Model Citizens Magazine

How to be an Instagram Model Featuring Courtney

Social media is an essential tool for building your brand, making connections, and finding work. In fact, it’s become so important that many top modeling agencies now require their models to be on social media. Here’s how you can use Instagram to further your modeling career and your business.

Instagram is a modern-day photographic portfolio. Whether you like modeling or photography or anything else you are passionate about, social media is your online portfolio. You define your personal style and let your Instagram grid or photo album display it. Don’t just show us your but (as so many Instagram influencers do) show us your personality and what interests you. Anyone can accumulate likes and views by taking off most of their clothes, but to use Instagram to obtain tangible results, bookings, and reach to major brands you need to define who you are. It certainly does not hurt to show your butt, however, unless you are endorsing lingerie your views and likes may not translate into bookings.

Do you like travel, photography, a sport? Your Instagram style and your interests outside of modeling very well may determine the brands you eventually collaborate with. Look at all of the athletes who have sponsored instagram accounts or who use their platforms to do paid endorsements for major brands. It’s as much about connecting with your fans as it is defining what and how you connect with your audience. 

People follow others on social media for a few different reasons: They find you inspirational, talented, or they find you or your lifestyle interesting. Sometimes it’s a combination of the three. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Which one you cater to is up to you and it may mean combining all three, however, for most models, they rely on their talent, their God Given beauty and charisma. It will not take long for you to see what photographs and videos your fans comment on and like the most.

Write a real bio. Your bio tells potential followers why they should follow you and what to expect in your posts. Add your representation info if you are represented and if you are seeking representation post “seeking professional representation” and the geographic locations you are interested in being represented in.  keywords that tell us you’re a model, and some of your outside interests too will help. Letting know professional visitors who are already checking you out that you are seeking representation lets managers, PR reps, and Agents know they are not going to have to fight for you, that you are already open to the opportunity.  

For individuals who are seeking to work with higher profile artists, photographers, and agents know that the quality of the work you display, and who you have worked with is just as important as being capable and beautiful. There are millions of pretty faces and amazingly talented people out there, sometimes it’s just timing. You were scouted by an agent who just needed a face and body like yours at the exact moment you came up in their feed and you save them a ton of searching by being available. Other times you are sort after by top agents because you are influencing others purchasing decisions already as a micro-influencer or from a modeling job you did for a company that is going very well. 

Posting modeling shots from real shoots with master photographers show the industry that you’re a professional, but also share some behind-the-scenes shots from photo shoots and selfies when you’re not all made up. Followers love knowing what’s going on in your life organically and how you’re just like them. Instagram is a photo-sharing platform, but instagram is really a story telling platform and you’ll truly connect with your followers even more if you share a sense of reality and your life story with them.

The internet never forgets so use discretion. Once your content is online it’s most likely out there forever. Don’t post inappropriate photos, use excessive bad language, or debate controversial topics. Sensual and sex are fine but slutty and cheap may be a very big mistake. Art and artist will appreciate sensuality and the human figure but anything that looks like porn, probably is, even soft porn is still porn. Work with artists and be proud of your body and your image but protect it with your life.  Think about potential brands and clients before you hit share. Your Instagram will follow you throughout your life and career. You can also control your brand image by adjusting your settings to approve all the images your tagged in.

Engage with your audience by commenting on their comments, reacting to their posts, and generally touching as many of your fans and followers as possible. Be real, authentic, and genuine. Posting photos isn’t enough. Engage with your audience by making your posts a conversation. Ask your followers for opinions on your clothing. Ask them what they’re doing this weekend or what their favorite brands or products are. On Instagram stories use polls, question stickers, or emoji sliders to get them talking. And engage continually engage with your audience as often and as positive as possible. 

Tag everyone like make up artists, hair stylists, set designers, lighting directors, photographers, brands, or the designs in your best professional photos. It’s a great way to connect with people and they’ll be more likely to promote your account to their followers if the photographs are world class. Don’t be afraid to tag the brands and people you want to collaborate with. Get their attention with a mention!

Collaborate! Collaborate! Collaborate! Collaborate with friends who are models or just fun and attractive, collaborate with other artists, collaborate with choreographers, collaborate with musicians, collaborate with family and as much as possible collaborate with talented photographers. Take photos together, tag and mention each other. Interview each other using Instagram live or IGTV. Collaborating with like-minded accounts (especially those with larger followings than yours) helps you widen your reach and grow your base.

If you can, get your mom, your sisters, your classmates, models from or any other reputable model site, shoot with them. Do themed shoots like Mommy and Me and Two amazing sisters, my brother from another mother shoot. Themed shoots are great and they allow you to have fun as you build your career. Agents like to see who you hang your hat with so to speak as in this industry who you are creating with says a lot about you. The modeling business is all about who you know, so use social media to start making more connections. 

If you have already decided to become a model, you probably already have interest in fashion, clothes, or photography. You have clothes from specific brands in your wardrobe and know your style well. Still, it needs improvement. Clearly define what type of an Instagram model you would like to be. Some of them promote traditional high fashion clothes, the others tend to be more “underground” but no less popular. Your personal style will define the brands with that you will collaborate in the future.

Who makes it in the business and who doesn’t is anyones guess. These days it is not just about being pretty or better looking than the average person. It is about hard work, professional content, and personality. I do not care HOW beautiful anyone is, or how great the look in photographs if they are nasty or unappreciative. The entire industry is built upon creativity, hard work, passion, and at times luck. Pure luck.

However if you obtain photographs like the ones in this story your chances of success are significantly better. Great content is at the core of every success story in social media. Whether it’s business, modeling, or another talent that you are promoting great content obtains much more attention than amateur content and anyone in the business like myself will see it right away. 

Try to show your body in a way that glorifies the human figure not denigrates it. And if you are fortunate enough to look like Heather Felix, you have a very good shot. As always, Live in Gratitude, Pay it Forward, Cherish your chapters of love.

Check out this episode of John Dowling Interviews Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Melissa Baker. A short film about modeling from a teenager to an adult.

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