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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Portfolio Lessons Pt. II: Preparing Your Photos for a Hard Copy Modeling Portfolio

(This post will be beneficial for both freelance and agency represented models.)

Part I of this two-part blog post dealt with the ways to prepare images for an online modeling portfolio. Because technology and the Internet has become so commonplace in our lives, including the modeling industry, I wanted to get that post out of the way first.

Even though the Internet now fits together with the industry like peas and carrots, that doesn't mean the traditional hard copy modeling portfolio is no longer relevant or necessary--quite the contrary! Fashion, petite, plus size, parts, print, lifestyle...no matter the type ALL models must have a hard copy portfolio to bring with them to castings...no exceptions!

***Notice I didn't say "agencies" for that last part? That's because new/aspiring models don't need to have a portfolio put together when seeking representation. This only applies to models that have already been working with professional images to showcase or that have just signed with an agency and are in the process of putting together their first portfolio.***

As I stated in Part I, titled "Portfolio Lessons Pt. I: Preparing Your Photos for an Online Modeling Portfolio," you first have to do photoshoots in order to get the pictures needed to create your portfolio. So take care of that first.

Got your pictures? Okay, now follow the steps outlined below to get your hard copy modeling portfolio up and running!

Get Hi Res Images

Anytime you do a shoot with a photographer, make sure to mention in the beginning that you need hi res images so that you can use the pictures for your hard copy portfolio. Sometimes photographers assume you'll only be displaying your images online and will resize the photos for that. If they know the images need to be printed, they'll be sure to give you the hi res versions. Anything over 1MB is ideal. Any smaller and you risk having your modeling pictures looking pixelated upon printing.

The larger the file size, the better the print quality will be.

Resize Each Image for Print

If you get lucky, the photographer may have already sized each hi res image for you. Ideally, 8"x10" is the size you want your photo paper to be so when printing, make sure your image fits nicely into those dimensions. Depending on your photo resizing/editing capabilities, you might have to tweak the actual photo in a program like Photoshop so that it will fit properly onto the paper. Cropping may be necessary but as long as it doesn't cut crucial elements like the top of your head, hands, feet, etc. too badly, it should be okay.

The method you choose for printing will actually determine what size your images need to be. For example, if you're printing the images yourself using a photo printer, then you'll have to check that the image is 300 DPI (this is the setting needed for photo printers to print the best quality images without any lines patterns or distortions) and that the image will fit onto an 8"x10" sheet of printer paper.

Another method is to have someone else print the images for you. I would NOT recommend places like FedEx/Kinko's or the printing kiosks at drugstores. Sure, they offer great deals and your family photos always come out looking wonderful but remember, these are your modeling photos. They're a crucial element to your career. There are plenty of online printing companies that specialize in printing modeling photos so do an online search and see what you come up with. I personally use the site Mpix.com. They have really great prices and the print quality is flawless.

Regardless of what online printing site you choose, read the instructions/requirements carefully for how each file needs to be prepared in order for you to upload it to their site so that they can print them. Your prints will be mailed to you, along with a receipt for your order. If you have any questions, they'll have a customer service number of online chat feature so you can get the assistance you need.

Choose the Right Type of Finish

I would recommend printing your modeling portfolio pictures as either flat/matte or semi-gloss. There are other fancy finishes like metallic or full gloss but honestly, these aren't necessary and are often distracting. Good pictures should stand on their own. Black and white photos are okay but don't use this effect on too many of your images. I wouldn't use sepia for modeling photos since it tends to make pictures look like they were shot in a studio that you find at the mall...that effect is best left for family photos.

Put Them in a Portfolio Case

Go to any arts and crafts or office supply store and you're bound to find a "photography portfolio case." Don't spend a fortune on something fancy or top notch. Cheap is fine! I paid $15 for my portfolio case at Michael's Arts & Crafts. The portfolio case should be all black, with clear plastic sleeves for inserting your photos. No fancy designs, handles or embellishments are necessary. Get the plainest one possible. Your pictures are the only "WOW" factor needed.


Unknown said...

Have you heard of Free Prints? Would that be a good company to print photos?

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Unknown/Red (sorry, I accidentally deleted your second comment you submitted where your username "Red" was displayed)!

You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #909," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!