All photos by the talented and amazing Hallie Duesenberg.
Building your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter following are all essential, but linking your work to your website is an amazing way to show a complete body of your work and greaten your potential to work with brands and companies for sponsorships. By creating a blog you’re also able to gain more followers, views to your website, get people excited for your new content and bringing in a new way to work with other creators.
Come up with a clever name: The first step in creating a blog is obviously the name. You need something that matches who you are as a person, while giving a description as to what you will be blogging about. Make sure it shows aspects of your personality that are very unique to you and will not appear on other websites, so it’s easily searchable on Google and other search platforms.
Find a platform that works for you: Blogs can be separate or part of your blog. Models have their blog oftentimes separate from their modeling work because it does not correspond to what they are posting for modeling, for example if you’re a model but love food you may make a separate website for your blog, rather than having it on your actual modeling website. Some good platforms to use for blogging include: Squarespace, Weebly, Blogger, WordPress and Medium. If your modeling brand is properly reflected in your blog, I would recommend adding a blog page to your website so people can see you update your website frequently. By linking your blog to your website you’re also expanding the opportunity to have more people see your modeling work and reach out to you for more bookings, since everything will be all on one website.
Post consistently: Decide how often you will be posting and stick to a schedule. Keep track of times and days you have the highest engagement on other social media platforms and post based on the engagement. Make sure you’re able to keep up with that posting schedule, so if you’re not on social media that much, posting once a week or once every other week may be the best option for you. As long as you’re posting in a consistent manner, you’re able to generate a reliable amount of people coming to your website and reading your content.
Include photos, but also words: I used to post only photo series, but by posting articles you’ve written, interviews, or your experiences on that specific photo series, you’re giving more unique content for viewers to consume that will keep them on your blog longer and give them new things each time they come back to your blog to read. Not only will your writings make your blog more interesting to come back to, but it will also give more content to boost your website on google. Using specific words and phrases in your blog post will boost your SEO on your website so more people could potentially see it if they’re searching for models in their area.
Submit to companies: So, now that you’ve had your blog up for a bit and you’re getting consistent viewers, it’s time to submit to companies. In order to submit to companies you have to have a tracker of how many views your website gets per week and per month, along with specific statistics on your demographic. Many companies, especially larger companies, will ask for details as to see if it’s profitable for them to work with you. When you’re starting out your blog, reaching out to smaller and local companies will help you build up your brand and gain you more views, thus leading to bigger brand opportunities. Once you have a consistent number of people on your website, reach out to larger brands that will work with the previous content on your website, for example if you are posting work with high-end fashion brands, it may not be the best move to partner with clothing companies such as Zaful.
At the end of the day, your blog is an extension of your desired content you want to share with the world. If you don’t enjoy blogging, you won’t do it so make sure it’s something that is easily maintainable for you and will enhance your brand.
One of the best parts of modeling, for me, is being able to post the images and shine a light on creators, and my friends, who inspire me and create with me.
I'd previously worked with Hallie while she was still living in Chicago. Our previous work can be seen here! Since she's moved to LA, it was an awesome opportunity to hang out with a boss babe in the gorgeous sun, successfully escaping the winter storms of Chicago.
Long story short: if you're looking for an amazing friend/person/photographer who just recently moved to LA. Hallie is your gal!
This article was written for, and originally published on, The Hub.
This week on the blog: A dope athleisure shoot, one of my favorite types of shoots and an older article that fits with the vibe of March (for me at least) learning and growing! I've been working on my fitness and overall health and this shoot is a perfect way to emphasize health and high-fashion, all while participating in on-trend shoots. A special bonus for models is my article on 5 Things Every Model Should Know (it's a must read for anyone starting out). I'd always wanted to meet Hope, and when this concept was brought to the table, I couldn't resist!
Thanks to the amazing team that brought you some of my favorite images!
5 Things Every Model Should Learn
Most models know about posing, catching the light and looking elegant while walking down the runway, but there are several aspects of modeling that aren’t necessarily obvious to a new model.
