Physical and Online Portfolio:
Even with all the conceptual planning and building a great team, not all of your test shoots are going to be a success and some may only have one or two good looks that could be portfolio material. Although, LOTS of planning does help. Some shoots, on the other hand, could be a huge success and you’ll have difficulty choosing which photos to put in your portfolio.
If you’re shooting enough, you are gaining great practice and experience. You can never stop getting better. The sky is the limit. Also if you’re shooting enough, you should end up with a large selection of potential shots for your portfolio. It helps to organize the photos into folders on your computer so you can keep track of everything. Personally, I like to organize by photographer. I dedicate a special folder to snapshots I snag of me that have appeared on websites, magazines, etc. As you select photos, keep your eye on the prize and make sure that the quality matches up to where you want to be, and beyond!
Be extremely picky with which photos go in your portfolio. You should have a good variety of “super shots.” When you’re picking, just remember its about quality not quantity. I always try to keep an equal number of beauty, full body, and 3/4’s shots as well as a variety of different expressions, poses, personalities, and sides of my modeling abilities. This is what is going to book you jobs!
Develop and eye for eye-catching portfolio pieces. Sounds easy, but it takes time because it can be hard to let go of photos of yourself. Don’t stick every shoot into your portfolio and try not to put the same look or outfit in it twice. You want your portfolio to be the best of the best. It is better to have 5 amazing shots in your portfolio than 25 mediocre ones and 5 winners because the mediocre shots drag you and your portfolio down.
Ordering your photos:
The order of the photos in your portfolio matters. If you have an agency, they should do this part for you, but by no means does that mean you shouldn’t have insight on how your portfolio is put together. If your agency doesn’t explain, ask!
I am no expert on the matter, as I am still learning (always learning!), but from my experience, you should match your photos up by two’s. The photos should be of similar style and perhaps from the same shoot. Try not to put the same outfit side-by-side. If you have two photos that look very similar, choose just one and pitch the other!
Make sure all the photos flow. Don’t have one page with black and white and then have it jump immediately to a shot with bright light and colors, unless the styles match and compliment each other. You’ll have to use your judgement. One thing I learned from my agency about the flow of the photos is that the direction you are looking in the photo should be you looking inward, towards the spine of your portfolio, to keep the viewer’s eyes from wandering outward. Also, when turning pages of your physical portfolio, it is good to keep your stronger photos/beauty shots on the right side, where the eye tends to go first.
Order is more important for your physical and online portfolio than, say, the photos you post on your Facebook and Model Mayhem (just something to keep in mind. Social media and networking is a whole other playing field), but remember to always keep a professional, composed appearance.
Presentation is something you want to be in your favor!
Your physical portfolio should be bound in a nice, clean, professional folder or binder. If you are agency represented, your agency should provide one with their name and contact information displayed on it. This is something you have to invest in.
Quality prints make a difference in how you appear, professionally. The best way to have your images printed is laser-print on quality shiny card stock paper. I discovered that my local UPS has satisfyingly high quality printing abilities at a reasonable price. They let me print my photos manually and I make sure that the photo is not “fit to paper” so that nothing is cropped out and that it is at the maximum quality and dpi (technical details). Make sure you are satisfied with every print before you pay. I once had a printer leak on my photo creating a pea-sized circle on the photo and they let me reprint it.
Obviously, keep your photos and portfolio clean and wrinkle-free and bring it everywhere you go! (Every model should have a model bag ready at all times that includes essentials such as heels, a variety of undergarments, nail polish, hair product, makeup, comp cards, portfolio, water, etc)
One thing you have to remember about (quality) tear, or mock-up tear sheets: They are extremely beneficial!
What is a tear sheet?
Remember when I mentioned creating a computer folder for snapshots from magazines? A tear sheet is a shot “torn” out of a magazine, usually with text on it. If you don’t have any tears in your portfolio, they are good to have and you should jump at the opportunity to shoot for a (reputable) magazine. This will most likely be for free. Notice I’ve made sure to say quality and reputable. There is a such thing as a bad tear sheet. Research the shoot, concept, photographer, magazine, etc before accepting. If its through your agency, you don’t have to worry so much about those details. You’re in good hands.
Keep all those details in mind and you’re in good shape! If you missed out on Goals, Research, Inspiration (pt 1) and Team Selection (pt 2), you should definitely click and take a look for more information.
Never stop shooting, practicing, improving and having fun!
Reach for the top. AND
Briauna Mariah (: