Are you wondering about how to become a fitness model? All that time and effort to sculpt your body into the best possible shape has finally paid off. Are you now looking for the next challenge, for something more than just a lifestyle, something you can build a career out of?
AEFM is an elite talent management company representing an exclusive group of multi-talented fitness and athletic models. Founded in 2014 by Jason Shepherd, AEFM is a young and vibrant agency providing unique opportunities for our models and our brands.
As a boutique agency, we represent hundreds of highly skilled models in the fitness space. Proficient in sports such as track and field, martial arts, ball sports, gymnastics and more, our models are regarded as the best in the industry.
We work with a range of clients including fitness and lifestyle companies, as well as luxury brands. We also work directly with creative agencies, advertising agencies and production companies that specialise in the fitness and lifestyle niche.
This guide is designed to provide you with all the information you need to succeed in AEFM and bring the best results for our clients.
Athletic Niché Market
Fitness modelling might seem like a particular career option within a niche market, but with the rise of social media giants such as Instagram, people all across the world are trying to be discovered. Hashtags like #FitnessModel or #FitnessModelling generates thousands of new images every minute, and of course, companies and brands are also looking for their next ambassador. This is where you, the fitness talent, step in and here’s what you need to know to launch your career in the fitness modelling industry
Fitness modelling is like everything else in life – you can be anything you want if you put your mind (and your best pose) to it! If you love what you do, technically, it won’t feel like work. When you’re just getting started in the fitness modelling industry, you should take every meeting, every casting, go for every opportunity, and always remember that for every job you want, there are hundreds of others hoping to get it too. So it’s in your best interest to be prepared.
Let’s begin… But before we start discussing model agencies, mentors or photographers, the first piece of research you need to undertake is about YOU. You need to know yourself and the image you want to present to others, inside out. The modern proverb, ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ (Williams 1919) couldn’t be more appropriate here and it gives the professional bodies you will come into contact with a sense of commitment, discipline and sheer hard work you are prepared to put in to succeed.
So, just as you would for an interview, start by making a list of your skills, best features, attributes and personality traits.
You could include the following points:
- All of your skills. What are you good at? Sports, gym, routines, jokes, singing ability, etc.
- Your best physical features. You know, all the things you get complimented on and don’t be modest.
- Your experience: any courses, expertise and official training you’ve taken. Preferably with formal certification.
- Your entire history and experience. List all your jobs, including part-time and voluntary positions.
- Add a touch of personality! What makes your heart sing?
Now, take a step back and try to detach yourself from the list – pretend you are looking at someone you don’t know. What do you see? What skills, experiences, and knowledge jump out? And most importantly, which ones are unique to you?
For further development of your career, you’ll want to ensure you’re gaining exposure to clients. Below is a list of websites to join, as well as a handful of Facebook Groups. You should continue to search and join more of these as you find them.
Note: The photographer may bring along with them a Model Release Form. This is a document that outlines how, when, and where they’re able to use your images – so be careful when signing these. Always read the document before signing and if there’s anything you don’t understand, don’t sign it!
Modelling & acting job postings. Great place to network and find work. Here’s how to get set up:
- Sign up for free.
- Upload your profile picture and bio.
- Include that you’re looking to collaborate with photographers and gain practical experience.
Similar to StarNow, but more focussed on modelling. Here’s how to get set up:
- Sign up for free.
- Upload your entire portfolio and connect to social media.
Last Minute Photoshoot group www.facebook.com/LastMinutePhotoshoot
For regularly posted job and casting opportunities. You’re encouraged to forward your initial portfolio and your Composition Card to the casting director.
Models & Photographers (Australia) group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447953178798161/) Great for collaborations, when you’re posting in these groups, make sure you’re available in the same state and the group is based.
Here’s an example of a post you may put up in one of the groups: (be sure to include your portfolio shot by AEFM as well as links to your portfolio on the AEFM website for reference).
Hi – I’m a new model looking to gain further practical experience in exchange for TFP or other collaborations. Here’s my portfolio/website [link].
In addition to the initial photo shoot with us, you’ll likely want to continue to update and add to your portfolio. Jump to the Networking section on ways that you can gain additional photos.
A common term you’ll hear when you’re starting out is TFP (Time For Print). TFP is an arrangement between a model and a photographer where they agree to mutually share their expertise with the other. In such an agreement the photographer will generally agree to provide the model with a selection of the best photos of the shoot to use for their portfolio in exchange for the photographer also being able to use the photos for theirs.
When you’re starting out, collaboration arrangement is highly encouraged as it allows you to gain more experience in honing your craft. It’s also a great way to network and meet people in the business, plus it enables you to get some great shots of yourself to use on social media and in your portfolio.
