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9 Key Model Portfolio Photos


The goal of a great modelling book is not to fill it with many photos. Nine great shots are better than 30 mediocre ones. Here is a list of the essential images you need for your portfolio.

Clean Headshot

The first photo to concentrate on in your modelling portfolio is a colour photograph of your face, generally from the shoulders up.

A head-and-shoulder picture shows you in your most natural state, without heavy makeup, extensive styling, or even a smile.

Think of it like a passport photo but spirited instead of lacklustre; it should highlight your unique allure while remaining simple.

Blonde Braids

Full-Length Body Shot

The second photo in your portfolio should be a full-length body picture.

Agents and scouts look at you and your body proportions, not your clothing.

A simple pair of well-fitting jeans and a T-shirt are just fine.

Full Length Model Pose

Swimsuit Shot

If you are over 16 years old and comfortable doing a swimsuit shot, this should be the next photograph in your book.

When doing a swimsuit shot, it is important to always think about the message you are sending.

Remember that female fashion models are selling clothes to women, not men, so female models want to be sexy but not overtly sexual.

Male models can shoot in either swim trunks or boxer shorts.

Silhouette Model Portrait

Creative Shots

Once you have nailed your headshot, full-length body, and swimsuit shot, you can have some fun.

The photos in the middle of your book can be a bit more creative.

Show the agents and clients your ability to move and express yourself in your photos.

Quality Model Portfolio

Emotive Shot

Your creative shot(s) should exhibit the wide range of emotions you can convey via photographs. Agencies like to see how well the model can tell a story or portray a feeling or emotion in their photos. Try highlighting your beauty in these shots to catch an agent's eye.

Model Closing Shot

Black-and-White Shot

Black-and-white photos can show clients your fashion and artistic photography capabilities. Try to capture intense emotion without teetering overboard into melodrama.

Male Fitness Model

Smiling Shot

If you don't have a smiling shot somewhere in the middle of your book, then be sure to add a good smiling headshot. Agents and clients want to see your smile, specifically your teeth.

JOHANNESBURG: Female Model Portfolio Examples

Location Shot

Most of your portfolio photos will come from the studio session with your photographer. However, it's helpful to have a location shot outside the studio setting to indicate your appearance in more candid images.

JOHANNESBURG: Location Modelling Portfolio

Closing shot

Always end with one of your strongest photos that best highlights your look.

A great beauty or headshot that differs slightly from your opening shot can work perfectly here.

Ask friends, family, and anyone you know in the industry which image they think is your strongest, and end with that.

Most people only remember your book's first and last shot, so make sure these shots are your strongest ones.

Leather Jacket Model

LAST NOTE: A model's portfolio is a work in progress.


© 2005 -2024 Bridget Corke Photography

Blairgowrie, 2194, SOUTH AFRICA

International Master's in portrait photography from The Portrait Masters, one of only two in Africa. +27828814044