How to Put Together a Photography Portfolio

Dan Eitreim

March 12, 2015

Modelling can be a very rewarding and enjoyable full time or part time job. Many models work part time around other jobs and others are able to work full time modelling. A select few reach the top with the earnings to match.

There are many types of modelling from fashion (eg catalogues) to catwalk, lingerie and clothed glamour seen in magazines such as FHM or Maxim through to topless glamour. Beyond that there are many categories of nude and adult modelling.

A model portfolio test shoot or time for prints shoot is where a model or potential model attends a shoot with a photographer or studio without having to pay a fee and receives pictures to use for their portfolio. Although often described as Time for Prints (TFP) it is far more common now for images to be supplied on CD which allows easy use for web portfolios. All images taken at a TFP/test shoot are still the copyright of the photographer and must not be used or sold without their permission.

What does the photographer get from a TFP shoot?

A photographer can test out new lighting setups that can’t be done on a commercial shoot as the client will have specific requirements for pictures. It also allows photographers to discover new models and enhance their portfolios with more creative images. There is always a demand for new models and test shoots can help them begin.
You should always check the quality of work by photographers offering test/TFP shoots and ensure that they carry out the types of modelling you are wanting to do.
Why do you offer portfolio test shoots? We need models for commercial work at my studio and always require new faces for shoots. Portfolio test shoots allow us to find new models that we can then book for future shoots at the studio.

What qualities do I need as a model? You need to want to be a model and be committed to achieving it! It might sound obvious but it is amazing how many prospective models find they can’t do a shoot for many weeks and then give up. Having the right look is also important but without determination you will not succeed. If you want to be a model then you should always be professional in your attitude. If you provide a phone number or email address you should always return contact promptly.

Different types of modelling do have different requirements. Fashion, in particular catwalk, have more specific requirements for size and you need to be at least 5’8″ to be suitable. The requirements for glamour modelling are far more relaxed primarily just a figure that is in proportion.
For more information about the categories of modelling click here for some definitions by Banana Glamour.

Do I need good quality photos? Yes! You may be told that an agency only need amateur photos to judge your potential as a model. This may be true but these days much promotion of models is done outside of agencies on the web where the best quality portfolio will give you an advantage. Your portfolio should show a variety of poses in the different styles of modelling you are looking to do.
An agency can help get work and to represent you for potential modelling jobs required by clients. However since the internet a large number of models now are able to work freelance with their own websites to generate employment leads.

You can find more information on sites such as net-model.com or onemodelplace.com

For more information about test shoots in the UK you can visit our website Photo3 Model Portfolios

To learn more about a great online class, check out – Photography Master Class

For a bit of fun check out – Trick Photography

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