First, know that for most pinup models, this is more of an expensive hobby than anything. They do it because vintage fashion is a part of their lifestyle and they enjoy participating in the community. Basically they're doing it for love, not for money. I've seen some people get into pin up because from the outside it looks like you can do a couple of shoots and participate in a couple of contests and get social media famous overnight, and they end up disappointed in the pin up community for not meeting their expectations. Generally, not many people get paid to do pinup. Even the "big names" usually have day jobs, and if they have actually reached the point where they are doing pinup modeling full time, they have usually been at it for years and are hustling every day to work on their brand and make an income just like a full time job.
So if you're into it, but you're not quite sure how to start, here are some tips I've picked up along the way in the pinup industry.
Build a portfolio - do a few pin up styled shoots so that you have a varied portfolio. You will find situations where you might need a good photo, like for entering a pinup contest or being involved in an event, and a professional well lit, properly posed portrait always looks better than a selfie or a photo taken by an amateur. I recommend working with a professional photographer experienced in pin up to help you nail the look authentically from hair and makeup to clothing to posing. I can definitely help you out with this! At the Pinup by Liz studio we have hair and makeup artists that are experienced pin up models, a wardrobe full of vintage style clothing, and a variety of vintage sets and props. I have been photographing pin up almost exclusively for 6 years now and am experienced with posing all body types for the perfect pin up look.
Decide if you want to use an alias - check out this past blog post for tips on choosing a stage name.
Have a bio at the ready - Sometimes there will be circumstances where you need to provide a biography about yourself as a pinup model, whether for a pinup contest, magazine publication, or something else. Go ahead and create a general bio to keep on file so that you can instantly provide it when asked.
Be professional - arrive to your appointments on time, reply promptly to emails, don't make people wait on you, show up sober, don't gossip, and just overall treat pinup modeling like you would a job or other professional position. If you act unprofessional it will be noticed, and
whether it's a pin up photographer, a contest organizer, or someone that's depending on your presence, they're not going to forget about it and will probably pass on working with you in the future.
Promote yourself - use social media to your advantage! Create a model page, both on Facebook and Instagram and any other platform that is relevant to you, and keep it active. Try to make a point to post at least once a week, even if it's just something random like a selfie, an event you're attending, or a new pair of shoes you're showing off. Consider yourself a brand and your posts as marketing that brand. If you don't constantly remind people who you are and what you do, they're going to forget about you.
Get involved - go to events and introduce yourself to other pinups you see, enter into pinup contests, join groups on Facebook and interact, go to events that other people who enjoy the vintage culture are at, like burlesque shows, rockabilly concerts, or car shows, and talk to people. Sitting in the corner and waiting for people to come to you won't help you grow or get known in the community. Approach people and say hi. Make some contact cards with your pinup name and social media links on it and hand them out when you meet new people. I know it's scary to put yourself out there, but it's a necessity if you want your name known.
Submit to magazines - Most magazines don't pay for publication. People are usually surprised that they have to buy a copy of the magazine they are published in, but the reality is that most of the pin up magazines out there are independently run and they make their money off of the models that buy their issues. But it's great to have some tear sheets, and to be able to credit your publications, plus it's just fun to see yourself in print in an actual magazine. You can submit to magazines yourself, or ask your photographer to help you. Personally, I'm happy to assist all of my clients who are interested in publication with submission.
Give credit - When you post professional photos on social media, don't forget to give credit by tagging everyone who played a part in making that photo possible, from the photographer to the hair and makeup artist, even the brands of clothing and accessories you're wearing in the photo if you'd like. Every single time you post. Giving shout outs helps these companies know that you appreciate their hard work and that you're happy to spread the word about their existence, and if a modeling opportunity comes up in the future, you'll be at the front of their mind.
Go into it with a good attitude, and learn to handle rejection professionally - If you find yourself placing blame on others because you didn't get chosen for publication, or didn't win a pin up contest, or didn't get picked to model for something, realize that rejection is a part of this business, and that feeling rejected is a part of life, and has nothing to do with the pinup community or even certain people, and most often has to do with how you approach the situation. Publicly blaming other people when you feel like something doesn't go the way you wanted it to makes you look unprofessional and keeps people from wanting to work with you in the future. If you don't get published, take a look at what the magazine is printing and see what you can adjust for future shoots to match the quality of the content that they are publishing. If you don't place in a pin up contest, examine what the winner was doing, from hair to makeup to stage presence, and take some notes to make adjustments for your own performance in the next contest. In the end, this all about having fun, and there is no top of the ladder in the pin up world, so don't worry about trying to climb it.
So if you're in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area and interested in getting started in pin up modeling, check out my packages at www.pinupbyliz.com, and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your shoot to get started on your portfolio. I can also help you submit to magazines and give you information on pin up related events in the area. And if you're not local to my Tulsa studio, follow me on Facebook or Instagram to find out where I'm traveling next!