So you want a modeling portfolio. A model’s portfolio is her resume. It shows what she has done or is capable of doing. Before going out and getting a portfolio done, contact the agency you want to work with and see what they prefer to see. Some don’t want anything more than basic photos showing what you look like.
A portfolio should include at least a casual head shot, a fully styled head shot (hair and make-up professional done), body shot (swimsuit is ideal, or lingerie), a fashion shot, action/lifestyle shot and even an editorial or catalogue shot. Key is not to put styles you don’t want to work from in your portfolio, ie don’t have several lingerie shots if you don’t want that type of work. Include at least one B&W shot.
Over time you replace old photos with new ones. Best of all is to add tear sheets from work you have done. Tear sheets get their name from pages being torn out of magazines showing a model’s work.
Your best two pictures show be the first and last. If the first shot doesn’t catch their eye, they may not go much further thru your book. And you want the last shot to be remembered so you close on a high. Very often the first shot is the made-up headshot.
It is better to have fewer great pictures than a lot of average pictures. Standard book prints are 9×12 and contain a max of 20 photographs. It is better to have only 10 great photographs, as quality is key. Yes, I’m repeating myself, but it is an important point.
You need a mix of environments. This means some location work and some studio work. Don’t use two shots of the same outfit. Pick the best one.
You need two good headshots. One should be the made-up shot mentioned before and the other with minimal make-up and retouching. Ideally your hair will be back on the second shot as they really want to get a good look at your face as you are naturally.
Beware of agencies that want you to pay them or their photographer to get your portfolio made. If they won’t let you use your own photographer, run, run away fast. It is fine for them to have suggested photographers.
Modeling can be a fun and rewarding career. Photographs are a major expense that you will be paying. Be sure to get what you need, when you need it.