What is a Modeling Portfolio?
A modeling portfolio is a demonstration of your skills and talent you can show to potential employers and modeling agencies. It shows off your best shots, creates a narrative about you and your modeling career, and screams “hire me!” But how do you accomplish that? Follow this guide to build a winning model portfolio.
What to Include in a Modeling Portfolio Website
Here are the main things every modeling portfolio website should include:
- Personal stats
- Model bio
- Contact information
- Client testimonials
Here are the main types of shots to include and a logical order to put them in:
- Body shot
- Black-and-white shot
- Creative shot
- Location shot
- Closing shot
The first photo in your portfolio should show your face from the shoulders up with light makeup and styling and a neutral facial expression. That way, the focus stays on your features.
The next shot should be a full-body pose in plain clothing with clean lines that show your shape. Yoga pants are a good choice, or you could use a swimsuit shot if you’re comfortable with it.
Black and White Shot
Black and white photos are common in fashion modeling and artistic photography. Choose a photo that captures emotion.
This is where it’s time to get bold! If you’re focused on editorial modeling, choose an avant-garde, expressive photo like something you’d see in Vogue. If you’re going for commercial modeling jobs, this shot should focus on what makes your beauty unique.
Most of your modeling photos will probably be shot in a studio, but including one shot on location shows what you look like without professional lighting tools.
Next, include a more stylized face shot to demonstrate your look for beauty campaigns.
The last shot in your portfolio should be the photo that best highlights your look. If you’re not sure which one this should be, ask your friends and family which of your photos is their favorite.
Include all of the stats and information about your appearance that potential clients will want to know, like:
- Body measurements and sizes
- Eye Color
- Hair Color
- Distinguishing Features (freckles, birthmarks, tattoos, etc.)
Your bio gives a little context to your work samples and gives visitors to your website something to connect with. Talking about yourself is hard, so keep these tips in mind to get the job done:
Highlight your Key Achievements
List the most impressive, important projects you’ve worked on that show off your modeling experience and skills.
Keep a Professional Tone
Personality is important, but coming across as a dependable professional should come first. Write your bio in third person and make sure the spelling, grammar, and sentence structure are correct and polished.
Cut the fluff and focus on the points that matter most: your achievements and points about your professionalism and talent.
What good does an online portfolio do for your potential clients if they can’t get in touch with you once they see how great your work is? Make sure your portfolio website includes:
- your location
- mailing address
- business hours
- business phone number
- all relevant email addresses
- all social media links
You can make a dedicated contact page, include it in your main menu, or include it in the site footer. If you don’t want to give out your personal email address, a contact form is a great idea. If you don’t want to give out your personal address, you can use a PO Box.
Testimonials from previous clients provide powerful social proof for new clients. Reach out to previous clients and ask them to provide testimonials for your website. If you have any press mentions or have won any awards, you’re welcome to include those as well.
How to Create a Modeling Portfolio
Follow this step-by-step guide to create a professional model portfolio website that will catch modeling agencies’ and potential clients’ eyes:
- Choose your modeling type
- Arrange a professional photoshoot
- Show your versatility
- Create a printed portfolio
- Buy a domain name
- Choose your website template
- Add your media
- Include your socials
- Optimize for search engines
- Make sure it’s user friendly
- Get blogging
- Publish and promote your site
Choose Your Modeling Type
Before you start building your modeling portfolio, take some time to think about what type of model you want to be. In a sea of aspiring models, having a defined niche will help you stand out and book jobs that you’re a good fit for.
If you have experience in the modeling industry, you probably already have an idea of what types of jobs you do best. If you’re an aspiring model, do some research into modeling types and what they require.
Arrange a Professional Photoshoot
Your photos are the most important part of your portfolio. Even if you’ve never been hired for a professional modeling job before, putting the time, money, and effort into a professional photo shoot can show off the best of what you can offer.
Choose a Professional Photographer
The first step is choosing the right photographer. Ask around for recommendations and look at portfolios online. If you’re on a budget, you can get great results for less money by going to a student or a photographer who’s just getting started as a professional.
Pick Out Your Outfits
Your outfits should be neutral-looking, yet different enough from each other to show some range.
You can find lists of poses specific for male models and female models online.
Prepare a Shot List
Before you get started, prepare a list of shots that you’ll need for your portfolio.
Get Your Hair and Makeup Done
If you can, hire a professional makeup artist and professional hair stylist.
Show Your Versatility
Though it’s important to have a niche and modeling type that you focus on, you don’t want all of your photos to look the same. Your poses, style, shooting angles, and shot types should show a full range of abilities. This shows potential employers that you can work in different types of productions and can reflect their artistic vision.