In addition to collaborations, we encourage you to reach out to fitness companies directly and send them a copy of your digital composition card. Not only will you have the possibility of gaining work, but it will also allow you to build valuable contacts and get your name out there. For a list of companies, you may want to approach head here.
Social Media is an amazing tool for promoting your own personal brand as well as sharing the great work you’re doing with our agency. In addition, it’s a great tool for networking with photographers and another talent for possible collaborations.
It’s crucial that you take care with what you post on your public profile and maintain a level of professionalism. This means no racism, nudity, bullying, vulgarity or anything else that could harm AEFM International or your own brand.
Be sure to follow AEFM International on Facebook by going to fb.com/AEFMInternational and on Instagram: @AEFM_International.
In preparation for finding work
Keeping a healthy body can seem like a difficult task, but most people already have a sense of what is and isn’t good for their bodies. As an AEFM model, respecting your body is paramount. Here are some tips on maintaining your health.
For a Healthy Body
- Never go outside without sun protection, even in winter.
- Ensure that you sleep 7-9 hours every night.
- Drink a minimum of 1.5-2 litres of water per day, more on hot days.
- Don’t smoke, drink excessively or take drugs.
- Exercise at least 4-days per week.
For a Healthy Appearance
- Only use tried and tested skin products and consider professional advice on what will work best for your skin type.
- Avoid highly processed or fast food.
- Regular hair treatments will minimise split ends.
- Find and maintain the perfect style haircut to accentuate your natural features (& facial hair).
For a Healthy Mind
- Maintain a positive outlook and attitude.
- Revitalise yourself by spending time walking in nature and breathing fresh air. • Regular meditation and exercise.
- Take action toward your goals.
Standing out from the crowd
Another consideration any agency will take on board is the types of sports you are proficient in as these will separate you from the next person. Your USP should be clear to you and to everyone else who comes into contact with you and your ‘personal brand,’ so don’t be shy in letting your achievements be known. A good fitness talent manager, who understands the companies s/he represents, will always be looking for that special “something”, a fresh face that the industry has never seen before so make sure your USP makes you stand out from the crowd.
Make yourself available
Some models attend fewer castings or jobs because they have other commitments. If you’re a new model, you’ll want to be available for as much work as possible to gain exposure and network.
Other than the immediate pay, castings or jobs provide you with an opportunity to network and build your brand. Regular availability is key for this, so be sure to make a considered effort to be readily available for any and all opportunities.
The client makes the final decision.
Ultimately, it’s the client who has the final say on who is booked, however, there are a number of ways that models can be hired for a job.
Often, clients will view a model’s portfolio directly on the AEFM website and will request them for their shoot or campaign. In this situation, it’s simply a matter of scheduling your availability.
The other common way that models are booked is by AEFM receiving a brief from a client which specifies the particular type of look or skill they’re going for. An example of this may be, “18-25-year-old male, amateur boxer, needs to be able to throw combinations, may also need to skip & run”. In this case, AEFM will send text messages as described in the “Almost there, you have been placed on “hold”. section below.
Almost there, you have been placed on “hold”.
Given our dedication to providing clients with readily available talent, our model’s availability is very important. When work is required, suitable models are sent an SMS with details of the job (job type, audition time and date, contact person, rate, and a short brief with other relevant information). Work is often given to models that are able to respond quickly to AEFM work SMS and as such it’s imperative that you’re available to read and respond to SMS at all times.
When a job comes into the agency, we’ll select models based on the brief and client specifications. AEFM will then send out the basic details to models suited to the job. You have 1 hour to respond or the job will be offered to other models, so make sure you save the following details on your phone.
When you respond to the SMS, be sure to include your availability, job type, audition time and date, as well as your full name. An example of this may be, “I’m available for the Adidas job on 22/05/2019 – Jon Jones”.
If you have been selected or shortlisted (sometimes this is after an audition), you’ll get further details via SMS. You’ll be asked to confirm your availability once again.
Prior to the final shoot date, the company will send out a “run sheet” which contains details of the job, agenda, arrival time, contact persons name etc. Don’t assume you’ve got the job until you receive this final confirmation SMS.
Know your audience or brand
Most ambitious fitness models in today’s world have some indication of the brands they are comfortable wearing and typically follow a sporting or fitness brand on IG or Facebook. It pays to do your research before you approach the fitness agency, that way you will be able to give them some ideas of the brands you would ultimately aspire to represent. For example, if you wear Gymshark, you’ll more than likely follow them on Instagram, and you’ll then follow people like Steve Cook or Obi Vincent or other Gymshark ambassadors. These are the types of companies you are best sharing with your agent, that way they will have a good idea of where to start pitching you once you have your highly desirable fitness portfolio.
