The age of consent for a model is currently 18 and it is certainly possible that you will be asked to show ID at some point, if you are around that age. Photographic proof would be required. The photographer will need to protect himself and stay within the law and not potentially upset a models parents. This question is normally raised prior to a shoot and would be raised again when a model release form is required. If the model is under 18 then a chaperone is required, usually a parent.
A mother is usually preferred as they can assist with choice of clothes and in the dressing room. With their permission then an older sister could be present on the shoot.
In order to get started you will need some photographs to advertise yourself. This could be on modelling sites such as www.net-model.com. These can be from a mobile phone or taken by a friend etc. These can then be added to the model site. Sample photographs can also be obtained by paying a studio to take them for you or a photographer, one of which can be found from the Internet or Yellow Pages.
It is also possible to approach a model agency direct with some basic pictures. A reputable agency will never ask for money up front (they will get paid from the work you do for them). Sometimes there may be a long wait before work arrives or maybe not at all.
If you are registered on a model site such as any of the sites listed on the 'Recommended Sites' page. then you can contacted by photographers to appear on a shoot. This can be TF or paid work see 'Shoot Description TF/Paid'. Doing TF shoots is a good way to obtain a range of photographs which can then be used on the site. Using such a site does give some protection in that the photographer has had to register there. However, still take into account the advice given on the 'Model Safety' page.
The model sites are a good place to see others work and often the ability to become friends with other models and exchange views, ideas and news. The Internet has a wealth of sites where it is possible to see models in poses and posing guides to help get you started.
Gradually from working with photographers a portfolio of pictures can be built up. See 'Portfolio' page. Photographers will give pictures from the shoot if it is a TF but not necessarily if it is a paid shoot. Even then they may not give all shots, but just a selection. Do they edit the pictures? Do they send by email or provide a CD? The portfolio can be used to show an agency or other photographers etc. Having a few pictures where a mua (make up artist) has been used is beneficial.
The photographer will show pictures taken during a shoot to give confidence to a model and to demonstrate exactly what he is looking for. If doing a shoot where it is possible to show more than you would wish then you should ask to see the images. You can then ask to have any deleted. These can of course be recovered later but a reputable photographer would abide by your wishes, which is another reason to use people from model sites where they have to give their personal information or by finding them by word of mouth from other models etc.
Before attending a shoot take care to ensure all instructions from the photographer are covered and the requirements of the shoot are fully sorted out. see 'Safety for Models' page. Photographers would also want to know your height, sizes, availability. This information would be on your profile on a model site but would need to be given out if approaching a photographer by these means. The photographer would also need to see at least one picture of you before finalising a shoot.
When going on a shoot consider the category you are going to do and ensure you have sufficient suitable outfits available. Do you have suitable footwear? Then consider your makeup, are you going to do this before setting out or at the location/studio, will there be a make up artist? Will you have your hair up or down, can you change it easily while on a shoot? Nail condition and colour also needs to be considered. Often these points will be covered by the photographer but not always so you may need to check with him/her beforehand. You may need to take some kind of ID with you to prove your age. Consider other items such as hair brush, mirror, towel if doing a shoot wear you may get wet. Have you a bag to carry these things in, if on location it may require carrying these around. Let the photographer know if you have any tattoos or piercings.
Common terms and abbreviations
mua - make up artist
togs - photographer
gwc - guy with camera (derogatory term for a person with no skills)
TF - time for
TFCD - time for CD
TFP - time for prints
Paid shoot - the model is paid for his/her time
Port - portfolio (often paid for by the model to the photographer)
Photoshop - retoucher, (image manipulation)