How to start a modelling career and
create a portfolio
If you are here, then it is probably because you are interested in doing modelling or maybe you are already at the start of your modelling career, in either case I hope this quick article will provide you with useful information.
Having worked with quite a few models at different levels and stages of their careers (from beginners to professionals), my conclusion is that the best way to start a modelling career is by sending your images to a number of different model agencies, for which I suggest you take 2 types of shots.
Take simple snapshots
To begin with, you need to do a few simple images (snaps) like headshots and full-length images with no or very little/natural makeup, simple hair style, black form-fitting cloths, easy poses (to show your face and your body).
You can create simple snaps on your own by setting a timer on your camera / asking a friend/mum... Or you can use a photography service. Snaps usually take about 15 -20 min and require no special preparation. Avoid edititng snaps because agencies want to see your actual face, skin, figure.
For perfect snaps - go outdoors, find a plain grey/white wall and wait till it gets cloudy. Take your snaps! The images will have a soft daylight hue which will help them look more professional. If it's sunny - find a shadowy place and shoot there. Avoid bright colours around you whilst taking snaps (like green grass and trees/red house/yellow car/ etc.) otherwise they may reflect on your face with "dirty shades".
Take fashion shots
Next, have a think about taking some fashion shots with a proper makeup and hairstyle, cloths and interesting poses (to show your posing and modelling skills). Whilst such shots are not essential for submitting to agencies it is definetely an advantage to have them in your portfolio to attract more attention.
In comparison to snaps, fashion images are quite hard to create without the appropraite settings and an experienced photographer, a makeup and hair artist and a stylist. If you want to get some fashion shots, I would recommend you to contact a photographer who specialises in fashion/beauty/portrait shoots (for instance you can contact me 😄).
I strongly recommend that you don't contact photographers who specialise on new-born/kids/wedding/product/food/landscape etc. photography for creating your portfolio just because it's not their area. A photographer who is perfect at reportage photos may be an absolute "dummy" in portraits and vice versa. For this same reason I don't do weddings/parties/graduations just because it's not my specialisation. If a photographer assures that he/she works in all directions and styles, s/he is either a genius or... not entirely truthful. From my part, I am yet to come across such a genius. Be selective!
When you have selected the right photographer for your fashion shoot, I recommend you find a professional makeup & hair artist (muah) and a stylist (obviously, I would recommend my professional team of a muah, Julia Jeckell, and a stylist, Laura Karin). When selecting a muah and a stylist, look carefully at their portfolios first and only then decide whether you're ready to pay their price. Remember: don't be penny wise and pound foolish!
As soon as you have the team ready (even if it's only a photographer), tell the team what your goals are, what images you need and share your moodboards if you already have any specific ideas. Don't worry if that's your first time and you don't know anything at all, a professional team will help you to create your moodboard and will consult you throughout.
If you are under 18, don't visit any shoots/castings/ meetings alone, especially with people you don't know personally. Always bring your parents/elder relatives with you. No reputable photographer/agency would ever insist on you coming alone. Safety first!
I hope this information was helpful! Good luck!
If you have any questions, comments, recommendations or you want to add something, don't hesitate to contact me or leave a comment below.