|Plus Size Modeling: Free Online Seminar
Delano shares with you the tips and tricks of a successful
photo shoot and working with photographers!
always ask me what I look for in a model? The face, to
me, is the most important thing. Whether the model is size
2 or 22, there are certain people whose faces the camera just
loves. If you constantly get told, "WOW, you look so
fabulous in pictures," you could probably be a print
model. However, if people tell you you are prettier in person,
you could probably do shows, etc., but not necessarily do
print. There is also commercial print if you are a good type--business
woman, mom, Dr--this type of work is not as glamorous but
pays VERY well.
size modeling is still modeling -- you are there to sell clothes
-- make them look good. So you should be in good shape and toned
for your size. I also look for someone who comes alive and has
a lot of energy. Enthusiasm makes my job a lot easier, and your
to expect when working with a photographer:
Photographers all have different working styles, but I can tell
you what I'm like to work with. I try to give models as many looks
as possible, because you need that in your book, so we'll usually
do a mix of location and studio. Living in LA, traffic is a big
factor, timewise, so careful planning is helpful -- this means
letting the photographer know ahead of time, if possible, what
looks you want -- beach, urban, studio, etc. I tell people to
allow the full day for 3-4 rolls, because hair and makeup changes
take a lot of time, as well as travel time, wardrobe pulling,
also helps to bring magazine tears of things you would like to
copy. Keep a loose leaf binder of photos you like and bring them
to your shoot. That way we both know what you want. And be realistic
-- if you want to do a Sports Illustrated type shot, know that
I can shoot the style of the shot, but not necessarily make you
look like Giselle. You'd be surprised how many prospective models
don't differentiate between the photography and the model in an
ad. Pick pictures for their style, not the model.
What to prepare - I have a long list of things that I like
models to do.
preparation -- Your face, hair and body are your calling
cards, so they have to be up to spec. This means -- no roots
showing, no split ends, no tan lines, no zits, no errant body
hairs -- get thee to a salon and get it all removed, including
facial fuzz, mustaches, the whole bit. We all know women are
more than the sum of their parts but modeling is a parts business
so make sure those parts are smooth, hair free, clean and shiny!
-- Come to the shoot with clean hair and no makeup.
-- And lay off the salt, carbs and alcohol a couple of days
prior to the shoot -- plus size does not mean water retaining
sea cow, which is certainly what I am if I go out for Mexican
and then go on camera!
-- Practice in front of the mirror, or better yet with a digital
camera and a timer. This is essential as you will learn your
face (most people's isn't even), which expressions work, body
angles that are flattering, etc.
-- Make sure you can pay the photographer, make-up person and
stylist in cash -- we have all seen too many bounced checks,
and while we know YOU would never do that, we insist on cash!
-- Bring snacks, water and a straw so once your lips are done
you don't mess it all up slurping from a water bottle.
- Clothes -- there is a reason the job "stylist" was invented.
These wonderful people have the ability to pick clothes that
you would never be caught dead in on the street but make your
pictures look like you did a spread in Vogue. I try to insist
prospective models use a stylist -- they will shop with you
and pull outfits together, then be on set to make sure those
outfits look flawless in the shot. Clothes are a HUGE part of
the picture and most of us buy things we think make us look
thinner (black ), or we can't sit down in (that's what pins
are for on set) which don't photograph well at all. If you truly
can't afford a stylist, take an issue of Grace to the store
with you and try to replicate the outfits you see in there,
including the shoes.
-- thin heels!! no clunky shoes -- they don't shoot well! If
you can't afford Jimmy Choo than go to Target and buy knock
offs that you just use for shoots (ie, no scuffed up shoes,
-- Nude thongs, bodyshapers, bras and hose -- paisley undies
are very lovely until you get handed a pair of white capris.
aspiring models should look for in a photographer and photo contract:
Look at their pics -- whether via website or books, also, ask
around. I end up shooting for models again and again as time progresses
because they know me and like my work -- that's the kind of person
you want to shoot with, someone who has good word of mouth. Don't
let price be a deterrent -- the ones that charge what seems a
lot are often very very good and deserve it -- remember, your
pictures are what get you work -- period. Ask other models and
agents who they recommend.
also important to have good chemistry -- I think it is easier
for me having been a model and being a woman -- models feel very
comfortable with me -- plus I'm extremely silly and don't take
myself that seriously -- this is fun, you know? If you feel a
bad vibe off a photographer, get out of there. You can bring someone
with you if you want, but make sure that someone is not a kid
-- kids are a no no at shoots, too distracting. However, the person
you bring should know that if you are shooting with me, I will
most likely put them to work :-)
are proofs Proofs are either sheets or 4x6 prints or slides,
depending on what the photographer used. You and your agent look
at these and decide which ones you want to blow up for your book.
is a test shoot There are two kinds of testing -- one for
the model's benefit, mainly; and one for the photographer's benefit.
Model tests are when the model pays a photographer to shoot pictures
for her book. While the photographer may use the pics as well,
for self promotion, the main goal of these tests is to get the
models useable images.
I want to try out something -- a film stock, location, make-up
artist -- then I will "test" a model, which means the
model does not pay me for the shoot but is not guaranteed a "useable" shot, either -- it might be too artsy or even not come out that
great at all. So think of those kinds of tests as good practice.
is a third combo in here, when you get a starter photographer.
He or she will shoot model pics, including ones the model wants,
for free or splitting costs of film, so he or she can practice
and build their own book. I did this when I was starting out.
Here you really have a range -- you could, as a model, work with
the next Bruce Weber for free, or you could work with someone
not so great. As long as it's a safe environment, and you've got
the time to play, I recommend you get as much camera time as you
you can do as the talent? Just have fun with it -- it is hard
to solely support yourself as a plus size model, so if you want
to pursue it, do your homework-- there are a lot of good resources
on the web, plusmodels.com,
this site -- learn all you can and have fun with it!
Delano brings a wealth of expertise to the industry! She knows
the ins and out of the modeling biz since she is not only a talented
photographer, but has spent many years in both Chicago and NY
in front of the camera as a straight size model. Since 2001, Leslie
has taken her talents behind the camera and shoots models for
the top agencies in LA -- Brand, Wilhelmina, Otto, Click, Next
and is also the signature photographer for the Kiyonna
talented Diva is also a screenwriter, director and makeup artist.
Her scripts include: 'Alien Space Avenger,' 'Headgames' and 'Deadly
Lessons.' Her directing credits include: 'Deadly Lessons' and
'Why Robert--a documentary about actor Robert Downey's Jr's fan
club.' She has worked in Special FX make-up for horror movies
including: Class of Nuke'em High.
Leslie is currently working on her first novel!