Recommended Portfolio List
Your portfolio should contain both an assortment of tear sheets, general shots and a necessary assortment of specialty shots. Print out this list and keep it with your portfolio! (Except, of course, when you are showing your portfolio to a client!)
Other than for extraordinary photos (tear sheets from Cosmo, Marie Claire or Seventeen; the best photo of you ever taken, etc.) your portfolio photos should be recycled and replaced every six to eighteen months – otherwise they no longer look like you (change of hair length, style or color? clothing styles? weight change? color contact lenses?) or it looks like you have not been working for a while. Your portfolio has to be dynamic – a momentary glimpse at where you are, not a permanent record set in stone.
If you have good examples of work you have done, include them. Tear sheets show the client you have worked before and how you came across while “selling” someone else’s product or service. A tear sheet should not literally be torn out of a magazine! Trim it nicely, ok? If you have done a lot of work and have many tear sheets, use only the best selections and keep rotating/recycling them.
You haven’t done a clothing catalog shoot? No problem. Let’s shoot you doing your own! We can open your own closet and photograph you wearing what you would have worn while working on the catalog shoot, all done on location.
Every portfolio requires certain standard photographs of you:
Head shots – shoulders and above. For most models, these will typically be your best photos.
Full Body shots – Head to toe, both standing and sitting. These give a sense of your proportions.
3/4 body shots – Top of your head to around mid-thigh
Variety/Specialty: With and without eye glasses, wearing dressy evening wear, sportswear, casual attire (jeans, shorts, etc.), hair up/hair down, clean/no make up (the client will do your make up for the assignment; this photo shows them what you have to work with) and with excellent make up (shows them what you can look like), in a laboratory smock, demonstrating products, and location work (office buildings, classrooms, factory settings, mountainsides, desert, kitchen, hospital, restaurant, etc.)
Your graduation photo
All amateur photos
School pictures (except for children) Any 3×5 inch photo print of you
Any print of you cut or cropped it to eliminate others from the picture or trimmed down to fit a certain space Every photo of you that is not sharp, strong, clear, with great color or which duplicates another photo
Wedding pictures no matter how nice you looked, unless you were the bride or bridesmaid, the photos were professionally taken and there are no more than 3 people in the photo. Photos from any play where you wore obvious stage make up and a cheap gray hair wig to make you look older… If the make up / wig wouldn’t pass on the street, leave it out.
Lighting and composition are (almost) everything. It is usually better to have NO pictures of you than to have BAD pictures of you.
CATEGORY SPECIALTY SHOTS
If you want to be hired (or expect your demand to be) for a certain type of work, your portfolio needs to contain samples of you in those outfits and settings. If you are available for a category of modeling, you need some examples of you doing that work, or it won’t happen.
Fitness and exercise
Swimsuit & assessories
Parts Modeling (hair, face, hands, feet & legs, back, rear, etc.) Lingerie (night gowns, bra & panties, slips, stockings & pantyhose)
Elegance, evening wear Figure, artistic nudes, etc.
Do you have a special talent? Dancing, singing, gymnastics, rock climbing, drive a forklift or motorcycle, sky diving? Show it!
Studio or Outdoor? You need both. Studio settings are great. Gotta have ’em. You do have some – and so does every one of your competitors. One secret is to have portfolio photos that make you stand out from the others, make you different / noticeable / memorable.
You need photos from a variety of photographers. Otherwise, it looks like you have only worked with one photographer and that screams inexperience. Besides, every photographer will see something different in you, and that vision will show in his/her photos. Take advantage of this to add variety and depth to our portfolio.
You need photos in multiple settings. You never know what anyone is looking for, so present the widest variety possible within your range. No one is right for all modeling jobs; know where your strengths are. Then within your range, show that you can do this and that.