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How to Put Together a Modeling Portfolio

Learn how to put together a modeling portfolio from model scout Trudi Tapscott in this Howcast video.


Hi. My name's Trudi Tapscott, and the model's tool is her portfolio. That is the first thing people want to see. That's the proof of what you've done on the job. That's what you have to show clients. They want to see variety.

A misconception when you're starting is like, "Oh my gosh I did a test shoot and there's 20 pictures that are great." Well the 20 pictures are great, but they're also shot by the same photographer in the same light with the same style, same hair and makeup. It doesn't show much variety. So, as judging whether you're good in front of the camera, you would love every shot to be usable. So, that's fantastic that every shot was usable but not every shot is great. So, the job of agents and photographers is to edit down what's really great and what really sells you and what is the best picture.

So, in the beginning in a models portfolio you could have two or three pictures in the beginning. That's all anybody sees and they might be all from the same photographer. You might have a head shot, a full length, a bathing suit shot, and maybe something in jean shorts and that is your variety because that's all you've done. But as times goes on a portfolio shows variety of lots of different things and if you don't love having your picture taken, then you don't want to be a model because your test book, portfolio, should be a variety of different photographers.

It could be any number of shoots, and you could have just one picture from each shoot that you're done. Obviously, the traditional way is when you open a portfolio you want to see a models head shot. That's the first thing you want to see. That head shot can be a different flavor for different people but it's the best head shot that markets you

And then, as you continue along in a portfolio, if you're just starting out and you're trying to get the attention of clients and agents and people, I always say simple is best. Anything that's too much make up, too over accessorized, your test shots are to sell you. It's a portfolio; the pictures aren't selling anything but you. Your clothes are your own wardrobe, the accessories are your own thing, it's your own shoes. You're not selling anything but your ability to be a model. So, it's best not to cloud your ability to be a model by covering things up. Less is usually best. And you want different settings.

You want to see you in different situations. To see you in a park, to see you in a studio against a plain white wall, to see you modeling dresses, to see you modeling bathing suits, to see you modeling jean shorts, jeans. All that variety, because every client you go to see, they want to be able to relate to you for their brand, for their job, for what they're booking you for.

So, it's always better, it's easier for them, if they actually see it or some version of it in your book. So, if you just have one or two pictures it becomes difficult for them to imagine it. And someone with more experience is going to have more pictures and so they might get the job instead of you.

So, it's all that kind of a process and you are learning how to model and you are learning that through taking pictures. So, if every time your agent calls and says we want you to do a test shoot, well what's it for? Well it's for you. It's for your book. It's to put together material that people can see so you can get experience. Be enthusiastic about doing test shoots because it's fun.

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