WHY SHOULD I BOOK A PORTFOLIO PHOTOSHOOT?
Even though we say they don’t, first impressions really do count, especially when you’re up against stiff competition. You see, how you present yourself through an image says a whole lot more than you think.
Clear, crisp, well-branded photography screams “I have high standards”, just as a strong brand says “take me serious, or else!”. I’ll leave you to imagine the reverse. This is why I encourage all my models to replace the word ‘portfolio’ with ‘curriculum vitae’, as in essence that’s what is becomes.
The same applies across social media and PR, only it’ll be the entire world that’s taking notes, not just an agency. Make the right impression here and your fanbase could skyrocket, so could your reputation, as well as your brand, product line and … you get the picture.
WHAT HAPPENS ON A PORTFOLIO PHOTOSHOOT?
Those visions in your head are brought to life.
So say you’re going for a tough rugged vibe, our portfolio photoshoot may have us exploring abandoned buildings, historic monuments or somewhere that’s just plain grungy. Whereas if the bubblegum pop look is more your thing, we could be in the studio taking posed portraits on a bold background.
I’ll often spot photo opportunities on-the-go, so I even may ask you to try out a new pose or lunge into a funny position myself. I’ll also be snapping when you least expect it to get a unposed candid shots – the type that work great on social media!
*If you’re struggling for inspiration, try starting a Pinterest board.
WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY PORTFOLIO PHOTOGRAPHY?
Portfolio photoshoots reward good planning – nothing too in depth, just a collection of ideas, and if you’re ‘in the business’, a basic awareness of your brand. The more confidence you have in you and what you’re after, the stronger your shots will be.
Booking 12 weeks in advance is my usual advice, especially if you’re after a certain date or time. But that’s not to say that last minute bookings are impossible – in some cases they can fit in rather well. Only I wouldn’t rely on this being the case as I don’t like to disappoint.
*If you’re still searching your personal style, don’t rush into building a portfolio just to impress an agency. You want to catch their eye first time round, not be flung to the bottom of the pile. If this all means you apply a little later, so be it – in fact, it could come as an advantage. Apply speculatively with well thought out shots and not only will you immediately have the spotlight, but also a certain ‘wild card factor’ that distinguishes you from everyone else.
PORTFOLIO PHOTOGRAPHY: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
What do you wear to a portfolio shoot?
While there’s no set rules to what you can and can’t wear to a portfolio photoshoot, I would urge you to consider this.
Clothes are a major part of our personal identity. From high street and athleisure to catwalk and vintage, our outfits heavily reflect our personal brand. The trick with portfolio photography is maintaining this personal brand across a whole host of different shots, be they on location or in the studio – something consistent clothing can help us achieve.
I’m starting out as a model - Do models need a portfolio?
Any serious model requires a portfolio, yes.
Portfolios are a constantly evolving project designed to show off a model’s versatility and personal style; an outdated portfolio is the worst thing a model can have, apart from maybe none at all. And this is because a portfolio itself is far more than just a collection of impressive photographs.
Think of it more as a photographic CV – a signpost to your personal brand and concrete proof that you take modelling seriously. It’s your chance to stand out!
*If you’re applying to agencies, but having no luck, your portfolio may be the reason. Be sure to update it each time you apply. By doing so you’re basically saying: “Hey, me again! Oh and by the way, you’re missing out big time – had another X amount of shoots since we last spoke and my influence is growing fast” … even though you may just be being clever, by updating your portfolio gradually. Not that they need to know that.
How do you shoot a portfolio?
Shooting a portfolio is a hefty task, not only for you, but for me as well.
For you, the biggest challenge comes in refining your personal style, all of which takes time – don’t rush it! I’d suggest establishing how you want to come across behind the camera and trying to channel this through your outfit and most importantly, your personality. Models with attitude typically produce the best shots.
And this is important, because my biggest challenge is bringing this style to life behind the lens. Something that’s far easier if you’re clued up or at least have an idea of what you’re striving for.
Can you be a 5’2 model? I'm not exactly the tallest.
Yes, of course you can, especially now.
With diversity and equality being hot topics for today’s consumers, a growing number of brands are choosing to shy away from the conventional ‘model type’ and recognise a wider variety of talent. In other words, how it should be. But saying that, if you’re ever penalised for your height, remember this…
Anyone who does so is actually doing you a favour. Why? Because they’re straight away telling you two things – they’re old hat and they’re also rather shallow. Qualities you don’t want in anyone charged with promoting you or your brand.
What do models eat before a photoshoot?
If you want to look your leanest for your portfolio photoshoot, then anti-bloat foods are the way to go. These are things like ginger which reduces inflammation and avocados that help reduce excess water. Lemons are also a good shout for aiding digestion.
But just as there’s ‘dos’, there’s also ‘don’ts’. Foods to avoid pre-shoot would be baked beans, dairy products and leafy green vegetables.
*Aside from food, stress can cause excessive bloating, so a quick five minutes of meditation doesn’t go a miss either. As does a quick pre-shoot workout; yoga is great for enhancing muscle tone.
Is a portfolio photoshoot only for a professional model?
You could be a musician trying to grow your influence, a personal trainer looking to spice up their social feed or a public figure on the hunt for some PR shots. Whatever your niche, portfolio photography is great way to ensure your public image remains slick and professional.”
Professional hair and makeup - should I do it?
While it’s not an essential for portfolio photography, I’d highly recommend it, especially if we’re doing a studio shoot. The flashes can often expose uneven or blotchy foundation as well as exaggerate any glittery highlight, so being made up by a professional using A* products can really boost the quality of your photos.
*Unsure who to use? I can give you some of my ‘go-tos’ if you’re struggling.
Could we do some lingerie shots or nude model photography?
Liking the self confidence!
Nude model photography is a great way to diversify your portfolio, as are lingerie shots. If this is your plan consider your background colour when choosing what to wear, or if you’re really adventurous, the colours at the location you’d like to shoot. A bright or busy background typically favours neutral lingerie and vice versa.
How many portfolio pictures will I get?
Lots. On a typical shoot I can take a couple of hundred images. How many you receive depends on the package that you opt for and how many poses we try out.