What is Pinup Modeling?


One type of modeling that is becoming very popular again is pinup modeling. As the name implies pinup images are photos, drawings or other illustrations of beautiful women that were literally put up on people's walls for display purposes. This concept has been around since as early as the 1910s-1920s. Actresses (Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Brooke Shields, Pamela Anderson), models (Cindy Crawford, Anna Nicole Smith, Tyra Banks) and other female celebrities (Dita Von Teese, Katy Perry) have been used in pinup form for decades. Betty Page is one of the most famous pinup models of all time. Playboy Magazine even dubbed her the "Queen of all pinups." Although she also dabbled in fetish/bondage themes, her pinup career is well known around the world and she has a legion of fans even today.

However, you no longer have to be an A-list celeb in order to do pinup. The art of pinup photography and modeling are quickly finding their niche in the industry. It isn't fair to pit the success of this type of modeling against another, like fashion/runway, because pinup modeling is a giant in its own right and if you're interested in pursuing this field, there are a couple of ways you can go about it.

In terms of the requirements there really aren't any! A pinup model can be any height, any size and weight isn't an issue. Curvy, vivacious figures are welcomed with open arms when it comes to pinup so if you aren't the typical size 2 or have a waif-like build to be a runway model, then you may want to consider your options with pinup. There is one requirement, however, that should be noted and followed: pinup models should be 18 years of age or older. This type of modeling involves glamour and sexual themes, which have no place in an underage model's career.

There aren't exactly any pinup modeling agencies per se probably because this field doesn't have the same high demand that commercial/print or fashion does that would allow agencies to make a stable profit. You may come across online modeling agencies that use pinup models but make sure that they are legit and credible. Chances are you may run into the whole "Pay X amount of dollars to set up your portfolio with us" type of situation. Many pinup models are freelance and don't deal with agents. Popular pinup models that have a wide fan base may hire on a manager to book them gigs and appearances. In these instances, having a manager over an agency is helpful if that option is open to you.

If you want to start your pinup career you're going to need to build a portfolio. This can be done through test shoots with local photographers in your area. Needless to say the photographers you work with should specialize in pinup photography and have a strong portfolio of their work to show you. Ask for references from other models as well and make sure that the photographer(s) you work with are professional. Pinup photography is an art and if you do an online search for classic pinup images you'll see what I'm talking about. There is a huge difference between tasteful pinup work and amateurish smut so make sure you're working with top notch quality people.

Pinup modeling usually consists of makeup that reflects the 1940s or similar eras, carefully styled coifs (hair) and sexy clothing, which can include lingerie, swimwear, boy shorts, etc. This is where the glamour element comes in. Instead of showcasing a product or fashion design, you are showcasing yourself. Not all pinup models have to pose nude or semi nude so if you don't feel comfortable showing skin, you don't have to and never allow someone to tell you otherwise.  

I would suggest doing research about pinup modeling before pursuing it. Having a better understanding of this type of modeling will help you know what to expect and make it easier for you to deliver when doing your shoots.

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