Modeling in 2020 Pt. I : What to Keep & What to Leave Behind

Growing and evolving is a natural occurrence in life. If you don't grow and evolve, you get left behind. This applies to nearly all businesses in all industries, modeling included.

With the Internet, social media and the way in which we all connect and network across borders, it makes sense that the modeling world has had to reinvent itself or at least tweak a couple of things to stay relevant with the times.

So what does that have to do with you as a model? Whether freelance or agency repped, the tools commonly used in the day-to-day activities of your modeling career should probably be evaluated to see if they are still necessary, obsolete or at least something to have around just in case.

Let's start off this mini blog post series with modeling portfolios.


Also known as a model's "book," a portfolio is a hard copy collection of a model's strongest images, including tearsheets from published work. It is organized to showcase a model's body of work in an easy and convenient way. 

Over the years, no model entered a casting, go-see or agency open call/interview without their portfolio in hand (newbies/inexperienced models are not required to have a professional portfolio, just FYI).


Because so many things are now done online, seeing models carrying their books with them is becoming less and less common in some markets (not all). Agencies and clients alike now easily look up a model's work on social media and any other online platforms so they've got access readily at their fingertips. Bringing a model book to a go-see, casting or open call/interview could be viewed these days as a formality and not exactly a necessity.

In some castings, clients don't have the time to meet each model and look through their portfolios individually. In an effort to manage time efficiently, not requiring modeling books is a more convenient way to speed things along and maximize how many models a casting can accommodate. If they want to see more of you, that's what a search on social media is for.


Why? Despite what I just said above, having a hard copy modeling portfolio is an essential tool that celebrates your body of work. Even if you hardly bring it out anymore, don't take the risk of not being properly prepared. As with most things in life, it's that one time you think you don't need something that all of a sudden you're asked for it and end up in panic mode to scramble and put something together.

But it's also important to keep in mind where you're at in your modeling career and take action accordingly. For example if you're a(n)...

Newbie/Inexperienced Model Seeking Agency Representation. As mentioned briefly above, you don't need a professional modeling portfolio if you are a first timer submitting to modeling agencies. How can someone who has never modeled before be expected to have this type of tool to showcase? Agencies know we all have to start somewhere. That's why they're totally fine with accepting non-professional digital snapshots. It's after getting signed that the test shoots are scheduled in order to create the photos that will make up your portfolio.

Freelance Model (with no agency representation). Since freelance models act as their own agent, it is important to have a modeling book on hand. Having an online portfolio is essential but a hard copy portfolio you can grab on the way to castings is a great way to make sure all your ducks are lined up.

Experienced/Professional Model. Working models can make the determination whether to keep their portfolios updated or not based on how often they've been required to bring them to castings.

I can't tell you the last time I brought my portfolio to anything. As a result, it hasn't been updated because that would involve time and money printing out new images as I do shoots over time. But that doesn't mean I'm going to toss it out. I already know what to do if I end up needing it for whatever reason (I already have my tearsheets organized in it and if I have to print new images, I go to for fast, quality prints).

There are plenty of print on demand sites out there and if you happen to own or have access to a photo printer, that makes things even easier. So as long as you plan ahead and know what steps you need to take if a modeling portfolio is required, you won't have to go into panic mode to stay properly prepared.


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