Starting a Commercial Modeling Career: Tips
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Identify your market
  2. Prepare a professional portfolio
  3. Sign up with a modeling agency
  4. Ensure you are physically fit
  5. Learn about the industry and network
  6. Be patient and stay positive
  7. Take care of your mental health
  8. Continuously improve your skills

So, you've decided to dip your toe into the vibrant world of commercial modeling—exciting! Whether you've been dreaming of this since you were little or it's a newfound interest, knowing how to start commercial modeling is your first step. This blog is here to offer you practical, relatable tips on how to embark on this thrilling journey.

Identify your market

Before you start practicing your poses, it's important to understand where you fit in the commercial modeling industry. Just like how every song has its own genre, each model has a market they are best suited for. Here's how to identify yours:

  • Consider your look: Are you more of a classic beauty or an edgy trendsetter? Maybe you have a sporty look, or perhaps you're the personification of elegance. Your look will help you figure out which brands and commercials you should aim for.
  • Understand your strengths: Are you great at expressing emotions on camera, or do you excel in action shots? Your strengths can point you towards specific types of commercials—such as lifestyle, fashion, or sports.
  • Know your limitations: It's not about focusing on what you can't do, but rather understanding where you may not fit. For example, if you're uncomfortable doing swimsuit or lingerie shots, then you'll want to steer clear of those markets.
  • Research brands: Look at the models that brands similar to your look and strengths are currently using. This will give you a clearer idea of where you could fit in the commercial modeling scene.

Remember, identifying your market isn't about limiting yourself. It's about understanding where you are most likely to succeed and focusing your efforts there. It's the first step in learning how to start commercial modeling—so take your time and be thorough.

Prepare a professional portfolio

Next up in our guide on how to start commercial modeling is creating a professional portfolio. This is your visual CV, showcasing your best work and helping agencies and brands see your potential.

  • Quality over quantity: Your portfolio doesn't need to be thick as a brick—what matters is the quality of the photos. Aim to include 10-20 high-quality, diverse photographs that show your range.
  • Variety is key: Include a range of shots—headshots, full-body shots, action shots, and lifestyle shots. This shows you're versatile and adaptable, two highly prized traits in commercial modeling.
  • Professional photography: While your smartphone takes decent photos, professional photos make a difference. Hire a professional photographer who specializes in commercial modeling shoots. They'll know how to bring out the best in you.
  • Show your personality: Yes, you're striking a pose, but don't forget to let your personality shine through. Commercial modeling is all about connecting with the audience, and your genuine smile or unique style can do just that.

Remember, your portfolio is like a silent ambassador, representing you in your absence. So take the time to prepare a professional portfolio that truly reflects your potential as a commercial model.

Sign up with a modeling agency

Once you've prepared your portfolio, the next step on your journey to start commercial modeling is to sign up with a modeling agency. But how do you find the right one?

  • Do your research: Not all modeling agencies are created equal. Some focus on high fashion, others on commercial work. Look for agencies that specialize in the type of modeling you're interested in—after all, you wouldn't go to a dentist for a haircut, would you?
  • Check their reputation: An agency might have a fancy website, but what do people say about them? Check online reviews, forums, and ask around. A good reputation is hard to fake.
  • Understand the contract: When an agency offers you a contract, understand what you're signing. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Remember, this is your career at stake.
  • Scams are real: Beware of agencies asking for upfront fees or persuading you to use specific photographers for your portfolio—they might be more interested in your money than your modeling potential.

Signing up with the right modeling agency can open doors and provide you with the support you need to launch your career in commercial modeling. So take your time, do your research, and make a choice that feels right for you.

Ensure you are physically fit

When learning how to start commercial modeling, it's important to remember that modeling isn't just about looking good—it's also about being physically fit. Here's why:

  • Long hours: Photo shoots can last for hours, often with few breaks. Being physically fit will help you cope with these demanding schedules.
  • Confidence: Physical fitness can boost your self-confidence. When you feel good about your body, it shows in your posture, your walk, and your expressions.
  • Health: The modeling industry can be stressful. Regular exercise can help you manage this stress and keep you healthy.

