What is a Modelling Portfolio and How to Use it

The first step in becoming a model is building your modelling portfolio. Your portfolio is like your resume. It’s the first and often only impression that an agency or client gets when they are considering you for a job, It’s not only a collection of images; but a showcase of your talent and experience as a model. The more professional and versatile you come across, the more likely you are to land work. So needless to say, you want to make it count!

By Samantha Beckwith

Tip 1: Determine the Type of Modelling

The most important thing to determine in the beginning is what type of model you hope to be. Clients look for different things in their commercial models to their catwalk models; and consequently, the images that you include in your modelling portfolio should reflect the type of modelling you want to get into. A lot of time and cost can be saved by specifying this early!

Tip 2: Create a Profile Page

What is required in a portfolio across all types of modelling is a profile page – which is a page that has all your details on it: height, weight, measurements, dress size, shoe size, age, hair colour, eye colour and any noticeable body aspects like scars or tattoos.

Tip 3: Include a Headshot

Another necessary portfolio addition is a headshot that showcases your face and facial features. It should be a photo from your shoulders and up and should be minimal in style. You should have as natural or no makeup on and be wearing simple clothing (avoid patterns!). This image is designed to show agencies and clients your natural beauty and your facial profile at its barest.

Tip 4: Be Versatile

The images in your portfolio should showcase your versatility as a model. A variety of poses and looks is important to displaying your range as a model! So showcase the best looks and poses you have in your portfolio. Just as you should include a variety of looks and poses, you should equally experiment with colour images and black and white. A wide variety of images will prove your versatility in the modelling industry and strengthen your chances to being booked for a wider selection of jobs.


Tip 5: Showcase Your Figure

If you’re looking to be a commercial or editorial model, a swimwear image can be good to include in your portfolio. It allows clients and agencies to see your physique. If a swimwear photo isn’t something you’re comfortable with, that’s fine. A body shot doesn’t necessarily translate to skin, but rather an image that displays your body shape. Tighter clothing like a tank top and skinny jeans could also do this.


Tip 6: Update it Regularly

It’s important to remember to continue to update your portfolio with new images that best reflect who you are as a model. If you’ve changed your hair colour or style, you should have images in your portfolio to reflect this. No photos should be older than a year.


Tip 7: Resolution Matters

Presentation is everything! Not simply for you as the model, but your portfolio too. If you choose to present your portfolio in a paper version, choose high quality paper and make sure your portfolio looks professional and neat. If you decide to go digital, make sure your images are of a high and clear resolution.

Tip 8: Think about Portfolio Order

When compiling the order of your portfolio, think about how it would be perceived from the recipients’ point of view. Begin your portfolio with two of your decided best shots and conclude your portfolio with another two of your best images. That way either the client or the agency is impressed at the beginning and left with a positive impact at the conclusion of your portfolio too.

When building your portfolio, never forget that it is representing you in your chosen professional space – make it reflect accordingly! A high-quality portfolio with professional images of you will increase your chances of being taken seriously as a modelling candidate. Do your research when it comes to photographers and make-up artists, and know your field of modelling that you’re aiming to be in. Lastly, trust your instincts and know you’ve made the first step to achieving your modelling dreams!


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