We all know that models can't go very far in their careers without a portfolio...and you can't have a portfolio without photos.
With the popularity of the Internet, a lot of things have changed in the modeling world to accommodate for new technology and its benefits. This includes portfolio images and the way they are used.
If you're an aspiring model, you may or may not already be familiar with terms like "hi res" and "low res" when it comes to photos. Of course, with everyone being so snap happy with Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, chances are these terms aren't completely alien but as it applies to modeling portfolios, it is important to know what "hi res" and "low res" means and how it should be used.
Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first: "Hi res" means "high resolution" and "low res" means "low resolution."
Without getting too technical, below is the easiest way to understand when to use hi res and low res photos when it comes to portfolios.
When to Use Hi Res Images
As the name suggests, high resolution photographs tend to be large in file size and when you view the image itself, there is a large amount of detail. Do you need to print out your modeling photos for your hard copy portfolio? Then you'll need the hi res version, no exceptions.
When printing from a home photo printer, make sure the DPI for each picture is 300. That is the basic setting to ensure that any hi res photo will print clearly. In addition to the DPI needing to be correct, the actual file size also matters. Check your image files and make sure it is at least 1 MB in size or larger. The larger, the better in terms of suitable print quality. Anything smaller--even with a 300 DPI setting--the image won't be as crisp.
When to Use Low Res Images
Low resolution images are the exact opposite of high resolution (obviously). Whereas hi res is all about 300 DPI, clear quality and large files, low res comes with a basic setting of 72 DPI, tends to be on the smaller side and not-so-crisp quality.
The Internet is the home for low res images so if you're a model who has low res versions of the pictures you want to use for a portfolio, then you're going to want to stick with uploading these to an online portfolio, on your website, social media profiles, etc.
The lower the resolution, the more "pixelated" the image will appear, which you don't want. Any photographer worth their salt will know to give you the right kind of low res versions that are not super blurry and can be usable online.
Have you ever clicked on a website and it took forever to load? 9 times out of 10 it is because the images on that page are hi res and the files are so large that it takes a minute for the Internet browser to properly display everything. This is why the use of low res is so vital to functionality on websites. Uploading hi res modeling pictures on a website, photo gallery or social media page could result in longer page loading times and not all potential clients or agencies viewing those sites will want to wait around until the page is fully displayed.
Trying to print a low resolution image for a hard copy portfolio isn't even worth the time--it'll be a waste of ink because the quality will be very poor. Since portfolios are meant to showcase you at your best, the last thing you want is to come across as anything less than polished and professional.
Tips for Models
- Anytime you do a shoot as a model for portfolio purposes, such as updating your headshots or adding new material, it is important to make sure that the photographer knows to give you both hi res and low res versions of the images you end up producing together.
- However, if you're savvy with photo editing software and know how to resize photographs, then you'll only need hi resolution pictures from the photographer, that way you can make your own low res versions to use online.
- Do you only have low res images to work with? If, for whatever reason, you don't have hi res and need them for a hard copy portfolio, contact the photographer(s) and ask if it would be possible to get them. To make the process more effective, you should already know which photos you need in hi res, including the file name to make it easier for the photographer to look up those files.
- A great way to avoid finding yourself in this situation is to communicate clearly during the first stages of correspondence with a photographer that you're hoping to get hi res pictures from the shoot and then take things from there. Such a request is commonplace and I don't see any reason why this should become an issue for anyone.