30 September - Modelling 101 "The Signing"


So over the years I have come to meet and photograph many amazing models,
many have moved past these shores to lead international careers. Now I do
not hold myself as any kind of "modelling guru" but over the years, I have
learned a lot by observations and conversations with models and agents and
have formed my own opinions on the industry. While I consider everyone
to be beautiful in their own way, and this is often what drives and inspires
me as a photographer, sometimes one needs to have an objective overview
on the modelling industry and I hope I achieve this through this blog entry.

This year was my first year of having scouted models, in groceries and
shopping malls and a few through Instagram. Three out of the six I have
successfully helped find placement with an agency. So not bad odds
for a beginner in scouting as a photographer.

Consequently, more and more I am approached by models through email
or social media seeking my advice on how to get agency representation...
getting "signed".
So it is for this reason I felt inspired to share some tips, tricks and advice
that I have dished out in the past to models that I have either played a
"cheerleading role" or a slight of hand in helping them get a meeting
with an agency. At the end of the day, it all falls on the model
to get signed, nothing I can do or anyone else, it rests on them.

The fashion industry on a whole is a tough and brutal industry to
work in, from all sides. Be prepared as a model to face a lot of
rejection and discrimination and most of all be prepared to
"NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY". I actually get quite livid and
defensive when people trivialise the modelling profession
and not take it as a legitimate profession as any other.
Like any other career or profession, it requires a certain skills set,
often physical, but a lot of talent and personality is needed just
as much. I classify modelling as one of the "performance arts",
like acting, dance and singing. Often when I coach new and
inexperienced models, I describe modelling as a form of
acting, where there is often no script, no words, where you have
only your face and body to express a non-verbal language, an
emotion (s), an idea, a story or to sell a product. Now I don't know
about you, but that is no easy task!

For this reason, modelling isn't just about having a pretty face or
the right body type (height and measurements). There also needs to
be the right aptitude and attitude. A model needs to be imaginative,
intelligent, creative and lets face it "pretend a lot for the camera"
and PATIENT. Models spend a lot of time waiting - waiting around for
castings, hours in hair and makeup etc. Modelling also takes a lot
of self discipline, as it is about maintaining their appearances.
This often requires a healthy diet and exercise lifestyle, just as
a dancer or athlete needs to train their body and mind, so
does a model sometimes has to work at staying fit and healthy.

Now while there has always been negativity towards the modelling
industry based on its often strict physical requirements, I do see there to be
a shift, a growing expansion of the definitions of beauty. And I believe that that
power to define beauty has always been in our hands, as the consumer.
It has helped through the ever changing face of celebrity, that the
consumers are expanding their tastes and wanting more and more
of what they see and this is slowly but surely infiltrating the ranks of
the elite fashionista world. Trust me I know a lot more needs to be done
on this front, but I am very optimistic that it is changing and expanding
to be more inclusive than ever before, with transgender and androgenous
models, hopefully more and more ethnically diverse models. I rather rejoice
at these small achievements than just continue to gripe and complain about
the lack thereof.

Now that you have established modelling to be a profession to be taken seriously,
then here is some of my advice on how to approach it seriously when applying
to agencies with your "digitals"/ "digis".

Just like any professional career, there are usually set guidelines for entry. For instance,
if you were trained as a engineer that doesn't make you qualified to apply for a surgeon's
position. I think a lot of people associate "being a model" as some sort of social recognition
or their own personal recognition that they are beautiful. Or they are hungry for "celebrity"
and think modelling can be their ticket to fame. Well whatever your ulterior motivations,
be prepared to work hard. It is not always glamarous as it is cracked up to be. It can be
emotionally, physically and mentally draining. You have to have a strong sense of who you
are, to survive and make a successful career out of it and you have to really love what you do
and be passionate about it.

So modelling is just like any job you apply for, you have to meet certain requirements, in this
case physical requirements like height, body rations, bone structure, healthy skin and hair and
that X-Factor or as the French would say "Je ne sais quoi". And of course, personality, attitude
and work ethic go a long way as in any field/ industry.

Sometimes, we have to face it when we are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and
recognise when we are forcing something that isn't coming natural to us. And I make this
metaphorical reference to body size and those physical attributes. However, don't give up
just yet, as there are two things I always tell hopeful models:-


There are different types of modelling genres for different markets. There is the high fashion,
editorial, lifestyle, commercial, lingerie, swimsuit, nude, beauty (including hands and feet /
body parts modelling), fitness, promotional and so on. You will note that these
fields of modelling reflect their market/ industry, for instance, a fitness model
will more athletically built and toned body in comparison to the other types of modelling
because that body type is what appeals and reflects the fitness industry .
These can also be further subdivided by body type such as there are petite models
(for the very short and petite size person); curvy, plus size, athletic and high fashion/ couture models.
If you want to be a successful model and get the appropriate agency representation, then you need to
know where you fit in, so you can then market yourself accordingly to the Agency and to the right Agency
in that case. Otherwise, you are wasting your time, the Agency's time and lots of hurt feelings and deflated
egos in the process.


