Can anyone model?

By Leah Pentecost

Instagram has undoubtedly become one of the most popular social media platforms today. It allows people to share what they’re doing and where they are, simply by posting a picture or video. But with the cultural popularity revolving around images and videos, users all across instagram have taken to the camera and pose as models.

There’s a clear difference between looking like a professional model and looking more like a wannabe. Multiple elements make up this distinction: photographer, image quality, pose, and forms of experience.

Who you have to take your picture is important. Someone who is experienced behind the camera will show in the image as clearly as someone who’s an amateur.

Posting a photo that your mom took, or worse – yourself, does not demonstrate that you have the ability to model; rather that you are capable of holding a camera or handing it off to someone else.

While taking the picture yourself may be the easier and quicker way, it is impossible to produce a selfie that conveys the idea you understand how to model. A self timer is not a better option either.DSC_0565 (2)

When you set your camera to self timer, the moment you set it down and click the button to take the photo, is the exact moment you lose all control of your camera settings and the content of your image.

The device you use to take the photo is one of the most important factors that distinguish whether someone could be considered a model or not. Between a digital camera and a smartphone, Douglas Chan, a Miami sophomore and UP Fashion Magazine photographer, vouches for the camera.

“I always use my DSLR when I’m doing a photoshoot, I have never and will never use my phone. I know the quality on smartphones has gotten better, but there’s a lot more control when you use a camera.”

The image quality on smartphones today is constantly improving, but from an artistic point of view, the camera should not focus on the talent, the person behind it should. That is a benefit with a digital camera: the option to switch to ‘manual’ mode, rather than letting the phone choose where the lighting and focus should go.

DSC_0099DSC_0123For the image to be aesthetically pleasing, the model’s pose can make it or break it.

Junho Moon, a freshman at Miami University who photographed the Miami University Fashion Department’s 2017 fashion show, has worked with inexperienced models in the past.

“It’s honestly a nightmare. There’ve been girls I’ve worked with in the past who didn’t know how to pose and they would constantly complain how they didn’t know what to do or immediately start laughing, and it just wasn’t professional. I can direct them as best I can, but if the model isn’t creative enough to change their pose, it’s like I’m photographing a statue and every photo looks the same.”

Posing comes with experience, and experience is key to being an actual model. Doing photo shoots not only helps the person who wants to model, gain more understanding, but it also allows them to develop a portfolio.

Normally portfolios are used by people who are truly serious about diving into the modeling world, but reviewing past images can help you note any faults and corrections you may want to change for the future.

It is beneficial when asking a photographer to do a photoshoot, whether it’s for a job or freelance, that you have samples of your work from the past. Do not simply give them your instagram handle or facebook URL and tell them to look you up. Denial could not come faster.

Allie Levine, a sophomore and model in Cincinnati, said she finds that the difference between someone who would be classified as a model and someone who would be classified as a wannabe is understanding how to be professional.

“They should be able to reach out to photographers in a professional manner and have samples ready. Sometimes photographers like to hear suggestions and ideas you have as well.”

The truth is, not everyone who posts a photo of themselves on Instagram or social media can be classified as a model. Certain elements distinguish an experienced model from  an instagram-model.


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