Please write back and let me know..Thank You soo much..

This was insight involved within my reply, I hope you find it useful:

1. Actors pay for headshot so why shouldn't models? So,it is ok to pay if your are getting a professional photographer. DO NOT look for photographers on the internet, instead look for ONLY professional photograpehrs who know the craft of photography.

2. Take control of your photo pursuits. Maybe FASHION agencies hand the girls everything (here you go) but that is only a VERY small percent of the modeling business. Most models are commercial print models, working with commercial print modeling agencies...and these girls DO have to get their own photos, headshots and make their own compcards. NOT through the agency but by themselves. Think of it this way:

How do you plan to get the agency? you mail your compcard to them! (This is what I know, I am not a fashion model, I am a print model, so there are no open calls in print. So I have had to mail my photos to an agency to get an agency. So these are my thoughts from a print modeling.)

If you wait for an agency to discover you, or PAY for photography for you then you might miss out on modeling all together. You have to put your effort really hard just to sometimes get an agency. And then, who knows if they will send you on a casting. It is not an easy pursuit!

Mainly it has come down to my own work and hustle. And it is normal to MAKE your own photos adn submissions to agencies. Myself as a model make all my photography needs happen. Sure my agencies give me advice and suggestions. BUT Me, myself makes it and prints it. Then I give it to the agencies to use, market.

I DO NOT get photography though the agency and usually agencies that make this manditory are scams. I do it myself: make my own compcards, headshots, and portfolio photos. I have mailed my compcards to the print modeling agencies and that is how I have booked great modeling work. I take it upon myself to get ahead. Seriously it is typical, normal, and expected in the print world. Not every model is jet set, but many are work great jobs but THEY themselves produced their compcard and headshot.

3. Get over what you see on TV and in the media. Many girls gets ripped off, pay agencies for photos without even knowing who the photographer is and without a say or opinion. This is wrong. You should be comfortable with the photographer, Talk about it ahead of time, and know what is going on. Not just show up. Also you do not need a whole portfolio of images at the start, just the basic shots to submit to an agency. So when it comes to photos all a girl needs to start is a nice smile shot/headshot. And a full body shot showing her in a dress, fitness clothing or casual in tank top and jeans. So don't think you will need like 100 photos to start. Don't waste time or money this way.

4.. It is ok for a girl to make her own photos. Your mom could take them, you should work with a professional for a headshot and some lifestyle shots, but you will get to that later. At the start it is about mailing photos to agencies that show your face,-your smile. And you proportions. In print it is more about personality and less about height and weight. But the biggest thing when it comes to photos, the most important thing is NOT wasting money paying for what YOU DON'T need. So know AHEAD of what you need, should have, what agencies want to see. Before you get photos that DO NOT help you and cost an arm and leg. Sure it would be nice to have evrything always handed to us, but it doesn't happen like that. Many models, most models, the girls you see in commercials and non-fashion ads. Those girls are producing their own photos and mailing them to agencies and casting directors.

5. Remember if fashion doesn't work out then use more than your height and weight and use your personality and try print modeling agencies that work with girls who are workign on more advertising and commercial jobs.
It is ok to pay but I WOULD NOT through an agency. That is a scam.

I would look for a photographer, or even a photography student if you live in a smaller city or town. Try a wedding photographer, try a headshot photographer but do NOT look for photographers on the internet. You want to work with a professional, or for now just submit some snap shots that your mom took, but do not work with people who do not take their photography seriously. Someone who knows the craft of photography is best. Remember, You don't need any glamour shots, or over done fashion shots. YOU NEED SIMPLE. Smile. headshots, wear some jewerly, solid colors. Nothing to crazy. An agency wants to see you for you. So just focus on mainly a nice headshot, and full body shot that shows your smile.

Then mail, mail, mail and expect this modeling pursuit to be a challenge, it is, modeling is not an easy thing, it is a very hard pursuit, but one you can attain to and you get find opportunities, but you have to be smart about it, and not expect it to be a fairytale.

Shopping in Style through the recession tips

I am the budget girl. I live it. I love high end and I treasure what I do have but I am writing articles on budget fashion and it is timely and I hope it inspires you. I recently wrote this one on budget buys that will get you through the recession because:

These days shopping for anything new can bring depression. Or it can be a benefit for the savvy shopper who knows how to get the most out of her buck. The way to spend and not lose is to buy items that are versatile and items that will last and enhance your wardrobe. I mean last, not just this year but until next year. Here are my top 10 items that are worth spending on for the long term benefit.

Enjoy the list found here:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A mother's modeling questions: teen models

A mother reached out to me on Youtube about her 16 yr old daughter modeling and said her daughter would be good for face modeling and asked how she could get into it. This was my reply:

By Face modeling you mean print modeling, commercial print modeling, beauty modeling. Basically modeling in magazines and for products. The best thing to do is to take natural shots of your daughter, you could take them yourself on your digital camera, depending on her age you could send them to print modeling agencies in your city/town. Here are also some ideas for your daughters self promotion in mind. Do not pay an agency for photos. YOU should have more control and make sure you like the work of the photographer and see the work before you ever pay anyways!

