Creating Your Model Portfolio

Sep 15


Bob Pardue

Bob Pardue

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It's a challenge for new female models when getting the right pictures out to their audience. Good photos can make or break a career so here are some tips for creating a model portfolio that rocks. Keep this article for future reference.


Ok,Creating Your Model Portfolio Articles you are a beginner just learning how to become a model and you feel you can jump right in and create your model portfolio. All you have to do is contact your local photographer, set up a photo session, have prints made and put them in a book, right? WRONG!!!

You want your model portfolio to be professional, complete, and impressive when you show it. This is one of the single most important steps you'll take other than promotion so get it right!

What is a model portfolio?

Your model portfolio book will be made up of a book with anywhere between 10 and 25 photos normally consisting of 9x12 prints. You will want a good selection of different types of "looks" in your portfolio. For example; have some photos created indoors in a home setting, some in the studio, some outdoors in different locations.

Also include shots which may be considered commercial, fashion, casual, and editorial content. Ask the photographer to help you with choosing looks that best fit your personality and the type modeling you wish to pursue.

You'll also want to include a good headshot (without makeup) and a good body shot (swimwear or tight-fitting clothing) especially if you plan to apply to the larger model markets. These larger markets such as the top NY agencies like to see exactly what they are getting when they view your photos. They don't want to see fancy posing or clutter, just you so keep this in mind when creating model photos for them to view.

Do not think that "more is better". It's much more effective to have 8 absolutely beautiful, perfectly shot photos in your portfolio than 100 mediocre ones.

Please keep this in mind when putting your portfolio together because it's very important! If you have to really pine over whether or not an image makes the grade for quality or belongs in your model book, it most likely doesn't.

A professional photographer or agent can help you decide when it comes to quality of photos so ask for advice. If you are not certain about a picture, leave it out. Only include the best in your model portfolio.

Let's get started

Now, let's get started in developing your model portfolio. A really good, complete model portfolio is not created overnight. You will develop it as you develop your talent by working with different photographers.

Different photographers? Won't this cost a fortune?

A terrific model portfolio won't cost you a fortune if you follow the simple steps below. Your model portfolio will not be free, mind you, but way less expensive than paying several different photographers to shoot each section.

Step One - Paid Photo Session

If you are working on a tight budget, this may be a little painful to you but worth it if you are trying to build a killer portfolio.

Finding a photographer for your first model session

Although your local portrait photographer may be teriffic in doing family portraits or weddings, he/she may not know all the ins and outs of creating a model portfolio. You may want to check to see if they offer this service but I would check places like One Model Place or Model Mayhem for photographers who are well experienced in portfolio work.

You should be able to hire a really good photographer for anywhere between $300. to $1,000. with the latter being the extreme in a high-end market area. I would think the average would be around $600.When choosing your photographer, don't just base your decision on price. If the photographer can't produce those perfect images for your portfolio, it doesn't matter what it costs!

What you should ask the photographer

Below are some questions to ask your photographer before agreeing to hire him/her for the job of creating your model portfolio.

Ask if he is experienced in model portfolio development - Be sure to choose a photographer who is used to creating model portfolios so that there is less chance of confusion about what you need and desire in your portfolio

Ask where the photographer is located (This really seems silly but I have received hundreds of contacts from across the US just because models brought up my website when they did a search on photographers in their areas)

Ask for references of recent model shoots (contact at least two models)

Ask for the price range for portfolio packages, how many photos, etc.

Tell the photographer the type 0f model images you need and ask if she has the ability to create them

Ask who will provide the hair and makeup artist(s), you or the photographer. This varies greatly and I would suggest having these services no matter who provides them

Ask if he provides retouching or airbrushing services and whether this is included in the original fee given

Ask how the photos are delivered - This also depends on the photographer's way of doing business so is very important. For instance, we deliver all our images on cd but in printable and web formats so that the model can have copies made whenever she needs them. Also, this means she does not have to print every photo to get what she needs.

Ask about usage rights - This question relates to the previous one. It's very important that you receive usage and reprint rights for your promotions. If the photographer does not offer reprint rights, ask about usage of the prints. You may be able to work something out with him

Ask how long it takes to receive your images after the shoot. You don't want to wait for an eternity or until you are six months older before receiving your portfolio photos.

Ask about clothing and props - What should you furnish and does the photographer have any props and/or outfits on hand

Ask if she will assist you in your posing - Tell her that you are new and ask for posing suggestions

Ask if you can bring a friend or parent (If the photographer refuses this request, I would suggest looking for a different photographer)

Ask if the photographer will help in your promotion - Not the usual job of the photographer but some will. We offer an online comp card album online for six months with each model portfolio session.

Ask the photographer if she offers a guarantee. You should be well satisfied with your photos. After all, it's your model portfolio you will be showing to the world so you'll want it done right!

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