1. Know what you want
First of all, you need to understand that model agencies are not there for you, they work for their models and their task is to provide each girl with a job. If you do not know which type of model you want to see in the editorial and do not give the booker proper details, be ready to receive a package that includes all type of girls. You might receive models that are not very successful but the bookers are still trying to “push” them. Believe me: not specifying what you want initially will make your job much more difficult. Spend time on deciding who you want to see in your shoot, picture her in your head. Avoid requests such as “Who will be free for my editorial and fits the Mood Board?” Make a request like this: “I need a tall skinny girl, editorial type (important!), classy facial features, feminine body type, preferably blonde, with long or medium hair length. She must be able to pull off a Femme Fatale mood, so not too young. I would consider Development models or a brunette if she is really great.”
2. Watch the stats
It is great that all sizes of models currently have chances to book jobs. Nevertheless, high fashion editorial reality is cruel. Models in most cases must be tall with a 0-2 dress size. There are great shootings for girls of all sizes but not high fashion editorial shoots. Simply because all runway-clothing samples are 0-2 sizes and a skinny long-legged model has the body language that is required for these projects. Check the model’s stats in the package very carefully since bookers most likely will send you some girls that are not tall enough or larger than a size 2. Exclude any girls who do not match.
3. Exclude commercial types
It will be hard for beginners, but as with any profession, experience comes with practice. You need to learn to feel the difference between a commercial type of a model and a high fashion editorial type. Bookers will always include a couple of commercial girls in your request. A commercial girl is always pretty and fit with a great smile and hair but she is not always very skinny. Think of all variations of Victoria Secret models. A high fashion model’s beauty is usually controversial and sometimes it is not very classy, definitely not that “pretty type”. She is always very skinny and tall but not necessarily fit. You should find something in the eyes, body language, and facial bone structure. Choose wisely!
4. Ask for Polaroids and research the model in social media
A model agency signs a new model because they feel there are potential clients she can be represented to. That is why sometimes they create a certain image for each girl carefully selecting the pictures in her portfolio. A model is raw material and it is up to you how she will look in your shoot. Always do a live casting if you are able, otherwise ask for Polaroids (no make-up, bikini shots) and research a model in social media. Find out how she looks in real life and what her personality is like
5. Always do a live casting when using more than one model
Using two models requires double the attention and planning and requires specific lighting decisions. Many aspiring photographers make the mistake of shooting multiple models in their first editorials. Do not do that. Focus all your skills by working with just one girl initially and when you feel you have mastered your art, work you way up to using two or more models. When you have decided to work with multiple models a live casting will be required. Models who have the same height and stats still might not match because of their body shapes and proportions. You need to see if they look good together and you cannot normally know this by their photos only.