Becoming a model is something that many of us dream about, and if you have what you think are nice-looking hands, then getting into this niche may have crossed your mind more than once. Hand modeling is a subgenre of the modeling profession, and while hand models can also model other parts of their bodies, it’s possible to make a living just using your hands. Here’s everything you need to know about this type of career.
What is a Hand Model?
A hand model is quite literally someone who models with their hands. This often means wearing pieces of jewelry such as rings, or display cosmetics such as nail polish. It is not only limited to these types of products, as you maybe wanted to provide an action for all kinds of advertising or commercial products.
Hand models can sometimes get editorial work, where they pose for a series of photographs to be published in a magazine. This is not always the case, and the work can be less common than other kinds of modeling – it’s not every issue that will have images of just the hand and not the rest of the body.
The most common type of work for a hand model is commercial, usually shooting for advertising campaigns. Anything that a hand can do is possible to be included in these images: you might be opening the ribbon on a present, wearing a nice watch, caressing someone else’s skin, or so on.
It sounds odd to think of a disembodied hand appearing in an advert, but once you start looking for them, you will realize that they are more common than you think! Even when a celebrity appears in an advert, they will sometimes have hand models come in for close-up shots to ensure that their hands look good. You might even be asked to fill in for close-up shots on movie and television sets.
In some forms of advertising, your hand might not even be visible. Imagine an advertisement in which a piece of food is being lowered towards a dip, or has already been dipped and is now being drawn out to be eaten. This is a fairly common image that we might see on menus, in campaigns, and on-site at fast-food restaurants – but someone has to hold that piece of food in order to create the shot!
Requirements for Being a Hand Model
If you want to know how to become a hand model, first you have to check that you would be eligible for this kind of work. Unsurprisingly, your hands have to be very attractive in order to become a hand model. This means that they need to be free of imperfections, such as scars, moles, and so on. Tattoos on your hands are a definite no-no. Your skin must be clean and smooth, so a lack of wrinkles or markings is preferred. Visible veins might also be a problem.
Narrow, slender fingers are preferred, and though your hands should be long and graceful, they don’t want to be freakishly long. Freckled skin will limit the number of jobs you can get, though it is still possible to get booked with freckles. There are a few smaller niches within hand modeling that have other requirements – very small hands can model children’s toys, and short nails are often preferred for household items, while fashion items require longer nails.
You also have to take care of your hands. You should treat them well to avoid cuts and bruises, keep them moisturized, and avoid stains. Your nails should be neat and well-kept, and you may wish to grow them long. A regular manicure could end up being one of your business expenses in this niche!
Strangely enough, the thumb is the most important part of your hand. A lot of people have elegant, beautiful fingers – but far fewer of us can say the same about our thumbs. This is why the thumb is going to be subject to close inspection when you go for a job.
Note that the requirements for male hand models may be slightly different. It could depend on what kind of man the advertising is aimed at.
For video campaigns, in particular, hand models should be smooth and graceful and able to convey certain emotions through their hands. You’ll want to be able to hit your mark, saving time and effort for the film crew.
How to Become a Hand Model
To start your career as a hand model, first, you should practice certain things. Take a look at advertisements, editorial shoots, and video clips of hand models. Start noticing how they hold themselves, what they do or don’t do, and so on. Try these poses for yourself and see what it takes to hold them.
Next, you can ask a friend to take some shots of your hands – or go to a professional photographer for a starter portfolio. As an aspiring model, you can easily create and manage a model's website. Here is our step by step guide to creating a killer Modeling Portfolio.
Either way, try out a variety of poses. Hold different items, and remember to keep your aim in mind: are you selling a piece of jewelry, a lifestyle service, or so on? Rookie mistakes include things like tilting a ring away from the camera or focusing on a pleasing hand position so much that you forget about the product.
With your portfolio, you now have two options. One is to find a hand modeling agency which will take you on. Send in your shots, including one of your face so that they know who they are talking to, and wait for a response. If you have met their requirements, they will take you on and start finding work for you.