There are exceptions to every rule! Yep, sometimes there is just one factor that trumps
all else that may be going against you on paper, and that is the X-Factor, that je ne sais quoi
that just bends the rules for you as the exception.


Now that we have established that modelling is a proper and respectable profession,
then please treat it that way when applying to agencies. You are essentially applying
for a position in their agency as a model on their books. Therefore, please write polite,
articulate and legible (with correct spelling and grammar) emails to the Agencies. You want
to be taken seriously, don't you, then don't be so lazy in your applications. Simple things like
"putting a subject line in your emails", punctuation, correct spelling and not sending photos
or rather selfies of you with filters, and sunglasses and hair all over your face. They need to see you!
If you went even further to research the agency you are applying to, find out about them,
study what type of models they tend to represent, what their guidelines are for applications
and then follow those guidelines. If you obtain a contact name for a person within an agency,
then please spell their name correctly and properly address them.

Your email application does not have to be long winded. They are very busy people, receiving
sometimes hundreds of email applications every single day on top of their regular administrative
responsibilities with running an agency. Approach it like you would a cover letter for a job application.
Be clear and precise - say a little about who you are, how old you are, where you live, whether you have
some modelling experience and why you think you have what it takes to be a model. Then list
as accurately as possible, your measurements / stats (bust, waist, hip and height). And don't
forget to attach photos of what you look like, these can be both "digis" and professional photoshoots
you have done. In the modelling industry, they usually request
"digitals" or "digis" - don't know what they are, then Google it and research how to properly
take them - as it can make a huge difference to how an Agent will respond to your photos.

Preferably, do not send a link to your Instagram or Facebook account etc to the agency and
say "here check me out here" - No! they are not going to risk wasting their time to follow
some link, that you may have set on private anyway, to check out your selfies.

Approach it professionally and they will at least admire your maturity and professionalism.

If you don't get a response from your application, then try back again in 3 months or 6 months.
The industry works in cycles, and perhaps your look isn't what is in demand at the moment,
but that could possibly change in 6 months time, so re-apply. You just never know, the
market might have expanded or you might have developed in some way physically that
makes you more appealing to an Agency.

At the end of the day, if you believe you have what it takes to be a model, then you will find a way.
Often I stress to models, how essential it is that they believe in themselves, because how else are you
going to persuade anyone to hire you, to believe in you, to take a chance on you and to sign you,
if you yourself don't believe you've got what it takes. As with anything in life, there needs to be a substantial
amount of self belief and then sometimes there also needs to be a balance - to know what is meant
for us. If something feels forced then usually I say to friends, move on. One shouldn't feel like
it is going against their nature, and sometimes that is when you need to really analyse what your true
intentions are in your pursuit and why it is you want to be.... (fill in the blanks).

But always, be true to yourself and find the beauty within you, in spite of what others
may think or say. One doesn't need anyone else's validation. You only need YOURS, as
after all, you've got to live with yourself and be comfortable in who you are, only then
can your light shine through.

Lastly, do not compare your journey to someone else's. Everyone is on their own
journey and what works for one doesn't necessarily apply to you as well.

Just be you, just be authentic. That is always enough.


#modelling #modelling101 #agencyrepresentation



29 September - TITANIUM

It occurred to me the other day that I hadn't properly shared this "braided"
hair themed story "Titanium", even though we shot it in August 2014.

Better late than never I say, and I can also say this was such a delightful shoot
to work on, it was planned yet open to spontanously making it up as we went along.

This was one of the first times I worked with model Georgah of Busy Models,
and since then I've shot her a few times, she's come to be one of my muses.
She moves so naturally, effortlessly and instinctively in front of the camera.

So here's what we did last year, with awesome beauty team in Aleesha Darke (Hairstylist)
and Carla Sakrzewski (Makeup Artist) and styling which we all pooled together from either our
own garments and two pieces I borrowed from Gold Coast designer IzzyQ and the old school
band tees/vest and acid wash denim from stylist friend Madison Sewell. Most of the jewellery
is from Ford + Harris mixed in with some of Carla's personal jewellery stash.

This is our take on punk rock revival.

