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On Making Model Portfolios

This is the beginning of one of our adventures in photography. We are preparing to start offering model portfolios as a service. But before we can offer such a detailed service, we need to have a complete example of the final product associated with the service. So our daughter, Celine, agreed to let us create a model portfolio for her. What a sport, huh? This afternoon, we did a “western-wear” shoot for a portion of the portfolio. We strung some of the shots from today through this blog entry.
So, what made us settle on a “western-wear” shoot? Well, professional models are not usually just pretty faces looking for portraits that make them look even prettier. They sell stuff, or at least their employers use their faces and bodies to sell stuff. So an effective model portfolio has to contain material that shows prospective employers that the model can sell their particular products or services. Since Celine is a child (usually children do not travel for modeling jobs), who lives in Texas, we are going to show that she can sell western-wear, a huge market in Texas. There are several avenues we could have chosen for western-wear. Leather, denim, horses and cattle are all great choices. We chose to go with headgear and footwear contrasting with formal wear. It was fun.

But a model portfolio is more than a theme book. This theme will only appear in a portion of the portfolio. There will also be examples of her “selling” products or services with a completely different attitude or tone. The reason for this is the need to show flexibility. We don’t want our model getting locked into one market because of the portfolio we created for her. For Celine, we are going to include some pin-up photography. This will show perspective employers that our model can do western and vintage, two completely different types of markets. It will increase her job opportunities. Our goal is not to just make her look pretty, but to get her modeling jobs.

Of course, there will be quite a bit more to the portfolio than our model’s image plastered all over the place. There are some very specific things a perspective employer wants to know. We are going to include a bio that introduces our model and tells her perspective employer who she is, where she lives, what her cultural background is and most especially, what her goals are. We are also going to include a “measurements” page early in the portfolio. This page will include a series of pictures and actual measurements. This is where we put our model to the test. Most young ladies who dream of modeling, can not imagine posing for the pictures that go on this page. These are “mechanical” shots of our model in a bikini. There is one full body front shot with arms down to the side and one full body back shot with arms folded over her chest. The head shots are straight on, one with hair down, not smiling, one hair down, smiling and one hair up (smiling or not). There is no make up on the model for these shots. Her measurements are posted alongside or under the pictures, and everything is measured, even wrist and ankle circumstance. Prospective employers need to know up front if their product will even fit on our model.

Our final product is both digital and hard copy. Our models will be able to purchase just the digital portfolio if they wish. It will be literally a digital version of the hard copy (book). Of course, a model portfolio needs to be pretty current. We are looking for repeat business, annually. If she our work gets her jobs this year, we know she will be back next year for new measurements and images.

* In this entry, we refer to our model as she since we are using our daughter for our sample portfolio. But the service is certainly available for men as well as for women. A variation of this service is also going to be available for senior portraits. Senior portrait books be almost identical less the measurements page.

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Posted in Behind the Scenes and diy and Models and Senior Portraits by jacci on September 18th, 2011 at 6:38 am.

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