Models and photographers starting out in the creative industry often find it difficult to get the balance between number of images in your portfolio and the quality of these images. Here VENTH’s thoughts on things you should consider when deciding how many images you should have in your porfolio.
You should have as many images in your portfolio as you have that are good and recent. If you have one image that is amazing, your portfolio should be one picture. If you have 10 images that are amazing they should all be in your portfolio. Obviously you need to be careful that you don’t go to the other end of the spectrum where you think everyone of your photos is amazing.
Usually what I would recommend is to try and have at least 10-15 really excellent images that are RECENT!
Don’t put images in your portfolio from 3 years ago and try and pass them off as if you shot them last week.
Have images that reflect your different abilities. Don’t just have 14 beauty shots where your skin looks amazing; you want to show that you can do beauty shots, or fashion, or lifestyle, etc.
Any style of photography that you want to get hired for as a model should be in your portfolio. Any style of photography that you want to get hired for as a photographer should be in your portfolio. Both sides of the camera should approach this in the same way.
If you want to be considered by lingerie brands, you have to have lingerie images in your portfolio. If you want to be considered for makeup brands you should have beauty shots in your portfolio.
You should be aiming to have a portfolio that shows that versatility. If you are a model, shoot with as many different styles of photographer as you can, some photographers shoot amazing polished photography that would look at home in an advert. There are photographers that do artistic grungy photos. There’s a million different options. Look at photographers portfolios and ask “am I missing this” in my portfolio. If you are – do a photoshoot and actually put the photos in your portfolio.
This is actually a pet hate of photographers. Always look at an image as a third person. Never look at the picture as yourself and whether you look good or bad in the photo. Only the person in the photo is going to look at the photo in that way. Look at the image overall and ask yourself is this showing some kind of versatility, and is this a high quality image. You might not even be able to tell the photo is of you in some cases!
I like to use a Guy Bourdin image as an example. Most people have scene the red and white image where there is a girl disappearing into a hole and all you can see is her butt and her shoes.
Most people have seen that image. Most people would kill to be the model in the photo. But you can’t tell who it is from her legs. Show that you have the ability to be good in an image. It is also good to show that you are in images that are great even if you can’t see your whole face properly. It shows that you are not a drama queen, it shows that you are willing to do things to sell an image not to necessarily further yourself.
Once you have picked the best images for your portfolio you need to decide how this should be presented. I would suggest not choosing between digital and hard copy portfolio. It seems like people are going more and more towards not doing hard copies but everyone loves to see the images in that format. Bookers want to hold the images in their hands and turn the pages. You might have your book printed and never get to show it to anyone. It will be a lot worse for you if someone wants to see your printed book and you don’t have it than if you have a printed copy that you never show.
Having a printed book shows that you care about your career. It’s the same as expecting a lawyer to have business cards. There is something about a printed image that shows a level of professionalism. It’s no different than preferring to hold a magazine than reading a pdf copy. By giving them something real to hold onto really does show them something different.