Basic Hair/Makeup. People are not as reliable as we’d like to think. Oftentimes, hair and makeup artists cancel. What do you do if your makeup artist is a no show? You have to do it yourself.
Example: I was waiting outside a makeup artist’s home for an hour waiting for her to come home to do my makeup where we would both go to the photographer’s studio. She was a no show so I had to run back to my apartment and do it myself.
How to nail it: Keep it clean and simple. Oftentimes less is more. If you have extensive makeup experience and want to explore with colors, knowing you can execute a bight bold look successfully, then I would suggest going all out. But for the average model, if you’re not a professional makeup artist, keep it clean and simple highlighting your favorite qualities and cleaning your complexion, without overdoing it on the contour and highlight.
Styling. It’s fashion. It’s all about you and the clothes. From basics to high-fashion, finding the right clothes is essential to any shoot. Your overall sense of fashion and trends could make or break you.
Example: In Chicago it’s hard to find amazing stylists, and when you do find the top quality stylists, they book so far out in advance they may not be available.
How to nail it: Put together a moodboard and go through images with the whole crew. When you have a specific look chosen with sample images, search your closet (or a friends) and possibly go shopping with one of the crew members to find what would fit the style your moodboard has set. As you’re picking up items, always run through the choices with the photographer to confirm your picks will look killer for the shoot!
Who’s-Who of Your Market. When you’re trying to make connections and make your shoots higher quality, finding a top tier crew is essential, while maintaining a realistic view on your own abilities. When you identify the top photographers, makeup artists, etc. you can set goals for who you want to work with and the skill level you want to be at. Getting to know your market and where you stand that market will help you get a better understanding of how to grow and build your portfolio.
Example: When I’m looking to shoot a high-quality production, I am always looking through Instagram, friend connections on Facebook or asking my own connections. I have photographers and models I aspire to work with and/or be like. By setting my goals for connections I make and understanding who is at the top, I’m able to understand my market more and how to market myself to new audiences.
How to nail it: RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! Comb through Instagram, Facebook and your favorite creatives’ websites to find new talent and people who you’d be interested in working with. When you see someone’s work that’s nice, go through their portfolio. The three things I look for is:
Consistent quality—their work is always maintaining a certain high standard.
Versatility—their book of work showcases a diverse range of styles and talent they work with (for example a MUA with not only just Caucasian models—but also African American models).
Connections—the biggest thing I look for is the quality and skill level of people who they are working with and shooting. If they’re a newer photographer, do you feel they have enough potential to work with them before they work with well-established models?
In-Person Networking Skills. Online communication is important, but if you don’t have the skills to carry your online personality to real life, your job opportunities and room for growth is limited. With how much people are on their phones texting, there is a lack of in-person interactions, what the entertainment industry is all about. Working on social skills and properly communicating to clients and photographers is an underestimated skill.
Example: A by-chance encounter introduced me to two of the top Chicago designers, who have turned into close friends. Even though I’m shy when it comes to large groups, it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Because of this many other jobs have been offered to me as companies and photographers get more used to seeing my face and my images through our mutual friends.
How to nail it: Attend networking events. Don’t be afraid to go up to people. Stay confident and chatty, asking questions about themselves and their career is important showing you’re interested and invested. Use active listening skills and be genuine, people will be able to tell.
Conducting yourself like a business. Managing yourself like a business and conducting your communications and interactions in a business-like-manner are so important. From sending emails to phone calls and castings to being on set, it’s crucial to act as if you are a business—because you are. If you’re not just taking images for Instagram/social media and working with companies, again, this is crucial.
Example: I receive so many emails that are unprofessional and uneducated about my career in general. As a result, my screening process for bookings is rigorous. My response rate to professionals is much quicker and more friendly than people who just send me a DM saying “shoot?”
How to nail it: Keep your emails and messages professional. Title your emails correctly and when on set be polite. Remember that the entertainment industry is fun, but still a business, even when emailing friends. Learn how to save your earnings from modeling and how to invest in the industry to build up your brand. Slay the game by showcasing a business
People will respect you, and therefore book you, more if you know the ins-and-outs of your business, from marketing to understanding ranks and other local businesses around you. By expanding your horizons, you’re expanding your business and flexing your abilities proving you’re not just another pretty face but a force to be reckoned with.