Both tops worn together are by IzzyQ and jewellery by Ford + Harris



#punkrock #braids #hairstyles #hairphotography #braidedhair #rebel #photography #beautyphotography #punkrockfashion #katrienaemmanuel


19 September - CODE RED

I absolutely love it when I am given full creative freedom to do express ideas and concepts
I have marinating in my head and I did just that when I had a model test shoot with
Abbie Clarke of Busy Models yesterday.

Abbie was up on the Gold Coast visiting from her hometown of Coffs Harbour, NSW
and after we shot the required stuff her agencies would be happy with for her portfolio,
we got up to some personal fun.

Firstly, I had to ask Abbie if she trusted me, as I was going to "paint" her face. So using
only Abbie's flawlessly bare face as my canvas, I used red face paint, red eye shadow
and coconut oil. My concept was red, after reading a bit of Lisa Eldridge's makeup book,
"Face Paint" on the colour red, it's influence in modern cosmetic industry as well as
what red means in past civilisations and cultures in a makeup context, I began a
slight obsession with red. That and combined with the fact that my family and I were
all sick last week with a virus, I felt to revisit a beauty concept I had shot a few years ago
in which I shot two models using breathing tubes.

For me this was about having some fun, exploring the perceptions of beauty and
what makes something beautiful. For me it lies a lot in the raw beauty of a person,
their own peculiar expressions they make with their face and body. Abbie was the perfect
muse, very emotive and expressive, taking my direction fluidly as I narrated what each
change of look and how I placed and used the "red" signified .

So here is what we created together.

Photographer, Creative Director and Face Painter: Katriena Emmanuel
Model/ Muse: Abbie Clarke @ Busy Models


#rawbeauty #red #beautyeditorial #beauty #conceptual #beautyphotography #codered



11 September - ANTM Sweetheart - Lucy

Australia fell in love with the fun loving personality of Lucy Markovic on this year's
Australia's next top model. She became the "sweetheart" of the show and a favourite
to win throughout the season and she almost did, and was the runner up in the finals.
But as I tell a lot of models, it is not necessarily the winners of a contest that go on
to achieve major successes in their careers, it is often the runner's up and why is this,
you may ask. Well I think it is because the runner's up don't take anything for granted
and they work harder than anyone because they want it so passionately.

Lucy is a winner in my eyes.
She had such a calming presence about her on the day of the shoot, and just the grace
at which she slowly moved in and out of movement/ poses. It was just really calming
to watch, almost hypnotic.

If Lucy didn't become a model, she might have been a professional football (soccer) player,
if her Dad had anything to do with that. Her Dad once offered to pay her $100 for every goal
she scored at one of her first games and he was $300 out of pocked by the end of it.

She is a determined, intelligent girl with many talents, including drawing.
At 17 years of age, it struck me how this young woman is already so senstive and socially aware,
as on the day of the shoot, she brought up the discussion on the Syrian refugees and it
showed me a more serious and senstive side to this girl who was always portrayed as
sweet and funny. There is a lot of depth in this young 17 year old and it came through
in how emotive she was on set. Her big doe like eyes showed so much passion,
sorrow and beauty in them. Maybe the shoot was tinged with that sadness and pain
for the Syrian refugees as we were discussing it that it subconsciously came through,
I don't know, but there is certainly something very hauntingly beautiful of Lucy.

For this shoot, we wanted to keep things fairly raw and minimalistic. We started off with no makeup
then Brisbane Makeup Artist and Fashion Stylist, Alyssa Selin stepped in with high shine skin and
nude lips, eventually a stained lip towards the end.

Alyssa has been a rising force in Brisbane, I've not seen someone so young
in such a short space of time like 2 years grow in leaps and bounds.
She is a double threat, both a stylist and a makeup artist and the only way I can describe her is
"She gets it". Some makeup artist take years to develop that overall vision and aesthetic in fashion,
but Alyssa gets it! I'm not sure if her styling background is what strengthens her makeup aesthetic
or the other way around, but she has been one to watch, already shooting beauty content for Oyster
Beauty and this coming from someone who has been doing makeup for 2 years.
It proves, your age and time mean nothing, just a will, passion and talent to get you there.

Of course, on this day, I had my daughter Ella with me and she was smitten with Lucy and we of
course had to take some photos with them together. So here are some shots we
took on the day including some behind the scenes.

Photographer: Katriena Emmanuel
Makeup Artist & Stylist: Alyssa Selin
Talent: Lucy Markovic @IMG Models
Lucy wears her own garments and "Yves Slip Dresses" and flare pants suit by IzzQ Designs

#ANTM #modeltest #testshoot #rawbeauty #photography #katrienaemmanuel #lucymarkovic





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