5 Steps to Building A Great Modelling Portfolio

For aspiring and established models, a great modelling portfolio is essential. Usually a portfolio is the first thing that a modelling agency will want to see when you get in touch with them, before they even consider inviting you into their offices. For that reason, it’s essential that you look your best in the photos that you choose for your portfolio, and have pictures of yourself in a variety of different backgrounds, and from a number of different angles. Below are 5 simple steps to building a great model portfolio:

1.    Do you want to niche?

Today there is demand for a number of different types of modelling, ranging from high fashion to plus size to sports and fitness, and many more. For example, the fitness and nutrition market is enormous, and therefore demand for models in this market has substantially increased in recent years. Clearly the criteria that modelling agencies set out will vary for different types of modelling, therefore you need to ensure that you meet the criteria if you are planning on going into a niche. A great way to find out more about this is to speak to modelling agencies that specialise in recruiting models in that market, as well as models who are already working within that market. If you don’t want to niche, be sure to choose a wide range of photographs that show you in a number of different poses, using different clothing, make up styles and backgrounds to give your portfolio diversity.

2.    Choose a great photographer

This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when starting to build your portfolio. A good photographer has the expertise and experience to ensure that you look your best and that the images themselves are very high quality. There are many factors that play into a good photo, from lighting to lenses and everything in between. Have a look at the photographer’s past work to make your own mind up, and make sure you are clear about everything such as pricing, timing, and exactly what is involved, before you book. It’s always a good idea to meet the photographer for a consultation prior to the shoot, so that you can tell them what exactly what you want and they can work with you to create the perfect shoot.

3.    Choose a professional makeup artist

You should certainly consider getting a professional makeup artist involved in your shoot when you are planning to use the photos in your modelling portfolio. Although you may initially feel that it’s not necessary, and that you are more than capable of doing your own makeup, it’s important to remember that the job of a makeup artist is to make you look as beautiful as possible, and this is something that they do every day. Additionally, you may only be used to doing your makeup in one particular style, whereas a great makeup artist is versatile and can make you look great whether you are going for a more natural look or a more sophisticated evening look. Experienced photographers will often have a network of makeup artists that they can call upon when required, so it’s certainly worth speaking to your photographer about this.

4.    Less is sometimes more

Particularly if you are just starting to build your portfolio and want to find work in the modelling industry, you don’t need to worry about having dozens of photos in your portfolio. Instead, focus on the quality of the images rather than the quantity. It goes without saying that the model an agency chooses for a particular shoot is very much down to the personal preferences of themselves and their client, and what the model looks like, but as a general rule you give yourself the best chances of being picked when you have a small selection of high-quality images rather than a large selection of lower-quality images. Instead of looking for the cheapest photographer, look for the one who you have the most confidence in – someone with a proven track record of taking great photos and someone who you feel will be easy to work with.

5.    Work with your photographer to choose the best images, then hit print!

As your photographer spends their days taking, editing and viewing the photos that they take, they will usually be able to give you lots of help and input in selecting the very best photos for your portfolio. A good photographer will work with you to ensure that you both agree on the best photos. Although these photos are for your portfolio and the final say is down to you, it’s a great idea to at least ask for your photographer’s input. Once you are ready to print your photos, make sure you go for high quality prints, as even the best photos lose their impact if they are poorly printed.


If you’re looking for a great photographer to help you build your modelling portfolio, someone who has over 25 years’ industry experience and is extremely easy to work with, look no further than Hitz Rao.