How To Create A Modelling Portfolio: 14 Best Portfolio Tips

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A modelling portfolio with impressive visuals is crucial for a modelling career in the fashion, advertising and entertainment industries. Potential clients refer to these portfolios to find suitable models for their projects. By understanding the elements that make for a great modelling portfolio, you can prepare a high-quality visual presentation that advances your career by demonstrating your unique qualities. In this article, we can discover how to create a modelling portfolio that could improve your chances of finding assignments to launch your modelling career.

How to create modelling portfolio

You can learn how to create a modelling portfolio by following these suggestions:

1. Decide on a modelling niche

Models can work in a range of modelling niches. It is advisable to spend some time researching the different modelling areas, determining their specific requirements and pinpointing the ones that suit you. For instance, if you wish to work as a runway model, it is essential to have the required height, size, weight and age. Such specific physical attributes are also necessary if you want to work as a commercial model, a fashion model or a promotional model.

Narrowing your choices to niches that suit you can help you create a better-focused modelling portfolio. It can make it easier for you to market yourself in specific categories. It can also enable prospective clients from those niches to assess your modelling expertise and fit for available jobs. For instance, if you want to work as a live model at trade shows, a portfolio that reflects attractiveness and approachability can help you get assignments.

Related: How To Become A Model: A Step-by-Step Guide

2. Invest in a professional photoshoot

High-quality photographs can make your modelling portfolio stand out and indicate a professional approach that prospective clients may appreciate. You can find the right photographer through industry recommendations or by reviewing photography portfolios online. While hiring an experienced photographer is ideal, you can also consider talented newcomers in the photography industry or student photographers if you are on a tight budget. After you hire a photographer, it is important to discuss your photoshoot, prepare a shot list and arrange a time for the shoot. Be well-prepared to ensure everything proceeds smoothly on the day of the shoot.

Related: How To Take A Professional Photo: A Complete Guide

3. Select appropriate outfits

You can select a range of traditional and Western outfits that flatter your frame. Since the purpose of the photoshoot is to highlight your attributes, many modelling professionals advise wearing clothes in solid colours rather than attention-distracting prints and patterns. It is a good idea to research the current fashion trends and use your own judgement about the types of outfits that suit you the best.

4. Practise different poses

Spend some time studying current advertisements to see the poses in vogue in different modelling categories. You can practise various poses with your entire body until you feel comfortable and confident doing them. It may also help to practice a range of facial expressions. Try out the poses in front of a mirror and take test photographs to check how you appear. This allows you to be well-prepared for the photoshoot and not waste time wondering which poses to take.

5. Hire a professional hair stylist

To ensure that your hair is well-groomed for the photoshoot, hire a professional hairstylist to do your hair. You might want to spend some time planning different hairstyles to go with each outfit to make the modelling photographs more interesting. Changing your hairstyle can also change your look and add more versatility to your portfolio. Discuss with the hairstylist what kind of hair products and accessories you might require to make your hair look beautiful in the photographs.

6. Work with a professional makeup artist

A professional makeup artist can highlight your best features and make sure that you appear perfect for the camera. They understand how the studio lights and camera flashes can affect your looks with different types of makeup. They can also advise you about changing your makeup to suit different outfits.

Related: What Is Cosmetology? Definition And Career Advice

7. Create a versatile modelling portfolio

A versatile modelling portfolio can include well-lit, colour photographs of your face and figure in varying fashions, shooting angles and artistic approaches. For instance, you can have photographs showing you in character as a business executive, college student, doctor, nurse, musician or farmer. By showing prospective clients that you can work in different styles, you may find it easier to get assignments when you are just starting in the industry. Even when you develop a signature style later, it is a good idea to maintain a versatile and flexible portfolio. It can ensure you always remain employable.

8. Choose a portfolio template

After completing your photoshoot, you can consider the type of portfolio display that can best represent your unique style. Depending on your budget, you can consider getting a free or paid website template or building a website from scratch. Whatever you choose, make sure you can update and customise it. You also want the layout to be visually appealing, user-friendly and easily viewable on different devices.

Additionally, you can print a physical portfolio book that you can carry to modelling auditions or submit to modelling agencies or clients. Many photography sites offer portfolio assembly and printing services at reasonable costs. You can choose from a range of photo layouts and design arrangements.

Related: How To Make A Portfolio: A Step-by-Step Guide

9. Present only your best shots

Selecting photographs for your modelling portfolio can be a challenging task. Consider getting a friend or an acquaintance in the industry to help you select photographs if necessary. Prospective clients may not have the time or the patience to browse through an endless catalogue of modelling photographs. By limiting your portfolio to ten to 20 eye-catching images, you can make it easier for them to see your best work.

Your final selection can include headshots, mid-shots and full-body shots in varying poses, expressions, fashions, locations and lighting. You want the clients to notice your physical gracefulness, dexterity, coordination and versatility immediately. If you have done shoots for any prestigious brands, you can include some of those shots too. It is important to keep updating your modelling portfolio regularly with new photographs that reflect current fashion trends.

10. Ensure all photographs are high-quality

A modelling portfolio with high-resolution photographs draws attention to your best attributes as a model and can create a better impact on viewers. It can be influential in advancing your career in the modelling industry. Clients appreciate the professionalism in creating a carefully curated, high-quality portfolio. It is indicates that you may show the same competence in working on their modelling assignments.

11. Include videos in your portfolio

Aside from still photographs, you can enhance your modelling portfolio with dynamic video content. As in the case of shooting photographs for the portfolio, it is essential to hire a professional videographer to shoot and edit the videos. You can upload the final videos directly on your website or portfolio platform. You can also link to video content you uploaded on social media sites. The modelling capabilities you display in these video clips may help you get various commercial projects.

12. Provide essential information

Including your resume with your online modelling portfolio can help prospective clients get essential information about your work experience. As a model, clients may also expect you to provide details regarding your age, height, body measurements, hair colour, eye colour, skin colour and unique features like birthmarks, freckles or tattoos. If you have any skills that can add to modelling projects, you might want to mention those too. For instance, you might be proficient at dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument, skating, juggling or acrobatics.

13. Have a contact section

The purpose of the modelling portfolio is to have prospective clients view your modelling capabilities and contact you for work assignments. You can make it easier for them to get in touch with you by displaying your contact information prominently on your website or portfolio platform. The contact section can include your name, email address, phone number and live chat widget. Depending on your preference, you can place the contact section in the website footer area, as a sidebar, on the About page, as a separate Contact page or in a form that clients can fill in to reach you.

14. Link to a blog and social media

Creating a solid online presence can position you as an influencer and improve your chances of getting modelling assignments. Clients prefer to hire models with an impressive online following since that can increase the effectiveness of their marketing and advertising campaigns. Having a regularly updated blog and active social media accounts can help you promote yourself. They can add value to your online modelling portfolio by directing visitors to it and giving them a sense of your personality.

You can build an online following by sharing beauty and fashion tips, behind-the-scenes experiences, inspirational thoughts, personal interests and personal life accounts that you are comfortable revealing. Social media can help you connect with fans, stay in touch with current clients and reach out to prospective clients. Be polite in all your social media interactions and avoid controversies.

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