This article was written for and published by The Hub.
One of my favorite people, and my favorite photographer, shot a video with me and it's absolutely BOSS!
All photos and video by Jennee Johnson
Making Connections That Last In The Industry
The longer I’m in the industry, the more I realize that almost all of my friends work in fashion. The fashion industry is an insanely close network, not just in your main city, but all over. With the use of social media, it’s easier now more than ever to be in contact with photographers, stylists, makeup artists and other creators. It can be intimidating when you’re trying to build your book, or going to a new place for the first time, but reaching out and trying to make those connections can completely change your life.
When you’re reaching out online, always be as detailed as possible. Here’s an example that I wrote when I was going to LA and wanted to meet a big name photographer:
“Hey *photographer’s name*,
My name’s Lauren, I’m from Chicago and will be in LA from May 1-10 for a booking. I was wondering if you’d be interested or available to work together while I’m out there. If not, I’ll be meeting up with a group of people to hang out at *insert club name here* on the evening of May 8th. Let me know if you’re down to hang out.
If a photographer gives you their rates, don’t be offended since doing photoshoots is the way photographers make money. By saying if they can’t shoot you’re meeting up with a bunch of other people in the industry, you’re leaving the door open or a friendship, which could lead to shoots in the future.
On top of reaching out to photographers for shoots, if you appreciate someone’s work, tell them! Tell a creator how their work inspires you and how much you enjoy seeing their work on your feed! This is more about building a relationship with creators you love and spreading positivity and encouragement throughout the community. When you’re reaching out and thanking people for creating such beautiful shots, you’re showing you’re more interested in the growth of everyone rather than just yourself and your book. Replying to Instagram stories or commenting on Facebook and Instagram posts is a great way to say you’re engaging with their work and enjoying it.
So you’re shooting with your dream photographers, who you’ve become close friends with, now what? Maintaining these friendships, and making sure they’re actually genuine, is the most challenging part. A good way to support them is sharing their accomplishments in your own story or through interacting with their work. Attending their events, gallery openings and other social events is a good way to maintain these working relationships.
For a closer relationship, my friends who are in the industry and I will host game nights and other activities, like bowling–sounds lame but is actually a great way to have fun and introduce new people into our group. (For women, we also do a seperate women’s night where cool women inspire other cool women.) Find something fun to do with your core group, at least once a month, that fits what you guys love to do! When we create events, we try to include at least one new person from the industry to make sure we’re always meeting new people and growing as a group.
Ultimately these friendships and connections are like any other friendship you’re trying to build. Find a way to make connections that are uniquely you.
This article was written for and published on The Hub.
Valentines Day is always an awesome holiday! It's a time to spoil yourself and appreciate all things love, both romantic and (most importantly) your friends.
I was able to work with some of the most talented ladies I know, who also happen to be my friends! As a tribute to working with some of the most inspiring women I asked them to tell me about what it means to be a woman, strengthening female friendships and loving yourself.
Audrey, Michelle, Alex and Naomi are such boss babes! It's an honor to know them and call them friends!
Alex: Being a woman is great. I love proving to myself that I deserve what I want. In the industry that I'm in is mostly dominated by women. I get to be around people that build each other up on the daily. A woman's enthusiasm of owning your identity is epic. I surround myself with woman who aren't haters, and genuinely want to see the growth of who you want to become. Being behind the scenes with only women makes me feel like I'm in a safe space to showcase my creativity. No one is trying to dominate over one another, it's normally just a bunch of laughs and sharing each others life experiences. Loving yourself is being open about who you are. Not being afraid to tell someone you don't like what they are doing and acting on your feelings. Treating yourself with the upmost dignity and making your dreams come true.
