Building a modeling portfolio

Building a portfolio!

Now that you have practically sworn in to become a model, ready to give it all you have and to do all it takes. To turn those starlit dreams into reality, the most imperative tool that you need to kick start your modelling career is a portfolio. Well begun is half done! not getting into discussing adages here but once you are determined to put yourself out there and tread the precarious waters of the fashion industry, an impeccable portfolio is absolutely crucial because that is going to portray what you are and exhibit what you stand for.

It is all about the looks after all, quite literally as is the case here. As a model you will be paid for making the objects that you hone look not just good but so out-worldly as if it has been crafted by God himself. A modelling portfolio is not just a collection of a random set of your pictures in fancy attires. It is a narration; you intend to convey a strong message that you are not just another candidate to be added to the pile of rejected aspirants. You need to put in a lot of thought and approach it in a systematic way.

Where to Begin

Once you are done with the list of prerequisites that you deem necessary for the profession, you need to be aware of the various ramifications of what we collectively term as modelling. You need to figure out what kind of modelling you want to pursue. Whether you want to become a high-end fashion model, or a runway model walking the ramp for showcasing creations of the designers. As a catalog model you would be seen spanning magazine covers and product catalogs. Plus size modelling, lingerie/swimsuit modelling or commercial modelling or want to go for fitness modelling. There are various deciding factors as to which kind of modelling would suit you best. Based on your body type, your height, weight and other measurements you can decide what suits you best. Once you are through with the type you need to search for portfolios. There are some great examples online which you can look up, see how the things are done and what all is required to build a great portfolio. A model book is the keystone to your successful career and it’s imperative that you have the perfect model book. Look for references of model books and comp cards. You can have the model book categorized according to various moods or hues. Unleash the creativity and don’t be afraid to experiment. This must be as unique as you are to make you stand apart from the others. Before spending precious time and money on building the portfolio without any knowledge, it’s better to gain as much information as you can. Personalize it as it is an embodiment of who you are.

The tryouts

Remember there is a colossal difference between streamlining the kind of work you want to do and typecasting you for majorly one kind of work. Hence it is highly stressed that you need to be pragmatic when you are deciding on the kind of modelling you want to pursue. Think about your strengths but be aware of the shortcomings as well and channel it in a way that it benefits you. Suppose you want to become a commercial model, but you are unable to then be as expressive as required, that is not the only way. Or say you want to be a runway model, but your height restricts you. Know your shortcomings and channel it accordingly to overcome those. As an aspiring model you need to have your own style statement. You might be wearing designer brands and walking the ramp for big names in the industry but that is only going to happen when the designers or the brands are able to connect with your sense of style. If they can picture you in one of their creations because you can bring out the essence of their designs, you have a higher chance of booking the job. Be proactive and aware of any fashion tryouts. Various model agencies conduct casting calls almost every day. Check out the websites of the agencies you want to work with and schedule yourself for a test shoot. Get to know how to work with professional photographers, even though you aren’t selected you get the chance to work on what is lacking and brush up your skills. Post the tryouts you will understand what kind of work will suit the most for your body type based on which you can come up with themes and ideas for your portfolio. Build your portfolio around the ideas and themes. It is always better to be organized rather than having just an eclectic collection of photographs.

Ask the experts

Once the streamlining is done you can now focus on the kinds of photographs you will need for your compilation. Make sure you reach out to a professional photographer who is expert at his job and whose work embodies your ideas aptly. You cannot get the pictures from one of your friends who apparently knows how to operate a DSLR Camera. Yes, you might be comfortable shooting with a friend, but the profession is all about stepping out of your comfort zone. There is no other way to do it. Pay attention to detail, you need to look your best and that not just implies to your clothes. Everything must be flawless. Get your hair and makeup done from professional makeup artists and not a “super talented friend”. It might cost you more for all the certified guidance but if done right, it sure will pay off. Hiring professionals does not guarantee perfect shots, you need to bring about that oomph in your pictures. You mandatorily need the following kinds of images primarily based on the kind of modelling you pick to work upon. Head shots, full length body shots, smiling shots, swimsuit shots, and editorial shots. You need very specific shots pertaining to your needs.

The mirror and you        

Modeling is not just about walking the ramp like lifeless forms with a poker face. It is a form of art, a way of expressing and it is a lot harder than it looks. Get in front of the mirror and practice posing. Since the job mainly requires you to emphasize the clothes or the products there are various methods to portray that.  You need to understand the requirement and express accordingly, suppose you are modeling an outfit, the focus will be your body. Or if you are modeling a handbag or sunglasses, that would focus on a different part of your body. You need to work on those areas and understand what is being required. There are many training academies that would help you groom your skills and overall personality. Practice as much as possible, get in front of that mirror and walk as if the world is watching. Make sure you can get feedback on your work so that you can keep a track of your progress.

The Portfolio

Your portfolio is more of a visual resume. The placement of images is of paramount significance as is the number of photographs you include. It does not have to be an eclectic collection of your photographs in no methodical order whatsoever. Put in a few pictures say 6-12 rather than stuffing 20+ average shots. But make sure those are THE best of the best you have. Include a full body shot in which you are preferably wearing fitted clothes to accentuate your form. A mandatory no makeup shot and a few headshots, could be black and white or otherwise. Do not go all monochrome for the portfolio. The opening shots must be jaw dropping and depict the kind of modelling you want to pursue; your pictures should be creative and should portray that you are dexterous depicting the myriad hues of your personality. The closing shots should also be absolutely stunning so that overall, you paint a positive picture. The portfolio should also contain your specifics like age height, weight

Measurements, eye color and all other crucial relevant information. The two aims that should be fulfilled are that you clearly put through your area of interest as well as show that you are versatile and are ready to take up any challenge. If you are using a printed version, make sure the photographs are of standard size and in high resolution. Do not forget to link your social media which is more like an informal digital resume. Other than the print you can also have the online version known as modelling portfolio website where the same things follow on a digitized platform. There are a lot of websites providing such facilities. The few additions you can make to your digital portfolio is that you are not limited to just images, you can add video clips or GIFs these days. Do mention the work experience and always keep revamping the portfolios be it digital or print. Always use best quality images and link your social media.

Once the portfolio has been perfected you need to find the model agencies you want to work with and send out those portfolios to them. Do your research, look out for all the red flags while considering any agency and then go ahead. Modeling is not an easy job. You don’t just get discovered sitting in a restaurant sipping coffee. You need to work and make yourself visible, work your way up through the obstacles and push through. When you are arranging a portfolio, keep a minimalistic approach, focus on quality and convey the information in terse but an effective manner. Make your priorities known and showcase your best along with the resilience to work in any condition. Build your steppingstone to success! The career can be intimidating but all you need is to have faith in yourself and there is nothing that cannot be achieved.


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