I would also notice if there are any local stores that sell dress for girls and go in and get a business card. Then call the store and ask about the marketing for the store and get the name of the person who does the marketing and then ask if you can mail, email or drop off some snap shots of your daughter. Many stores that sell prom dresses in smaller cities use local models for their advertising. Also a local school or college might use models for fashion shows and events. Try to do what you can locally. Mail agencies, look up some TV or production companies, ad agencies, art directors, try to get intouch with the people who hire the models/talent for local commericals and ads. Remember modeling is not just about being pretty and glamourous it is about selling a product so make sure you have photos of your daughter that involve smiles and shows her personality. Notice ads for shoes, accessories, sunglasses, handbags, cell phones, etc-commercial products. Not fashion.

Most people can't afford anything extra these days, I would not suggest paying major bucks at this point for photos or anything.but I would test out what you can do with your own camera to start. Or call local agencies asking if they can refer to you a photographer but YOU should make the choices if you can afford more professional photos. A nice headshot is a good way to start, a smile shot, and for beauty and face shots make sure there is not heavy makeup. Look at ads like Aveeno to get inspired

I also suggest looking in magazines that relate to your daughters age, notice commercials and the print ads. Notice the products the models model that are her age. Haircare, skincare, shoes, accessories.

Mailing photos and trying is the most important thing, it is ALOT of work, and research!

Another thing is making sure your daughter understands that modeling is not all just fashion and that unless she is fashion height she should not pursue that or waste time fooling herself. Models of any height face challenges and for a shorter girl it comes down to using your personality to get print modeling jobs and opportunities with commercial print modeling and talent agencies.

Modeling is about modeling something so also remind her that modeling is not showing off, flaunting photos on the web, or posing like a diva, modeling happens when you actually something 'something'. The main thing is to mail photos of her face, smiling and also still like a close up for a beauty ad, she could be looking away or smiling right to the camera sweetly. Then to print the photos and mail the print photos to print/talent agencies.

I hope this helps,

Styli-Style beauty for under ten bucks

I share some of my favorite Styli-Style cosmetic products in this video, enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Modeling Tips weekly round up

Enjoy these posts I wrote this week on leg modeling, hand modeling, shoe modeling, and tips on styling, headshots, a new website for adjusting photos, and I hope my tips help your pursuits as a model:

A new Photoshop for Models:

Why modeling is not an over night process:

How to find modeling answers with Google:

Leeg modeling and how a shorter girl could do it:

Hand Modeling is meant for petite attractive hands:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Modeling and Photography, Headshots, Compcards

A girl recently wrote me on Myspace some questions and I think you might like the answers I provide!

Her questions:

If I'm a newcomer how many headshots should I take and what type of photos? I would print up 30-50 to start. Mail these out to agencies and casting directors and talent agencies.

Are they commercial print photos or any other specific headshots? For example: Fullbody, entire head and shoulders, and one displaying a personality shot? A headshot and the photo that goes on the front of the compcard should bring out the best in you, it is the first thing people will see so focus on the shot showing your skin looking nice, your hair looking natural but nice, and it can vary from being waist up, to shoulders up. So it really depends on what you want to do. It isn't about copying everyone else, it is about doing what you want to do when it comes to the photos you use. Now I understand as a girl aspiring you might be clueless at times, but think about the jobs you want to get and ask yourself" does this photo say that?" print a photo that is targeted towards the jobs you want to do is best. And you might need different headshots and compcards for different roles, modeling jobs, you might want to do. For example: I have a commercial print modeling compcard that shows more of my personality, and then I have a parts card that shows strickly my "parts". I am 26 but look young, so I have shots that show me more mature in a dress, and then shots that make me look more casual, younger like 20.

Black and White, in color? Either. I think on your compcard you should have one black and white photo. But for a headshot color is actually the trend right now, but you can do either. Either is accepted. *when printing make sure you approve the print job by seeing the images in your hand physically, because what you see on the computer screen isn't always the same printing colors,etc.

Do I need a makeup artist and hair stylist, etc?.-It depends on your skill level and if you can produce a face that is natural looking but fresh at the same time. I think a natural shot is best, some lipstick or gloss, dress up the eyes, but just enough not full blown. It is best to look at ads that relate to the jobs you want to get and commercials and take note! I like Aveeno ads. The girls on the cover of haircolor boxes have nice looks. *ALWAYS make sure the hair is out of your face and especially the eyes! Your eyes are what the photo should go to so make sure you keep your face clear of hair!

Also for more photo and compcard and headshot ideas I would see my videos at youtube:

What sort of outfits should I wear? Jeans, a solid color top, a dress, I would observe some headshots you might see at a website called or you can't go wrong just wearing something you are comfortable in. Be you! I sort of like the waist up shots, but I also think a nice over the shoulder shot with hair out of the face is nice.