Audrey: I think what it means to be a women in general, is embracing femininity and celebrating our feminine qualities. The fact that we bring a soft, nurturing, creative energy to this world is the yin to the yang. Yang being the masculine. I think in this day and age many women are faced with pressures to adapt to a more masculine energy, we are women, but we still need to be strong, we need to work and problem solve to have a career which is what our ancestors fought for in the 60s. However, in celebrating feminine energy, women can have strength in knowing that we are exactly what we need to be. We don’t need to suppress our female side to be more like a man just to succeed in this world. We simply need to have confidence in our qualities and the amazing value we bring to the world naturally. I believe that is strength.
For that reason, it is important to empower other women. It’s important to empower everyone. I truly know that we are all beautiful souls just trying to do our best on this spinning globe. How can we criticize anyone for being imperfect when we ourselves can never be perfect? By choosing to see the best in others, we are choosing to see the best in ourselves. When we choose to see another human being equal to our own being we are choosing love, self-love and closeness above hate, ignorance and separation. At the end of the day, we yearn for closeness, understanding and acceptance from those around us. So why would we choose to deny that to others? Choose to spread the love, tis the season.
5 Reflections of His Time Living in China with Jack:
1) People talk about big cities like Shanghai and cultural relics like the Terracotta Warriors, but my favorite things to photograph were two of China's big national parks: Zhangjiajie and Jiuzhaigou. The former is often referenced as an inspiration for the landscapes in the movie Avatar.
2) One of the coolest things about China's cityscapes is that they're playgrounds for neofuturist architecture. So, buildings look like the future we saw in movies when we were kids -- and feeling like you're walking around in the future is super fun.
3) The rapid rate of change allows for some pretty dramatic juxtapositions of old and new. Downtown Guangzhou is swallowing up a village that predates the city itself.
4) Chinese architecture, even when it's thoroughly modern, turns very colorful at night. One specific example of this is Nanpu Bridge in Shanghai, and I love that it looks like a race track from Mario Kart.
5) One of the photos that makes me most reflective about my time in China is the one I took in a traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy (HERE). These photos are special to me because, even though I don't really use or buy into TCM myself, it reminds me of Chinese cultural features that aren't as obvious and external that nevertheless became a part of me after living there for half a decade.
1. When participating in a high production shoot, how do you prepare?
NA: As a stylist, my first objective is to gain a thorough sense of the concept. Theme, locations, direction (high fashion, art, political statement, professional/commercial, etc.). After I secure the model(s) sizing info, and budget (if any), I pull appropriate pieces from my own collection and then source from friends and shops. I load up on accessories and layers, and come up with a few specific looks ahead of time, but I really enjoy playing and editing on set (that freedom depends on how relaxed or accute the production is).
SS: Each person goes about preparing for a production in a variety of ways. I find that the most important thing you can do is communicate. Being open and timely about your communication is honestly the key to having a successful team of people. Be honest about your needs & try your best to tend to other’s the best you can. If you email me once during the entire production, I’m probably more concerned than I am feeling satisfied in your skill set. A truly talented person knows the correct questions to ask and isn’t afraid to ask them!
AM: I put a lot of though into the ideas behind my shoots. I spend hours searching the internet for inspiration as well as tear sheets that show the ideas that I already have going on in my head so that everyone on set has a good idea of what I'm going for. It really helps get everyone on the same page when there is something to look at rather than just trying to describe an idea or mood your going for.
DS: Usually I'm filling a tech role of some kind, so most of my prep involves making sure all the gear is ready to go. I check with the photographer to make sure I have the right cables for their camera model, as well as extra batteries if possible. Technical stuff should, ideally, never get in the way of the actual creative work on set, so ideally I have a backup of everything ready to swap out to keep things running smoothly.
Depending on the scale of the shoot, there's also just some mental preparation- there are pretty much always going to be problems you don't see coming, so just getting ready in your head for shit to hit the fan is useful. Having backups of things helps here as well- I'm a lot less likely to get flustered on set if I know there's another camera body or hard drive to bring out in case of emergency.
If I'm the photographer on a set, my biggest priority is having a clear vision of what I want from a shoot and to have a way to communicate it clearly. Everybody gets frustrated if there's no clear direction, and it slows things down. Of course there's always room for change- but a clear starting point is hugely helpful in getting the shoot started.
