Make The Most Out Of Your Portfolio

Before the unstoppable tidal wave that was the rise of the internet, all professional models owned and used a portfolio which was their personal marketing tool. This kind of portfolio is also known as a book. You would have guarded your book with your life, because those twenty or so photos were your meal ticket. You’d have some initial shots after signing up with a talent management agency, and then be updated as you got work and honed your style to a fine art.

They are put together in order to show you in the best light possible. A book isn’t a quick thing to get right, they are updated regularly, and painstaking decisions are undergone to make sure that only the very best of your work makes the grade.

But it isn’t like that anymore, is it? Is it?!

In the digital era photography is considerably much cheaper. Twenty years ago it might have been expensive to shoot and develop a few reels of film, but digital doesn’t cost in the same way. Rather than ending up with 50 well thought out photos after a few hours, a digital photographer can take 500 without same consideration. It makes it very easy to end up with hundreds of low quality snaps rather than a small selection of excellent ones.

In large online portfolios have replaces books, but that doesn’t mean we should forget what made books great.

Only put the best of your modelling work on your profile. It’s best to have between 12 and 25 photos on there. If every single photo shows a slightly different side of you then you’re doing it right. There is no point including five photos with the same facial expression and pose.

Every time you’re thinking of adding a new picture to your profile, look at what is already there. Is it better than your older photos? Delete and replace older shots to make sure your profile is up to date and

How Should I Start My Profile?

You don’t need to have a professional photo shoot to get your profile off the ground. In the days of the book, prospective models applying for an agency would send four key shots in. If the modelling agency saw potential, they would then need a professional shoot.

Many talent management agencies don’t think you need to fork out for professional photographs at all – clients should be paying for photographs of you, not the other way round.


The four shots talent management agencies tend to recommend are two close ups – one where you’re smiling, and one where you aren’t, a full length shot and a half body shot. Close ups should be framed so that your shoulders and face fill the majority of the frame, just like a passport photo.

Wear plain clothes and pick your background carefully. Neutral backgrounds in well-lit areas will work best. You want to make sure that you are the main focus. Clients don’t tend to worry about make up, because this can be added if the shoot calls for it. If you wear only subtle make up or none at all your features will be more visible so you’ll be reflecting your appearance most accurately.

If you’re not sure what photos you should include, you can always talk to your talent management agency and get a bit of guidance.

Time For Prints

You’ve got some basic snaps uploaded, and they look good, but you want to show a bit more of what you can do. Rather than paying a photographer to take photographs for you, time for prints modelling is a great option. You give up your time in exchange for any photographs. The process is beneficial for you because it will also give you a bit of practice.

Be aware that you might have to sign over the rights to the photographs, which means the photographer is able to sell them on.

More Than A Model

Talent management agencies can get you work outside the straightforward modelling realms. Language skills, dance, interpersonal skills and horse riding skills which will make your profile stand out, and can land you niche work which other models just wouldn’t be suitable for.

Make sure you list any skills you have on your profile and keep it up to date to maximise your chances of being viewed and selected by a client.

Some of your photos could even reflect your skills to truly make you stand out.

If you have any more questions about setting up your profile, have a look at our FAQs section.