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Building Your Modeling Portfolio

beautiful young female model wearing green swimwear posing for photo shot at Southern California beach by the ocean
Your portfolio is one of the most important tools for landing a modeling job because it represents your abilities and skills needed for certain type of project. The main purpose of your portfolio is to sell you. Building quality portfolio should be your top priority if you desire to be a successful model.

There are many different types of modeling. You need to determine what type of modeling you are suited for and concentrate on particular type that you quality for.

Fashion modeling is the most common type of modeling. Fashion model must be at least 5′8″ tall and quite thin. Commercial print models appear in advertisements in magazines and catalogs. Body part modeling showcases a particular body part, such as hair, hands, or legs.

In order to build a quality portfolio, hire a professional photographer with experience in model photography. You can call modeling agencies in your local area and find out who they use.

Be aware that clients expect consistent level of quality in your images. You will need to select the very best of your photos for your portfolio.

You will also need to hire a professional makeup artist. In some cases the photographer will bring in or recommend one for you. You can also ask your local modeling agencies for their recommendations. A professional photographer may cost several hundred dollars or more for a short session of one or two hours.

Make sure to look through magazines to find poses and type of clothes the model is wearing to get some ideas. Practice posing in front of a mirror.

Discuss with your photographer the best clothing for the shoot. Choose solid colors and stay away from patterns and avoid anything that is too tight or too loose. Be sure to choose several outfit choices because you don’t want to have pictures of you in only one or two outfit.

The day before the shoot, be sure to get a good night’s sleep, eat a light meal and avoid alcohol.

A good portfolio should include a head shot and at least two or three full-body shots. You may want to bring formal wear, business suit and sporty outfit. If you want to be a swimsuit or lingerie model, bring those to your photo shoot. Your choice of clothes will depend on the type of modeling you want to get involved in.

Your portfolio should contain about 10-20 photos if you’re an experienced model, but 6-8 photos if you are just starting your modeling career. Choose only the very best photos for your portfolio.

Choose the standard size for your portfolio. The portfolios tend to be 8.5 x 11, 9 x 12, and 11 x 14 inch sizes. As you gain experience, plan to have an online portfolio website that features the same photos.

By Robert Stevens – 2019 – Update 2020
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For additional articles written by Robert Stevens, see Robert Stevens is the author of How to Start a Successful Model Portfolio Business published in 2019.

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