Create a Printed Portfolio
Though a model portfolio website is important to have, many modeling agencies still ask for a printed model portfolio, also known as a photo book or model’s book. Whether you buy a photo album and put in the photos or create a photo book using a site like Artifact Uprising or MILK, either will do the job. However, stay away from ring and spiral bindings to keep your photos from tearing.
Make Comp Cards
Composite cards, also known as comp cards and zed cards, are like a cross between a business card and an abridged version of your photo book. Put your best photo on the front and three or four other photos, your contact information, and your personal stats on the back. Then, give them out to new contacts you meet.
Buy a Domain Name
The first step to create a model portfolio website is buying a domain name. This is the name of your website. Many website builders have a free domain name option, which usually includes the name of the website builder in it. It’s always a good idea to pay for a custom domain for branding and professionalism reasons. The domain name you choose should be:
- Easy to type
- Relevant to your business and geographic area
- Free of numbers and hyphens
Sav's domain marketplace makes buying a perfect domain easy by offering industry-low pricing with no hidden fees.
Choose Your Website Template
Website builder templates make it easier than ever before to start your own website. Choose a portfolio template that is pleasing to look at, but doesn’t draw attention away from your modeling photos. After you choose your template, you can customize your images, copy, gallery formats, and more.
Add Your Media
Now it’s time for the meat of the portfolio: your work samples. If you can, include a mix of still photos and videos.
When you choose which shots to include in your portfolio, be sure to include ones that you're truly proud of. Aim for 10-20 images, but keep in mind that quality matters more than quantity in your selections. It’s better to have a small number of great images than an endless scroll of ones that are just okay.
Image quality is also important for the presentation of your photos. No matter how great your pose, the outfit, and the lighting are, if the photo is pixelated or blurry it won’t look appealing.
Videos and Commercials
The majority of your media should be still images, but shaking things up with videos and commercials that you’ve worked on keeps things interesting and shows your range even better. You can either upload videos directly on your site or embed them from external sources like YouTube.
Include Your Socials
Adding social media buttons or links gives viewers another way to see your content and interact with you. Social media pictures and videos show a side of your personality that portfolio pictures can’t. If you have professional accounts, link to those, but there’s no harm in using your personal accounts if you’re comfortable with potential employers seeing the aspects of your life that you share on them.
Optimize for Search Engines
Search engines and their algorithms basically run the world. Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of using these algorithms to your advantage. Getting to the top of the Google search results page helps people who are looking for exactly what you offer pick you over your competitors. Doing keyword research and planning where to put them in your site may seem tedious, but with Sav’s SEO tools you don’t need to be a strategy expert to get to the top of the page.
Content marketing, alt text, titles and descriptions for all pages, and basic keyword research can go a long way in boosting your search engine credentials.
Make Sure It’s User Friendly
User experience matters for any website. In order for visitors to your online portfolio to become new clients, they need to be able to easily navigate, read, and perform actions.
Components of a user-friendly portfolio website include:
- Good web design
- Clear and concise copy
- Mobile-friendly optimization
- Clear calls to action
- Consistent navigation
Start by choosing an eye-catching, responsive portfolio template. Then, fill it with intuitive content that’s easy to find and load.
Every once in a while, ask for feedback from visitors. You may find new ways you can improve the experience.
Adding a blog to your website is a great way to add some personality while also boosting your SEO profile and social media shares. Some topics you could blog about include
- Behind the scenes stories
- Fashion and beauty tips
- Inspirational and motivational content
- Interviews with other modeling industry professionals
Publish and Promote Your Site
Once your content is in place and your site is looking great, it’s time to go live! Publication doesn’t mean your work is done. Update your portfolio every year with new content and optimization. And, of course, promote, promote, promote!
Share your new modeling portfolio website on all of your social media platforms, link to it in your email signature, put it on your comp cards, and make sure your SEO is up to date so you can get new eyeballs on it. You never know how you could connect with a new client.
Online Modeling Portfolio Examples
Take inspiration from these online model portfolios from all kinds of professional models.
Laura Oliveira Granja
How Sav Can Help
Sav is a growing business and we’re excited for you to be part of that growth. Not only do we provide features you need at prices you can afford, but all Sav websites come with:
- A free SSL certificate
- Mobile friendly optimization
- SEO optimization
- Google Analytics integration
- Unlimited storage.
All websites can also connect to a custom domain from our world-class domain marketplace. Start your free trial to get started.
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