True Story. A student at FIDM had a styling project for her class. She needed a team. Luckily, one of her classmates is an agency model with years of experience under her belt. The model also knew many fashion photographers and recommended her a photographer. The photographer also had a network of makeup artists and hairstylists, and was able to enlist a makeup and hair person for the student’s project. On top of that, the photographer knew the editor of a fashion & art magazine.

In the end, the results of her project was more than what she asked for: a photo shoot with a professional photographer and model for a magazine spread. All because of who she knew. Even if it was just that one agency model friend of hers.

But not many of us are that lucky.  In order to be a successful photographer, model, MUA/hair, etc, you have to find the right people in this industry that could help you propel your career / portfolio to the next level. And that means NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK!

Here are some tips you can do to buildup your network:

1. Attend fashion shows. Network with the models, MUAs/hair, event coordinators, event photographers, magazine editors that are in attendance. Bring your business cards. *Do not just thrust your business cards into other people’s noses, you have to make a good impression with them first, and then exchange business cards so you can follow up later on*

2. Surf Model Mayhem. This was one of my most valuable resource for getting started as a photographer. I did know any body in this industry, but I started to connect with other models, photographers, make up artists, etc etc. I was suprised that other photographers as far as Florida or Tokyo were quite engaging and gave me a lot of tips and advices. It pays to spend time sending a nice email to experienced professionals in this industry and initiate conversation. There are tons of people on Model Mayhem, but going through them and finding the right people to network with (and eventually work with) was worth the time invested. 

3. Facebook Stalk. There is power in social media, especially if used properly. Facebook and Twitter are valuable tools in finding who’s who in the industry. I hate to admit it, but keep an eye out on who your industry friends are adding on Facebook (are they a particular magazine editor or fashion show coordinator or agency model?). You don’t have to add them, but you can send them a nice message saying how much you love their work/efforts after doing your research, and perhaps invite them out for a coffee session.

4. Be Proactive. You could be bored while waiting for your bus to arrive. Instead of day dreaming or going on your smartphone’s Facebook application, you could strike up a conversation with people in your surrounding. While waiting for a bus on a cold raining night, I struck up a conversation with the girl next to me. Turns out she was a journalist. Sure, she’s not in the modeling/fashion industry, but she definitely has her network of journalists and publishers that I could possibly tap in later on. So be proactive, you never know who you’ll meet next!

5. Ask Around! Doesn’t hurt to ask your friends, family, coworkers if they know anyone that could help you on your journey!

I hope these tips were helpful!

P.S. You’ll definitely get some rejections along the way, but keep your head up! And also, just because a particular person is a well-known individual with a lot of power and also an a-hole, does not mean you have to network with that particular someone. There are other nicer people higher up the ladder. Don’t suck up to anyone either. Just be geniune. Goodluck!

That’s about it for now. The other techniques

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