How to Build A Modeling Portfolio
ARTICLE BY : SARAH MCDOWD
Article First appeared in ModelMentor.com
Building a modeling portfolio is the first step on your path to being a model, and it immensely helps in acquiring agency representation as well. There are many ways to build your portfolio, but however you choose to go about it, you must bear in mind that your modeling portfolio is an extremely vital accessory- it can make or break modeling opportunities. Your portfolio is your first impression, and your best chance to book modeling work.
So how do you build a modeling portfolio? Well here are some modeling portfolio tips sure to help. Before you begin taking photos for your book, you will first need to determine which type(s) of modeling your look is best for. Be honest and realistic with yourself; understanding this will save you tons of wasted time and effort in the future. If you aren’t sure what the different types of modeling are- or which your look is best for, click here to read our Types of Modeling section.
The next step is to find a professional photographer. It makes no difference if you use multiple photographers or just one, what matters is the quality of their work. (*note: In general, this section applies to unsigned models. Models signed to a modeling agency prior to having a portfolio are usually provided with agency-approved photographers to build one.) When you are searching for a photographer, it would be wise to investigate many things before making a decision- for example, how many years have they been shooting, their resume and credits, their policies, how many photos they plan to give you, what their rates are, and if they will print the photos for you (if so, are they going to charge you?), or if they plan to give you the photo files and let you handle the printing on your own.
If you want to be thorough, it is also encouraged that you get references from their former clients as well. Ask them to send you the names/emails of a few models that they have worked with in the past. From there, you can send a short email to the models- tell them your name, that you are requesting a quick referral on “such-and-such photographer”, and whether or not she had a positive experience. Most models are more than happy to help out with an honest reply- with the unspoken understanding, of course, that her reply stays exclusively between the two of you.
Your next step is to decide on of the types of photos you need; you are targeting a well-rounded portfolio that demonstrates the types of modeling you are best-suited for. Express your intentions to your photographer, ask for his input as well as suggestions, and agree upon a few things together, such as: What wardrobe items should you pack in order to achieve the particular looks/concepts you have both agreed upon? What colors or patterns that you should avoid, if any? Are there certain basic poses best-suited for the shots you are trying to get? What are the hair and makeup looks that will work best on you for these photos? You want to make every effort to ensure a mutual understanding of your vision before the photoshoot.
This next step, while not required per se, is highly recommended. It would be a wise choice to hire a professional hair and makeup artist- mainly because your portfolio is so important, and it is far easier to do it right the first time. Ask your photographer for recommendations (he has likely worked with TONS of makeup artists), or you can search on your own if you wish. It will make a huge (and positive) impact on your photos to enlist a professional’s help. If you don’t wish to hire a professional, you can always ask friends that are cosmetologists/makeup artists/hairstylists.
Next, prepare for the photoshoot! Pack all wardrobe options previously discussed, and include a few extra options just for safety. Make sure you know the address, the arrival time, where to park, and the photographer’s cell phone number. Bring a snack and water, and pack your own makeup as a precaution (in case the makeup artist’s face powder just shattered, or even worse- if she cancels). The only other thing you will need to bring is a great attitude! It’s photoshoot time.
After your photoshoot, the next step is the process of selecting images. Rule of thumb: make sure you are focusing on picking variety. You don’t want multiple shots in your portfolio of you standing against the exact same chain-link fence wearing the exact same yellow dress. Also, make sure to include a smiling headshot, a non-smiling headshot, a ¾ length shot, and a full body shot. From there you have a bit more freedom on what else you’d like to include, as long as the photos still fit within your chosen ‘genre’ of modeling.
When choosing your shots, you will want to enlist the advice and counsel of your photographer once again, as he is better trained at judging quality shots than you are (no offense!). This does not mean you have no say or opinion- you absolutely do. In fact, your opinion is the final say for ALL photos that you include in your portfolio. Just keep in mind that your photographer’s input is valuable and certainly something to consider. Also, keep in mind you really want to be picking the absolute BEST of the best here. Do not choose a photo where your face looks terrible, but your usually-pale body looks tan. A tan will never take precedence over a face. You want photos that are high-quality, attention-grabbing, and that stop people in their tracks. Remember, this is your BIG chance to make a great first impression!
Finally, keep in mind that your photos should be 8×10” prints in pristine condition (no bends or folds). These photos should be placed inside a high-quality portfolio book. Every detail counts- don’t start cutting corners now, because this the last step in building your modeling portfolio!
So pat yourself on the back, you are now ready to dive headfirst into the modeling world!
Think you can be the next face of a shampoo brand on TV?
If you have great hair and have no qualms about acting in front of a camera, you just might be the person that ad people are looking for!
Modeling is often equated with leggy stars like Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, who recently topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid models in the world. But the runway is actually just one aspect of the modeling business.
Modeling for ads in print and on TV, for instance, is not just for tall, skinny, good-looking young people. According to Geoffrey Santiago of Makati modeling agency Red Talent Studio, anyone can become a model.
