Professional Photos

Snapshots Don't Cut It

Professional Photographs are Your Main Marketing Tool --
Don't End Your Career Before It Starts by "Cutting Corners"

Why Professional Modeling Photographs?

A portfolio is NOT a scrapbook! Your portfolio is a "marketing piece" and a catalog of what types of modeling you can perform.

Professional modeling photographs make a model appear profession, credible, and responsible. Also -- they are in the style and format needed by agencies and clients to properly review a model's potential and to decide whether or not to hire they want to hire the model.

Appearance is everything in modeling and acting. If you don't "look" like a professional -- you aren't considered to be professional. Having amateur photos means that you are rarely, if ever, going to get a paying job. Clients and agencies want mistakes and "training" to happen on someone else's bill / budget. Clients only want to work with models who are seasoned professionals (or at least have a portfolio that makes them "appear" to be).

Would you trust a doctor to diagnose your serious illness if he/she was wearing an old ratty pair of blue jeans and a paint covered sweatshirt? Probably not. The same goes for clients.

First impressions count a lot. Your portfolio IS your first impression. From those photos, clients gauge how much experience you have, how much you're worth, and if you can handle the job.

If you're going to even have a chance at modeling -- you need to have professional photos to promote yourself.

But Doesn't that Take Money?

Welcome to the real world. If it were "simple and easy" everyone would be doing it. There is a saying that is true in ANY business, which is "It TAKES money to MAKE money."

No matter what profession you choose, it takes money, time, and training to become successful.

Would you like to have someone perform open heart surgery on you if they had never read a medical textbook in their entire life -- and they were "winging it?"

Clients feel the same way about models. They don't want a model to "screw things up" -- so they aren't willing to pay a model -- until that model has "paid their dues" learning and getting experience. However, since models are often hired based solely on the quality of their portfolio photos (advertisers consider that a model must be "experienced" in order to have a great portfolio) -- you can often get a "jumpstart" by just investing in some quality photos.

Quality vs. Quantity

Don't think that you need a hundred photos for your portfolio. Of course, the more great samples you have - the more credible you will look. However, remember that five really great shots are much better than ten great shots and ten mediocre shots.

Again -- you want to have a "professional" image -- one that will make people believe in your abilities. So -- spend your money wisely. Get a list of specific ideas you want to have shot before you ever contact a photographer. It's best also to tear ads out of magazines as "sample ideas" to show a photographer. After all, if you are paying for your photos -- you should get what you want you want.


Tests and Trading Time for Prints

Another way to build up your portfolio is to "work for free" for professional quality photographers. By posing for their projects, you build up your experience level (which is crucial), plus the photographer might be willing to shoot some work "just for you" of whatever you need for your portfolio. Expect that a photographer will spend 10% of the shoot time "working for you" and the rest with you working for him/her. If you can find quality photographers who are willing to do this -- this will save you thousands of dollars over the course of your modeling career.

However, be cautious. Don't agree to work with just "anybody." Someone who is just a beginner will likely produce photos that are not "quality" enough to put into a portfolio -- and thereby, even if you're gaining experience posing in front of the camera -- you're not getting any (worthwhile) photos for your time. Be sure to check out the photographer's work before agreeing to the shoot. (The photographer may also need to see you first, to make sure that you have the right "look" for his / her projects.)

It stands to reason that models who show up without photos may be coming in on a "whim," and if the agency spends a lot of time on all these "walk-ins" it might end up being a WASTE OF TIME. Therefore, I think agencies ONLY "second interview" with those who are the very "cream of the crop" -- because they will be the "stars" if they actually come back and "work."

Most others are turned away because they don't have the immediate potential to be "stars" -- and it's not worth an agency's time to "groom" the model. On the other hand, if a model shows up with professional photos and looking "business like" -- it stands to reason that the model is committed to working and pursuing modeling. This means that the agency is likely to view any talks with the model as "serious talks." Also, since the model has photos "in hand" -- the agency can put those photos immediately into the files (or the headbook) to start marketing the model.

Professional Photos = Understanding of Modeling

Many potential models might "flake" after the second interview when they realize they actually have to "spend money/time" becoming marketable. Even if agencies line up "free shoots" with talented photographers -- the model may see it all as "unpaid work -- not worth it." Again, having photos in hand demonstrates the model is committed to the "process" of modeling.