How to build a stronger modelling portfolio

Photoshoot with Joanne at West Coast Park

Along the journey to become a model, you probably have already done some photoshoots. However, some people may advise you that your photographs aren't good enough and you're probably thinking of how to build a stronger or better modelling portfolio.

Indeed, it's important for a model to own a good portfolio, which showcases both her talent and professionalism. Not only should the model appear good inside the photographs, the quality of the photographs, including the lighting, composition and post-production work, will give the viewer the overall impression of the portfolio.

It takes two hands to clap and in the case of modelling, being talented isn't enough to ensure the photoshoot will produce good work; photoshoot is a team effort after all. Although the model's experience can improve the result tremendously, there's a limit to what a new photographer can do. In a shoot that a hair and make-up artist is involved, there will be more uncertainties to the quality of results, unless the talent is very experienced.

I've a large number of freelance model friends in my Facebook friend list and I get to see new photoshoot work often. Thus, I've my fair share of viewing less-satisfactory quality work. The most common problem is the lack of experience of photographers who have turned the model's face flat due to the lighting or overdone PhotoShop work to turn the model's face blur or look like plastic. Next common problem is the makeup either done by the model herself or an inexperienced makeup artist. Often, in order to make the nose look sharper, lots of contouring powder is used, which eventually makes the nose look like plastic.

The trick to build a strong portfolio is to work with good photographers and makeup artists.

Unfortunately, most people are not able to differentiate between good and bad work, and they are likely to adore work that are actually less impressive. Many photographers are better in boasting than producing high quality work. Good marketing skill may make them look fictitiously professional. Perhaps, the marketing part may help new models to gain more exposure, except that it may be in a negative way. I've heard stories of some photographers who would approach model-wannabes and boast that they can help the new faces to become famous. I also know a few potential models who continue to upload work taken by weird photographers, and over time, I've grown sick and started filtering off their photographs.

The most important skill you should possess is the ability to judge quality of photographs and that will help you to choose the correct photographers to work with.

It took me lots of effort and time to pick up the skill of judging photographs, partly because I didn't set a budget to buy fashion magazines. To improve on the skill, one trick is to see more work from other good photographers while not being tempted by photographs that simply show boobs. As a photographer, my skill in judging portfolio progresses tremendously as I practise more on photoshoot and compare the results to see the differences. Unfortunately, not many people are talented and thus, it will take time for their eyes to mature, unless they work extra hard.

Perhaps, before you decide to work with any photographer, you may like to have a few of your good friends who are into photography to vet through the photographer's work before deciding whether to work with him/her or not.

As a guideline to what is good work, you should look through my portfolio and understand that my work isn't even the top quality work although they are probably better than the work of more than half of the photographers' you can see online. My point is if you are looking to build a strong portfolio, you should judge the photographer's work and make sure that they are more presentable than mine. Otherwise, you can just take it as a practise session with the photographer and lower down your expectation of the results.

The final step is to get your photographer. If you have the budget, it would be easier of course since you can approach any good photographer to get a full portfolio photoshoot done.

However, most potential models are in their young age and may not have the finance power. It's not the end since the secret is that most professional photographers, similar to professional models, are open to do TFCD shoot if they happen to meet the "right person". That means if you've the looks and personality that the professional photographer is looking for, especially if you suit a certain theme in his mind, he may collaborate with you when he has an empty timeslot. Perhaps, you've to be sincere.



You may like to read:
- How to judge a photographer
- How to become a model in Singapore
- Good Models, Bad Models
- Photography & Modelling Scams
- Hair & Makeup Artist (HMUA) in Singapore
- Freelance Photographer in Singapore



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