When you go to auditions, you will want to bring a photo that fits the audition. If it is for a skincare ad, you will bring closeups and a headshot that shows your skin. If it is for fitness, a shot of your in a bathingsuit is fine, or fitness, but not sexy, more like Shape magazine. Observe photos-the ads you see in Marie Claire, Latina, Glamour, etc and learn!

Hope this helps!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Should you email your Modeling Photos?

A girl recently asked me:

hi Isobella. Thanks for writing back. :)

Thanks for the compliment!

Is it ok to email my photos to the petite modeling companies? I have some doubts because I'm not getting any younger but one of my close pals works in a photograhy business and he convinces me that it's never too late to be a body part model or petite model.. I was told that I have a great smile, great personality and nice skin, etc, so I was thinking why not make a living modeling my best features. It's important doing what I love and finding jobs that suit my personality. I've been dieting and exercising while balancing life.. You are in great shape! What do you eat? I miss being a size 2.. I'm passionate about food LOL and I don't believe in depriving myself.. I exercise and eat healthy and when I have cravings I satisfy that craving by eating a small portion.. Your blogs are movitivating me to give petite modeling a shot! So I don't know if I should wait to lose another 15 pounds before I get my headshots?
Wow, I wrote a long story. Thanks for all your advice.


This was my reply:

First it takes years to build your portfolio and establish yourself before you can "make a living" as a model. However you can make some good money modeling with print modeling agencies.

I would not email. I would print the photos and mail directly. Postal mail.

You can find a list of some print agencies by Googling:

top ten commercial print modeling agencies in NYC.

You will find my blog post at:

This is where I give daily advice on modeling from a realistic perspective.

Print modeling agencies and talent agencies are best to submit to. But submitting through the mail, your actual headshot or compcard is best. The old fashion way is still the way and THIS is where many girls get mislead thinking all it takes to be a model is putting their photo on the internet or relying on email submissions too much.

I think you should wait unless you want to, because it is just your face, will it lose 15 lbs, I doubt it! :) So just print and mail your pictures, because honestly during the hustle of getting modeling work you will most likely make many,many,many different types of headshots and compcards. It is rare that a girl has the same compcard for years and years. You will grow as a model, maybe get experience and you will want to make new headshots and compcards and keep submitting.

The main misconception is that girls think the agencies do everything for you. This is just not true for a short girl. It is a hands-on pursuit and you have to make your own compcard and headhot ( not through the agency but at a printing place or at www. compcard. com) and then mail it to agencies and the agencies use the compcard to mail to their clients, the editors, art directors, etc. Be prepared to know that taking it upon yourself to get ahead is a big part of getting modeling work. Waiting usually doesn't bring much in life anyways.

It isn't always about the most prettiest or perfect either, it is about what the casting director is looking for. It could be a women for a Playtex bra bra or a mom or a grandma, a baby, a brunette, a blond, a girl for a fitness magazine, a girl for a shoe ad, a hand model, -it all depends and for the ways you want to market yourself you should have photos that match what you are going for.

So when you get some photos printed mail. And mail, and mail. Keep trying, it could take a year, months, or longer, for a call back, and even then it doesn't mean you are jetset. Modeling just isn't like that in the print work. It is a hustle. So a girl has to be prepared to self market and know how to do it.

I hope my blog posts help, and can explain more of this in detail.

(I eat salad, pasta, and alot of coffee, water, tea, fruit, veggies, I love seafood.)

I try to answer personally when I can, but if it takes longer than a few days go to my blog, I have most likely wrote about it in the past. :)


Monday, March 2, 2009

Are your modeling dreams stuck on the web?

With so many girls wanting to be model the internet can make it look pretty easy, just download a picture, apply to an online electronic casting call and get booked your first job. But much that is out there on the internet is seriously crap.

Having real talent prevails. And it takes more than just a photo to be a model or actres. Yet the internet model sites and casting sites might promote different it is hardly reliable to think just having a photo will make you discovered.

Here are some things to consider before you kid yourself:

1. Before you accept or submit to a random gig from the web ask yourself "how will this job lead me to the other jobs I want to get?" If you can not show this work to anyone, or will be embaressed or worried about how the job will make you look then do not do it. If you can not use the piece to move you forward then do not do it.

2. You will have to sooner or later meet a person in person so having hardcopies of your headshot and compcard is very important for the audition. Don't think you can manage without these tools.

3. Do not think you can model or act until you have booked a job. Do not think you are pretty enough or talented enough to just be discovered on the web. This very, very rarely happens. It is unrealistic to think paying to put your photo on a website to be seen by casting directors will really get you somewhere because real casting directors are way toooo busy to be scouting the web for talent.

Petite modeling source for advice and tips on modeling and modeling photos and inspiration for the petite models.