By: Alyssa Harlston, Barbizon International 

As you search for jobs as a potential model, you may realize many agencies and employers will ask for photos of you and your work for evaluation. These photos are critical when assessing your ability to fulfill the job at hand. Here are a few dos and don’ts to consider when selecting photos to submit for representation:


  • Find good lighting. These shots don’t need to be professional, but your features should be clearly visible. It’s difficult to determine things like skin tone and hair color when photos are dark or muted. Achieve good lighting by taking pictures in the morning or during sunset (golden hour.) You can also utilize good lighting by having a light source pointed in your direction while you take your photos. However it is accomplished, good lighting is a must!
  • Use a plain background. Although it is only in the background, your surroundings are important! Make sure to market yourself and not the bathroom stall or playground in the background of your photo. 
  • Wear nice-fitting, solid-colored clothing free of any logos. You are not promoting any brands (yet!). It is important to keep the focus on what is being promoted: yourself! Solid-colored clothing minimizes distraction, helping to put the focus on you and how great you look.
  • Use unaltered photos. Filtered photos belong on social media and not in job submissions. Photoshop and social media filters can mislead as well as distract employers when evaluating models.
  • Only submit what is asked for. You may be so excited about submitting to a particular opportunity that you feel the urge to go over the top with your submission by including every great photo of yourself that you have – and even throw in a movie! It’s best to avoid this temptation. Agents and casting directors often receive hundreds of photos in any given week, so sending more or outside of what is asked for is likely to put your submission directly into the discard pile.


  • Use Snapchat filters. To reiterate from the do list, leave the googly eyes and cat ears for your friends and family! It is important to look as real and professional as possible. Do not use photos with Snapchat, Instagram, or any other kind of filters.
  • Wear too much makeup. Employers are trying to see the real you. It is important to look as natural as possible for an honest evaluation.They might even miss some of your best features if they’re all covered up with too much makeup! 
  • Use pictures with several people. This makes it hard for an industry professional to evaluate you on your work or even just who you are in the photo! Individual photos clearly demonstrate you in your best light and show that you are professional and serious in your modeling pursuits. 
  • Submit selfies. While selfies are a fun way to practice your best modeling looks, avoid using them for submissions to agencies. This is because selfies have a tendency to be lower quality and resolution and also give off the impression of being unprofessional to those who are evaluating your submission. 
  • Upload the wrong file format. Although you might have the cutest Boomerang ever of yourself, it is not appropriate to submit a ‘moving photo’ or video to agents/managers. Additionally, don’t upload photos that are too large or enveloped inside of a zip file. These can end up getting deleted before they even get opened due to long downloading times and the extra step of extracting photos from a zip file. The ideal size for emailing or uploading your photos for submission to modeling jobs is 500 KB to 1 MB maximum.

Now that you know the dos and don’ts of uploading your photo submissions for modeling, you can start keeping stock of the best photos to have on hand when the time comes to submit for your next modeling opportunity. If you don’t have any ready-to-go photos that follow these guidelines for modeling submissions, grab a friend or family member to get behind the camera and help you to capture some stellar shots! 

And when you’ve got a great one, you can consider submitting yourself to enter the Barbizon and Girls’ Life Magazine running model search contest