Some notes on confidence
We’re all born into this world with confidence, creativity, and endless imagination. During our upbringing, this confidence can become stifled and limited by friends, family, teachers, and other people of influence in our lives. Often this isn’t done intentionally, but it can affect how we carry ourselves in the world.
If you can remember that being confident is your natural-born state, then you’ll find it easier to return to this feeling. Don’t wait for reasons to feel confident – instead, simply decide that you want to be confident and begin to embody it.
As your competence grows, so does your confidence, so by practising and becoming more competent in particular skills, you’ll naturally become more confident.
Maintaining a positive mindset
It is accurate to say that most fitness models will be rejected at some point during their careers. Unfortunately, it comes with the turf. It’s important right from the start that you are in a good headspace, you are grounded and have a strong sense of yourself so you don’t go on an emotional spiral downwards every time you don’t get a job. The difference between the models in the industry who fail as opposed to those who succeed is how they identify and respond to their experiences, and what they do with the feedback they receive. It is important not to take this personally and see it as an opportunity to strengthen your portfolio. In this situation, self-belief and perseverance are your greatest attributes. So, do not let it affect your mood, fitness regime or momentum, as you never know when the next opportunity will arise and as a fitness model you should always be prepared for a last-minute TV campaign, photo shoot or event.
Never be scared of applying for a position that attracts you even if it seems too difficult at the time and you are not even sure you will be considered for the job. Aim high! After all, what is the worst that can happen? The more you try, the more experience you will acquire for future jobs plus, your network will expand! Also, the more jobs you apply for the more chances you have of being chosen. So you really have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there and giving it a shot! If you don’t get picked, life goes on.
Remember to still be thankful for the opportunity you were given and to maintain contact with the people there who may be useful to you in the future. You may very well be remembered for another opportunity either because it suits you better or quite simply for being professional and graceful.
Assembling your team
Having followed all the steps above, if you are still certain this is the career for you, it’s time to move forward and find a winning team of professionals who can advance your profile as a fitness model.
Choosing the right fitness modelling agency
Fitness Model Agents are constantly on the lookout for unique looking, healthy, physically fit individuals who have that zest for life but you need to remember, that fitness modelling is a niche inside of the modelling industry as a whole. There are, however, still further distinct segments within the fitness modelling industry and you could fit into more than one if you have several talents, for example, you could be a gymnast, who also excels at yoga and daytime surfing. This makes choosing the right agent extremely important.
Here are some steps to guide you in the right direction.
- The first thing to do is research – see what fitness agencies are out there, what clients they work with, and what other models are on their books.
- The next step is always to go and see them in person. Very rarely will an agency take you on without seeing you in person, and it’s also good that you like and get on with your agents and bookers.
- When you are there, inspect how professional the environment is and ask necessary questions regarding the business, but most important of all, meet the booker. A booker will manage every aspect of your career, so that’s why it is essential that you come away feeling confident and with a positive impression of them.
- The next step is the booker will want you to put a portfolio together so they can “put you forward” for paying shoots with companies and brands. Your portfolio will be highlighting your strengths as a model, and then you can present it to the clients when you go to a casting. In addition, bookers also manage your work schedule for casting and modelling jobs; hence it is essential you have a meeting with the booker in advance to learn more about them before you finally say YES.
Before contacting a fitness model agency, you need to have a realistic expectation of the outcome you would like to achieve and what the agency can offer you to move your career forward. The athletic talent manager will have a definitive idea in terms of what they are looking for, however, there may be a particular sport you specialise in that you feel would be beneficial to their organisation. It is important to note that most fitness models starting out do not get sent to castings immediately.
Selecting the right fitness model mentor
Seeking a fitness mentor can seem like an intimidating and arduous process. Think about it – we study and take an exam and (hopefully) pass. Then what? Where do we go? To whom can we direct our questions? Where can we seek guidance and help?
Fortunately, the fitness industry consists of numerous outstanding professionals who can serve in a mentor capacity. The first step is knowing what you need and want to learn and the type of individual or leader with whom you get on best with. Here are some helpful tips.
In a mentor, you must find someone who:
- Provides fair and balanced feedback about your performance and skills
- Help you achieve growth by pushing you out of your comfort zone
- Challenge you to face your obstacles with courage and fortitude
- Has different ideas and provides an alternative perspective
- Trustworthy, patient, generous with his/her time, knowledge and experience and is committed to professional and
- Personal growth
Where to look
There are many alternative routes and creative ways to explore in your quest to find the perfect fitness mentor for you. To begin, think about who in the sports industry inspires you and aligns with your values. Next, create a plan and reach out to one or two of these individuals. Social media makes it incredibly easy to connect with each other across the nation and internationally. Use professional websites, emails and social media networks such as LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Engage with potential mentors on these sites by referencing articles they wrote or commenting on ideas they have shared. Strike up an online friendship of sorts.