2. How do you use social media when on set? Do you find it helpful to shoot Instagram stories or do you wait to post the actual images?
NA: I love BTS photos! I think it helps to engage your followers throughout the process. My instagram is actually mostly BTS, as I work mainly in film production and it’s tricky navigating the NDAs.
SS: Instagram stories are an insanely valuable attribute to one’s Instagram presence because it allows users to engage with content in a new way. I like to make polls, share photos & give people an opportunity to know me outside of “Hi look at my photography!” If people feel like they have a relationship with the artist/person themselves, they’re more likely to reach out to you.
AM: I like doing a little bit of social media on set. I like to give my followers a little sneak peek of what I'm working on.
DS: I'm pretty terrible at using social media regularly. I always plan on doing Instagram stories and then forget once the shoot gets going. It's something I'm aiming to improve upon this coming year.
3. What advice would you give someone who is newer in your field if they wanted work on a bigger set?
NA: Find a seasoned professional who you can shadow or assist, never think you’re too good to assist. Even the most experienced still help out colleagues from time to time. Also, be open to working in other departments on set. You can learn so much from other people, and build the connections you need to get brought onto future projects as the role you’re seeking. ALWAYS be friendly, positive and helpful, and present excellent work quality 100% of the time.
SS: Network network network!! Opportunities won’t come to you, you come to them.
AM: If you want to work on a bigger set I say that organization and planning are key. The bigger the set you have the more you need to plan. Don't try to get on set and wing it. Plan in advance and think of the ways that you can get all the people on set on the same page. Because when everyone is on the same page and working together, beautiful things happen.
DS: Since other photographers are already answering this question, I'll talk more about assisting and teching. The best thing you can do is generally to slow down. There's a push to get things done fast on set- which is definitely important, everybody's time on set is valuable- but if you rush something and have to do it again, it'll slow things down even more than a more methodical approach. And when you're managing the files from a shoot, a sloppy mistake can mean losing images or misplacing them, which could cause some real issues later down the line. Taking a few extra minutes to properly set up back ups or name files is way better than being the reason for a reshoot. This goes for assisting as well- speed is great, until you trip over a cable and take out a bunch of lights. When you're new, it's easy to get caught up and forget basic safety. So just relax and take a second to think before you act.
The amount of requests I receive to shoot lingerie don't even come close to the amount of inquiries I receive to shoot fashion. If you've been following my career for awhile, you'll know I became popular for my boudoir shoots. It's flattering, but I never thought I would shoot lingerie when I first started out.
I wanted to take a moment to thank my bestie for taking these of me and to everyone who has made my career what is and to everyone who has made me who I am.
For a cool 8 question interview I did with Audrey for H continue reading below!
Photography: Audrey Simper
Makeup: Andie Pierce
*Please note this is a rerelease of images.
8 Questions with Audrey Simper Photography
1. How did you get into photography?
I took a few classes in High school and kept it as a hobby. One summer break in college I started a 365 project where I challenged myself to take a creative self portrait everyday. It was then that I truly felt passion for something and spent my college days researching more and more until I realized I needed to pursue this as a career. I got my first paid job taking headshots of students and teachers at my school and found the courage to drop out and start my business.
2. How do you book paid shoots?
After I started my business I created a website and branded social media pages. I started to advertise my work and consistently put out new work. My first few clients were probably my friends and from there, friends of friends, and from there it’s been word of mouth or people who find me on Instagram or Google. I attract clients that resonate with my message.
3. What’s your favorite style to shoot and why?
My favorite style to shoot is Boudoir. This is because there is a rawness to it. I truly believe that every body is beautiful and I want to show that through my work. To me, boudoir encompasses confidence, self-love and empowerment.
4. What’s your favorite shoot you’ve done?
My favorite shoot currently is a recent shoot I’ve done: http://audreysimper.com/2017/12/13/yazmin-boudoir/
I worked with an amazing team who brought great energy to the shoot and it was also a shoot of many firsts. I challenged myself to use different light than I might normally go for and the results turned out so well!
