So you are thinking of making a life as a model. You have the motivation and drive. You have seen the glamorous settings the top models work in and you also realize it is not just sitting around looking pretty, but actually very hard work. As such you should also be aware that as a model, visual presentation means everything. You have to build your very own brand. It is much more than just how you look!
It is true that when you first start out, simple snapshots are in order to find out if a modelling agency is interested in representing you. However, if they are interested in you, but not quite ready to sign you up, the agency may ask you to build your portfolio. This can be quite confusing if you are a new model as you are unsure of what the modelling agency may be looking for.
There are very specific types of photos that an agency likes to see in your portfolio. It should show your versatility and ability to express yourself. An agency wants to see how you as a model tell a story or portray a feeling of emotions. And your portfolio will be ever changing as you start working. However, to start off with you should have a handful of really great shots.
Here are the basic photos your portfolio should contain and some tips on how to make them appealing to the modelling agent.
MUST HAVE SHOTS FOR YOUR PORTFOLIO
The Head Shot
Here you get two types. The Beauty Head Shot applicable to fashion/editorial models. And the Clean Head Shot that applies to commercial models.
The Beauty Head Shot is a colour photograph and all makeup, hairstyle and jewellery should be kept to an absolute minimum. And preferably no smile especially if you are interested in editorial modelling. The purpose is to show you as model in your most natural state and should ideally be from the shoulders up.
A Clean Head Shot is a bit more relaxed and can be shot in colour or black and white. You may smile if you want to and should be taken from the waist up.
Note that the head shot should always be first in your portfolio.
Full Length Body Shot
Your very next photo in your portfolio is your full length body shot. Your clothes should be form fitting and simple, such as skinny jeans and a t-shirt. No baggy clothing. The full length body shot allows the agency/agent to see the model’s proportions and body type.
After the body shot comes the swimsuit shot. Please note that you should be 16 years or older to add this to your portfolio. A very important factor to remember here is that there is a very fine line between sexy and tasteless. Think Vogue Magazine pictures. Remember, as a female model you are selling to other women and not men.
And for the guys out there, you may wear swim trunks or boxer shorts. Whichever you are most comfortable in.
Editorial Fashion Shot (Fashion Models)
Now that you have your fist important basics in your portfolio, you can have some fun with your pictures. These photos are a bit more creative to try and show the agency/agent your ability to move and express yourself. Be on the move! Don’t stand still. Run, jump, dance; whatever the feeling. Put on some music and have some fun!
The Commercial Shot (Commercial Models)
This is fairly descriptive. Think of photos you have seen in magazines and ads where the model(s) are laughing, crying or angry. The commercial shot has to show your ability to express yourself in print in order to sell a product/service. Hence commercial shot.
As a tip, be sure to pay special attention next time you read a magazine. Practice some poses and expressions. We promise, it becomes better with time and practice.
The Smiling Shot
This is not all about your million dollar smile as you may think. But also a great way for the agent/agency to see your teeth! And you know what? It is perfectly okay if you don’t have straight teeth all round. Many supermodels are known for their gap-toothed smiles!
Remember, the agency merely wants to see what they are working with.
The Strong Closing Shot
We all know that first impressions stick, but in the modelling world so does the last. As you paid particular attention to your first picture in your portfolio, now is the place to end it with a bang.
Another great beauty of head shot, taken a little differently from your first portfolio pic will work wonders here.
You have done all the hard work. Close it strong.
DON’T FORGET YOUR ONLINE PORTFOLIO
Now that we have covered your portfolio pics, it is also a good time to mention that an online portfolio is just as important. And if you link your Instagram account to your website, then as you post, your website content gets updated immediately. This saves you a whole lot of time. And as a model, your time will be precious.
Remember to always have fun. Modelling is definitely not for everyone. But if you work hard and persevere, you can make it to the top.
Keep going. Keep working