The portfolio is a model’s resume for a job. It is the most crucial representative piece of information in the form of pictures and vital details that a model needs to have. It is these sets of shots that clients see before they actually meet a model in person and decide on a project fit. Hence, the pictures must not only showcase your physical attributes, but also provide a great insight into your personality to help maximise the client’s interest from the initial stage itself.
A portfolio once shot circulates in the industry for a minimum of six months to a year. So put your best foot forward with these tips:
Best shape / physique: You must be in your best form physically to get the best pictures. So the decision to get a portfolio shot must be preceded by at least 3 months (or more depending on your body state) of strenuous toning-up of the body.
Skin, hair, dental treatments: To look fresh and rejuvenated, take care of any shortcomings well before the shoot. Go for regular facials, body scrubs, hair cut /colouring / conditioning treatments, dental cleaning / aligning / whitening (if required) and so on. (Here's how to get white teeth naturally.)
Photographer selection: A model needs to communicate with the camera, and that only becomes possible if there's a sense of knowing and an understanding with the photographer. So, before deciding on a photographer simply based on their past work or fees, you must also meet the photographer(s) in person. And do remember to take reference shots (the way the portfolio will be shot). Talk to them about the number of looks and changes that will be shot, and about post production and cleaning of shortlisted pictures. Only then should you take your final call. (And here's how you get the best selfie of your life.)
Hair and makeup artist: Research well to know the current crop of talent available in your budget and aligned to your requirements for the shoot. Once finalised, the reference shots must be shared for them to prepare for the shoot well in advance like hair extensions, special makeup, colour palettes and so on. This will avoid last-minute panic during the shoot! (Don't let these 6 makeup mistakes ruin your photos.)
Stylist: What you wear in the portfolio helps accentuate your personality and the pictures. So based on the reference shots, the stylist needs to start aligning options and do fittings in advance to ensure desired results. At times, the stylist may advise you against a look that you want, based on your body type, skin colour or other factors. Do consider their suggestion – after all, you hired them for this expertise! (What kind of jeans will suit your body best? Click here to know.)
Make sure your modelling portfolio includes both outdoor (left) and indoor (right) shots so that the prospective client gets a good idea of how you photograph in different lighting. Kangana Ranaut, of course, is a pro!
Outdoor versus indoor: It is always good to have a combination of outdoor and indoor shots. It provides a visual relief from monotony and helps add character to the picture and look. Based on the shot break-up, the photographer, stylist and you can decide on locations and time bands (early morning light, setting sun and so on). (Read also: The sexiest male models of all time.)
Camera contact: Looking into the other person’s eyes while talking is considered respectful and expresses confidence. For this notion to come across the camera, it is vital that a majority of shortlisted shots of the portfolio have you looking into the camera lens, establishing connect, displaying emotions and making your presence felt. (Get a glimpse through the photographer's lens at fashion week.)
Shots selection: Varied projects have varied requirements. Hence, to serve as a multipurpose representation, the portfolio’s shortlisted shots must comprise close-ups, mid-length and full-length shots. These will help give the client an idea about you in entirety. (We all have our beauty lies! Watch this funny video.)
Post-production: Each of the shortlisted pictures must, if required, undergo a post edit process (formatting, cleaning, Photoshop and so on). But this should be kept to the minimal to keep the shots as real as possible. Also, do ask the photographer for both high and low resolution pictures to avoid any uploading, printing or other issues later (high resolution are required for printing purposes, whereas low resolution are required for online use). (Can fashion be honest?)
Vital details: Your portfolio must be accompanied by a vital information sheet carrying details like vital statistics, height, weight, eye colour, hair colour, and so on, to optimise chances of selection.
Last, but not the least, attach the contact details including email and phone numbers of your selected agencies or agents along with the portfolio for faster results and projects.
All the best!
Neeraj Gaba is one of India’s leading personality development experts. With an MBA from Leeds Business School, he is a grooming expert and mentor on India's Next Top Model aired on MTV. Read more posts from him on his Fashion101 Blog.