A modeling portfolio is one of the most important tools you’ll need to make it in the fashion industry. It doesn’t matter if you qualify as a plus-size model, petite model, or high-fashion model, agencies will always look for a portfolio before you book a job. Avoid making the mistake of gathering random photos of yourself for the sake of putting something together for casting directors, you can guarantee that this won’t help your career at all.
To help you avoid making any rookie mistakes, here are industry-verified tips for creating a modeling portfolio that will kick-start your career.
5 Essential Tips for Creating Your Modeling Portfolio
1. Decide on what kind of modeling job you want to do
Plus-size modeling is a general term for models who fall above a certain dress size. If you qualify as plus-size, you can be anything from a print model or a high-fashion model. Fashion modeling is the most common type of modeling in the roster. Larger markets, especially New York, accept models who are 5’10” above, while other areas could go as short as 5’8″. In the past, models were strictly required to be thin. But thanks to the efforts of supermodels like Ashley Graham and Robyn Lawley, more and more agencies are now accepting women of all sizes.
By deciding on a modeling job ahead, you get to envision what your portfolio should look like and work with a photographer in bringing that to life. Unfortunately, this is an industry that won’t let you pick the jobs you will do, so remember to do your research on the requirements of working in a certain modeling job before deciding to pursue it.
2. Hire a professional photographer
Professional photographers are always a wise investment when it comes to preparing photos for your modeling portfolio. You can ask friends or acquaintances if they know any reputable photographers in your area. Hiring a professional is advisable because they understand how to create photos that most modeling agencies are looking for.
3. Know the essentials
There are specific types of photos that agencies like to see in your modeling portfolio. These photos showcase your versatility and how you choose to express yourself. Here are a few ideas:
- Beauty shot. A beauty shot should be your priority when you do your first photo session. To best describe a beauty shot, it is a colored photo of the model’s face from the shoulders up. This should allow the agency to see you without styling or heavy makeup. So this means accessories, jewelry, and makeup should all be kept to a minimum.
- Body shot. As the name implies, a body shot allows the client to see your proportions and body type. A simple skinny jeans and t-shirt combination will work fine for this type of photo.
- Editorial shot. Editorial shots are a great way to boost your career as a fashion model. To capture the best editorial photos, keep things interesting. Run, jump, dance, and pose in high-fashion looks you see on the runway! Don’t be afraid to express yourself while showcasing your unique sense of style.
4. Get a portfolio book compiled and printed
When casting agents go through your portfolio, you’ll want to capture their attention from start to end. Strategically place at least two of your best pictures at the beginning and two in the closing pages of your portfolio. Some photographers offer this type of service, so you can always ask for assistance.
You also need to discuss the size of your portfolio with your photographer ahead of time. In larger markets like New York and Los Angeles, the 9 × 12 and 11 × 14 inches books are the most popular. Outside of this area, such as Chicago and Philadelphia, 8.5″ x 11″ books are more common.
5. Update your modeling portfolio
As you go on with your career, it is important to keep updating your portfolio to highlight your work experience. Tear sheets are magazine pages or photos from a photo session showing your past modeling experiences. Do include character references, the type of modeling job (print, commercial, catalog, etc.), and the date that you completed the job.