A step-by-step guide for aspiring models and actors that explains how to create the perfect modeling and acting portfolio.

For any aspiring model, it is a given that they require a modeling and acting portfolio to start their career. A portfolio is basically your passport to the modeling and acting world. Not only is it helpful in making first impressions on agencies and clients, but it also shows your best angles! Therefore, it becomes of utmost importance to put in all your efforts in getting the perfect portfolio. However, it is not just about pictures and getting the right angles, there is a lot more to it.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for aspiring models that explains how to create the perfect modeling and acting portfolio for yourself.

A Killer Modeling and Acting Portfolio – A Step By Step Guide for Models

As an aspiring model, you need an amazing modeling and acting portfolio to kickstart your career. It’s your chance to make a great first impression on agencies and clients.

It is important for you to put in the effort to get all aspects of your modeling and acting portfolio right. It’s not only about shooting your portfolio, but there’s also a lot more planning that goes into creating a great portfolio.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for models that explains how to create a killer modeling and acting portfolio for yourself.

Get focused on type of model you want to be

There are a lot of pre-notions in the modeling and acting industry about the types and sizes of models. For anyone who wants to become a part of the modeling and acting industry, it is very important that you remain realistic and aware of the stereotypes.

Body size often becomes the basis of the type of assignments a model gets as most clients and agencies have a pre-conceived notion about what would fit the brief. Short and petite people find it difficult to get clients and agencies to hire them. However, with the new millennial taking over, these stereotypes are being constantly broken. Being truthful and showcasing your strong points can reduce your chances of being rejected.

Modeling and acting portfolios are shaped by the type of model a person wants to be. Making an informed decision about the line of modeling and acting one would like to enter can enhance their chances of breaking into the modeling and acting world. For example, a freelance model would require a lot of variations in their portfolio shots, but a high fashion model would only need to focus on high fashion images. The type of model one wants to be, plays a very important role in making the perfect portfolio.

There are a lot of choices available on what kind of model you want to be. Make sure to look through them so that you know in which direction you want to move forward.

Selecting the right photographer

In most cases, if you have signed up with a modeling and acting agency, they would provide you with a pre-approved photographer to shoot your portfolio and charge you for it. This is if you don’t already have a portfolio. However, depending on the agency organized photographer can be fatal for your portfolio. Chances are, he is not a professional and not only will you be charged but will also end up with a bad portfolio.

In fact, you should not even be contactingthe modeling and acting agencies till you have a perfect portfolio done.

If you are one of the people who think that their friend who is great with DSLR will be able to get them the perfect portfolio shoot, then think again. Easy and convenient options often end up messing with your modeling and acting portfolios. If the reason why you are getting your friend to click you is that you are comfortable, then think twice about becoming a model. This is because as a professional model, you will be working and taking assignments with new people every day. This would require self-confidence of being with people you are not immediately comfortable with.

The best way to get a good photographer is by doing proper research. Once you have come up with a list, ask them for referrals and look through their photography portfolio website so that you can see their style of work. Once you are done with your research, choose the photographer whose area of expertise matches your vision and style.

For example, if you want to become a freelance model, then a photographer whose expertise is in commercial advertising will be your best bet, as that’s the area of work you would be engaged in the most. You can also get your photoshoot done by various photographers. But the intelligent thing would be to choose one good photographer that would deliver on your vision. This way not only do you save money but also a lot of time.

Once you have chosen the photographer, start looking into the finer details of what they have to offer.  For example, what’s included in the package that you are being offered, how many photos would you get, rates and any extras, will you get photo prints and/or all digital images.

Choosing the right photos

Have you decided the type of photos that you want to be clicked? If not, then it is suggested that you come up with the type of photographs you want in your modeling and acting portfolio shoot beforehand. It is important that the portfolio is well balanced and includes all the specifics about the type of model you want to be. For this, you need to not only show your best angle, but also your versatility.  Aside from portraits, make sure you get the close-ups as well as full body shots. Plan your wardrobe according to the type of clients you wish to work with. For example, using a swimsuit can help in getting the clients who are marketing the same and getting clicked in an evening dress can help you get advertising clients.