Another option is to try to find work for yourself. You can sign up to casting sites such as StarNow, ModelMayhem, and other industry niche sites, and look out for opportunities which meet your requirements. You can apply by sending in your information and pictures. This is a good way to get started, as you are being proactive and putting yourself out there. You might find work quicker this way, especially if you are having trouble getting an agency. However, the work may be slow at first and you may not be paid well until you have more experience.
What Skills Do Hand Models Need?
Hand modeling really is a full-time job for those that take it seriously, and it can take long days to get a single shot. You will often be required to keep your hands absolutely still and stiff in position, even when the aim is to create a relaxed look. You may also have to hold your body in strange positions in order to keep yourself out of shot! It can be a difficult and physically demanding task, even though you would not imagine that to be the case.
Things like being able to pour liquid perfectly into a glass, even without being able to see your hands, might be requirements for some jobs. Because only your hands are seen, this can mean that your whole body has to be out of the way or covered up – including your head! There are certain exercises you can try to strengthen your hands, such as those designed for flute players or guitarists to make their fingers more flexible. This will allow you to assume different positions with less difficulty.
You also have to think about the job rather than yourself – all of the time. For example, most hand models don’t wear jewelry on their hands and wrists in case it might stain or mark their skin. They also stay away from using metal cutlery sometimes, and they spend a lot of time moisturizing.
Hand models often wear gloves when out and about to protect their most valuable asset. Scrapes and cuts can happen all the time, but for a hand model, a simple nick could mean canceling a job. Even the fingernails have to be protected – and using colored nail polish is often banned because it may leave a stain on the nails.
What’s the Average Hand Model Salary?
You will no doubt be wondering what you can earn as a hand model. The good news is that it can be quite lucrative, although it’s not as easy to pin down a hand model salary as you would think because you are usually paid by the project. This means that it all depends on how much work you are getting, as well as the fees you ask for.
Hand model jobs are usually paid an average of $1000 per day for TV work or between $2000 and $5000 a day for print campaigns. At the very top of the pile, the most elite hand models in the world can earn $10,000 for a single day’s shoot. Most hand models end up working part-time, but there are a few examples out there of models who use their hands as full-time earners.
Bear in mind that if you are signed to a modeling agency, your agent will take a cut of your earnings as a fee. If you are a freelancer, you get to keep all of the money you earn from your modeling gig – but you might also have to work harder to find jobs, as well as having to learn negotiation skills if you want to be paid to the fullest of your potential.
Who are the Best Hand Models in the World?
One of the most notable hand models out there is Adele Uddo. She is actually a parts model, which means she models other areas as well – in her case, this includes her eyes, lips, chest, legs, and feet. She has a graceful body and takes great care of herself from head to toe.
Uddo is often called in to work as a celebrity double. This is someone who stands in for a celebrity in advertising campaigns or film work, as we mentioned previously. She has filled in for Katie Perry, BeyoncÃ©, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, and Penelope Cruz just to name a few. She has been published in huge magazines around the world and has made enough of a name for herself that she was also able to launch her own skincare line.
How Should You Prepare for a Hand Model Shoot?
There are a few things you should do ahead of a shoot if you do get booked. Make sure that you get a fresh manicure unless you are otherwise instructed by the client. Be prepared by taking extra-good care of your hands for several days beforehand. Because you might sometimes only hear about your jobs on short notice, it’s a good idea to always be ready to go!
Don’t drink caffeine or anything else that could cause you to tremble and shake, as this won’t make you any friends in front of the camera. Make sure that you are well-rested so that you can spend the whole day holding yourself still without needing to yawn or feeling tired.
Keep your hands out of the way of any potential danger – don’t do anything that might chip a nail or leave you with a cut! A good idea is to pretend you have just painted your nails all the time, so you don’t want to risk smudging them while they dry.
Becoming a hand model is not easy, but the rewards can be well worth it. After months of unsuccessful auditions and go-sees, getting that one job that pays enough for six months of your rent can make you feel on top of the world. It can also be very lucrative, but it is the kind of career that you have to take very seriously if you want to reach the top – and you may also have to diversify into other parts modeling options to make a living.
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