What is a model portfolio and do I need one?

A model portfolio or book is your resume; an essential tool for getting professional modelling jobs whether it is runway or photoshoots. It is a collection of professional images that showcases how you look in photographs and your ability as a model. A model book is crucial to getting hired by fashion clients and required by commercial agencies. Although professional images are not a must have to apply to editorial agencies a portfolio is something that they will need to market you in the future and you can use to market yourself as a freelance model. It is your chance to make a great first impression on agencies and clients. As a model visual representation is everything. It is almost impossible to get modelling jobs without one, as clients will want to see how you look in front of the camera before offering you paid work. 

How to create a professional portfolio

A model portfolio needs to be shot by a professional fashion photographer and not by a makeover studio. It is not about making you pretty and all glammed up but about showing the natural you; a blank canvas if you wish to attract potential clients, agencies or fashion designers. How you create a professional portfolio will depend on your look; whether it is more editorial or commercial. The model portfolio shoot needs to be tailored to you and the type of modelling or niche that you are suited for

Plan your shoot wardrobe changes to show your versatility - bring more options than you might need. Avoid overposing, too much makeup or overstyled hair especially if you are planning to show it to agencies in a hope of getting signed - they like to see the natural you. Check out this blog on what model portfolio needs to get more detailed advice and tips. Do your own research, ask for photographer referrals and take your time finding the right photographer for your model portfolio shoot. Have a look at their website to see their style of work and check out their reviews. Read more on how to choose a photographer for your model portfolio shoot.

Do I need a printed book or just a digital portfolio?

Whilst a digital portfolio is convenient for you and in some situations where there is no opportunity to meet you in person, model agencies and clients tend to prefer the professional images printed. It can be argued that there is nothing that compares to flicking through the pages of a physical portfolio printed professionally on quality photographic paper and bound in a leather case. The benefits of a printed portfolio include a casting director, agent or potential client being able to flick through your book while you discuss the job or campaign they are looking for models for. It gives the impression that you are professional, serious about modeling and shows that you have professional modelling experience. 

How do I put a printed portfolio together?

Choose the best images to go in your book from headshots to body shots and show a variety of looks. A versatility as a model is a key. Select the strongest shots and make sure that you have a good selection of all the best looks in a variety of different poses. The images you select need to stand out from others (in a good way) and need to be you without much retouching. It is important not to change the body not to mislead any potential clients or agencies - your reputation is on the line. 

You can have photos printed online these days - often cheaper and more convenient than on the high street. Typically, a printed portfolio has glossy 8” x 10” size prints with a portfolio case in black leather with clear sleeves where you slot in the final images. 

How many photos do I need in a model book?

There is no exact number when it comes to the number of photographs in a portfolio - most models with extensive experience have over 10 photos in their book from different photographers and shoots. Sometimes less is more and even 4-6 images in a starter model portfolio is ok. There is no point of having more than 2 photographs of the same look unless a headshot or more of a close up. You will continue building your portfolio thorough your career and can even tailor the photographs included to the client / brand or type of assignment to increase your chances of landing the job. For example if you are going to a casting for active wear you might want to include more natural shots of you and some images of you wearing a sporty or at least more casual clothing rather than ones in evening dresses or gowns. Find out more about our modelling book and essential guide for aspiring models which contains more detailed advice on getting into fashion modelling.

How can London Photo Portfolios help?

Here at London Photo Portfolios you can shoot with a Vogue published photographer. You would benefit from her photography experience and expertise in the fashion industry and shooting model portfolios for top agents. She can help to determine the type of modelling and model agencies you might be more suited for and can give you some free advice and guidance on applying to agencies or on becoming a freelance model. As you will be investing in your portfolio yourself upfront you will own the images and not the agency. This means that if you change your agency you can take the photographs with you. 

Call us on 02074594072 to book your model portfolio shoot in London. 


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