So you want to be a fashion model. If you live on planet Earth, you probably know the basics of the biz. If not, you need to be watching America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, and Make Me a Supermodel, and taking it all with a grain of salt. In the real world, a fashion photographer will probably not ask you to balance on high heels over a pit filled with seawater and hungry sharks, but there’s always that possibility. The first thing a great model needs is a positive attitude, no matter what.
The traditional way to market models is through a modeling portfolio. Unless they’ve been discovered by a talent scout-and maybe even then-unknown aspiring models pay agencies a fee to create a professional portfolio. Unless you have access to a professional fashion photographer and a stylist, it is worth paying for a good portfolio. Fashion designers, fashion magazines, and other potential clients will not give a second look to a second-rate modeling portfolio.
So what should your portfolio say about you? First of all, you need a good, clean shot of your face. Editors need to be able to see your bone structure and to imagine you in a variety of makeup styles. Same goes for your body. You need one shot that shows what you’re made of. For the full body shot, remember you are not auditioning for a centerfold spread. This is fashion photography: be uninhibited but don’t project sex, just display your superior physical form. Other important elements of a good modeling portfolio are color, style, and variety. Show that you can handle different looks and attitudes. A smiley, fresh-faced, sunny shot shows you can handle the catalogue and teen fashion market. High fashion and couture looks ask you to be more edgy and avant-garde. Show that you can transform yourself. And remind them what a good sport you are.