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How to Build a Modeling Portfolio

Find out how to build a modeling portfolio. What’s a strong portfolio and how do you get it? We have some answers and offer a solution.

© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

You want to pursue modeling as a career but you are unsure how to build a modeling portfolio?

What Kind Of Model Are You?

How to Build a Modeling Portfolio
© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

First you need to determine whether you want to pursue a career as a:

  • commercial model (e.g. catalogs) 
  • fashion model
  • live model (e.g. events)
  • runway model
  • stock photo model

and your portfolio needs to reflect your choice. 

What Is A Portfolio?

© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Your portfolio is basically your resume yet just having a resume doesn’t mean you get hired. Similar to your resume, your portfolio needs to show all your skills and accomplishments.

Your portfolio speaks a thousand words. 

It’s not just about having a portfolio with pretty pictures; you want a “strong” portfolio to enhance your chances of getting hired.

How to Build a Modeling Portfolio
© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Clients will book you if they can see you can do the job well. And how can they see if you are a good fit for the job? Because you showcase your skill variety and accomplishments to them with your portfolio. 

Hence your portfolio will consist of 16 – 20 pictures to start with so you can show your variety / versatility as a model.

What’s a Strong Portfolio?

How to Build a Modeling Portfolio
© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Most important is the overall quality standard of the pictures. Quality is a pre-requisite for a successful career and comes at a price.

“Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten” – GUCCI

The day rates for photographers & artists depend on the amount of work required, expertise of the artist, equipment needed and location of the production.

Take a look at Day Rates For Photographers & Artists.

© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

In other words, if it was so easy to produce quality pictures, pictures that sell, then everybody was doing it.

The photoshoots must be on a professional level otherwise the quality will be inferior to what professionals in the industry are used to.

Variety

© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Variety is a close second and comes into play in various ways:

  • looks
  • poses & moods
  • single & group shots
  • picture formats

How many different “looks” do you show in your portfolio and what’s the quality of the wardrobe?

Does your portfolio feature the latest trends in fashion, hairstyling and makeup?

How to Build a Modeling Portfolio
© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

How many different poses & moods (e.g. sensual, happy, serene, etc.) can you execute well? How many hours do you practice in the mirror?

Can you swim or do underwater shots? Are you comfortable “smoking” or doing “nudity” or “implied nudity” shots?

How to Build a Modeling Portfolio
© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Do you only have shots of yourself or also group shots? Or do you have shots with different genders & ethnicities?

Do you have shots showing your personality so potential clients see what makes you stand out from the other models they may be evaluating?

© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Do you also showcase your versatility as a model in different formats, such as portraits, full-body, headshots and medium shots?

Portraits & headshots are good for beauty / product brands, medium shots & full-body are best for fashion clients.

How Do You Get a Strong Portfolio?

How to Build a Modeling Portfolio
© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

In theory you can do 20 TFP (time for pictures = no $$$ = test shoots) shoots and be ready. In reality you may end up with 1-2 high quality shots in 20 months.

At this rate you are doing photoshoots for 10 years before you have a strong portfolio.

In short, you pay and do photoshoots with the purpose of building a strong portfolio. There are 2 options available:

  1. You direct the shoot
  2. Prestige Artists Model Portfolio Shoots

You need to produce pictures that are produced with the sole purpose of benefitting you, the model.

You Direct The Shoot

© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

If you feel confident enough to direct your team this option may be for you. It means you need to be much more involved.

On the one hand, when you take charge and direct your own shoot you may save some money.

On the other hand, all the responsibility to produce high quality pictures is on you and you need to invest more time and effort.

It means you’ll need to setup your own shoots with a professional level:

  • photographer
  • hair stylist
  • makeup artist
  • wardrobe stylist
  • nail technician

In terms of money you need a budget of $1,000 / shoot as a minimum according to Day Rates For Photographers & Artists. 

Time-wise you are looking at 28 hours of work. Take a look at Professional Level Photoshoot: How It Works.

Prestige Artists Model Portfolio Shoots

© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

You work with a team of professionals like Prestige Artists. Because we are professionals we have a proven track record (you can take a look at the pictures we produce) and connections others don’t have. 

Apart from the know-how of working 20 years in the industry we have developed connections allowing us to have access to agents, managers, artists, wardrobe and equipment others don’t have.

Working With An Agency
© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

But it doesn’t stop there. What’s the point of having a strong portfolio if nobody sees it? Because of our connections we know who to send your portfolio to for paid jobs. 

The rest is up to the client. They have the money and they decide who they want for their project.

We do all the pre-production work and facilitate the professional photoshoot from beginning to end.

In terms of money you need a budget of $950 – $2,500 / shoot depending on your needs and level of artists.

Contact Prestige Artists for more information if this interests you – email: Miami@Prestige-Artists.com 

Photoshoot Options

We offer 4 photoshoot options:

  • Headshots
  • Economy
  • Standard
  • Premium

Headshots

© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Economy

How to Build a Modeling Portfolio
© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Standard

How to Build a Modeling Portfolio
© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Premium

© Phil Halfmann | all rights reserved

Credits

Written by Sophia Lenore

Photographer: Phil Halfmann

Creative Director: Sophia Lenore

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