“May maganda, may guwapo, pero hindi marunong umarte. May pangit pero magaling na character actor,” Santiago said, adding they prefer those who know how to act than those who only look good.
Being a company that supplies talents mostly for TV commercials (TVC), the studio has models from children to grandparents.
“Bata hanggang lolo at lola kami. Wala naman kaming pinipili as long as marunong na umarte at saka magaling,” explained Santiago, 36, a former ramp and TVC model.
Possible earnings of newcomers to the industry for print and billboard ads, Santiago said, is mostly the same: P20,000 to P30,000.
Models for TVCs earn more—P40,000 to P100,000, he said. He added that in one of their recent projects, the models actually earned P175,000 each, but the high price came with a six-month to one-year lockout clause in the contract, meaning the models cannot appear in other ads during that period.
Nikka, a writer who modeled for brochures and posters in her 20s and 30s, said she decided to try modeling again now that she is in her 40s. She admitted feeling self-conscious at first when she auditioned along with younger models, but focused on the camera and smiled her way through the audition as she was photographed from different angles.
During the video shoot, Nikka was asked to talk about herself and act out the word “Yes” showing different emotions: happy, angry, sad, confused, and excited. Having taken a long break from modeling, it took her two takes to get it right. But with the audition over, all she has to do now is to wait to be called for projects. “You just have to take courage to do these things if you really want to be a model,” she said.
On his website, fashion photographer Vic Fabe says that you should have a professional photographer take your photos for your setcard, which will have three or more recent 5R (5″ x 7″) photos of yourself. Fabe says a setcard is a model’s passport to any modeling job.
Then you should determine what field of modeling you want to be part of—ramp, print, TV, billboards, brochures, posters— and look for agencies that are willing to sign you up as a talent.
Confidence on the catwalk
Some people who fit the requirements prefer ramp modeling to appearing in print or TVCs, Santiago said. But, he added, while ramp modeling may appear glamorous, the pay actually isn’t much. On the other hand, said Santiago, ramp modeling can help a model get his or her face out there more easily.
His advice to would-be models is to be confident.
“Kailangan maging confident ka pag pumasok ka sa ganoong work, confident ka at hindi ka nahihiya, di ka nagdadalawang isip,” he said. “Ibigay mo ang best mo at huwag kang mahiya.”
Asked how he takes care of himself considering how young he looks for his age, Santiago said even though he has already “graduated” from being a model, he still practices the discipline he learned as a model.
“Sleep early,” he said. “Iwasan mo ang yosi, bisyo, at puyat.” And be careful how you handle yourself in public, he added.
Talent and a ‘clean, clear face’
Fabe said that having a face free of acne and pimples is important if you want to become a model.
In an email to GMA News Online, Fabe said, “You will never know if you are good in one thing unless you try. But being [a] model, you should have the basic qualities, like a clean, clear face. Height and facial looks is subjective so I never really judge because our tastes are always different.”
Fabe said anyone who is confident and talented can give it a go. With a growing national economy, he said, opportunities currently abound for aspiring models.
“There is a clear market for young people to earn extra income by becoming brand ambassadors,” he said. “There are a lot of small enterprises that are not catered by big advertising agencies, so there is a big market to fill.”
Asked what qualities different outstanding models from others, Fabe said, “Top models always have a strict discipline [when it comes to] taking care of their bodies. They know very well that their body is their investment and their source of income.
“They watch what they eat and they go to the gym regularly. They choose the gym rather than watching a movie. They are also hardworking, they go to all the go-sees that will fit the criteria of the caster. They are also on time during photoshoots,” he said.
‘Low-class’ and ugly?
Fabe lamented that some people associate high fashion only with Caucasian-looking models.
“I’m very Filipino at heart and I’m not really in favor of all these Brazilian and Caucasian models that are getting all the local jobs,” he said.
“I once got a feedback from a fashion photographer and, to quote him, if the model is Caucasian/Brazilian, then it’s high fashion, but if the model is Filipino, then it’s low-class and ugly.”
Personally, he thinks the country’s best models at present are actors and actresses like Piolo Pascual, Dingdong Dantes, Enchong Dee, Derick Hubalde, Marian Rivera and Anne Curtis.
It’s all in the eyes
Asked about his advice as a fashion photographer on how aspiring models can look good in pictures, Fabe said, “Tease with your eyes; seduce, seduce, seduce. It’s always in the eyes. If your eyes cannot connect to the viewer, then your picture will not sell. Just like in any business, a picture that can sell will get the job.”
“Sometimes, I tell them to think of someone or their loved one, or a happy moment so that their eyes will have something to say. Staring at a blank picture is worse, it’s better not to have taken the picture at all,” he said.
To avoid being scammed, Fabe said aspiring models should be wary of people who aggressively invite them for photoshoots. “If the photoshoot is not done in a photo studio, then you should be careful,” he warned.
He urged people to ask around and do their research before signing up to become a model. — BM, GMA News –