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Instagram Mistakes Models Make

6 Common Instagram Mistakes Models Make and How to Avoid Them

While working with models of all ages and with all backgrounds as part of our fashion magazine and modeling school work, I noticed that the majority of the models don’t use their Instagram accounts in a way that benefits their modeling careers. For some women I met, their social media accounts even hurt their modeling lives.

Here are six common mistakes models make and my advice on how to avoid them:

#1 Have an Instagram account

It might be obvious to many that having an Instagram profile is a good idea to show your experience and find modeling opportunities. However, it’s surprising that almost 20% of the models who apply to Fashion Republic do not have Instagram accounts. About half of them are child models whose applications are submitted by their parents. The other half are mature models over 45 years old. Additionally, we sometimes come across female models between 13 and 45 not using Instagram.

Having an Instagram account is crucial for models. Casting directors, fashion designers, modeling agencies, and all other industry professionals want to see the model’s previous work when they consider her for a modeling project. If the model doesn’t have an Instagram account, her name is likely to be crossed off the shortlist right away.

#2 Make Your Account Public

Industry professionals want to have a look at models’ Instagram profiles and they want to do it fast. They have only a few seconds to find model profiles and go through them. If a model’s Instagram account is Private, it’s equal to having no account at all. People who are doing castings are extremely busy people. They go through hundreds of applications for each project. If they can’t view the posts in a profile at the time they visit it, they just skip to the next candidate.

You may think that they can send a follow request and wait for approval to view the posts. They simply don’t do it. They are the ones who have opportunities and money to pay. They won’t bother sending a request and taking a note to go back to that account to see if the request was approved, especially when there are hundreds or thousands of applicants. It’s easier to ignore that candidate than to become a follower.

While networking in the industry and looking for opportunities, always try to make life easier for decision-makers. Having a Public Instagram profile helps them do their jobs in an easier and faster way.

Apart from finding opportunities, having a Private account (or not having an account) is hurtful for the past and current work as well. If your account is Private, people who worked with you or currently working with you won’t be able to share your posts in their stories which means you lose free publicity opportunities. For example: You might be working in a commercial as a model and the director may want to highlight your posts in their accounts. They won’t be able to do it if you have a Private account. An example from our business: When models post on social media about a collaboration they did with us, we are not able to share the post on our account if their profiles are not Public.

#3 Don’t Disable Tagging and Collaboration

I frequently come across models who don’t allow their Instagram accounts to be tagged or added as a collaborators. They mostly do it because there are too many spammers who bother Instagram users by tagging them randomly on their sales posts. However, disabling these features is a serious roadblock to the growth of a model’s social media presence. People you work with will want to tag you or add you as a collaborator when they share a photo or video featuring you. If they can’t mention you, you miss the extra followers, engagement, and networking opportunities that may lead to big breaks in the future.

Make sure tagging and collaboration are enabled for your account. To fight spammy content, just keep checking the Tagged section of your profile. In that section, If you see a post you don’t want your account to be associated with, simply remove the tag or hide it from your profile.

#4 Post a Mix of Professional and Personal Photos

I recommend the 80/20 rule. 80% of the content on your Instagram profile should be related to your professional modeling career: Behind-the-scene photos, runway walk videos, professional shots from photoshoots, etc. This content is what directors, designers, and agencies evaluate your skills on. Remember, your Instagram profile is your portfolio and resume. Industry professionals don’t want to deal with documents and websites. Instead, they check Instagram accounts. While checking a model’s Instagram profile, they want to see her capabilities and past work quickly.

20% of the content you share should be about your personal life: A photo with your pet, posts about your trips with friends and family, pictures of your food or workouts, etc. This kind of content will help others get to know your personality without meeting you. Decision makers are not only looking for talent with required skills but they also want to work with people with good personality traits. At the end of the day, they may end up spending 10-12 hours with you in the set. They want to make sure you are easy to work with both in front and behind the camera.

#5 Stay Away from Filters

When posting on Instagram, try to stay away from filters (The filters that are offered when you make a post. Valencia, Aden, Jakarta, etc.). I recommend using the Autofix feature of your phone’s photo viewer. I use an iPhone. Its photo auto-correction feature is doing a perfect job.

If you are more on the perfectionist side and want to make edits manually, I recommend playing with only Brightness and Contrast settings to quickly improve the quality of your posts. You may adjust other settings such as  Shadows, Highlights, and Warmth as well. However, most of the time, default values for these settings do a great job.

No matter what changes you make to your content, just make sure it doesn’t look unreal. For example, sometimes, models post screenshots of their magazine features. They apply filters that make the page background look orange or gray but the pages have white backgrounds in the magazine. We hesitate to repost those posts because they don’t accurately represent how our magazine pages look.

These recommendations are for posts only because they stay in your profile forever unless you archive or delete them. For stories, feel free to use the filters because they disappear the next day.

#6 Pick a Short Username

Keep the character count in your username under 15. Most models don’t even think about how and why the length of their Instagram usernames plays a role in the future of their modeling careers. Here are a few examples of why your username’s character count is important:

  • If it’s a long username, it will be harder to tell and spell it to others which will cause difficulties in networking
  • It may require a second row when someone tags you in stories or captions. This would make your username harder to read and it would disrupt the aesthetic of that post which may result in the removal of the tag
  • Long usernames may cause incompatibility issues in the backend systems industry professionals use
  • If it’s a magazine, it may not fit in the available space on the cover or on the inside pages. Yes, we come across this issue often, unfortunately.


Do these to make Instagram work for you and your modeling career:

  • Have an account
  • Make it Public
  • Allow tagging and collaboration
  • Post both professional and personal content (80/20 rule)
  • Stay away from filters for the posts
  • Have a short username

Always remember: Your Instagram profile is your portfolio and resume. Treat it well so it can help you make your modeling dreams come true.


Blogger and fashion enthusiast for 20 years. Experienced runway and commercial model located in Los Angeles. I love creating helpful content and sharing with the world. Reach me out for any questions or feedback.

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