Starting out as a model can be complicated, but it is even more so if you don't have your portfolio. The good news is that you can very easily create one that will let you market yourself. But the bad news is that if your portfolio falls short, you can also lose important contracts and ruin your career before it starts.
Part 1 of 3: start with the basics
Step 1. Determine your specificity
There are different types of mannequin, some of which are very strictly framed in terms of physical appearance and skill. Although the majority of models should be tall and lean, there are some more flexible categories.
- Living models, for example, are a category in which personality is more important than your body type or appearance. This generally involves representing a brand at a trade fair, in a shopping center or any other event in order to represent the company or promote a product. Since you are going to have to interact with a lot of people, it is important that you are open and radiant.
- Fashion models are the most common and well-known form. To break into this environment, you have to be a certain size. In larger markets, like New York, you should be a minimum of 1.77m tall while smaller markets only require a height of 1.72m. Models in this industry also need to be slim, but their beauty can be both conventional and unconventional.
- Paper models appear in magazine and newspaper advertisements. You can pose in a bathing suit or play a specific character such as a businessman, a doctor or a member of a particular community. Physical demands vary by contract. For example, for a swimsuit shoot, you can be rather plump or muscular while a photo to represent a community will focus on the beauty of your features.
- Models for one part of the body only focus on that part like hair, legs or hands. If you have shiny hair, graceful hands, or long legs, you can consider this category.
Step 2. Hire a professional photographer
Call a local modeling agency and ask them which photographers they work with. They can also advise you professionals who specialize in books.
Step 3. Hire a professional makeup artist
If you're lucky, the photographer you hired will do it, but you'll still need to pay for the service. If the photographer doesn't work with a makeup artist, ask the agency to recommend one. A professional can advise you on the requirements of the trade.
Step 4. Practice posing
Look at magazines for inspiration from the models' poses, but feel free to make them your own. Practice in front of a mirror and change your angle. Ask a family member or friend for advice.
Step 5. Prepare your outfit
It is important that you choose clothes that look good on you. So, eliminate all the parts that would not meet this description. Your outfit should be simple. Choose solid colors and avoid patterns and prints. Opt for pieces that enhance you: therefore, nothing too tight or too wide. Your portfolio is not the place to showcase your fashion sense.
- Plan several outfits, because you will be taking different photos.
- If you want to pose for commercial campaigns, also plan for photos in swimsuits.
Step 6. Be versatile
Plan different looks to meet the different types of contracts you want to apply for. If your photographer is professional, he will be able to guide you.
- The portraits will show your face very clearly. They are usually 8 x 8 inches and start from the top of your head to your torso. The portrait should focus on your face and you should not wear too much makeup so that your skin type can be seen clearly. A portrait is essential to your portfolio.
- Beauty photos are more artistic images that will be taken at the same angle as for a portrait. However, your face will be made up quite distinctly. If you want to pose for magazines, beauty photos are essential in your portfolio.
- Fashion photos will show you wearing different outfits and focus on your clothes. Your makeup should also highlight your outfit. These photos are essential for models wishing to work in fashion.
- Swimsuit photos will highlight your body and are also essential for business models.
- You also need to think about the editorial photo. The latter tells a story and allows you to play a character.
- Prepare your outfit at least 5 days before the photos are taken.
Step 7. Be to your advantage
This is crucial for success in this industry. You must therefore follow a beauty and fitness routine to be at your advantage on the day of the shoot. For example, you can have your hair cut or have a manicure a few days before.
Also sleep well the day before and avoid drinking alcohol
Part 2 of 3: Visiting the Photographer's Studio
Step 1. Check your bag twice instead
Before you leave home, make sure you have everything you need. Arrive 10 minutes early and keep the photographer's number with you if you are worried about being a little late.
Step 2. Coordinate with the photographer
Communication between a model and her photographer is essential. Follow his instructions carefully. Try not to be nervous, but rest assured, many professional models are still stressed out when taking pictures.
Step 3. Look confident and flirtatious
Your photos should highlight the essence of your personality: your liveliness and your ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Don't be afraid to show off. This is your moment of glory.
Step 4. Follow the label
It is important to build strong professional relationships with your photographer and makeup artist. Thank them once the shoot is over.
Part 3 of 3: Create your book
Step 1. Choose your photos
Remember that quality should take precedence over quantity. Select 12 to 16 photos. Ask your friends and family to help you.
- Make sure these photos show you in different outfits and different frames. It is also important to vary the lighting, indoor and outdoor photos.
- Your photos will typically be 8 x 10 inches, 8 x 12 inches, or even 27 x 35.
Step 2. Organize the photos in your portfolio
When a potential client opens your portfolio, you need to impress them from start to finish. Put your two best photos at the beginning and at the end of your portfolio.
Step 3. Print your book
Your photographer can do this for you. You can also have it developed by a professional who will also provide you with your photos on CD.
You can also publish your book online. Ask a web designer to create it for you to make it as professional as possible
Step 4. Update your portfolio
As you gain more experience, add your photos to your portfolio. For example, you can include magazine pages in which you appear in order to highlight your success.
Step 5. Include a profile picture
Your profile will list the most important information about you such as the contracts you are looking for, your measurements, your hair and eye colors, if you do not want to have certain parts of your body photographed or if you have tattoos., scars, special talents, etc.
- You can keep duplicates of your photos safe. This will allow you to replace the ones you lose.
- Your book is not a photo album. If a photo doesn't highlight you, don't include it in your portfolio.
- If your only goal is to be signed by an agency, beware. The agencies will make you make a new book when they sign you up, so you could pay twice for nothing!
- Your photos should not be more than one year old. You will therefore surely have to plan a new shoot.
- Do not try a new skin product the evening before your shoot to avoid the risk of allergic reactions.
- When dressing, make sure your clothes are clean and ironed.
- Don't assume that the most expensive photographer will be the most talented. You must also pay reasonably for this service, so seek a balance.
- Avoid tanning before taking your photos to avoid skin reactions.
- Repeating poses may seem strange at first. And a pose that you might find interesting on paper might not be so in real life. So practice before your shoot.
- Many photographers and makeup artists have their own cancellation policies. If you cancel less than 48 hours before the shoot, you may have to pay the full price agreed.