But you don't have to hit the gym seven days a week or run a marathon. Start small. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Join a dance class or a local sports team. Find an activity you enjoy and stick with it.

Remember, physical fitness isn't about being size zero—it's about being healthy, strong, and confident. So eat well, exercise regularly, and take care of your body. It's the only one you've got!

Learn about the industry and network

As you dive into the world of commercial modeling, it's crucial to keep learning and networking. This industry is ever-changing, and staying on top of trends will keep you ahead of the curve. Here are some points to consider:

  • Industry knowledge: Understanding how the industry works will help you make smart career decisions. Learn how agencies operate, how contracts work, or what makes a good portfolio. The more you know, the better prepared you'll be.
  • Networking: In the world of commercial modeling, who you know can sometimes be as important as what you know. Attend industry events and socialize with other models and industry professionals. You never know where your next big opportunity might come from.
  • Stay updated: Fashion and commercial modeling trends change all the time. Follow industry blogs, magazines, and influencers to stay updated. This will not only give you an edge in your work but also provide topics to talk about when networking.

Remember, learning about your industry and networking is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Stay curious, stay connected, and watch your commercial modeling career take off!

Be patient and stay positive

Starting a commercial modeling career can be exciting. But like any new venture, it's not without its share of challenges. Patience and a positive attitude can make a world of difference. Here's how:

  • Patience is key: While you might be eager to see results quickly, it's important to understand that success in the modeling world doesn't happen overnight. It can take time to land your first gig, so don't get discouraged if things don't move as quickly as you'd like.
  • Stay positive: There will be ups and downs, and it's natural to feel discouraged at times. But maintaining a positive attitude can help keep you motivated and focused. Remember, every no brings you one step closer to a yes!
  • Keep trying: Don't let rejection put you off. Even the most successful models have faced rejection at some point in their careers. Use it as a learning experience and keep trying. You only fail when you stop trying.

Starting a commercial modeling career can be a thrilling journey. With patience and positivity, you can navigate the ups and downs and enjoy the ride to the top!

Take care of your mental health

The excitement of starting a commercial modeling career can sometimes overshadow the importance of mental health. But, make no mistake, taking care of your mind is just as important as maintaining your physical appearance in this industry. Here's why:

  • Pressure and stress: The modeling world can be high-pressure, with long hours and constant scrutiny. Managing stress effectively is vital to avoid burnout and keep performing at your best.
  • Self-esteem: Being in an industry that often judges based on appearance can impact your self-esteem. Remind yourself that your worth is not determined by your looks alone. It's also about your talent, your hard work, and your unique personality.
  • Balance: Striking a balance between work and personal life is important. Make time for hobbies, socializing, and relaxation to keep your spirit high and your mind healthy.

Remember, you're not alone. If things get tough, don't hesitate to reach out to professionals who can provide mental health support. You're starting a commercial modeling career, yes, but you're also a human being who deserves to be happy and mentally healthy.

Continuously improve your skills

While natural talent and good looks can give you a leg up in the commercial modeling world, there's something else that's equally, if not more, important — improving your skills continuously. Here's how you can do that:

  • Learn from the best: Look at successful models you admire. How do they pose, walk, or express emotions? Practice in front of a mirror to refine your own abilities. Yes, even the most successful models started somewhere!
  • Training: Consider attending modeling classes or workshops. These can provide valuable insights into the industry and help you polish your skills. You're not just learning how to start commercial modeling, you're learning how to excel.
  • Stay updated: Fashion and commercial trends change rapidly. Stay updated on the latest styles, poses, and industry news. This will help you stay relevant and increase your chances of being booked for high-profile jobs.

Remember, modeling isn't just about looking good on camera. It's about delivering the right emotion, engaging the audience, and continuously evolving. The more you learn, the more you grow, and the better your chances of making a big splash in the commercial modeling world.

If you're looking to kickstart your commercial modeling career, make sure to check out the workshop 'Getting Started in Commercials' by Josh Feder. This workshop will provide you with invaluable tips and advice on how to successfully navigate the world of commercial modeling, helping you to build a strong foundation for your career.