As an aspiring model, you need an amazing model portfolio to kickstart your career. It’s your chance to make a great first impression on agencies and clients.
It is important for you to put in the effort to get all aspects of your modeling portfolio right. It’s not only about shooting your portfolio, there’s a lot more planning that goes into creating a great portfolio.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for models that explains how to create a killer modeling portfolio for yourself.
How to create a model portfolio?
Focus on the type of model you want to be
While pursuing your passion to become a successful model, you also need to be realistic and aware of the stereotypes that are a part of the modeling industry. In most cases, your body type would define the kind of assignments you get, as most clients have a preconceived notion of what they feel fits their brief. For example, its harder for shorter or petite models to break into fashion modeling. While these stereotypes are constantly being broken and you certainly can break them on your way, it helps to be realistic and honest about your strong points. This would increase your chances of achieving success and reduce setbacks and rejections.
Making an informed decision about the type of modeling you want to pursue would bring clarity and focus on how you want to shape your modeling portfolio. For example, as a freelance model, you would need a lot of variations in your portfolio photoshoot, but as a high fashion model, you would need to focus on high fashion images. Here are stunning great fashion website templates designed for your use.
The good news is that there are a lot of choices that you can pick from on what kind of model you want to be.
Choosing the right fashion model photographer
If you have signed up with a modeling agency, in most cases, they would offer you to get your shoot organized for you with a pre-approved photographer and charge you for it. Chances are that the photographer that they would use would probably not be the best professional fashion photographer that you would want to trust with your model portfolio book. Fact is, you should ideally not even be contacting modeling agencies before you have a properly done well-rounded portfolio in place.
How about choosing one of your friends to shoot your portfolio? Again, the answer is NO. Avoid going with the first, or the most convenient option that presents itself. Also, if you are choosing your friend just because you are comfortable getting shot by a friend, think twice about becoming a model. As a professional model, you would need the confidence to take on assignments and work with new people every day. It’s time to start honing those skills.
Do your own research, study portfolios of models, ask for referrals and take your time finding the right photographer for your model portfolio shoot. Have a look at their photography portfolio website to see their style of work. Choose a photographer whose area of expertise and style matches your vision and style. For example, if you want to become a freelance model, then a commercial advertising photographer may be your best bet, as that’s the kind of work you would be doing the most. It doesn’t matter whether you get your photoshoot done by multiple photographers – in fact, it can save you money and time by choosing the one right photographer that can deliver on what your vision is.
And finally, do look into the finer details before hiring the photographer. For example, what’s included in the package that you are being offered, how many photos would you get, rates and any extras, will you get photo prints and/or all digital images.
Learn and practice the best model poses
Posing as a model in front of a camera is an art unto itself. The objective may seem simple, but in reality, it's more complicated than you may realize. In model photography, you must translate a three-dimensional object, your body, into the two-dimensional space of a flat image. Photography poses have to be learned, something that gets better with practice and study.
Put together an inspiration board with tear-sheets of the best model poses that you love. You can also practice in the mirror. Here is an article on the Best Model Poses with awesome tips for a great portfolio for modeling. If you are a male model looking for professional posing tips and ideas, our article might give you some inspiration. Choose your outfits selectively. Clothing is part of the process of a narrative for any marketing campaign. Your poses should always make the garments look their best.
Do check out these articles on modeling
Deciding on the type of model photos you need
It’s important to know beforehand exactly the kind of images you want out of your model portfolio shoot. Lay down the specifics of photos that you need for a well-balanced portfolio, for the types of modeling you are best suited for. Make sure that you get great portraits, close-ups, and full-body shots as well. Plan your wardrobe changes to show your versatility (swimsuits for great body-shots and an evening dress for those advertising clients).
Convey your brief clearly to the photographer and discuss things in detail so that both of you are on the same page on what needs to be achieved from the photoshoot. In your discussions with your photographers, decide on the poses, the wardrobe items, the locations, the looks, themes, and concepts for the photoshoot. A clear understanding goes a long way in achieving the results that you want from the photoshoot and insures against any mistakes or nasty surprises.
For tips and inspiration on planning your images, have a look at some stunning model portfolio examples.
