Making The Best of Your Online Modeling Portfolio

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As someone who owned and operated a talent agency, I visited lots of websites to look at profiles of potential talent who want to join our books. Sometimes, when visiting these sites, I noticed a profile that makes me say to myself “Wow, I want this person on my books”.

More often than not however, I saw sites that made me groan in despair and I ask myself “How do this person expect to find work with a profile like this?”

The aim of this article is to help you to make agents and talent users to have the first reaction and not the second.

Choosing A Name

The first thing you are often asked is to choose a user name, display name, etc. This should be very easily identifiable with you and should allow the talent user to find you easily. The reason for this is that a talent user will often look for someone specifically and if it’s you they’re looking for but can’t find then they will give up.

Don’t forget, we are all busy people and haven’t got time to search through hundreds or thousands of models to find you. There are plenty of other models out there so if you can’t be found then someone else can.

Your profile name therefore should be quite simple. Let’s say you’re an amazingly good looking guy called Paul Williams (that’s me by the way and I am amazingly good looking when you’re drunk!) then you should choose a user name that reflects your name. “paulwilliams” would be a good one but this with a digit or two at the end will do because the talent user should be able to find you from using part of the user name.

For the love of whatever God you believe in, please avoid using completely stupid names like “littletinkerbelle” or “blondegoddess” – nobody will ever find you if they are specifically looking for you.

You should also avoid doing things like putting “x” or “xxx” before and after your name. “xxxpaulxxx” is a completely useless name even though it might demonstrate that you are outgoing, lovable, kissed-up or whatever, it doesn’t help to find you.

Don’t be depressing

I have seen a great many profiles that have some very strange names. If you really must have a stupid name that is entirely irrelevant to you then don’t make it depressing. Things like “suicidegirl”, “massmurderer” or “slasherjane” – all fake names that I have just made up but similar to ones that I have seen – will immediately create a negative image of you in the talent user’s mind.

Don’t forget that the talent user is doing a job, he doesn’t want to get depressed while he’s working. I would say that if you want to do something unique with your user-name then try something “paul-smiler” or “paul-happy-chappy”. Who would you prefer to work with – “suicidegirl” or “paul-smiler”?

Your Main Photograph

Your main photograph is probably the first thing that the talent user is going to see. This should, where possible, be a professional photograph and either a very clear head shot if you have very striking facial features or a full frontal (not nude!) if your body is best feature.

If you’re not sure, then go for the full frontal as long as it is a professional photograph. We’ll take a look at your other photographs later on.

The Type Of Work You Do

Most talent websites will list the types of work that you are prepared to do. Whilst I would say “never say never”, don’t indicate that you are willing to do certain types of work if you patently are not willing to do it. For example, if you are not willing to do topless work then don’t say that you are just to get you noticed.

This will just seriously annoy talent users who want you to do this type of work and you will develop a reputation of being a time waster. Lots of talent users know each other and your reputation will quickly get about, especially if you are considered a time waster.

Having said that, if you are serious about becoming a model then it is well worth asking yourself why you won’t do certain types of work. Ask yourself if your objection is valid – is it because it goes against your religious beliefs (fair enough) or because you might be embarrassed (stupid reason). This is a personal and moral thing that I’m not going to get into here but I’m just saying it is worth asking yourself “why would I be willing to turn down a job and money?”

Your Other Portfolio Photographs

Your photographs are your shop window display of your abilities and looks – they are what is going to sell you. So they need to be of good quality so preferably professional but if not, we’ll show you how to get around that in a moment.

The main thing here is to show what you can do. Here it is important to show pictures of each type of work that you are willing to do. If you say you want to do hand modeling (yes there is such a thing!) then have a close-up picture of your hand, suitably adorned with your best costume jewelery. Equally, if you say you want to do nude, then include a nude photograph of yourself.

The difficult bit here is if you say “Catwalk” or “Runway” and you haven’t got any experience of it. How do we get around that? Simply get a friend with a good digital camera to take a picture of you in your best dress or suit and pose in front of a white wall. It’s not the same but it will give the talent user a feel for what your ability.

Oh yeah – if you haven’t got a professional photograph for the type of work – again, get a friend with a good digital camera to take a picture of you against a white wall. Import this into any photo-editing software and you can improve the quality to almost professional. Bit of a cheat, but it will nonetheless show off your capabilities.

What You Say About Yourself

“I want to be a famous model” or “My name is Sophie and I am from winchester and I want to be a model because everyone says I should be I am 17 years old nearly 18…” – you get the idea. These are stupid profiles that are an immediate turn off for the talent user. Also, repeating any information that is already displayed such as your height, bra size, types of work you will/won’t do, is an equal turn off.

Your little personal statement should be just a little bit of tantalizing information about you that can’t be found anywhere else on your profile. Be concise. Use full stops. Occasionally, you can even use a comma.

So for our erstwhile hero, paulwilliams, the extremely good-looking chap, his personal statement could read:-

“I am an experienced model having worked in this industry for the past ten years. I am a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan and go to watch them whenever I can. I have a two year old daughter, Amber, that I love to pieces and I sincerely hope to make her proud of me when she is older”.

You see, before this bit you didn’t know that our heroic model liked football or had a daughter and you wouldn’t find this anywhere in his profile.

However, don’t be negative or aggressive in your personal statement. Things like “I don’t do nude so don’t bother to ask” just makes you sound like an aggressive person whilst “I won’t do shoots with male photographers” makes you sound negative.

This may sound strange, but in your personal statement don’t say what you want out of your modeling career or what your experience is. Statements like “I want to be famous” are just annoying and “I have never modeled before” is likely to disqualify for any job in the mind of the talent user, whether he intends this or not. If in doubt, it’s best not to say anything about modeling just about yourself and your other interests.

Don’t Make Yourself Look Stupid

And finally, please try to give the impression that you are not stupid or badly educated. Type your personal statement in a word-processor first and check the spelling and grammar. “I wud like to bee a model becuz I have got wot it takes” will immediately mark in the mind of the talent user as illiterate.

Whilst good writing skills are not a requirement of modeling, ensuring that your profile is well written shows commitment to your aim of becoming a model and suggests to the talent user that you pay attention to what you are doing!

Some Sites Where You Can Get Exposure

I sold my talent agency a while ago but I did pick up some information as to where models can get free exposure. Some of the sites do have paid options but you don’t need to sign up for the paid option to get exposure.  The sites are:-

Purestorm, Model Mayhem, The Model Channel, Total Talent

Simply click on the site name to go to the site that interests you.

Best of luck with your career.


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