Excellent visual presentation is essential in all professions and industries. But when it comes to modelling, it’s an absolute must.
Models need a unique portfolio website to represent themselves online and distinguish themselves from others in the field.
A high-quality online modelling portfolio can make all the difference – and we’re here to show you how to create one.
In a cut-throat world like the modelling industry, a website can give you a leg up on the competition.
Though Instagram has become the de-facto platform for models—with thousands of aspiring and working models strutting their stuff on the app – we still believe that investing in a professional portfolio website is the way to go to boost your career to new heights.
It’s a way of showing clients and collaborators that you’re serious about your profession.
Let’s start with some great news: you don’t need to spend a fortune to set up a modelling portfolio website.
Even if you’ve never created a site before, you can learn how to make a portfolio yourself using a website builder.
But how do you make a website that stands out while staying true to who you are?
Here, we discuss everything you need to know about creating a killer model online portfolio website, from how to choose the right images for your site to the most frequently asked questions about building a model portfolio website.
The Advantages of Having an Online modelling Portfolio
What is it about portfolio websites that make them so essential to a model’s career?
Brings Increased Visibility And A Wider Reach.
Compared to a printed portfolio or even a digital folio, a website can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, and at any time. It’s easy to share, look up, and pass to managers, talent agencies, and casters.
Customisable And Easy To Update.
Unlike a printed or PDF book, a website can be updated and customised in literally just a few clicks. The minute you score the photos from your latest project, you can instantly upload them to your website and cross-post them to your social media!
While social media does widen your reach and is easy to update and customise, the website still reigns supreme in terms of professionalism. Think of your website as your virtual office. You can organise your projects in order of relevance, provide an in-depth look into your story, skills, and achievements, and make connections with collaborators—all in one place.
How to Build a Model Portfolio
Whether you are new to model photography or looking to improve your skills, we have an incredible tutorial that can be reviewed before the beginning model portfolio shoot for inspiration.
Here’s a comprehensive look into the business of modelling and testing and delves into what the agencies are looking for about posing and overall imagery in a successful shoot. This education can help serve as a guide for orchestrating the beginner model portfolio shot list and elevate future model test shoots.
The necessary research and production in tandem with the required art direction of shooting the various looks while building the mood during a model portfolio session is a slow burn. The goal is to put the model’s angst at ease, develop a level of trust, and seriously level up their modelling skills.
In one long day shoot or two half-day shoots, we are single-handedly creating a portfolio that appears as though it was captured throughout five or more different photoshoots. Additionally, refining this skill allows to up the ante and always push further in future test shoots with trained models.
Planning and successfully executing a model portfolio photoshoot requires a lot of preparation and due diligence. Below are some tips on adequately implementing that plan to get the most out of the session.
The world of modelling is an encompassing and multi-faceted industry spanning the likes of editorial, commercial, fitness, runway, and print, to name a few. To be of the best service to the model, it is a prerequisite to be well versed with the various facets and specific market locations.
This means researching many specific modelling agencies, studying their models as well as their portfolios. Pay attention to the lighting and the angles and lenses used to create the desired effect, the amount of retouching, and the choice of colour grading.
Decide On Your Modelling Type.
Before you get started on your modelling portfolio, dedicate some time to a bit of soul searching. Pinpointing your modelling type will help you narrow down and focus your portfolio so that potential clients will be able to quickly identify your area of expertise and assess whether you could be the right fit for the job.
If you’re an experienced model, the chances are that you’re already rooted in a specific niche of modelling. For aspiring models, consider which area within modelling you’re interested in and best suited for.
Look into each modelling type and its set of requirements. For example, while commercial models tend to vary in height, size and age, promotional models working at trade shows and other events are typically required to be friendly and approachable.
Arrange A Professional Photoshoot
Your photos are the stars of the show on your modelling portfolio. Make sure to truly show off your skills by investing enough time and effort into a professional photoshoot.
The first step in planning a successful photoshoot is choosing the right photographer. This is best done through recommendations or browsing through photography portfolios online. Ideally, the photographer you hire will be experienced in the field. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can look for a student or a photographer who’s just starting in the industry.
Once you’ve found your photographer and arranged a time, make sure to come prepared on the actual day of the photoshoot. This means everything from choosing the right outfits to practising your poses and getting your hair and makeup done – preferably by a professional. Remember to sync with your photographer and prepare a shot list beforehand. This will help everything run as smoothly as possible on the day.
