by Andi Whiskey October 01, 2023 3 min read

Los Angeles is one of the top cities in the world for modeling. It's a city full of opportunities, which makes it easy for you to niche down and pursue a modeling career specific to your own goals and preferences. It's also an incredibly saturated industry, so in order to get noticed in the hubbub of people, you need a rock solid modeling portfolio.

What is a Modeling Portfolio?

A Modeling Portfolio or Model Portfolio is a digital or printed set of photos showcasing a model's appearance, physique, body type, unique features, style, and abilities. Models and their agents use the portfolios to send to casting directors, creative directors, and other contacts within the industries to book gigs.

A modeling portfolio needs to be a showcase of your very best photos, and also needs to serve particular purposes. The portfolio should show off your modeling strengths. For example, if you have unique hair or eyes, those should be a focus in at least on of the included shots. You need to use your portfolio to really sell why you're a good fit for the gig or job.

 A Classic Modeling Headshot

1. A Classic Modeling Headshot

A modeling headshot is a specific type of portrait where the models face is the only subject and full focus of the photo. In this shot, you'll need your entire face in focus and visible, facing the camera straight on. 

This is often your first impression, so you need to make sure it's a very quality photo that's professionally shot. A headshot needs to be well lit and have your face in focus. This is your chance to catch their attention, so make it a good one.

An example of a simple full length body shot for your modeling portfolio

2. A Simple Full Length Body Shot

It's important to provide the "full picture" for those booking for your future gigs. They want to see exactly what they're working with, without having to guess. Don't leave it to their imagination. Show them what you've got! 

Keep this shot simple. I emphasize this, because some people want to use this shot to showcase their style or personality, but at the end of the day, you're trying to show them how you can fit into their vision for their gig, and you don't know what that is yet. So keep a neutral full length body shot in your portfolio to show them very simply exactly what they're working with.

Black and White model headshot for your portfolio

3. A Black and White Photo

Black and white photos used to be the standard for headshots. They're still used, but not quite as standard, but it's still recommended to use them. Black and white photos are used because then the director or agent looking at your photo won't be distracted by details that can be altered.

For example, hair can be dyed or colored in post-production. Eye color can be changed. Makeup varies. Skin tone can even be adjusted. Black and white photos showcase the very foundation of your look without these variable distractions, which allows those looking at your modeling portfolio a chance to imagine how you can fit into their vision.

Show Off Your Modeling Style

4. A Creative Look Showing Your Ability

This shot should have some attitude and technique worked into it. You can work with a professional photographer to hit more difficult poses that convey stronger emotion and style. This will show off what you can do.

Agents see literally thousands of photos of gorgeous humans. What makes you different? Show them that with this photo. This photo should also showcase some modeling technique, so they know you know what you're doing.

Make it a full length body shot, for extra points. Full length body shots take more work on the part of the model to convey emotion, style, and aesthetic, because you can't hide behind a crop.

Showcase your style in your modeling portfolio

5. A Shot That Showcases Your Style

You can use this photo or photos to also show off your own personal style. If you're more dark and edgy, show it off. If you want to work in the beauty industry, show off a beauty shot.

We talk in another article about how it's important to have specific goals for your modeling career and to actively work towards those. This is a chance to show off a style that fits the industry you want to work in. 

Let's Build Your Modeling Portfolio

Our Long Beach photo studio has all you need to get these photos and more to build out your portfolio. 

Book a consultation with us so we can talk about your vision and how to make it happen.

Andi Whiskey
Andi Whiskey

Serial entrepreneur and photographer. Stand up comedian after hours.