Alternatively, or in addition, reach out to potential mentors directly to introduce yourself and share a little about yourself. Individuals skilled at mentoring are naturally drawn toward the energy, eagerness and curiosity of up-and-coming stars. The field advances when we share, learn and grow together. Mentors know this and often willingly engage.
Ultimately, engaging in a mentor/mentee relationship is about learning, and learning is a lifelong social, intellectual and emotional activity. Learning occurs best in safe, supportive and motivating environments, where individuals are encouraged to share ideas and learn, not only from the mentor but from each other; a richness develops when different perspectives are shared, challenged and explored. Seek a mentor who appreciates and emulates your values and who is interested in helping you become a confident and capable traveller along your professional journey to become the fitness model you dream of being.
How to approach your future mentor: what to ask and what not to.
Before getting in touch be sure you are asking the right person and make sure you’ve done your homework before you reach out to someone to be your fitness mentor. Have an understanding of what they can do to help you by researching their background in depth. Decide exactly what you want out of the mentorship so you don’t waste your or your mentor’s time.
Before you reach out to them, have a detailed idea of what you want to learn and exactly how your potential mentor can help. Be prepared with questions you can’t just Google and be sure that your questions actually need an expert’s guidance and time.
Making initial contact
Start with written communication if you don’t know them that well and mention straight away why you are asking them to be a mentor. In your initial communication, you might want to outline the common aspiration that makes them your ideal mentor. You must also be concise yet clear about what you want guidance on, and how they can help you. This is important as it manages their expectations and makes things clear.
After your potential mentor shows interest
Be flexible with your schedule. It is important that you understand that your mentor is not obliged to help you. They are doing you a favour so please accommodate them and move things around on your own schedule if you need to.
Your first mentorship session might result in homework, some research, practising a routine or some dietary rules and regulations. Demonstrate your willingness to do the work by strictly following all guidance given within the time frame specified. Mentoring someone who is not willing to follow through or do the required work is a thankless job. Don’t make it one for your mentor.
Finding the right Fitness Photographer
Finding a reputable fitness photographer is critical to helping you secure both fitness modelling jobs and getting you noticed by the right agencies. But what skills should you look for in a photographer? Like many professions, you will find specialists within certain elements of photography, and some are great, but some you really need to give a wide berth. You might have found a great photographer who produces adorable puppy photos or images of beautiful sunsets, but that does not mean they will be the right choice for developing your fitness portfolio? In the specific world of fitness modelling, it is vital to use a photographer experienced in the fitness industry so they understand what clients will be looking for, so you can book jobs and make money.
Working with a photographer is like any other professional relationship. This person is a partner in your career, someone who is going to help you visually communicate the best parts about who you are, so it’s important to know how to approach working with one in the right way. Also, when working one on one with another person in a close environment, it is important that you actually get along. So have a chat and make sure there’s a firm foundation for a long-term business relationship. If you don’t feel at ease in their presence or have nothing to say, they might not be the right person for you.
How to evaluate your fitness photographer’s body of work
Each photographer has a distinct style which will be apparent in their ‘body of work’. It is important for you to be sure this style will work for you and what you want from the shoot.
Here are some things to consider
- Most professional photographers have a website containing portfolios displaying the types of photography in which they specialise in. This way the client can see a “body of work” and examine it for consistency and quality. A photographer only showing five portraits on Facebook to a prospective client is definitely not a pro. Facebook is a valuable tool, but only in that it serves to navigate your clients to your website.
- A professional photographer must have business liability insurance. You should be dealing with contracts, not handshakes, so insurance is essential.
- Always have an initial meeting in which you should get to know them better and discuss details about the shoot. Find out what their turnaround time is so you will know how long it will take for you to receive your images. Remember, you are not their only client, so the only way you can both be happy is if you communicate what you need and when you need it.
- Be prepared with a realistic budget in mind. “As little as possible” is not a real budget, and tells your photographer you aren’t serious, haven’t done the research, but most importantly, it says you don’t value them as an artist.
- Do they have everything equipment-wise to create the imagery you are looking for? If they don’t own it and it’s rented, it should not cost extra as this will have been taken into account in the initial price.
The Model Release Form – know what you are signing
The importance of the contract between you and the client is pretty much a given, but just as important – if not more – is the model release form. What you may not be aware of, however, is why it is so important. It is an unfortunate reality that most people neither completely read nor understand this important legal document.
A model release form is basically a contract. It’s a form of agreement between you, the model, and the photographer that you have agreed for your photograph to be used for whatever purposes that both of you agreed on. Essentially, it explains how the photos will be used, releases the rights over to a client or company, and grants permission for them to be published.
