In addition to a portfolio, many models also have comp cards, also known as zed cards. These act as your business or calling card and are widely used by all aspects of the modeling industry, especially high fashion models.
In a nutshell, a comp card consists of:
- headshot and
- 3 to 4 of your best shots from your portfolio
- basic stats: height, weight, age (sometimes), and your measurements
- website (if you're a freelance model)
- email/phone number
Comp cards serve as excellent marketing tools to get models noticed and booked for jobs.
They are normally printed on card stock or other high grade paper so that they aren't flimsy or bend easily. Agencies tend to display their models' comp cards in the office for easy access to potential clients to see the various people the agency represents. These cards can also be sent out to photographers, casting directors, and anyone else in the industry who may be in need of models.
The type of photos you put on your comp card should represent the type of work you do, whether it's fashion, commercial/print, swimsuit, parts modeling, etc. Because you have a small amount of pictures that you can fit on the comp card, only include your best photos. While keeping the theme of your photos consistent, you also need to show your versatility.
Basically, all the photos should show different poses, different types of outfits and must be the highest quality. Include images where you are smiling and when you aren't. Anytime a client or photographer is looking to hire a model, you want to show them everything you're capable of all on one comp card. This may be easier said than done but it is possible.
There is no set format that you need to make for your comp card. Some are one-sided, others have photos and info on both sides. You can follow the template like the comp card image associated with this post or you can have one main image on the front and the rest on the back. The possibilities for this are endless so play around with different layouts until you find one that you're happy with.
If you're wondering if you even need a comp card, the answer varies. If you already have an agent and the topic hasn't been brought up, then don't worry about it. Chances are your agent is already marketing you using your headshot, portfolio, etc.
Comp cards are not mandatory in the modeling field so don't feel like you're doing something wrong if you don't have one. If your agent has advised you to get one, then ask them to guide you through the process so that it meets the agency's standards.
If you're freelancing or don't have agency representation, then putting together a comp card will definitely work in your favor. Some modeling agencies even ask for new models to submit comp cards if they have them. As long as you have a handful of good shots, you can throw together a comp card using programs such as Photoshop or at a printing place like FedEx Office. Prices vary and the more comp cards you print, the higher the price may be.
With people using digital files and at-home printing software, you can even design and print your own comp cards at home. FedEx Office and places like OfficeMax have all the supplies you need. Of course you should only pursue this option if you are really computer savvy or know someone who is. Most printing places have special discounts so there are a number of ways you can get a comp card put together to fit your budget.
There are also online printing labs that specialize in comp cards for models and actors. A few of these include:
- About a Model's Diary: How It All Began
- Dania Denise Resume
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- The New "Answering a Reader Question" Series...Video Reply Version!!!
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