What is a Print Model?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A print model is a person who models for shots that will be used in publications like newspapers, magazines, and brochures. In addition, print models are used for billboard campaigns and other large-scale advertising campaigns. Print models come in a variety of shapes and sizes and this area of the modeling industry is extremely diverse. However, it can be difficult to make it as a print model because competition is fierce and the pay for individual jobs can be very low.

Print models often appear in magazines.
Print models often appear in magazines.

Print modeling includes fashion modeling, advertising modeling, glamor modeling, and modeling for promotional materials like college brochures. A print model usually works in a specific area of the print trade. The type of modeling a print model focuses on is usually dictated by appearance. People who are tall, slender, and exotic in appearance can find work as fashion models, for example, while people with a more average appearance might be used in advertising modeling.

Some print models work exclusively as catalog and commercial models.
Some print models work exclusively as catalog and commercial models.

Some print models work as freelancers. They promote themselves with a variety of means in an attempt to get work. Others may work for agencies. Models who work for agencies are sent out on jobs that the agency thinks would be a good fit, and the agency is also responsible for promotion. Working for an agency can result in more steady work for the model, but the agency takes a cut of the proceeds, which means that the model needs to work more to make a living.

Like other models, print models usually need to be in excellent physical condition. Although the physical demands for print modeling are not as demanding as those for runway models, print models are expected to be physically fit with good skin and an interesting visual appearance. However, print modeling is also open to people who may be excluded from runway modeling, such as people with disabilities and people who are unusually short. In fact, departures from the norm can become a selling point for a print model.

Breaking into the modeling industry at any level requires dedication and hard work. Print models must be able to promote themselves aggressively until they start getting regular work and they must be prepared for long hours, discomfort on the job, and other challenges. Models who show up on time and are ready to work under any circumstances are more likely to be hired again, as are models with a good attitude who stay focused and relaxed on the job.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


My friend really wants to be a runway model but she is 5'0" and she is 12 years old. She is very skinny. She has not hit puberty. She really wants to be 5'10" or 5'11" in her bare feet with women's size 9 or 10 feet so that she can become a runway model.

Is it possible for a 5'0" 12 year old girl with women's size 5 feet to become 5'10" or 5'11" with women's size 10 feet?


I wanted to add that I read that a print model agency may accept a model that is short but for runway modeling a model has to be really tall or you won’t even be considered.

Becoming a print model might be a great option for someone that otherwise has the right features to become a traditional model but is not tall enough for runway work.

New York, Miami, and Los Angeles are the cities that usually offer the most amount of print modeling work in the United States.

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