Hiring a professional hair and make-up artist
Although not a must, but its recommended to get a professional hair and make-up artist for your portfolio shoot. A professional can add a lot of value to your model profile and make you look even better with the right styling of your hair and make-up. Remember, your model portfolio is your big step forward and its best to get it right the first time. Your photographer should be able to recommend a good make-up artist (any good photographer should be able to make great recommendations on this). Again, definitely have a look at the make-up artist’s portfolio website to get a sense of their style. Always do have a backup plan (carry your own makeup or enlist the help of a friend) in case your make-up artist fails to show up. Here is an example of best hair stylist portfolio website examples you can check.
Getting the model photoshoot right
Make sure that the photographer and you have scoured the locations beforehand. If you are shooting indoors only, then make sure that the studio is well-equipped. You will be depending on your photographer for this, so do point it out in your discussions. Also, make sure that the photographer has allotted you enough time to accomplish everything and not rush through things.
Get a good night’s sleep before the shoot day and arrive a little early on the location. Make sure that you are calm and not stressed out. Remember, even a tiny hint of nerves shows through in the final images.
Choosing the perfect images for your model portfolio
After your photoshoot, it's time to get down to the process of choosing the right images to build your modeling portfolio. Balance your choices and focus on getting both versatility and quality. Don’t end up choosing multiple images in the same pose or wardrobe. Make sure you select head-shots with and without you smiling, full-length shots, and 3/4 length shots. Your portfolio should have between 10-20 images – make sure you pick absolutely the best of the best images that cover all your facets. Do discuss your selection with your photographers and take her advice, but remember that finally, it’s your selection. All your portfolio shots should be high-quality, stunning and stand-out images that make a great first impression.
Get a printed modeling portfolio book
A printed portfolio still comes in handy if you are meeting someone (remember that you would be meeting a LOT of people). This gives the other person a tangible, real thing to go through while you are there with them. Typically, a printed portfolio is 8” x 10” size (other common sizes are 8.5 x 11, 9 x 12, 11 x 14), but preferences may vary depending on which city you are in. Make sure you have pristine, high-quality prints placed inside a high-quality portfolio book. Do not miss out on the small but important details.
Create your online modeling portfolio website
Print portfolios are great for face-to-face meetings, but you cannot be present everywhere. Chances are that most agencies and clients will end up seeing your portfolio online. This is where your portfolio website comes in. Make sure that you choose the right platform for your portfolio website that lets you achieve the unique style that best represents your personality. Your modeling portfolio website needs to be not just stunning but functional as well.
Pixpa is a website builder platform that is trusted by creative pros around the world. Pixpa offers an easy yet powerful drag-and-drop website builder and includes Client galleries, eCommerce, and blogging tools to enable you to manage your complete online presence through one seamless platform. Explore all features that make Pixpa the perfect choice for designers and other creative professionals. Get inspired by our curated list of 17 stunning portfolio websites for models, built on Pixpa.
Start marketing yourself
Now, it should be your biggest priority to get your modeling portfolio in front of the right agencies and clients. It's definitely much easier with an online modeling portfolio website – wherein you can share the link to your portfolio website with anyone. Also, create a marketing portfolio, which is a critical tool for any model, especially one that is looking to get spotted. You also need to start using social media – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook to get spotted. Also, create your profile on websites such as Model Mayhem, Fashion Model Directory, One Model Place – these can also get you the right exposure.
Update your model portfolio regularly
While getting into the fashion industry may seem like an impossible challenge, it has never been easier to get discovered in today's socially connected world. The important thing is to master the craft and build an audience. Then network with professionals and work your way up in the fashion world. It is very important that you update your professional portfolio website with the latest content - newer photoshoots and campaigns. Keeping everything updated on your website on a regular basis helps modeling agencies forward your latest images to the clients, so they can make a final decision.
Your model portfolio website should cover these important points:
- Works well on mobile devices
- Has a minimal, clean, and modern design that focuses on showcasing your portfolio in the best way possible.
- Loads fast and is clutter-free
- Showcases your images in beautiful grids for a quick overview but also enables viewers to enlarge images to have a closer look.
- Includes a stats page as agencies and clients would need that information.
- Includes an “About Me” page and tell about yourself, who you are as a person, your achievements, and story.
- If you have videos and commercials, do include them on your website.
- Have clear contact information, make it easy for people to reach you.
- Connect with your social media account and start a blog as well – tell behind-the-scene stores, show off your character and who you are as a person
Your model portfolio website is going to represent to in front of agencies and clients and needs to make a great impression on you.
