Model Portfolio: What is it, and do you need one to be a model?
So you’re thinking about starting modeling for the first time, but you’ve heard people talk about a modeling portfolio, and you’re not sure if you should have one. Furthermore, what is it, and more importantly, what is in it?
What is a wallet?
A portfolio is a collection of your best shot photos, either in print in a book or folder, on a CD or DVD, or more commonly online in digital format these days. Over time, it will also contain “Tear-Sheets” of your best work, which are pages taken from published work (magazines, etc.) from previous positions you’ve done.
Do you require a Model Portfolio to get to work?
The easiest answer to that is no, but a portfolio is like a resume in any other industry in that you don’t necessarily need one to get a job, says a receptionist or a store clerk. Still, it’s always best to have if someone asks to see what you’ve done or what you can do.
Be aware of scams and agencies that tend to scam inexperienced new models. If they want to charge you for having your wallet done to sign up with their agency, this might not be your right choice.
Independent or freelance model portfolio
If you’re thinking about becoming an independent or freelance model, you’ll have to build or assemble your model portfolio, but you can always negotiate to get it done for free.
Many fashion and portrait photography studios can agree to take your photos for free in exchange for your time.
You can expect a series of images from the shoot on a CD or, more likely in a downloadable format, and maybe even a series of prints if you’re lucky or can negotiate well.
Don’t expect a full portfolio to be made from this one shoot, but you will receive a few selected photos from the photographer to build your collection.
Large agency portfolio
If you’re planning on working with one of the country’s bigger or better agencies, you may not need to have a model portfolio already. All you need are four simple photos of yourself against a light-colored plain background or wall.
You must send them:
- One full-length shot (girls two-piece bikini and boys shorts)
- A half-length body shot (top half – in case you were wondering)
- Headshot – smiling
- Headshot – not smiling
Please note: all photos should be natural, with no makeup and your hair out of your face, and try not to do poses as that is unnecessary. Please don’t send in old school or family photos, no matter how good you think they are.
Most of them can upload your photos to their website, and one of their experienced staff, known as a ‘Scout,’ will review them and contact you if they want to hire you and sign you up.
You will then be invited to have your photos taken by one of their professional photographers for free.
Print vs. Digital
Due to the cost and ease of time, having your portfolio is a big plus, and I can’t recommend it highly enough as long as you have them hosted on one of the bigger, more reputable modeling websites.
However, there’s nothing better than seeing a well-taken large print of a model in a collection in a portfolio case. Any good salesperson will tell you that if you can put something in the hand of the “decider,” you’re halfway through the sale or, in the case of a model, halfway through getting the booking.
Usually, a portfolio of prints is more for personal vanity due to the digital age and online facilities.
Who should have a model portfolio?
- Glamor Models
- face models
- Body Parts Models
- child models
- teen models
- Mature Models
- Commercial models
- Catalog Models
- Showroom/Promotion/Exhibition Models
- fitness models
- Some actors and actresses
Building a modeling portfolio should be pretty easy and fun if you’re researching the industry and your photographers.
And if you found this article interesting, you might want to check out our iBuildingould give you some related tips and pointers to get if you’re researching the industry and your photographers you started.