Modelmode :: my journey through fashion modeling

{April 3, 2008}   Tips for Creating a Modeling Portfolio

Tips for Creating a Modeling Portfolio


  • If you are trying to get your portfolio done with the sole aim of getting signed to an agency, think twice. The majority of agencies will ask you to do a portfolio shoot upon signing anyway, so this could very well mean paying twice!
  • In the first instance, it may be worthwhile approaching agencies with snapshot headshots and bodyshots. If this gets you nowhere, then consider paying a professional.
  • When you are getting dressed, make sure all your clothes are on properly – as in no twisted straps, no buttons done up through the wrong holes…
  • Remember – your portfolio is not a photo album! If a photo doesn’t “sell” you, don’t keep it because you have develop sentimental value towards it.
  • Ideally, you should aim to have photos no older than a year in your portfolio. This may mean having to get your modeling portfolio re-shot again, so be prepared!
  • It’s a good idea to keep spare copies of the photos in your portfolio in a safe place. You’ll avoid major panics if you should lose your modeling portfolio if you do this.

Be Careful…

  model headshot
  • Unless you are amazingly good at applying your own make-up, hire a make-up artist for the shoot. It is an additional expense but you don’t want to shell out on expensive photos only to have them ruined by poor make-up.
  • Don’t assume that the photographer charging you the most must therefore be the best. On the other hand, also remember that you get what you pay for. Strike a balance!!
  • Practicing modeling may feel weird at first but it is a must! What you think looks good in your head may not work out in real life…and you want to know that before you head to the photoshoot!
  • Be aware of tanning before the shoot as tan lines can create problems.
  • Be aware that many photographers and make-up artists will have cancellation policies. As a rule of thumb, if you cancel within 48 hours of the starting time of the shoot, you will have to pay at least some, usually all, of the fee.

Article content provided by – The How-To Manual That Anyone Can Write or Edit. 


Thalia says:

I have a question…

I’ve always wanted to be a model & im thinking of tring out to

could u give me an advice & tell weather i should

check out da websitee

Anna says:

Hi Thalia,
Wow, I’m kinda new at this myself, I do not know much about modelscouts. I started this because I really love fashion and fit the model image. The jobs I have got, I got on my own by looking at casting calls and applying. It has not been many, I started 4 weeks back and have gotten 1 shoot done and 2 maybe for next week, both are for print.

I do not have an agent, but I read a lot and created a good portfolio based on info I got. Basically, put your best foot forward and only show the cream of the crop images you have. If you question the image, do not use it.

I also know that there is tons of work that you do not need an agent for. Most the jobs can be found online and photographers now post castings online.

I use a site called to find work. Basically, they are a casting database that sends you jobs in your email based on what you ask for. I had an online portfolio with them and that is how I got my first job.

After, I started my blog, they asked me to contribute to some of theirs and put in some links. I had no problem at all with that since through them I got a great job.2 months back, I called up a agency from the phone book and they told me they needed 2k for a portfolio for them to even try to get me work. I thought that was outrageous for no guarantee, and have not tried any high priced agencies since. I know that I can not get the dollar amount for something an agent can, but at least I can get the work.

All I can say is get your photos out there and make sure they are hot. One of the casting agents told me that too many non-pro models have snap shots and even web cam photos as a portfolio piece and they will always be dismissed.

The same casting agent also told me that they are not dismissed because the woman’s looks are not up to par, but because she feels that the people with bad pictures just do not care and therefore not serious.

hey, thats all I know so far… A

Anna says:

Hey, one more thing…

I sent out many emails that were boring and pretty much said “my name is so and so and here are my pics”. never, got a response. I started being a bit quirky and added some of my personality in and joked around a bit and got a great response from people whether they liked my look or not.

Kalem says:

Hi, you offer some very good and sound advice for models to consider with their portfolio. As a photographer, I see many models with portfolios that have not been exposed to the great tips in your article.

Also, aspiring models should practice modeling. In my opinion, TFP (time for print) arrangements offer perfect opportunities for practicing. TFP arrangements are sometimes dismissed as “photos-on-the-cheap” and “you-get-what-you-pay-for.” I think this is unfortunate because it stops aspiring models from benefiting from the “modeling practice” that TFP arrangements offer. Because no money is exchanged doesn’t mean that there is no value. The photographer’s time, skills, creative contributions and photographs have “value” that most photographers charge money for. Because no money is exchanged doesn’t mean that there is no “value” in the shoot. When I’m shooting TFP compensated sessions, I give the same level of committed service and help as I do with my full paid customers. The biggest difference in what I offer is that with TFP I do not provide photo retouching. The collaborating models are happy and so am I:-)

And finally, as a photographer, let me offer this: in photography, you don’t get “what you pay for.” You get “what the photographer is capable of doing.” I’ve seen many great photos from TFP sessions that were much, much better than “paid work.”

Anna says:


I think trade work or TFP shoots are a great way for models and photographers to create or expand a portfolio and can be a win win situation for both. The only comment I would have is that models must be extremely careful if they do such a deal without knowing the photographer first and vice versa. Always a good idea to take someone with you, do your first shoot or first meeting in a public place and get references.

Also, for models, never do any shoot that you may feel not comfortable with or that may later come back to haunt you, that of course goes for paid and unpaid work.

But TFP is a good option to help both careers and get some needed experience in front of the camera and photographers direction.

kanika says:

mam…….thatz me………KANIKA ………….i need your support and advice regarding forwarding my portfolio,m having my some snaps with and where i have to, and i can forwar these snaps,Kindly advise…please.
i will realy apprecate your suppor in this.
Looking forward for your positive REPLY……..i AM FROM INDIA.

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