Have a look at top model portfolio examples built with Pixpa
Now that you have learned the steps to make a stunning modeling portfolio, here are some model portfolio examples to help you get inspired:
Mica Moody’s modeling portfolio exemplifies a minimalist approach to portfolio building which allows you to focus on what is really important. Her portfolio does not have a lot of information beyond her portfolio pictures, digitals and model information. However, this approach works because it cuts down the clutter and enables scouts and modeling agencies to get the information they need immediately and without hassle.
Summer Avery is a professional volleyball player and sports model based in Arizona. Summer’s versatile modeling portfolio website uses a grid layout gallery for the landing page. This creates an impactful landing page and also helps with site navigation. You don't have to search through the menus for her actual portfolio, it is available for viewing as soon as the website loads.
Ciara Reistad is an American model based in Los Angeles, California, working in different genres including print and commercial, sports, fitness, promotional and fit modeling. Ciara’s modeling portfolio landing page features a carousel style image slideshow which features her modeling portfolio. Not only does this create a sleek, stylish and modern look but like Summer’s modeling portfolio, it ensures that her professional modeling portfolio photographs are the first thing visible once the website loads.
Swami Valentini is a London based commercial model. Her modeling portfolio website makes use of an impactful landing page with all her necessary details all in one place. When we load Swami’s model website we are greeted with a headshot of her alongside a small introduction. Scrolling down we get her modeling information. There is also a link for contacting her for bookings on her landing page itself which is very smart.
Jenny Valle is an American model who works in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. The landing page of her modeling website utilizes a slideshow of images from her portfolio. The grid-based layout makes her portfolio website easily navigable and parseable. Grids work well for modeling portfolios because they make it easy to quickly scroll through images and get a general idea of the creative skills and talent.
Simone Smith is an independent model based in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. Simone’s modeling portfolio is another great example of how grid-based layouts work really well for modeling portfolios. Her landing page makes use of a hero image which is vibrant, aesthetically pleasing and impactful. As an independent model she also includes a rate chart at the bottom of her landing page and a link to her contact form for bookings.
Keithen Polk is a motivational speaker, model and actor. Impactful minimalism is a defining feature of Keithen’s modeling portfolio website. He utilizes a dark color palette and a striking cover image to bring attention to the center of the website. Scrolling down we can read a short introduction to him and his work and a link to his booking information.
Olivia Hashemi is a Los Angeles based model whose modeling portfolio website is a great example of the fact that monochromatic color palettes can work well for a modeling portfolio especially on the landing page. The black and white grid gives the landing a page a simple, modern appeal. The portfolio page itself makes use a color blocking and a more vibrant palette which provides a wonderful contrast.
Having a great modeling portfolio is a force multiplier and increases your chances of getting the breaks you need. However, there is much more than you need to do as a model to ensure a long, successful model. Do read our article on top tips to be successful as a model.
Modeling can be a challenging profession but with the perfect portfolio website at your disposal landing the right gigs and catching the right kind of attention can be effortless. We hope this article was helpful to you in understanding how you can make your modeling portfolio website stand out. While we are here, also check out this article on the best modeling agencies in the US to help you get started with your modeling career.
Pixpa can simplify the process of creating an online modeling portfolio website making it effortless and affordable. Check out this article on the costs of building a portfolio website to see how a website builder like Pixpa can bring down costs and give you the greatest possible return on investment when creating your model website.
You can sign up for Pixpa’s full-featured, 15-day free trial, and start creating your model portfolio website today. No credit card is required to sign up and no hidden charges!
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is in a modeling portfolio?
Your modelling portfolio usually includes sample shots and curated examples of previous work. It also includes a short bio to introduce you and your work, your contact information etc.
How do you make a modeling portfolio?
Earlier, it was common for people to carry bulky, physical copies of their modelling portfolio everywhere. Thankfully those times have passed. Building and sharing your modeling portfolio website has become a breeze thanks to all-in-one portfolio website builder platforms like Pixpa. You can create and host your modelling portfolio on your own personal website with a custom domain. This makes sharing your work with the world easier than ever before.
How much does a modeling portfolio cost?
You can start building your modelling portfolio website for free with Pixpa’s 15-day full featured trial. Paid plans start from $7 per month with no hidden charges. Check out this elaborative guide to find out how much does it really cost to build your modeling portfolio website.
Do models need a portfolio?
Yes, all models need a portfolio of their previous work as well as sample shots. This helps prospective employers know who they are hiring and what they can expect. Modelling portfolios are pretty much a mandatory requirement in the fashion industry for models.