Do I need a professional portfolio?

Do I need a professional portfolio?

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When looking to branch out into modeling, one major question always comes up. “Do I need a professional portfolio to start modeling?” The quick answer is no.

When you start browsing local Modeling Agencies, Talent Managers, and the like you will always need to submit some sort of portfolio in the application process. However, this doesn’t mean professional. Most Agencies are just looking for a quick representation of your looks, styles, and experience. In short – we want to see a quick representation of you in a few images.

If you’re new or just starting out, a portfolio could literally be a few snapshots taken by a friend, or some well-coordinated selfies. Here are some quick guidelines if you are just starting off, and don’t know what kinds of photos to submit:

  • Your photos should be clear and in focus

You should always try to make your photos as clear as possible when taking selfies/snapshots for a portfolio. Agencies are going to want a clear look and nonobstructive look at you.

  • Include at least one headshot and a full-length shot

The key takeaway from the point is to be diverse in your snapshots. Include multiple angles and crops of your photo. A close-up shot gives the viewer a good idea of your facial structure, smile, eye color, etc and the full-body shot gives the viewer an idea of your body shape. Diverse shots also give an idea as to your natural skill level at posing in different positions.

  • Keep makeup to a minimum

Unless you applying specifically for a make-up/art-related project, keep your makeup to a minimum in your example photos. There are several reasons for this, the main being we can examine skin health. It’s important ahead of time the amount of work an editor might need to do cleaning up blemishes, imperfections, etc in the skin. While most of the time minor imperfections aren’t an issue, it can be a major determining factor for some beauty, health, and fashion related shoots.

  • Keep hairstyles simple and well-groomed

This is a big one in our opinion. Do not submit photos with hair that distracts you (unless part of a project, or example of end product modeling). Most photographers/project coordinators want to know what your natural hair is like, what maybe can be done with it, or how it can impede a shoot. For example, if a project requires a model’s hair to be extra long, flowy, and tossed around for the shoot, you will need a specific hair type.

  • Keep clothing simple and in good taste

This is pretty self-explanatory. Agencies don’t want your unsolicited nudes (Sending them won’t help you get more projects with SDS). You want to submit classy/tasteful images. If you are submitting examples of past projects you may have been apart of – insure they are in good taste and class. Talent Agencies like SDS do not work with pornographic or sexually suggestive/aggressive projects. This doesn’t mean you can’t submit a boudoir/art nude example, just be aware of how it may be perceived.

  • Include a swimsuit photo if you are comfortable wearing a swimsuit

If you’re interested in exploring lingerie, swimsuit, or any artsy style/nude or implied nude styles be sure to include 1-2 snapshots of you in a swimsuit or lingerie. This will let the viewer know you are confident in your body and would be interested in exploring these types of shoots.

  • Do not submit nude photos

Re-putting this one, because it’s so important. Agencies do not need nude photos of you. If they require/request these sorts of photos be wary of intent when submitting your photos.

  • Include any experience or training that you have

This is vital when starting off. If you have little to no experience, be sure to mention that when submitting selfies and quick snapshots. This way the viewer has some understanding or concept as to why you’re not submitting professional shots.

  • You should be the only one in the photo

Including numerous people in a photo can be confusing for the viewer. Also, it can put you against a stronger candidate. It’s important to highlight your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Here’s the important note. As your experience grows, so should your portfolio. It’s important to continually update your portfolio to reflect your most recent experience.

Need help gaining exposure or building your portfolio? Reach out to us and see if we can help! You can fill out our model submission form BY CLICKING HERE. You can also submit your portfolio and allow us to critique your portfolio, just let us know in the notes that you want us to help critique your portfolio.

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Photo by @rtaylorphotographs


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