A very basic model release form should include:
- A paragraph (or two) is written at the top of the page stating the photographer’s name and/or the company and what you are giving permission to. For example, where the photo can be used, how the image can be modified, and handing over the rights of the shot to the photographer.
- Your personal data, your name, the date and your signature.
- Photo-shoot information – date and location
- If under 16, there is an option for your legal guardian to sign the document and print their name.
- Compensation or fees (if agreed to).
- 2 x witnesses are usually required to sign the form and to include their addresses.
The signed document gives you a sense of control over your fitness modelling career. It protects you from scammers who may use the image in an inappropriate way that cannot be challenged if the contract is left unsigned. Always ask for your own copy for your own legal safety’s sake.
Building a fitness modelling portfolio
Starting a career in fitness modelling can be very challenging, more so if you don’t have anything to show off to potential agents and clients. Fortunately, creating your own portfolio is pretty easy. It just takes lots of time and effort. With the following steps, you can significantly improve your chances of getting noticed and bagging the first few jobs that will kick-start your new career.
Your fitness modelling portfolio is essentially your resume. It should have everything you need to make an incredible first impression and showcase what you can do, so it should obviously include only your most flattering photos, features, and action shots.
As we all know, social media is where much of the action is these days. Many of today’s aspiring fitness models actually set up modelling accounts on Facebook and Instagram as their first step as it’s easier for more people to find them there than on a personal website or portfolio. This way, you can truly be in control of how your page looks.
As part of this creative fitness image “resume,” you should never forget to include:
- Your fitness specialities are key; you should go into real detail here.
- What work do you prefer and specialise in but also what you’re not happy to do?
- Any related acting and modelling experience you might have.
- Hobbies, talents, and other interests.
- Key measurements and data include Age, height, body measurements and sizes, eye and hair colour, and distinguishing features (freckles, birthmarks, tattoos, etc.).
You can simply list them down or be creative with your layout, as long as they are easy to read and find. As you get more work and have more content to work with, it’s super important that you update your portfolio with newer photos and more recent work experience. At the same time, have new photos taken regularly to show that you are consistently in shape and active. Building your portfolio takes time, as part of your role as a fitness model, you’ll also need to take care of your skin, teeth, and body – not losing or gaining too much weight, and basically taking good care of yourself. Invest your time and effort in making sure you look your best, even when you’re not in front of the camera.
How to pose like a professional fitness model
Fitness is a hot topic at the moment so look nowhere other than the internet. People admire lean, tanned, trim fitness models and seek to emulate their healthy physiques. They see how happy these fitness models look and realise that they too would like to lose a few pounds and reduce the risks of illness
You may also want to take a look at a recent list of the top 20 leading Instagram models you admire and want to follow so you can start practising those poses.
It’s true that preparing for an upcoming photoshoot will involve keeping to a strict diet and exercise, but most people don’t realise that achieving that ideal body only goes so far. Having appropriate body language and facial expressions to showcase those results is vital for a successful outcome. So practice your poses, facial expressions, and emotions in the mirror weeks or even months prior to the actual shoot. You need to have perfect control of your face and body in order to get exactly the right pose. You’ll find it’s not as easy as it looks as some poses are difficult and uncomfortable, and some poses may work great for other people, but may not show off your best angles.
Separate yourself from your competition and learn about the company/brand image you are helping to personify. If a company hires you to be the face of the brand, it means they want you to represent that brand in the best and most accurate way. Take the time to ask questions about the brand and the image. Look at advertisements of that brand or check out their other athletes. Find out if that brand favours a softer, harder, leaner, bigger, or more athletic look. Find out what kind of audience that brand is trying to reach and pay attention to what products that brand is selling. The more information you obtain about a company’s image, the more you can prepare yourself to become that image. If you do your job right, you’ll be much more likely to get a call for another shoot.
Prepare. Your colour needs to be bronze, not orange; your hair and make-up should be appropriate for the shot, and you should have done everything in your power to show up looking your best. However, one thing many first-time models forget to bring to the shoot is their confidence to pose correctly.
Whether you’re on a shoot or at a fitness exhibition, your confidence is every bit as important as your body. If you’re worried about how you look, how you’re performing, or how you’re being perceived, you are not going to be able to work in the best way. Remember, you’re at this event or shoot for a reason. Leave the impression that they picked the right person for the job!
Fitness Model Pose Tips and tricks to remember
So, what makes one pose better than another? Here are a few basic model posing tips to keep in mind. These are just tips, so remember to always follow the direction of the photographer. They are the only ones who can see what is working and what is not.
- Angle your legs and arms, even if only slightly. Nothing says rigid and flat more than standing straight and staring at the camera. Keep your fingers loose and avoid making fists. This type of shoot is done to show full-body poses.
- Master the three-quarters pose. In this pose, you turn your body slightly away from the camera so that only three-fourths of your body is visible. This adds depth and makes the images more visually appealing.
