Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Recession earns models 50% paycuts

Apparently, the recession is blazing it's trail through the world of high fashion as well. Fashion designers are taking hits which trickles down to fashion models having to take pay cuts even as much as 50%

A recent report from Reuters states:

"...But at the haute couture shows in Paris, the leggy blondes in silk dresses who advertise a life of luxury are finding their world turned inside out by the economic crisis.

"Half price! It's half-price everywhere, in Milan, even in New York," cried Anna Chyzh, a 23-year-old from Kiev who had just changed out of a Stephane Rolland haute couture gown into jeans and was headed to the next show."

"...Shunned by scrimping shoppers amid rising unemployment and fears of a long, deep recession, retailers across the board have cut profit forecasts and marketing budgets.

Even larger luxury goods groups are feeling the pain. Richemont, the Swiss firm behind Montblanc pens and Cartier watches, announced earlier this year it saw no signs of a recovery after third-quarter sales missed forecasts.

Magazine publishers from Conde Nast, which owns Vogue, to Time Inc are seeing advertising sales dive, and the New York Times has said it expects sales to deteriorate further.

At the January fashion shows in Paris and Milan, a prime advertising opportunity for luxury brands, designers hired fewer models than last year. Models and agents are feeling the pinch."

"...At Premier Model Management in London, an agency that has represented Claudia Schiffer, clients who used to pay a daily rate of 3,000 pounds ($4,200) are now arriving with a budget of 1,500 pounds, director Aidan Jean-Marie told Reuters.

To weather the crisis, agencies are adjusting their mix of so-called "commercial models", who attract a steady stream of low-key jobs such as catalogue shoots, and pricier "image models" who appear on catwalks and magazine covers."

"You need both sides to survive the downturn, but the balance shifts slightly towards the commercial models," said Jean-Marie. "The catwalk girls are not your day-to-day girls, they are anomalies, with measurements they had when they were 16 and still have at 18."

"Karen Diamond, director at Models 1, the agency of supermodel Agyness Deyn, expects the full impact of the crisis to hit later this year since advertising budgets and show schedules are planned far in advance."

"Clients will go with established models rather than giving new faces a break, and it'll be tough for new girls," she said..."

Source Reuters article '"Half-price" fashion models tighten their belts' By Sophie Hardach

Monday, March 9, 2009

Your images need to have credibility to get you work

The boom of amateur modeling Web sites has created a dilemma for casting agents. Amateur and semi-professional photographers along with upcoming stylists read more spend inordinate amounts of time collaborating to create highly stylized images that can not only look good, but also make the subject “beautiful.” These types of images have flooded the market causing distrust in the industry.

The problem for casting agents and agencies is that the images are so manufactured, they can’t rely on them. Have you ever wondered why so few models from these Web sites ever get contracts with the big agencies? Now you know. Casting agents discount the images, the people who create them, and the models in them.

The name of a branded and renowned photographer on the image enhances your credibility and gets industry trust. Respected commercial photographers do not allow modifications to their images, and won’t put their names on pictures that are “manufactured” in Photoshop. That does not mean that the images are not retouched. It implies that they are retouched to industry standards that agencies accept and respect.

The date of the image is also important. All casting agents have been misled by out of date images, therefore a shot with a certified copyright date goes a long way in making them comfortable. A photographer who is well-known in the industry, along with copyright dates gets you the credibility you need to be successful as a model.

By Laurens Antoine, premiere photographer for FHM mag and more

It takes less than 5 seconds for a casting agent to reject you based on first impressions.

Modeling is a first impression business. To get work as a model you need to immediately capture the attention of casting agents. We use “casting agent” to describe agency bookers, photo editors, talent scouts, or anyone that makes the decision on your getting an assignment or signed. They all have one thing in common: Too many models and pictures to look at. Our high impact shots immediately get the attention needed to keep you in the game.

Casting agents rarely look at a complete modeling portfolio. Your comp card (or images you email) have to get you in the door, and the first few images in your modeling portfolio have to close the deal. We shoot for what we call “core” modeling portfolio images, which is what every model needs to get coveted assignments.


Avoid these assignment losing mistakes when selecting images to cast with.

The images in your core modeling portfolio should not be overly artistic or crafted shots. Often, models use the wrong read more images to get the assignment.
Overly stylized scenes detract from the subject and are not useful in getting you work. You are not casting to get a job for a photographer or set builder, this is all about you! Simple, yet attractive backgrounds showing appealing and well composed images, with you as the main focus, are what get work.

Dramatic lighting with strong shadowing may look great, but is also ineffective. What casting agents can’t see makes them suspicious.

Equally unproductive are high fashion shots. If you have done a feature in Vogue by all means use the tear sheet, but commissioning high fashion shots is a mistake. Casting agents don’t want to see what a great job the stylists did, they want to see the real you. Unpublished high fashion shots come off as an amateur approach no matter how beautiful the shot may be.

What you want in your core modeling portfolio are crisp high impact images, properly lit and composed that show you off. Let photographers and stylists focus on their own portfolios—your modeling portfolio is all about you!

By Laurens Antoine, premiere photographer for FHM and more