How to build a 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 contact. We've put together a couple of FAQs for you to check out to help you build your first modelling portfolio!

Should all the images be really different? 

It is so important that you show your diversity as a model within your portfolio. You want to think about showcasing your strengths and starting to build your own personal brand. To do this, we recommend having a combination of headshots and full body shots as well as having some poses on the ground, some with a chair, and some standing. 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 portfolio edit before they are ready for a portfolio. This is not to alter your natural beauty - It is actually to highlight you in the photograph and to ensure you look your best - just like you would in a professional shoot. 

If you need to organise a photoshoot, check out our recommended photographers + packages here.


How do I choose the right photos? 

Choosing the right photos to include within your portfolio is always tough. If you need some help though, here are some things to consider...

  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 but always remember the final decision is always yours - go with the photos you love!  


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.  

Can you show me an example of a great portfolio?

Check out our beautiful Emma's portfolio! She has a variety of poses, outfits, and shots within her portfolio but remember to get started you only need 1-2 different outfits.

Can CGM help me get my portfolio together?

Yes! Over the years we have worked with some pretty incredible photographers who you are able to book your portfolio photoshoot with. We have put together some incredible photoshoot packages that you can book with any one of our recomended photographers. Any of the portfolio-edited photos you get in these packages will be perfect for your portfolio. 

Organise your photoshoot now Organise your photoshoot now


Are you keen to get started with your modelling career?

Apply for our Online Model Search now!


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