Actor Headshots VS Model Portraits

I hear a lot of people mix up these definitions so I thought I’d clear up the misunderstanding…

          Only Actors get headshots done. Models do not.

          However, both Models and Actors can have portraits done. 

Headshots are different from portraits because they show what roles you can play, they are either straight on or at a slight facial angle, they’re always chest to head, never just neck up, and they have a different function than portraits. Also, casting directors for acting will look at an Actor’s headshot along with their résumé. Whereas, casting directors for modeling will look at either you in person, your digitals, your portfolio (which includes portraits) or any combination of those items.

Portraits showcase beauty.

Headshots show what acting roles you could play.

(Or if your in business / real estate, simply what you look like with a trustworthy expression)

*Check out the “Headshots” highlight on my Instagram to see example Actor headshots!

My Actor headshot is the one in the denim, my Model portrait is the image in the black tank.

Should I Take Modeling Classes or a Workshop?

You can take Modeling classes or a workshop if you want to, just understand that they are not required for you to become, or to continue being, a Model. 

Modeling classes and coaching are not as necessary as people think. You can take them if you want, and I’m not saying you won’t learn anything, but a Mother Agency will teach you about the business, the lingo, and how to walk for free. So will other Models and other online resources.

Check out this YouTube video of HOW TO WALK LIKE A SUPERMODEL! (WITH NAOMI & GIGI!) By Loic Prigent

Naomi Campbell learned how to walk from her mom, and at the 19:30 minute mark in the video we see Elite Paris Models being taught how to walk at their agency’s office. 

A Mother Agency trains and develop Models, like a manager, then get them signed to international Modeling Agencies. And that education continues for years.

I understand the pressure to take these classes and workshops when you’re a freelance Model as well. But, just understand that you will probably pay around any where from $300 - $3,000 for either a 1 day workshop or a weekend of classes. And be certain that the institute you’re learning from understands you as a Model. I often felt that other Models and coaches/teachers didn’t know how to teach me to pose as a Curve Model or where/how I could find success. I basically had to relearn everything I knew about posing, what brands I should aim for, and my look as well as my marketing when I joined my Mother Agency which is specific to Curve Models. 

I was also told by coaches and teachers themselves, at their own workshops and classes, that “no one cares if you do a Model camp”. And so far I’ve found that to be true when going on castings and when I was still applying to agencies. 

Also, I know Models who’ve been dropped from agencies for hosting Modeling classes / workshops. So be careful if you chose to host one and check in with your agent first just to be safe if it’s ok with them. You want to maintain a good relationship even if you feel that your agent has nothing to do with what you do outside of the agency. 

Now, I will advocate doing a workshop if you get a deal on working with a really good photographer. Especially if their usual rate is $800 per shoot - without hair, makeup or styling - but you can shoot with them at a workshop for only $250. Just make sure to check with your agent if it’s cool with them like I said before, and if you’re freelance, make sure to check in with that photographer about lighting, backdrop colors, and wardrobe before the day you sign up so you know what kind of photoshoot it will be and how the photos will come out. 

Also, if Fashion Week is coming up and it’s your 1st time participating and you’re nervous about your walk, ask your agent if there’s someone you can practice with. If they refer you to a runway coach and their prices are reasonable then feel free to do it. But make sure you get individualized attention and that coach knows what brands your agent has and intends to send you to castings for. Because different brands like different walks. 

I will say though that my mother agency held a walking workshop, free of charge, at their office. It was quick and easy and I learned a lot!

At the end of the day, modeling is so expensive so I’m always going to advocate for whatever saves you the most money while enriching your skills and materials the most. If that means doing workshops, do them, if that doesn’t, then don’t feel pressured to partake. 

Modeling classes and workshops are like extracurricular activities, they’re not required for you to get into or even stay in school, but if you feel they will enrich your education and you can afford to pay for them after 1st paying for all your required school materials, then go ahead, it’s your money!

Identifying Modeling Scams

1) Agencies that won’t let you join their roster unless you take model classes (especially the ones they offer) or that sell photoshoot packages (which they use make money off you) are scams. 

Paying an agency directly instead of the photographer doesn’t make sense. An agency is supposed to connect you with photographers so you can pay them to build your portfolio. An agency that makes you pay them directly to work with their on-resident photographer, instead of having you pay the photographers that they should send you to in order to build your portfolio, want to become the middle man. This way, they can increase the charge of the photoshoot and keep the extra money. So, if X photographer works with Y agency, and X photographer’s usual rate is $700 to build a portfolio with a model, but then Y agency tells the Model it costs $1,200. Then Y agency is keeping the $500 for themselves. And if they’re already making money off of you, what motivation do they have to book you jobs where you make money? 