5. How do you choose your models for collaborative shoots?
These days I find models via Instagram. I want to showcase a variety of faces, skin tones and bodies in my work so I try to look for models that look different than what I’ve done before. The models I end up choosing I choose for their professionalism. It’s important that they respond in a timely manner, have a positive attitude and take interest in the planning of the shoot.
6. Can you tell us about your “Empower Yourself” boudoir shoots?
Most people only think to do boudoir shoots as a gift to their boyfriend or husband. But I thought, why is this the only time we allow ourselves to celebrate our sexiness and self-confidence? I started shooting boudoir because I believe that it’s something every woman should do for herself. Because you are beautiful as you are right now and it is my mission to change the way that we think about ourselves and our bodies.
7. How do you incorporate your passions into photography?
My passion is photography, but my other passion is spreading the message of self-love and self-care and overall empowerment. I also absolutely adore pretty lingerie! It’s easy for my to combine all these passions through boudoir photography.
8. What’s the message you try to convey to the world through your photography?
Let’s start a new chapter. A story of women who empower other women by fearlessly embracing and loving every aspect of themselves. A story of women who understand that every body type that exists in this world is a beautiful body; a beautiful body that is a vessel for an even more beautiful soul.
It was so awesome to meet Hananiah and Ben when they came into town to visit! With the holidays rapidly approaching, I'm so thankful such wonderful people are still traveling into the city and are able to create gorgeous works of art.
Thank you for including me in your trip and Chicago experience!
For more information on Hananiah, read her interview below!
Photography: NiahRose Photography
So tell me about what you photograph and your overall mission statement for your brand “NiahRose Photography”.
I want everyone who I get the honor of working with to feel comfortable, confident, happier and leaving thinking that shooting was really fun.
We met because you traveled to Chicago for a couple of nights. How often do you travel? And what’s your favorite place to shoot and travel to?
I don’t travel as much as I would like to, but I do make everyday an adventure. You don’t have to travel around the world to find new locations! Get out drive around the city or a couple hours away! I find walking around is the best way to find new spots. You’d be surprised how fast the city changes over night. I’m finding new shooting locations everyday! I do try and travel 3+ hours at least every few months!
Any advice you could give to photographers and models who are just starting out?
My best advice is to shoot as much as you can, and go to as many collaborative photography & model meet ups as you can! Know that sometimes you’re going to have to take 1,000 pictures to get one good shot! That’s okay!! The more you know your camera settings the more it will show in your pictures, so watch those tutorials, surround yourself around people that you think are better, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
To the models practice your facial expressions and posing in the mirror so that it becomes muscle memory. The best models I’ve worked with are the ones that know to move slight poses every few camera clicks. Models don’t be afraid to ask photographers for some direction, and of course I highly recommend surrounding yourself with models that have been modeling for a while. Go with them to a shoot, and watch what they do.
Being based out of Kansas City, how did you get involved with Kansas City fashion week?
As someone who originally considered myself as a high school senior photographer, I had never thought about doing fashion photography until models more and more started reaching out to shoot. This is when I stumbled upon this new love! I owe everything to the talented models here in Kansas City for pushing me to apply for KCFW, and introducing me to more models, hair and make up artists, and especially all the amazing local designers.
Where do you see your photography at the end of 2018?
I see myself being an established business focusing more on fashion photography, and more collaborative shoots with local designers, stylists, hair and make up artists, and models! Also hopefully traveling more, and especially dipping my toes in the sand by the ocean!
It feels like I'm always traveling. One of my favorite places to travel to, hands down, is Nashville. Since my brother lives there, I head down quite a bit. One photographer that I HAD to move whatever I needed to in order to shoot with was obviously Shannon! Her work and amazing attitude towards shooting and life comes through with these images.
I'm so excited to share these photos with everyone!
All photos by the lovely Shannon Bray
As a model for almost ten years, I find myself learning new things everyday. This blog is a way to share my stories, images that may not be on my main board, and interesting things abut modeling and my life.