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The word “model” often conjures up images of women with the height of a point guard, the grace of a gazelle and cheekbones sharp enough to slash tires. Right? Actually, the majority of models (called commercial models) pose for photos used to sell products in catalogues, among other media. Catalogue modelling accounts for one of the broadest sectors of modelling and can act as a springboard for talent to break into runway or high-fashion work. Elite runway models must meet stringent height, weight, age and size parameters, while the standards for catalogue models are more diversified. If you’d like to be a catalogue model, here are some tips for getting in front of the lens.

Physical Requirements

If commercial models are hired to dress in retail clothes, they must meet the modelling industry’s sample size, which fits slender women 5’6” to 5’11”. Physical requirements may vary according to clients’ needs, but generally catalogue models must encompass a standout personality and features. Each job is unique and therefore what might be a perfect fit for one model might next time require another.


Commercial models must compile a portfolio, which encompasses photographs of you wearing miscellaneous clothing styles. A photo shoot will likely set you back $400 to $500, including wardrobe, makeup and hair. If you’re unsure about how to compile these images or set up the shoots, consider enlisting a model support service, which provides you with a team of experienced professionals and assists in assembling a look book.


Upstanding agencies adhere to the industry code of ethics that prohibits them from advertising. When agencies hold open calls for potential models, they should never charge a fee. Reputable agencies never charge any up-front payment and only require a 20% commission on actual work fees.


A catalogue model’s pay typically falls short of high fashion models’ salaries. As a result, some of these models work side jobs in order to cover expenses and in turn ‘buy time’ until their next big break. According to a 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, catalogue models earn a median pay of $22,900 a year. As mentioned in a recent UK Models post though, “As with all types of modelling there is no set salary. The work is flexible and is up to you or your agency to negotiate a fair price. If you accept a job found by the agency, remember that they will take a percentage of the wage. New models may get paid less than experienced models, however, make sure that you are being treated fairly and are not undervalued.”

Starting Point

Each week, modelling agencies have “open calls.” These are opportunities for aspiring models to see an agent. If you make a positive impression, you may be invited come on board. Make sure, though, that you do your research before committing to any of them.

If you’ve ever flipped through a catalogue and thought, “I can do that! I can be the person on these pages!” then you can take action now to pursue that dream.

Article Name
UK Models on Defining Catalogue Modelling
Publisher Name
UK Models