- Follow your photographer’s direction on where to look. Looking directly into the camera has limited appeal and doesn’t work in a lot of cases. Look behind the camera, or into the eyes of the photographer. When asked to look in a specific direction, have your eyes follow the direction your nose is pointing. Doing this produces a more honest and candid shot. It’s also perfect for picking up eye colour and catching light in the image.
- Keep your poses moving and alive, but move slowly. You want to change things about every three seconds. Move a hand, change your posture slightly, and change your facial expression. A good model, with years of practice, would do these variations in poses automatically.
- A full-length mirror will be an essential tool for a fitness model working on their looks. You can practice posing in the mirror and quickly rule out anything that looks awkward and unnatural and instead, focus on your most flattering and natural poses that photographers, clients, and agents are sure to love.
- With a specific emotion in mind, be it sassiness, happiness, or pain, practice conveying it with only your facial expressions. All fitness models can benefit from these skills, but this particular skill may be most useful for commercial models who are usually required to do more expressive facial work than fashion models.
- Practice in front of a mirror and video, but do it when you’re alone. Record your poses for evaluation purposes as this is a scientifically proven way to improve your posing skills. Make sure you have the room to yourself so you can really focus. Being alone will also prevent distractions from interrupting your work. Planning a few minutes of alone time each day will also benefit your peace of mind.
- If you are expecting recording yourself to feel totally natural at first, it most likely won’t be. In the beginning, it will feel silly and awkward, but eventually, you will become more comfortable with it. Furthermore, the awkwardness is worth it for the skills you are gaining from it. The work you put in practising your poses and expressions before a photo shoot will also prevent a lot of instruction and extra time at the photo shoot.
- Agents, scouts, clients and photographers can tell if you practice. Modelling professionals sometimes see hundreds of models each day which means they know talent when they see it! They will know right away if you have practised your poses and expressions, and this will demonstrate your professionalism and work ethic. Shoots will go much faster when you’ve done this work, and your agent will be more likely to recommend you for tougher jobs or jobs on tight schedules if they know a lot of extra time won’t be required for posing instructions.
Preparing for your first fitness photoshoot
Looking exceptional is one of the best ways to make a great first impression, so always allow plenty of time to prepare for your photo shoot. Prior to your shoot, discuss with your photographer details such as the arrival time, exact location, garments, tanning, and anything that will help the shoot go more smoothly.
Always ensure that you’ve got plenty of time and arrive 20 minutes prior to the start time. This will enable you to introduce yourself and break the ice with your photographer, and any other relevant people who may be assisting on the day.
Here’s a general checklist you should complete prior to your shoot;
- Clean hair that’s been cut, treated and styled well.
- Clean, clear skin that’s been treated with regular facials.
- Clean, neat, and manicured nails.
- Clean, white teeth.
- Wax or clipper any body hair.
- Clean and ironed clothes.
- Males should be clean-shaven unless otherwise briefed.
- A suitable outfit.
Maintaining your fitness model shape
It’s easy to make resolutions to get fit but staying active and motivated in all seasons, all year round can be a challenge. It can be hard to keep motivated and all kinds of barriers can get in the way of exercise, particularly if you’re juggling a family, a busy work schedule and a hectic social life. Here are the top ten tips to help you stay in shape all year round.
- Make your fitness goals specific. Don’t just say, “I want to do 50 pull-ups.” It’s better to say, “I want to do 3 extra pull-ups over 20 every Sunday for 6 weeks.” Your goal needs to have specific time frames so you can measure your progress.
- Be realistic. Never expect to drop to 4% body fat in two weeks or even three. Set goals that are realistic with the effort and commitment that you can give to them. Also, make sure you have the resources available to achieve your goals. Don’t choose swimming as your form of exercise if you don’t have access to a pool. Be practical.
- Plan a schedule and set reminders. Post sticky notes where you will see to remind yourself of your exercise regime and stick to your goals. Get a day planner, use your phone, whatever works for you, just use it and be disciplined.
- Put it in writing. Keep a journal or spreadsheet with your goals for the week along with your results. After working out, write down what you did and for how long. When you look at the numbers and see progress, it will encourage you to keep going.
- Consider the obstacles. Think about what might get in the way of your going for a 100km cycle, then come up with a plan to overcome those obstacles. For instance, if you need more time after work, start earlier, or don’t take lunch. Make a plan and make sure you do it.
- Find a partner or a mentor if you have a tendency to be lazy or make excuses to get out of exercise at the last minute. This way you can motivate, reward and keep each other accountable as working out, as with anything in life, is a real drag when done in isolation.
