A great portfolio a.k.a “book” is the foundation on which a modelling career exists.
A strong portfolio is absolutely essential for any working model who wants to succeed in todays fashion industry.
Without a great portfolio the amount of work you can book as a model may be limited or you could be labelled as a ‘one trick pony’, always playing the same character in all of your shoots.
Clients usually want to see your versatility and ability to change into a wide array of characters. Having versatility doesn’t mean just having a face that looks good in different looks, it is about displaying different emotions, being able to pose in different styles (natural, strong, boyish, feminine etc), being able to adapt to any story line that is given to you on a shoot or on the runway.
Here is my 10 essential tips for how to build a strong portfolio and therefore increase your value as a model:
- Watch clients closely when they look through your book. Take note of the images they take photos of, comment on or ask about. These are your strongest images. Build your book around them.
- Also ask other models/creatives and people that you know which images are their favourites. This will allow you to cater to a wider variety of tastes when you construct your book.
- New models may need to test shoot a lot. It is the quickest way to build a variety of different pictures for your book. Be sure to take the photographers details so you can chase up the images later.
- More established models should consider travelling to a market known for having editorials. Places like Sydney, Greece, Istanbul, Paris or South Korea can be good places to start. Ask your agency for more advice on building your book.
- Use 2-3 photos from strong shoots. Using a couple pictures from each shoot will help the flow of your book and stop it from feeling too disjointed.
- Create a flow in your book. You want your book to slowly move from one story to the next. Like the colours in a rainbow seem to flow into each other seamlessly.
- Don’t use all of your strongest images at the start. You want to space the strongest images throughout your book so clients continue to be engaged the whole time.
- Use a variety of concepts. Try to compile a selection of photos that communicates your versatility the best. The wider the variety of styles the stronger your book will appear to clients.
- Update your book regularly. Try to incorporate newer images into your book whenever you can but only add pictures that will uphold or strengthen the standard you have started to create. Never add photos just for the sake of it. Updating your book often with strong images will help to keep you current and show clients that you are in demand in the industry.
- Remember editorials have higher value than test shoots. Try to include more editorials than test shoots as the editorials show that you have been working.
The biggest key to creating a strong portfolio is time. It’s likely that the longer you work in the industry, the more photoshoots you will have done. In time you will become more experienced and your shoot quality will most likely improve with your skills so you will produce better images. This is not something that happens overnight, work at it and be patient and it will all come together.
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