Models pose for artists, photographers, and other clients to help advertise products.
What they do
Models pose for artists, photographers, or customers to help advertise a variety of products, including clothing, cosmetics, food, and appliances. Models also work as a fit or fitting model, enabling the manufacturer or fashion designer to achieve the best fit for new styles.
Models typically do the following:
- Display clothing and merchandise in print and online advertisements
- Promote products and services in television commercials
- Wear designers’ clothing for runway fashion shows
- Represent companies and brands at conventions, trade shows, and other events
- Pose for photos, paintings, or sculptures
- Work closely with photographers, hair and clothing stylists, makeup artists, and clients to produce a desired look
- Create and maintain a portfolio of their work
- Travel to meet and interview with potential clients
- Conduct research on the product being promoted—for example, the designer or type of clothing fabric
- Answer questions from consumers about the products
Almost all models sign with modeling agencies. Agencies represent and promote a model to clients in return for a portion of the model’s earnings. Models typically apply for a position with an agency by submitting their photographs through its website or by attending open casting calls and meeting with agents directly.
Models must research an agency before signing, in order to ensure that the agency has a good reputation in the modeling industry. For information on agencies, models should contact a local consumer affairs organization, such as the Better Business Bureau.
Some freelance models do not sign with agencies. Instead, they market themselves to potential clients and apply for modeling jobs directly. However, because most clients prefer to work with agents, it is difficult for new models to pursue a freelance career.
Models must put together and maintain up-to-date portfolios and composite cards. A portfolio is a collection of a model’s previous work. A composite card contains the best photographs from a model’s portfolio, along with his or her body measurements. Both portfolios and composite cards are typically taken to all casting calls and client auditions.
Because advertisers often need to target specific segments of the population, models may specialize in a certain area. For example, petite and plus-size fashions are modeled by women whose sizes are respectively smaller and larger than that worn by the typical model. Models who are disabled may be used to model fashions or products for consumers with disabilities. “Parts” models have a body part, such as a hand or foot, particularly well-suited to model products such as nail polish or shoes.
Models appear in different types of media to promote a product or service. Models advertise products and merchandise in magazine or newspaper advertisements, department store catalogs, or television commercials. Increasingly, models are appearing in online ads or on retail websites. Models also pose for sketch artists, painters, and sculptors.
Models often participate in photo shoots and pose for photographers to show off the features of clothing and other products. Models change their posture and facial expressions to capture the look the client wants. The photographer usually takes many pictures of the model in different poses and expressions during the photo shoot.
Models also display clothes and merchandise live in different situations. At fashion shows, models stand, turn, and walk to show off clothing to an audience of photographers, journalists, designers, and garment buyers. Other clients may require models to interact directly with customers. In retail establishments and department stores, models display clothing directly to shoppers and describe the features and prices of the merchandise. At trade shows or conventions, models show off a business’ products and provide information to consumers. These models may work alongside demonstrators and product promoters to help advertise and sell merchandise.
Models often prepare for photo shoots or fashion shows by having their hair and makeup done by professionals in those industries. The hairstylists and makeup artists may touch up the model’s hair and makeup and change the model’s look throughout the event. However, models are sometimes responsible for applying their own makeup and bringing their own clothing.
Models work in a variety of conditions, from comfortable photography studios and runway fashion shows to outdoors in all weather conditions.
Models also may need to travel for photo shoots or to meet clients in different cities.
Models’ schedules can be demanding and stressful. Many models work part time and have unpredictable work schedules. They must be ready to work for a show or attend a photo shoot on short notice. The number of hours worked varies with the job. Many models experience periods of unemployment.
How to become a Model
No formal education credential is required to become a model. Specific requirements depend on the client, with different jobs requiring different physical characteristics. However, most models must be within certain ranges for height, weight, and clothing size.
There are no formal educational credentials required to become a model. Most modeling agencies allow applicants to email photos directly to the agency. The agency will then contact and interview prospective models who show potential. Many agencies also have “open calls,” whereby aspiring models can walk into an agency during a specified time and meet directly with agents and clients.
Some aspiring models may attend modeling schools that provide training in posing, walking, applying makeup, and other basic tasks. Although some models are discovered when agents scout for “fresh faces” at modeling schools, attending such schools does not necessarily lead to job opportunities.
The median hourly wage for models was $13.63 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.54, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $26.75.
Employment of models is projected to grow 1 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations.
Rising retail sales, particularly online and e-commerce sales, will encourage businesses to increase their digital advertising and marketing budgets. Demand for models to appear in digital advertisements is expected to lead to increased employment for these workers. However, less expensive digital and social media options are allowing companies to interact and build relationships with customers in new ways. Companies can now promote their products and brands directly to consumers. This direct promotion will lessen the need for professional models or large-scale advertising campaigns, thus moderating their employment demand.
Similar Job Titles
Art Class Model, Art Model, Artist's Model, Fashion Model, Figure Model, Fine Arts Model, Model, Nude Model, Studio Model, Undraped Artist Model
Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendant and Bartender Helper; Usher, Lobby Attendant and Ticket Taker; Locker Room, Coatroom and Dressing Room Attendant; Stock Clerk-Stockroom, Warehouse or Storage Yard; Grader and Sorter-Agricultural Products
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
Magazines and Publications
The term “model” often evokes the glamour of the runway or fashion magazine ads, but there’s more to the world of modeling. Models pose for artists, photographers, or customers to help advertise a variety of products. They may work as fitting models to help clothing designers size styles correctly, or answer questions from consumers about products they represent in public shows. Models work in a variety of locations, from photography studios and runway shows to outdoor locations in all weather conditions. They sometimes need to travel for photo shoots or to meet clients in different cities. Modeling can be demanding and stressful; models must be ready to work on short notice, with unpredictable, varying hours for each job. Part-time work with periods of unemployment is common. There are no formal education requirements for becoming a model, and modeling schools do not guarantee employment. Models maintain a portfolio of their work for job applications, and may also use social media to build a following and increase exposure. Most modeling agencies accept photos from applicants and interview those who meet the agency’s specifications for appearance, including height, weight, and clothing size. Agencies also host “open calls,” for prospective models to walk in to meet directly with agents and clients.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org