- Choose activities that suit your lifestyle. Consider your budget, physical abilities and amount of free time. Check out local exercise options. Opportunities to be active in your neighbourhood may include leisure centres, sports clubs, parks, walking trails, swimming pools or exercise classes but also keep some exercise equipment at home. Options can include, a yoga mat, free weights, a stationary bike, skipping rope or a fitness ball.
- Look for incidental ways to move your body every day. For example, walk or cycle to the local shops, instead of driving the car. Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. Every little count
- Involve the whole family in keeping fit, with activities such as walking the dog, rowing or hiking, this way you can develop habits and make the activity more rooted in your life.
- Most importantly…make getting fit enjoyable. Pick an activity (or range of activities) that appeals to you, since you’re more likely to keep to an exercise plan if you’re having fun. The more you enjoy it, the more motivated you’ll be to do it. And remember, you’re not just limited to sports and structured exercise programs, be active every day outside of your heavy training regime – go dancing, throw a frisbee or swim in the sea!
* NB – It’s also worth considering low-impact sports such as swimming, cycling or canoeing which offer a lower risk of injury yet still provide a cardiovascular workout while building and toning muscles often ignored by other workouts. Plus, a low risk of injury means you won’t be forced out of an active lifestyle.
Basic nutrition for aspiring fitness models
Here are a few words of wisdom from Katherine Baqleh who is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and the founder of Health Victory Nutrition Experts. Katherine practices in a number of locations across Sydney and is involved in conducting nutrition, health and wellness seminars, nutrition consultancy and providing expert commentary to the media.
Becoming a Fitness Model – A Nutrition Perspective
There is more to becoming a fitness model than just the training. In order to achieve your body composition, set fitness goals and optimise your training results, nutrition and hydration are key principles to consider to avoid fatigue. Everyone’s fitness goals are different, as are their taste preferences, so there is no single ideal meal or snack to consume before, during or after training. However, there are a few basic guidelines to support and enhance your progress.
Foods to enjoy for overall health and well-being:
Protein is important for muscle growth and repair. However, it is not the only nutrient required for maximum training results. There are five food groups, namely bread and cereals, fruit, vegetables, dairy and alternatives and meat and alternatives. Each food group offers a different nutrition profile and each group is crucial for the fuel, repair and recovery of active bodies.
It is important that every meal contains good quality lean proteins, good quality carbohydrates (especially wholegrain and wholemeal varieties), vegetables and/or salad and healthy fats. Isolated soy protein and animal-based proteins such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy are recommended wherever possible as they contain all the essential amino acids needed by your body, making them high biological value proteins. Plant-based proteins such as those found in nuts, tofu, legumes, some vegetables and fruit, are considered to be of lower biological value. To help promote muscle gains and minimise muscle breakdown after training, it is recommended to spread protein across the day, especially in the hour following exercise.
Foods to avoid
There are no foods that we should avoid completely as part of a healthy diet. Healthy eating does allow for the occasional treat and when consumed at an appropriate time it is unlikely to affect your training results and recovery.
Energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods such as processed and take-away meals, deep-fried foods, desserts, soft drinks, creams and butter should be limited, as well as fatty meats and full-fat dairy.
To optimise your training potential and to help you reach your health and fitness goals, seek personalised nutrition advice from an accredited practising dietitian.
What jobs the Fitness Model can expect
- For the initial 3 to 6 months, a model can expect little to no castings unless they have demonstrated that they are competent and show the right skills. The booker must feel comfortable in putting you forward.
- As a new model, you will more than likely be cast for smaller jobs, 2 to 4-hour campaigns are more realistic. This will give the Booker an opportunity to receive feedback from the client, in turn, this will assist you in being put forward for bigger jobs in the future.
- When you gain more experience and have a proven track record and a solid portfolio, you can then expect more of the larger campaigns, particularly 8-hour jobs or 16-hour jobs (1 to 2-day shoots).
- Given the popularity of Instagram and Facebook, companies may contact you directly. Know your worth. Do not accept free clothing for a whole day’s work, or worse still receive free images for your Instagram page. Having the right fitness model agent, who has the ability to negotiate on your behalf, may, in fact, negotiate a day’s rate of $800 to $1200 for your time. That way you’ll have the freedom to go out there and buy what your heart desires.
How much do fitness models get paid?
This heavily depends on the amount of experience a model has.
Print work (example Photoshoots/still photography)
- $90 – $130 AUD per hour for newer models with less experience
- $150 – $230 AUD for more experienced models
Non-featured roles / extra type work
- $40 – $100 AUD per hour
Featured / speaking roles
- $250 upwards
So, there you have it! Some of you may look at this and feel daunted by all the information here but remember, if you have the right team behind you, you should be receiving support and guidance from them to help you through this process. But I’m also hoping there are some of you out there who will rise to the challenge and find the strength, determination and inspiration to ‘smash it’. I hope it exceeds all your expectations.
