Glamour by Dave
Your portfolio is your "catalog", your advertising, a compilation of what you, as a model, have to offer. It should ONLY contain the BEST photo's. This is where you want to be very selective. As a beginner, you will want as many "looks" as possible, and for this you will need good, professional quality photo's. Though you will have the temptation to use one photographer for your portfolio, it is better to use two or three as each photographer has his/her own style and you will also get a better feel as to what it is like working with different photographers as you will be doing throughout your career.
There are many opinions as to what photo's should be in your portfolio and in what order, but, the most generally accepted format is:
Start with a "killer" shot - though not necessarily a head shot. It should be a STRONG shot in that it must immediately grab the viewers attention. You should also end with another "killer" shot, either a 3/4, full figure or something in between - just so that it is STUNNING and memorable. Between these two shots, you should strive to have as many different "looks" as possible. You should also include several "figure" shots that show off your body to your best advantage. NUDITY IS NOT REQUIRED. They can be swimsuit, tight-fitting aerobics workout gear, even tight jeans/shorts and top will work. Unless you are trying out for Playboy, nude photo's should be avoided as part of your portfolio.
Later, as you gain experience, some of these photo's can be replaced with “tear sheets” actual pages torn (actually neatly cut) from magazines or catalogs which shows you have actually worked as a model. Use the best ones possible and be sure to note which publication, etc., they came from, remember, the idea is to demonstrate that you have actually worked as a model and have experience. Also keep in mind that a web site IS a form of publishing and some agencies are beginning to accept this as a tear sheet. If you are published on a web site, think about using a good print of the web page that features your photo. A high resolution printer (ink jet or laser) using a GLOSSY photo paper made for these printers will work fine for printing these.
By the way, you can have more than one portfolio, perhaps one for certain types of work, in fact two or three is generally a good idea. Be sure to keep them current.
A models “business card” is the 'ZED' or composite card (usually 5x7 inches). This will consist of 3-5 photo's, usually a Stunning head shot, and a couple of others (again, showing different looks). The ZED card will also contain your personal information, i.e. measurements, height, weight, eye and hair color, etc. It will also contain information on how to contact you. You should always leave one with any potential client at go-sees, casting calls, etc., it's also a good idea to have a standard business card (@ 2x3.5 inches) with your headshot and contact information to hand out. Carry these with you at al times because you never know who you are going to meet. Promote yourself as a model and be prepared to seize all opportunities to do so.
Back to portfolio's: For most portfolios, 9x12 sheets are about the right size. The portfolio itself may be slightly larger. This is large enough for 8x10's, tear sheets, etc. While larger portfolios are used by photographers, among models this is considered mark of a beginner, at least in most major markets. Once again, start with a STRONG shot, not necessarily a head shot, but it does have to be a STRONG shot. For example, if the model is looking for work as a swimsuit, glamour, runway or other model, the first shot should be a strong example of that area of interest. Again finish with another STRONG shot while filling in the rest of the portfolio with a variety of looks. These reflect the versatility of the model and be oriented toward the type of work that is being sought, they should also highlight the models salable assets and/or interests. If you do include nude shots, emulate those seen in fashion magazines or upscale catalogs. If convenient, the model should be facing/looking toward the spine of the portfolio, gazing outward is subconsciously distracting. Finally, avoid adding weak or amateurish shots to “fill out” the portfolio, unfortunately, these will be the ones that are remembered.