Building a Portfolio

The term Portfolio has taken on quite a broad definition since the dawn of the internet. For clarity purposes, the term “Portfolio” for this post deals specifically with a physical book that you carry with you.

Your portfolio should be a collection of photos that showcase the range of your abilities and best qualities. Kind of a general answer I know but really it’s the best one…You should include pictures that show your range of interests, fashion, editorial, commercial, casual, swimwear etc. You should include a few headshots (black and white). Headshots should have your head turned slightly to the side (not straight on).

Along with your headshots include some full body/half body shots as well. Include a mix of black and white and color.  Your book should showcase your range as a model. Photo size can vary but most models will use 8×10 prints in their portfolio. 10-15 images usually is sufficient; include only your best work.

A few pointers:
-Your portfolio should never contain images from just one photographer. Make sure you have a variety of photographers work in your book. Each photographer will shoot you based on what they think are your best qualities (and everyone has a different opinion). Including a variety of photographers will help ensure all your best qualities are featured (because you never know what the client is looking for).
-Avoid overly “sexy” photos in your portfolio. A portfolio should be kept fairly commercial. One or two may not be a bad thing to show a photographer you can play the part if the job requires it but keep the majority of your book pretty tame. You can actually get bad marks by having a book that’s too suggestive.
-Don’t feel you have to buy an expensive book. Some photographers or agencies will try and sell you a portfolio, a hugely overpriced case binder will silver edges, your name monogrammed on the front etc etc. Clients don’t care as much about what the book looks like – it’s what’s in the book that counts. A 3-ring binder will do the job just fine.