» 7 Essential Photos every Model needs in their portfolio.

7 Essential Photos every Model needs in their portfolio.

Once you’ve made the decision that you’d like to start modelling, you first need to get on to the books of modelling agencies.  The good news here is you don’t need to spend loads of money on shots at this point, a simple snapshot will be all the agency needs to find out if they are interested in representing you.

Sometimes the agency can be interested but not ready to sign you up yet.  They may ask you to build yourself a book, or modelling portfolio.  This can be confusing for a new model if they have no idea what the agency is looking.

To start off your book / portfolio there are specific types of photos that many agencies are going to want to see to show your versatility and ability to express yourself.  Agencies will also want to see how well you can tell a story, portray a feeling or evoke an emotion.

Below is my list of what we think are the essentials :-

1- Head Shot

A clean headshot is an essential and should be one of the first ones you should get done.  This would need to be a colour images, generally for the head and shoulders.  This shot need to show you in your natural state which allows the agency to see you without any mark-up or hair styling.  These sort of shots can also be know as “beauty shots” (fashion / editorial models) or a head shot (commercial models).  Editorial models do not usually smile in a beauty shots, but for for commercial  headshots they can be a bit more relaxed

A beauty shots or commercial head shot should always be the first image in your book.










2 – Full Length Body Shot

A full length body shot should be the next image in your book.  This will show the agency your body type and proportions.  The clothing should be form fitting and simple. Don’t wear too many layers or long dresses as this covers up what they want to see.  Well fitting jeans and a t-shirt is fine.

3 – Swimsuit Shot

You need to be over 16 to go ahead with this shot, and be comfortable  doing a swimsuit shot (and you should be if you want a modelling career), then this should be the 3rd image in your book.

Remember we would be after sexy and not slutty – there is a fine line!  Think of what image you want to portray.

Female fashion models are selling clothing to women, not men, so a female model want to look sexy, not overly sexual.  Male models can shoot in either swimming trunks or boxer short.

4 – Fashion Shot (Fashion models)

So now you can have some fun once the above shots are done.  This show in the middle of your portfolio / book can be a bit more fun

This is the shot where you can show how you move and express yourself  Don’t just sit there – jump, run, or dance.  They are looking for expression and something interesting!

5 – Commercial Shot (Commercial Models)

Commercial models need to have the ability to express themselves in print.  So, similar to the editorial model, the commercial model need to show the agent and clients their range.  Commercial work is really acting in print.  You need an image like a printed advert in a magazine where you are laughing, crying or upset.

6 – Smiling Shot

If you don’t already have a smiling shot, here’s the place to have one.  Agents and clients want to see your smile, but also your teeth!

Don’t worry about perfect teeth, infact many models are known for their overbite or gap-toothed smile.  The view simply wants to see what they are working with.

7 – Strong Closing Shot.

End with your strongest shot.  This should be another great beauty shot, or head shots thats a bit different from the opening one.

People tend to remember the first and last shot in your portfolio, so ensure it’s your strongest one.

Work In Progress

Your book / portfolio isn’t about going to a photographer and getting 7/8 images to fill it up, and then saying you’re done.  This is to show your story, your brand and the direction your going in as a model.  Its much better to have 3 or 4 great images, than 10 OK’ish ones.  This is a work in progress, its never finished but always changing.  Have photoshoots with as many photographers as you can, they have different styles and experience and gives you great experience working with different personalities.  Once you’ve done the shoot and receive the images evaluate them, and swap out images if you think its appropriate and improves what you offer.  Every time you do a photoshoot you will get better, keep at it and you’ll reap the rewards.

For more details please email me at – mark@msandsphotography.com


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