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There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tips for Doing Photoshoots for Portfolio Building

(This post will be mainly beneficial to freelance models. Models signed to agencies have a bit of an advantage over freelance models because your agent will have a hand in giving you direction as to what types of images you should have to create your portfolio. Newbies aiming for agency representation, you're in good hands so there isn't much I really need to advise you on for this because your agent will be your go-to-person for initiating this process.)

All models need a portfolio to get their foot in the door. This means getting in touch with professional photographers and setting up test shoots. However, for those that are new to the game, there are some important things to keep in mind before diving right in and contacting photographers.

The tips below will serve as a guide for how to approach this situation in a way that will get you the most effective results:

Know What You Want/Need

Contacting a photographer and saying, "I need photos to make a portfolio," isn't going to get you very far or result in any serious takers wanting to work with you. It is important that you know what type(s) of modeling you plan on specializing in. Once you know that, then you can go about choosing the right photographers.

It is essential that your portfolio has at least 1-2 quality headshots and full body shots in various angles that are flattering to your figure. Please note: these should not be of the same type and quality as "snapshots" that you send to agencies. A freelance model's portfolio must have professional, modeling images--makeup, hair, outfits, the whole nine yards.

Having a basic idea of what you need to build your portfolio will get you faster results when searching for photographers to bring your ideas to life.

Pick the Right Kinds of Photographers

Want to save yourself a lot of time and stress? Choose your photographers wisely. While it's okay to shoot with one photographer in the beginning, you'll eventually want to branch out and work with several photographers in order to create more diversity with your images. Having only one person's work in your portfolio will make it boring to look at and to the trained eye of an industry expert, they'll be able to tell if all your portfolio pictures were shot by the same photographer.

Additionally, picking photographers with proven experience and portfolios that showcase they know how to shoot the types of modeling categories you want to specialize in is also very important. If you want to be a freelance swimwear model, don't hire a photographer who doesn't have any swimwear images in his/her portfolio. Want high fashion images? Don't hire a commercial/print photographer. Make sure you've seen his/her work before agreeing to do a shoot together.

Have a Plan

The best way to get usable images for building your portfolio is to collaborate with the photographer so that you both know what you're shooting and why. Set up a meeting before the shoot date and discuss the nitty gritty: locations, wardrobe options, types of poses, themes, etc. Doing this will give the photographer plenty to work with and allow him/her to prepare accordingly once a shoot date has been set.

Simply scheduling a shoot, showing up and "seeing what happens" is a waste of both a model and a photographer's time and doesn't always guarantee good results. Plan ahead and make life easier on yourself. The sooner you get the shoots done, the sooner you can get your pictures and begin putting your portfolio together so you can start submitting for modeling gigs.

Get Your Pictures

Photographers understand the importance of portfolio shoots and know that getting you the finished images is a priority. Make sure that you maintain good communication with the photographer after the shoot in order to find out what the time frame will be for receiving your images (but don't be a nag). If they say 1-2 weeks, then don't keep emailing/calling to ask if the pictures are ready. Be patient. Follow up only if you haven't gotten your images by the promised date/time frame.

There are two types of portfolios freelance models need to create/maintain: an online portfolio and a hard copy portfolio. That being said, be sure to tell the photographers you work with that you not only need the pictures for your digital/online portfolio but for print purposes as well. This is vital for a photographer to know so that they can prepare the right files for you.

For example, printing quality modeling pictures means the image file needs to be hi resolution (aka "hi res") so that when printed out, the photo won't look pixelated/distorted. Smaller size files are fine for posting online so hi res quality isn't usually necessary. As long as the picture is clear and not blurry or pixelated, it's fine to use in an online portfolio.

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