7 Tips to Build an Effective Modelling Portfolio

First impressions are always important. However, in the modelling industry, first impressions are everything! So how do you make a killer first impression in the modelling industry? Two words: modelling portfolio. Your modelling portfolio acts as your modelling resume. It can determine whether you land a meet and greet, whether you are signed with an agency, and even whether you land a career-defining contract.

With the following question and answers, I am going to give you an insight into the world of modelling portfolios and hopefully answer your questions so that you can make the most positive impression possible with your modelling portfolio.

Should all the images be really different?

It is so important that you show your potential and range within a photoshoot. Think about showcasing your strengths and starting to build your own personal brand. You should have a combination of headshots and full body shots. Think about having some poses on the ground and some standing up. Think about having some that really promote the image that you would like to project as a model as well. Throughout your portfolio, your images should tell a story.

How many images do I need?

As an emerging model, you should avoid including every photo that has ever been taken of you in your portfolio. You should work on having 6-12 photos in your portfolio. This number allows you to develop your own personal brand and show image variety, whilst limiting the risk that you are going to be tempted to include images that aren’t quite up to scratch or are too similar to others.

Should I include black and white photos?

Yes! Black and white photos can be incredibly effective! Remember, you want your portfolio to show variety. Having a good combination of both colour and black and white photos is a great way to keep your portfolio interesting.

Do I need to have a range of outfits?

Obviously, a bit of outfit variety is great within a modelling portfolio. This is because it allows you to show your potential clients a range of looks that you are able to model. The only problem with this is that as a beginner within the industry you are unlikely to have that many photoshoots to draw images from. As such, when you are looking to get a photoshoot done for your portfolio, take a few different outfits along with you. Ideally, you should try to have three different outfits within your portfolio to showcase the perfect amount of diversity.

Do they need to be professional photos?

YES! It is so important that your portfolio is made up of only professionally shot and edited photographs. All photos must go through a major edit before they are ready for a portfolio. This is not to alter your natural beauty or to make you thinner, taller, or more proportioned! It is actually to highlight you in the photograph and to ensure you look your best – just like you would in a professional shoot.

How do I choose the right photos?

Choosing the right photos to include within your portfolio is always tough. There are a few tips I can give you, however, to make the choices a little easier!

  1. 1. Make sure your brand and image is forefront in your mind. Remember, as a model you need to be able to promote and sell a brand. As such, you need to make sure that you are highlighting photos that showcase your look. For example, a girl who has an edgy, high fashion look would be likely to have a completely different portfolio to a carefree beach babe. It is so important that you know what your look is before you try and decide what images are going to make the cut.
  2. Do a cut! Rate all of your images from 1-10. Be honest and objective. Try and look at your image like a marketing manager looking at advertisements. Ask yourself: what images reflect and build my brand the best? Once you have ranked your images, remove any images that don’t rate a 7 or higher from your pile.
  3. Look through the remaining images and choose 6-12 photos that both promote your brand and highlight your strengths. Remember, everyone has different strengths! If you have beautiful eyes, find photos where they are celebrated. If you have amazing long legs, include some full body shots that highlight them. It’s important, though, that you remember to include some variety in outfits and poses throughout your portfolio.
  4. Put them in order! It’s important that you start your portfolio with a simple headshot. After this, mix different outfits and poses together to create your portfolio. Remember, it’s always good to ask for other people’s input when you are developing your portfolio. Your photographer can usually help you to select appropriate images, as can we at CGM if you are using photos from one of our events; however, remember, the final decision should always be yours.

What do I do with my images once I have chosen them?

The best thing to do is create a PowerPoint presentation with your chosen 6-12 major edited images. On the first slide include a headshot, your name, age, height (cm), contact details (a parent/guardian if under 18). After the first slide, include each of your images, each on a separate slide. Once you are happy with your portfolio, save it as a PDF. Finally, we recommend to either get them printed into a hardcover book, or print them out and put them within a folder.

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