Do I Need a Modeling Portfolio to Start a Modeling Career?

Every year thousands of girls spend money on modeling portfolios in an attempt to launch a modeling career and to secure a contract with a model agent. However, there are very good reasons why having a model portfolio before approaching a model agent for the first time may actually damage your chances of signing on with an agent.

Instead, model agents prefer prospective Creative Director models to provide them with a number of snapshots. Whilst these should be clear and in focus there is absolutely no need for them to be shot by a professional photographer; holiday snaps or similar that clearly show both face and body shape are perfectly acceptable for all legitimate agents.

Most prospective models who pay for a portfolio do so by paying one photographer to shoot them in a number of outfits and with different hair and make up. In this way they attempt to recreate the looks that a professional working model might have in her portfolio. However, the portfolios of professional models are shot by many, many different photographers, all of them having very unique and contrasting styles. Paying one photographer to shoot a whole portfolio will not look in any way similar to a professional’s portfolio and can make you look amateurish to a trained eye.

Not only this, but many photographers shooting model portfolios for a fee produce work that is not of a very high quality. It is fair to assume that were these photographers shooting to a standard that is adequate to feature in magazines and advertising they would be doing so, rather than shooting model portfolios for substantially less money.

Although the photographers may show you pictures that look beautiful and professional to you, they will not look so good to a model agent who spends all of their time working with some of the best photographers in the world.

Taking snapshots into a model agency also allows the agent the opportunity to visualise how much better you could look in professional pictures. If you take a portfolio of professional photographs to the agency and the agent doesn’t like the shots you take away their opportunity to do this.

Similarly, model scouts love the sense of excitement and professional prestige that comes with discovering the “next big thing”. By providing professional shots you make yourself appear less fresh and new to modelling, which could substantially damage your chance of obtaining representation.