So much has changed from the past of capturing images depicting outdoor lifestyle and editorial for campaigns and agencies to use for either z-cards or presentations to clients. The portfolio requirements have become more basic and real in terms of the look and attributes of the model, both male and female respectively. Moreover, the use of technology and editing software programs have been overwhelming in the creation of a more “fantasy” styled look and feel, which is far from reality of whom and what the model spec actually represents in the casting or client call. This only results in time wastage and wasted budgets from the side of the client. So, avoid smoothing out images too much, or removing all the flaws, and try capture the “actual model” using different stories that will be beneficial o the model actually nailing the job. What you see on the mobile social platforms and apps does not sell, this is what every person exploring their creative license uses as they are afforded the most amazing tools and plugins to create their own interpretation of what a model shoot should depict.

Remember, an agency or a casting company needs to present real people to the client, and they offer this through video clips and the use of still photography to capture expression and looks. It is no good have people in the photographs, who when called for a casting, look nothing like the photograph.

What needs to be Captured in a Model portfolio

A beauty shot

This will illustrate the face, the skin and the eyes of the model, shape and expression is what the client wants to see in order to compliment the look to the product demographic. You won’t use someone with a bad skin to market a high-end cosmetic product, or a pair of sunglasses. Make up should be nude and very clean, never pile it on or be to dramatic. Lighting should be simple and it is important to provide 3 angles as a selective variety.

Full length shot

Again, this will illustrate the “body type” to the client. Size and proportion need to be highlighted. Today, models need not starve themselves for the ramp to acquire attention and secure jobs, but rather display normal characteristics in terms of their body shape. The focus today is using everyday type people to showcase the brands of the client. This is the best approach, as the consumer can relate to in their personal capacity and lifestyle. A very well-built male wearing an item of clothing will often deter a potential consumer that is not as defined or well-built from purchasing the product. In this instance, there is always a psychological stigma attached. This is just a simple example as to why the client wants to see the person in the most real form without all the glamour of high-end poses, clothing or makeup that is to striking for the brand. My advice is to capture a full length shot, as well as a few ¾ images at different angles to illustrate the body type and physic of the model.

The swimsuit shot

Do not encourage the model to wear something that does not suit their figure or their age as this will not sell the model to the client. Avoid the “mutton dressed as lamb” scenario. The same applies to the model being too seductive and sexy. Remember, especially women wearing costumes, the focus still will need to remain on the brand, more so than on the woman. As we all know, a powerful shot showing a very sexy woman in a swimsuit, normally results in all eyes on the model and little attention on the product. The model needs to be attractive and playful, and appeal to the brand at the same time. Images need to illustrate expression from a conservative to show that the client that the model can be flexible in various situations from the way she carries herself. So, ensure you understand the fine line in this look. As mentioned before, there is a market for all shapes and sizes, just concentrate on being tasteful in the execution of the shoot and storyboard planning process.

The editorial vs the fashion shot

There is a big difference between the two options, you get editorial models and you get fashion models alike. Actors and extras are also something to consider when preparing the shot-list and the story board. Don’t get confused and understand what the agency or the model is requiring for their portfolio images. It is important that the styling, the location and the background blends perfectly into the representation you are portraying in the shot. The images need to tell a story. Avoid busy backgrounds that overpower the shot, remember the focus is the model.

Once you have completed each look, what works for me, now that the model is in the swing of it and warmed up to the camera, you ask them to do whatever they want in front of the camera for about a minute. Take this opportunity to snap away as often this will be the shot of choice with true expression and flow where the model is comfortable and performing freely from within.

For those models out there looking to either update their book, or intending to enter this industry, I trust this will assist as a guild in the planning process, and likewise for the photographer capturing the shots. Lastly, ensure that as a model, you have chosen a photographer that will be able to deliver the service, the look and the feel, to ensure confidence, and portray you, through the images taken to close the job.