A Detailed Guide to Create a Modeling Portfolio

By Sachin Krishna
June 10, 2022

A model portfolio is an essential tool for any aspiring fashion model keen to enter the highly competitive modeling industry. It is used to showcase your unique abilities in modeling via a curated collection of photos emulating different model poses and includes additional information such as your physical characteristics and details on prior experience if any. 

If you are looking forward to venturing into modeling, having a professional portfolio acts as a springboard for your career. 

A well-crafted portfolio can land you opportunities to work with agencies or brands to represent products. By showcasing your talents in modeling through an assortment of photographs, you are essentially handing out your calling card when approaching agencies. With a strong portfolio at the forefront, agencies will be able to make a clear judgment of your potential in modeling and how capable you are for this field, which if favorable can very well define the trajectory afterward. 

Here, we will delve into the basics of creating a professional modeling portfolio from scratch and explore the different types of portfolios available.

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Professionals needed for a modeling portfolio

But if you want to get things done right and create a strong portfolio, it’s probably better to hire an experienced professional like:

  • A photographer or videographer. 
  • A stylist to select clothes that will emphasize your figure.
  • A trained makeup artist.

Building a Modeling Portfolio

You can find a collection of some of the best portfolios built by self-taught models who started their careers through social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram. Doing so helps you identify the emerging trends in modeling and design your portfolio accordingly. 

Here are the 6 essential steps for creating a modeling portfolio:

  • Decide the photoshoot, based on the type of modeling you are a fit for.
  • Settle the type of images to include in your model portfolio.
  • Learn different modeling poses to recreate in the images.
  • Utilize the services of a makeup artist before and during the shoot.
  • Select the photographer for your chosen shoot.

Fully Focus on Being the Kind of Model You Want to Become

You must be rational and mindful of the misconceptions that exist in the modeling industry when chasing your dream of being a professional model. Many aspiring models have a preconceived idea about what they believe suits them best, but their body shape can most likely determine the types of assignments they get. 

Shorter or petite women, for example, have a difficult time breaking into the fashion industry. Although assumptions are continually being smashed, and you can surely crack them on your journey, being truthful and transparent about your strengths can be of enormous help. Besides, this would boost the odds of putting on better performance, thus lowering your chances of rejection.

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Deciding on the Type of Images You Need

It’s essential to know just what kind of images you want from your model portfolio to plan the shoot well ahead of time. Make a list of the images you’ll need for building a well-balanced portfolio based on the kinds of modeling you’re ideally fit for. 

Ensure that you have excellent portraits, close-ups, and full-body images. Plan the outfit adjustments to demonstrate your flexibility (swimsuits for great body shots and evening dresses for those advertising clients).

Posing is Something You Should Practice

Posing as a model for a camera is an art form in and of itself. The goal may seem straightforward, but it is more complicated than you may know. You must translate a three-dimensional object, your body, into a flat image’s two-dimensional space in model photography. Poses for photography must be mastered, and they improve with practice and research.

Assemble an inspiration board of tear sheets of your favorite model poses. You should even do a good amount of practice in front of the mirror. 

Here’s an article on the best Model Poses that includes helpful advice on what to include in a well-made modeling portfolio. 

Moreover, don’t forget to choose your outfits carefully. Clothing is an essential aspect of every brand campaign’s storyline. Your poses should always highlight the best features of the garments that you are wearing.

Hire an Expert Hair and Make-up Artist

It is advised but not necessary that you hire a talented hair and make-up artist for your portfolio shoot. With the correct hair and making-up styling, a specialist will be able to bring a lot of value to your model profile and make you appear much better.

Remember that the model portfolio is a significant move forward, so doing it correctly the first time is vital. A decent make-up artist should be willing to be recommended by the photographer (any good photographer should make excellent recommendations on this).

Take a peek at the make-up artist’s portfolio page to get a taste of their abilities. If your makeup artist fails to turn up, have a contingency strategy (carry your makeup or enlist a friend’s assistance).

Select the Best Photographer

If you are working with a modeling agency, they will organize your shoot with a pre-approved photographer and charge you for it. Likely, the photographer they’d hire wouldn’t be a true specialist in the area of fashion and modeling photography that you’d like to entrust with your model portfolio book.

To be honest, you shouldn’t even be approaching modeling agencies until you have a professional-looking portfolio in place.

Consider having one of your friends take photographs for your portfolio. However, we recommend that you avoid it unless you have no choice. Avoid taking the first or most convenient solution that comes to mind. As a model, you’d need to build up the courage to take on new projects and collaborate with new people daily. It’s time to put some talents to the test.

Read also: Modeling in Chennai

Bottom Line

In the end, you must set high expectations for yourself. You just get one chance to make an excellent first impression on modeling agencies and customers, so don’t squander it! When selecting photographs for your modeling portfolio, be highly selective and critical. Make sure the photos impress agencies or clients by the sheer creative angle you have taken to showcase your modeling abilities. 

To put it another way, don’t take selfies or take several pictures of the same outfit in the same place. Make sure your photos are authentically you – they can’t be over-retouched and heavily edited. 
You are just as good as your portfolio’s worst picture. Photographers, agents, and companies can recall your bad shot in your portfolio rather than your perfect picture. It’s guaranteed. Only because you had a lot of fun shooting something and think it’s pretty cool doesn’t mean it should be in your portfolio. Think twice before putting up a photo in your portfolio.

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