The first step to making money as a freelance model is to have your own portfolio. 

A good modelling portfolio should highlight your best features, and show exactly what you are capable of. When photographers, clients and casting agents look at your portfolio, they should get a clear picture of who you are. 

If you want to know how to create a good modelling portfolio, then read our guide. The sections we’ll explore are:

  • Choose what type of model you are
  • Get a website for your modelling portfolio
  • Decide on your layout
  • Display your measurements
  • Show your range
  • Keep your portfolio up to date

How to create a good modelling portfolio

Follow these guidelines to create a striking portfolio to take your modelling career forward.

Choose what type of model you are

There are countless different types of models. From high street fashion to the runway, commercial to print, the type of model you want to be influences your portfolio.

Before you go about making your portfolio, decide what type of model you want to be. You can always choose to branch out later, but for now, it’s better to aim for one area. 

Types of model:

  • Fashion
  • Glamour
  • Runway
  • Commercial
  • Promotional
  • Print

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but should give you an idea of what you can become.

Get a website for your modelling portfolio

The first step to building your portfolio is to make a website. This website acts as a digital portfolio, and lets potential clients access examples of your work from anywhere.

You can have a link to your portfolio printed on your business cards, so people can immediately see your work. 

Claim your URL

Your website address is important, and it should tell people exactly what to expect. Unfortunately, your ideal website address may not always be available. In that case, it’s better to have something memorable than accurate (spelling, for example). 

Use a hosting service

Websites like Webador and Wix are excellent for new models or people not used to web design. They are super user-friendly, and you can use templates to get a professional-looking website quickly.

These hosting services may also give you an email address related to your website. For example, if you used Webador to host “modelservice.co.uk”, you would get the email address “info@modelservice.co.uk” for free. 

Decide on your layout

When it comes to your portfolio, having your images clearly laid out will give a much better impression than if they were all bunched together. One example of a clean, tidy portfolio is Caitlin Christine, a content creator and model. 

Her front page clearly shows her best images, and you instantly get an idea of the type of modelling that she does. When it comes to choosing your own layout, pick something that highlights your specialisation.

Display your measurements

Not every model is suitable for every job. Sometimes models of a certain height or weight are needed, and you might not fit those requirements. 

Displaying your measurements prominently on your webpage helps filter suitable offers from unsuitable ones. 

Your measurements don’t necessarily need to be the first thing a potential client sees, but they should be easily visible. 

The measurements you’ll need to list are your:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Chest
  • Waist
  • Ethnicity
  • Skin colour
  • Eye colour
  • Hair colour
  • Hair length (short, medium, long)
  • Hair type (straight, wavy, curly)

If you gain popularity or become an influencer, you might find that you don’t need to include your measurements. When you are starting out though, your measurements should be included as standard

There are also a couple of staples that every model should have in their portfolio. These could be on the same page as your measurements, or you could have them front and centre when your webpage loads.

Headshot

Unless you’re a hand model, your most important feature is likely to be your face. It’s the aspect any interested parties will judge first, so having a clear headshot in your portfolio is a must. 

If you’re trying to get into fashion modelling, this could be a beauty shot instead. A beauty shot is a close up facial image, where you’re wearing little to no makeup, so fashion companies can see your natural look.

Full-length body shot

The second most important thing clients will look for is how your body looks. Although you’ve already listed your features, including a full-body shot can help clients visualise you more clearly. 

If a casting agent can imagine you in their campaign, you’re far more likely to be offered the job. 

Show your range

The whole point of your portfolio is to sell your modelling ability. If you only upload a collection of images from the same shoot, or constantly do the same pose, you’re going to miss out on opportunities. 

Your portfolio should have aspects from various different photoshoots. If you’re just starting out, it’s okay for this to be limited, but it should be built upon. 

Don’t be afraid to try new things in your photoshoots. Impromptu ideas can often be some of the best, and create fun and interesting images. 

Your photographer shouldn’t have a problem with this, but talk to them first — they might have a specific idea in mind. 

Tips to help you succeed

Keep it up to date

There’s nothing worse than getting a job, only to find out you’re no longer suitable because you don’t look a certain way anymore. 

People change as they age, and that’s okay. You might lose out on some opportunities, but others will open up — as long as you keep your portfolio updated

If your images are out of date, a casting agent may decide that they don’t want to use you as a model at all. So make sure the images you use are high-quality and represent what you look like now. 

Have a plan for managing your money

When you start reeling in jobs and income, you need a way to manage your money. Why not try a combined business account and accounting app like Countingup?

You can save hours on bookkeeping and use that time to lock down more photoshoots. 

Get started for free.

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