Your Modeling Portfolio Is Everything

Filed under: General — Tags: , — jstephens @ 11:34 pm

Every professional model must have an exciting portfolio. Don’t even think of going to an agency or expect to get paid for modeling if you don’t have one. A model’s portfolio is her calling card. It shows her versatility, the different model posing looks that she can portray and her range as a model. A lot hinges on a model’s port and putting one together should be held as high priority, not only by the model, but by the photographer as well. Because a portfolio for a model shows different looks, facial expression is crucial. So while the model is working to reveal various expressions, it is also the role of the photographer to draw out those expressions and help her.

Both model and photographer can work together to create a professional glamour model portfolio that shows versatility and allows the model to put her best foot forward.

Tips for the Photographer

While it is your job to get great shots of your model so that she can include them in her book, it is also your job to encourage her, help her to pose and to show appropriate expressions. You can do this by talking to her. Create scenarios that awake emotions within her and get her imagination and creativity flowing. Maintain a dialogue between the two of you, encourage her and praise her when she “hits” it.

Observe expressions that you encounter every day. Begin with the simple raised eyebrow or demure smile. Try to recall circumstances that prompted that particular expression and try to recreate that to some degree to inspire your model.

Facial expressions are dependent upon many parts of the face so attention to just one area will not achieve the desired results. Watch the eyes, for with expressive eyes, you can have a “blank” face, but speak volumes. Closely watch the mouth, how the corners turn up, the little muscles flexing around the lips. Eyebrows are also great components of expression, as are how the head is held. Record several situations that evoked strong expression such as joy, sorrow, anxiety, concern or anger.

Magazines can be great reference books for interesting expressions. Just remember that each model will be a little different and what you see in a magazine may not necessarily be what your model displays. As you flip through a magazine, pay close attention to the expression that each model displays and think about ways to draw that same expression from your model.

Work with a model to get some of the basic expressions that you have found in your research. Watch the detail, the small points that give each expression its depth and impact.

A good way to get some practice in if you are just starting out is to find a few models that are willing to do TFP/CD (Time for Prints or CD) which means that they will pose for you and in return you will give them prints or a CD of the shoot, whichever you two agree to do. This will give you great experience shooting glamour model portfolios and you can experiment with expressions.

Decide before the shoot five or six different expressions that you want to explore during the shoot. You may want to jot them down on notecards and include phrases that you can use as prompts, however, keep in mind that photography is very visual and written instructions will only go so far.

Work with your models to achieve the various expressions by using the phrases and imagery that you created.

Tips for the Model

As a model, your model pose is the focal point in a shot. You want your portfolio to show you in a variety of moods, looks and expressions so that you can appeal to more clients. You can prepare for the diverse expressions you will use when shooting your port by researching various magazines. As a glamour model, you want to scour the high fashion magazines for material. If you are interested in commercial work, check out the more commercial oriented magazines. Keep a book of different looks, poses and expressions. This will become your idea book.

The mirror can be a great teacher, so practice the different poses and expressions in front of a mirror. Begin with one pose or expression in your book, perfect it, then move a bit, make some changes so that you can make it your own. Think about what the model must have been thinking when she was shooting. Overcome your self consciousness by practicing and practicing because when you are confident, you will not be inclined to be self conscious. And the camera is not kind, it picks up your self consciousness and lack of confidence.

Your eyes should be an area of great focus. Concentrate on how your eyes reflect anger, sorrow, joy and other expressions. Watch your eyebrows and the little muscles around your eyes. Try covering your face by wrapping a scarf around your head so that only your eyes show. Try to display expressions through your eyes only.

Stretch your imagination and run through various scenarios in your mind to evoke a particular emotions. Try to show those emotions through the expression on your face.

Repeat this exercise again and again until you can call up any desired expression at will. Learn to cry, to be ecstatic and to be afraid. It isn’t enough to just look sad, ecstatic or afraid, you have to become those emotions, experience them.

The next step is to get in front of the camera and get some model posing techniques experience under your belt. Find a photographer who is willing to do TFP/CD and work with them. Not only will you have the opportunity to practice your different expressions, you will get some great shots for your portfolio as well!

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