Here’s one final thought to leave you with: Do you remember one of the first bits of advice we gave you right at the beginning of this blog? – ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’ Nobody just wakes up one morning a virtuoso. Everyone who is at the top of their game whether it be art, playing a musical instrument, singing, acting etc. etc. etc. is there because they have practised. Hard. And just like everything else – the more you put in, the higher the rewards. Now it’s back to you; you can be anything you want if you put your mind (and your best pose) to it – so just how much do you want this?
Agency: A organisation that acts as the representative for talent and in doing so, negotiate, scout for work and organises payments.
Assignment: Acting/modelling work for the defined period.
Actor: A person in theatre, television or film or any other medium who portrays a character.
Book: Also known as a portfolio, folio or a model portfolio book. See Portfolio or Look-Book.
Booker/Agent: Person who organises the models’ job schedules, and negotiates prices and contracts on their behalf.
Booking Out: This is when a model lets their agent know they are unavailable for certain days/dates (for example when you go away on holiday).
Buyout: A client will ‘buyout’ for the unlimited use of a model’s image (for all rights). The fee is negotiated by the agency on behalf of the model.
Call Back: When a model is wanted back for another audition (the model has been shortlisted).
Call Time: Starting time for a job. Also known as ‘check in’.
Client or Company: The company or agency wanting to use the talent’s skills, image or voice for acting or modelling.
Casting: Models come in and the director will select the models who best meet the job requirements. Also known as an ‘audition’.
Casting Agency: Specialised in finding talent for things like singing, acting and dancing. Their models usually take part in projects such as TV, photoshoots, video and advertisement casting. These models don’t usually have an exclusive contract and can work for different agencies.
Casting Detail Sheet: A sheet of paper (for the model) that has important information about casting like call time, direction, client etc.
Close Up: A shot in film, television or photography in which the subject is captured in close proximity. Close-ups are standard shots used regularly along with medium and long shots.
Composition Card: Also known as a Composition Card, Composite(s), Comps, Z Card or Sed Card (pronounced Zed Card). Composition Cards serve as a model business card.
Copyright: Exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work. This includes the right to copy, distribute and change the work. These rights can be licensed, transferred and/or assigned.
Cuttings: See Tear Sheet
Editorial: Articles or photographs that are seen in newspapers or magazines (not an advertisement).
Exclusivity: Exclusive use of a talent’s services in association with a particular product brand to the exclusion of competing brands.
Fitting: When a model attends an appointment to test the fitting and style of outfits prior to the job.
Go-See: Where the client will interview a model for a specific job.
Hairstylist: The person who will style a model’s hair for a job.
Location: A photoshoot or commercial that takes place somewhere that isn’t in a studio.
Makeup Artist: Someone who specialises in doing makeup.
Model Agent: Also known as an ‘agency’.
Model Release Form: A legal document provided by the client or photographer and has to be signed by the model or the model’s agent. It gives the photographer permission to use photographs taken during that job. If photographs are used without a release form (or distributed in a way different from what is stated in the release form), then the model can sue for breach of contract.
New Face / In Development: When a model is new to an agency and is still developing their skills. A model in development will be sent to a lot of go-sees and castings but will not yet be promoted to the main model list. A model can be in development for 6-12 months.
Polaroid: Also known as digitals or digis. It is a natural photo that shows off the model’s raw beauty (agencies need to see these photos in model applications). This is something every model needs in their portfolio if they are serious in this business.
Provisional Booking: Provisional booking means a request by the client for a model for a possible future booking.
Prints: Prints are printed negatives.
Storyboard: A series of images which explain the concept of a television commercial to the client and creative team.
Stylist: A person who chooses clothing and accessories for a photoshoot or TVC.
Set: Usually within a professional studio or on location. It includes all the essentials for shooting such as lighting, camera, stylist and art-directed scenery.
Talent: A person who poses or displays themselves for art, fashion or other products or advertisements.
Tear Sheet: A page torn out of a magazine. Also known as a ‘tear’ or ‘cuttings’.
Territory: Any location inside or outside of Australia.
Test Shoot: This is a photo shoot done for the model to get images for their portfolio book and composition card often showing a range of different looks.
TVC: Also known as Television Commercial.
TFP (Time for Print): Time for print – also known as a trade for print, test for print, and sometimes print for time (PFT). It’s a term that many photographers will use to describe an arrangement between a model and a photographer whereby the photographer agrees to provide the model with a number of pictures from the session, and a limited license to use those pictures in return for the model’s time.
Usage: Images or video footage, by way of mediums such as advertising, swing tags, posters, show cards, pack shots, billboards, lightbox, stills on TV, websites, commercials, and other ads.
Work: Any representation by the talent in any form of media or in person.
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