Before you get clicked, ensure that you have conveyed your brief clearly to the photographer. Discuss all the details and make sure that you and your photographer are on the same page on what needs to be achieved from the photo shoot. Discuss everything with your photographer, from the different poses, the wardrobe items you require, the locations that would go with the shoot, the looks, themes and the concepts for the shoot. A clear understanding with your photographer is important as it goes a long way in achieving the type of results that you want. It also ensures that you won’t make any mistakes or get any nasty surprises.

For tips and inspiration on planning your portfolio shoot, have a look at some great examples of stunning online model portfolio websites.

Hiring a professional hair and make-up artist

It is highly recommended that you get a professional hair and makeup artist for your portfolio shoot. A professional styling can go a long way. Not only will it help in capturing better angles and making you look better, but it will also make you look more professional. The right styling and make up can make your portfolio stand out better in a good way.

Since the modeling and acting portfolio is the passport for any model to enter into the modeling and acting world, it is important that they get it right the first time. Your photographer might be able to suggest a good hair and makeup stylist as most good photographers have connections with them. However, before moving forward, make sure that you have looked through the makeup artists portfolio website to understand their style and the type of looks they offer, Always do have a backup plan (carry your own makeup or enlist the help of a friend) in case your make-up artist fails to show up or any other mishap occurs.

Getting the photo shoot right

Before the actual photoshoot, make sure that you and your photographer have toured the outdoor locations thoroughly and have gone over the poses and the type of photographs that will be clicked. If you are getting clicked indoors, then make sure that the place is well lit and well equipped. For the equipment part, you will be depending on your photographer to make sure this is included in the discussion. Also, make sure that the photographer has allotted you enough time to accomplish everything and not rush through things.

Make sure that you are well rested on the day of the shoot and arrive a little early on the location. Remain calm and do not stress out. Remember, Your photographs will reflect confidence only if you feel confident.

Selecting the perfect images for your model portfolio

Once the photo shoot is over, it is now time to get down to the most difficult part- choosing the right pictures. Balance your choices. Get both versatility and quality. If you end up choosing multiple photographs in the same pose or wardrobe, your portfolio will be a disaster. Make sure you select head-shots with and without you smiling, full-length shots and 3/4 length shots. Your portfolio should have between 10-20 images – make sure you pick the best of the best images that cover all your facets and have great quality. Remember to always choose quality over quantity. Do discuss your selection with your photographers and take her advice, but remember that in the end, it’s your portfolio and you have all the power to decide which pictures go in the portfolio and which doesn’t. All your portfolio shots should be high-quality, stunning and stand-out images that make a great first impression and shows your adversity and versatility. Mostly, your strong points should be highlighted.

Get a printed modeling and acting portfolio book

For a model, meeting new people every day is a regular thing. For such meetings, it is important that you have a printed portfolio handy as it can help you get clients and agency offers. This gives the other person a tangible, real thing to go through while you are there with them. Typically, a printed portfolio is 8” x 10” size (other common sizes are 8.5 x 11, 9 x 12, 11 x 14), but preferences may vary depending on which city you are in. Make sure you have pristine, high-quality prints placed inside a high-quality portfolio book. Do not miss out on the small but important details.

Market yourself well – Use technology

Your modeling and acting portfolio is a waste if you can’t show it to the right clients at the right place and time. it should be your biggest priority to get your modeling and acting portfolio in front of the right agencies and clients. This is where the internet comes in. An online portfolio is easy to share and can be sent everywhere! you can link people to your portfolios and even send them overseas. Social media is great for models to market themselves- facebook, Instagram, Twitter not only helps in increasing your popularity but also helps in getting more clients and in making you stand out. Also, create your profile on websites such as Model Mayhem, Fashion Model Directory, One Model Place – these can also get you the right exposure.

Having a great modeling and acting portfolio is the first step in becoming a successful model. However, there are a lot more things that need to be done and taken into consideration to become the top model that you want to become. Have a look at our top tips to be successful as a model.

Author Info

Praveen Bhat is celebrity fashion photographer and director based in New Delhi.

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