What are Polaroids?
As far as modeling and the fashion industry goes, Polaroids are natural snapshots intended to show an agency or client what a model currently looks like.
These can be used by agencies to submit to over-seas agents and clients and they can also be used by the model (especially if you are a freelancer) to submit to different clients and potential gigs. They may also be used on a website so people not only can view your current work, but they can also see what you currently look like. This is important because you don’t want to be wasting the client’s time if you don’t look how they want. It saves time on both ends.
Do Polaroids need to be professional?
As a model, your Polaroids do not need to be professional. They need to look nice, yes, but they don’t have to be professional, which is why the next point explains why you do not need to pay to have Polaroids done. Most agencies take Polaroids of their models themselves.
Just because I’ve said you don’t need professional photos, doesn’t mean you can take these on your camera phone. Sometimes a client will ask for a “day-of” snapshot, which should be the only time you send camera phone shots.
These should be done with a high resolution camera in natural lighting. If you don’t have a camera, find someone who does.
My agency (or a photographer) wants me to pay for Polaroids, what should I do?
Very few agencies will (or should) ask you to pay to have Polaroids done. Models, don’t pay for Polaroids when your agency could easily take some well-lit snapshots of you or, if you don’t have an agency, you could have a photographer friend take some quick shots before or after a test shoot.
If your agency absolutely insists on paying someone, and you feel you need to do as they say, always make sure to keep track of your expenses (receipt) so that you can deduct them from your taxes. Keep a folder of all your receipts and expenses.
If possible, offer an alternative route. Offer to have your Polaroids done some other way. Find someone willing to take your pictures for free, even if its just a high resolution camera in some natural lighting. Even if that person is just a friend, parent, or roommate.
What should I wear for my Polaroids?
Polaroids should be natural and show off your body. You should have some Polaroids with both form-fitting clothes as well as a bikini. This can just look like a nice black tank top with some skinny jeans and heels, or any simple outfit that is going to show what your body looks like. The key here is simple. You will also want Polaroids in a flattering bikini. Try to wear one with neutral colors, like black, white, and brown. As long as its a mostly solid color, it should be fine. You just don’t want the clothes to be too distracting.
For makeup, wear minimal to zero makeup. You can wear a light foundation, lighten up any blemishes, and put on some mascara and lip gloss. People want to see you without makeup on. That’s what your portfolio is for.
How should I pose for my Polaroids?
Your posing should also be natural and organic. Don’t over-do it. In fact, don’t really pose. Play with your hair, keep your arms looking natural, move around as if you’re checking yourself out in the mirror. Get some shots smiling as well as a few other, moodier facial expressions. Bring your hair in front of your shoulders, and push it back. Put your hair in a bun (if applicable, of course), to show your facial features.
Make sure whoever is taking photos for you gets all the basics, which include full body, head shots, profile, 3/4 shots, and shots from the waist up.
You really don’t need anything fancy.
How often do I need to take new Polaroids?
I suggest updating your polaroids every 3 or 4 months. Your body is constantly in a state of change. You want to make sure you are giving clients an accurate representation of what you look like.
If it has been a while and you think your Polaroids may not be accurate, update them. If you get a new hairstyle, or cut your hair 3 inches, if you loose weight, if you gain weight, if you get taller, or any measurements change, these are all times that you would have new Polaroids done.
If your agency takes your Polaroids for you, they should remind you to come in for new shots. Or, better yet, feel free to remind them! Your agency deals with a lot of other girls, too. You want to be fresh on their minds, which is also another way to use Polaroids to your advantage. The more often you are in your agency, the more often they’ll think of you.
I don’t have an agency, do I still need Polaroids?
Even if you don’t have an agency, you most definitely do still need Polaroids! As I mentioned before, as a freelance model, you’ll always need Polaroids available to send to clients who wish to see what you currently look like. They want to see an accurate representation, not photoshopped, made-up, overly dramatic portfolio photos.
If you at any point wish to seek out an agency, they require that you send them Polaroids so they can see how you photograph as your natural self. Even if you go in for an agency open call, you will want to bring in Polaroids for them to see, especially if you don’t have a physical portfolio on you.
Ok, I have my Polaroids now. How do I choose which pictures I really need?
If your agency takes your Polaroids, you don’t have to worry about this question, because they will choose and upload your Polaroids themselves.
If you have an agency, but you’ve had your Polaroids done on your own, pick through all your decent images and send them all to your agency. They can pick what they need on their end.
For choosing your Polaroids for your personal use, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, you don’t need to necessarily use your Polaroids right away. Keep them in a folder on your computer that is easily accessible. Make a sub-folder of your favorite choices that include at least one good full body shot, one good head shot with and without a smile, one good 3/4 shot, and one good shot from the waist up. These are shots you can access at any time to submit to agencies or email to clients.
By “good,” I mean that the Polaroids should be clear and flattering to your image. Your eyes should not be half-asleep. Your hands should be pretty and you want angles that suit your body. This should be a no-brainer.
Where can I upload my Polaroids?
If you really want to, you can upload your Polaroids anywhere you want. Facebook, Model Mayhem, your website, etc. However, you only really need to have maybe one or two shots up online, so people (potential clients, photographers, etc), know what you look like. For example, I have a tab on my website titled “Current” that I keep updated with a head shot and a full body shot.
Other than that, you only need to use your Polaroids via email and for agency and casting submissions.
The photo to the right is an excellent bad example. Yes, it’s a great Polaroid, so it is technically a good example. However, those who keep track of my current “looks” know that my hair isn’t like that any more! Yes, I need new Polaroids. Having an inaccurate Polaroid is a no-no. If you are getting new Polaroids soon, but need to use your most current, but outdated, Polaroids, make sure to mention what you actually currently look like (if your hair has changed, lost weight, etc).
Briauna Mariah (:
P.S. I swear, I’m getting new Polaroids sooon!