2) Also never pay for casting calls. Casting calls are free. 

3) Any legit agency will contact you via email first, not WhatsApp, when scouting you. Sometimes they’ll duet you on TikTok or DM you on Instagram, but then they’ll give you an email address to continue the conversation on.

Only if you or your agent live in or are from another country, and only after you’ve signed with them, is WhatsApp appropriate and acceptable professionally. It’s strange to be reached out to via WhatApp in The United States with a message saying “we love your look and would like to sign you as a Model”.

If you want to ask someone via Instagram if an agency is a scam use vanish mode to protect you and the person you’re talking to. 

Shit Model Management on Instagram also has lists of scam agencies and exposes major abuses committed by some of the top Modeling agencies. You can also report abusive agencies, agents, and photographers to their Twitter blacklist. is a great resource to find agencies that don’t charge signing fees. Not all legit agencies are listed on their site, and your experience with any agency will vary depending on which agent you get. Unfortunately, fair treatment at all agenciescaround the world, even the top ones, isn’t guaranteed, and won’t be until it’s made into law.

Learn about The Fashion Workers Act proposed by The Model Alliance NY which aims to make it illegal for Modeling Agencies to charge signing fees etc… This’ll greatly reduce Modeling scams and industry abuses within New York! They can also help you if you need to pursue legal action against a Photographer, agency etc… And you can report Modeling scams in New York anonymously to them.

☆ Click here for a Guide to Spotting Model Scams

☆ Click here to Report Modeling Scams to the FTC

☆ Report scam modeling agencies Instagram pages to Instagram.

Red Flags in Acting Classes

1. They pester you to come back.

2. They verbally abuse you or other students.

3. They punish you unfairly (especially for things like going to the bathroom)

4. They use bribes to keep you in class.

5. They never give you constructive criticism or clear criticism, even after you ask them to clarify.

6. They ask you to sign a contract that auto-renews. 

It’s class, not an agency.

7. They don’t want to let you go, or quit their class.

8. They force you to do things you’re uncomfortable with. 

My Acting Teacher in college forced me to kiss my scene partner… after our scene had ended… in front of the  entire class. 

9. They flirts with students.

10. They ask students to appropriate an ethnicity, or make a fake identity.

11. They consistently misgender students.

12. They make students cry.

13. Classes are too large. 

10, maybe 12, is the max in my book. I want there to be enough to for me to get individual attention/critiques.

14. They aggressively mock or single out one student. 

A teacher reprimanding a student who’s late or doesn’t do their work without a valid excuse is normal. What isn’t is them raising their voice or insulting a student without good reason. Actors shouldn’t be mocked for their accents or physical attributes. And teachers shouldn’t be harder on their non-white students than their caucasian ones etc…

15. They rant more than they teach. 

16. They force you to reveal personal traumas like sexual or physical abuse to the entire class, or even just to them.

17. There’s no time for individual training.

18. Class is cancelled without sufficient notice and no replacement is provided… and Actors still have to pay for that class day.

19. They gaslight you.

I had a teacher who’d constantly gaslight me. For example, I’d say we scheduled class for this day, then they’d say that never happened. And they always blamed my poor memory… Despite me writing everything down…

(check out this link to learn what gaslighting is and how to address it)

20. There’s group feedback

You’re paying to have the teacher instruct you, not the students who are all of varying skill and experience levels, and who may or may not give you good feedback. Some students can even give bad feedback. It’s also overwhelming to get 10 critiques on 1 scene, all with different directions. It leaves the Actor unsure of where to start repairs.

21. They talk badly about other teachers and name them.

Google every Acting teacher, class, and studio before working with them. And ask other Actors who’ve taken their class how their experience was before signing up. 

How to Choose an Acting Coach

A good Acting coach can really make a huge difference in your Acting career and development. 

But in the words of a Voiceover coach I once had, “some coaches never want to let you go”. 

It is important to choose someone who is more interested in your development and willing to part without issue instead of someone who wants to keep you as a cash-cow. 

Before choosing an Acting coach ask yourself the following questions:

1) Do they have a plan over the next number of weeks, or do they have no plan with no concrete end?

2) Is working with this person going to help me develop my reel, self-tapes, or skills?

3) Am I being led by their low prices or by what they have to offer me?

4) Do I ever feel gaslit when speaking to them?

5) Are they willing to do a trial session?

6) What skills do they have and what skills do they not?

7) How can their skills help me?

8) Do they have any negative Google or Reddit reviews?

9) What do others who’ve studied under them say?

10) Am I being led by their popularity or by our chemistry?

11) How do they accept payment?

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