This knowledge makes it easy to quickly identify which areas and markets the aspiring model’s portfolio should encapsulate and the direction that should be taken for their portfolio. The entire photo shoot will feature the model as a blank canvas with various looks to showcase their range.
Create a mood board with multiple looks that represent these genres and reflect that desired market. Pull image examples for specific outfits or “looks”, hair and makeup, accessories, location, and overall mood.
Stylists are usually the most difficult members of the creative team to come by, especially in the beginning stages, so be prepared to act as one. Be intentional with the fashion choices and plan out every look from the clothing to the accessories and right down to exact hair and makeup.
The selected looks should be modelled after fashions that are specific to their market. Additionally, the overall look from head to toe in the proposed environment should make sense.
Communicate with the model beforehand about the different looks from head to toe that will be photographed throughout the shoot. Whenever possible, opt for new clothing or items that are very well taken care of. Not only will it look better, but it will also save hours of editing on the back end.
The expectations of today’s modern test shoots are already bountiful, so naturally, the demands of producing an entire portfolio with quality imagery while building a brand new model in a day or more minor only adds fuel to a barrel already on fire.
The purpose of pre-production is to organise and troubleshoot to ensure the day goes as seamlessly as possible. The means planning every detail of each look from the outfit, hair and makeup, accessories, location, and necessary lighting.
Pre-production also means coaching the model beforehand to practice expressions such as “smizing,” keeping their lips slightly parted, and learning the best angles to accentuate their features in front of a mirror before the shoot.
Think about what is necessary to make sure everything goes right.
- Location scout around the studio and plan for each look to work most efficiently.
- There should be Gaffer’s tape on set to cover the bottoms of new shoes, clamps to ensure the clothing fits as intended, and towels to place over the model’s face so that makeup doesn’t wind up on the collar.
- Make sure there is a clothing rack with plenty of hangers, an iron, and an ironing board, as well as a steamer.
- There should be adequate space for the hair and makeup artist to work with plenty of light.
- Layout each look with their accessories to be shot and coordinate with the creative team.
- Prepare and plan for each changing location.
- Last but not least, make sure there will be plenty of fluids and snacks on set. If it is going to be an entire day shoot, make sure that lunch is planned for.
Show Your Versatility
While it’s best to be associated with a particular modelling type, when it comes to style and shooting angles, try to present your entire range of abilities. Potential employers and scouts want to see versatility and flexibility in models. This is especially true if you’re just starting and don’t yet have a strong signature style.
Demonstrate to prospective employers that you can work in different types of productions by including a mix of images in your online modelling portfolio. This means photos that vary in style and artistic vision, as well as shots that show off different angles and take on your features.
Choose The Ultimate Template.
Now that you’ve done your photoshoot, it’s time to pick the website template that best suits your needs, style and personality. When considering your options, go for a portfolio template that will help you shine and give you the website layout you need to share your complete body of work.
Once you’ve chosen your ideal template, you’ll be able to fully customise every detail, from the images you upload to the gallery style and written content. By selecting one of Wix’s professional website templates, you can rest assured that the final result will be pixel-perfect, whether or not you’re a web design pro.
Present Your Best Shots
After completing a photoshoot or project, you’ll probably have a vast collection of images to sort through. It’s crucial for a truly professional modelling portfolio that you only include the work you’re proudest of. A handful of successful photos is better than a never-ending scroll of mediocre ones. Around 10 to 20 images should be enough.
Remember that people who browse your portfolio won’t have the time or patience to look through your entire gallery. Prepare yourself for that by giving prominence to your best shots or the most prestigious projects you’ve worked on.
In particular, pay attention to the first few images that viewers see when they land on your website. Create a striking homepage design that includes a range of eye-catching photos of yourself to demonstrate your skills and versatility from the get-go.
When selecting your best shots, keep in mind that there are a few basic types of photos that you should include in your portfolio: headshots with and without you smiling, mid-shots and full-body shots, possibly in different outfits and locations.
Include High-quality Images
This point is vital in making sure your modelling portfolio is impressive and effective. Compromising the images’ quality will make you appear unprofessional, and you also run the risk of putting your most significant assets as a model at risk of being overlooked. Don’t let pixelated images come between you and your career.
On top of choosing only the sharpest visuals, use a professional gallery to ensure your images look their very best.
Use Diverse Media
Still, photos will play the definitive role in your modelling portfolio, but why not keep things interesting by adding different media types? Show off your entire range of capabilities by adding any videos and commercials that you’ve worked on. These can help reveal aspects of your professional demeanour that static images may not.
You can either embed videos directly onto your site or upload videos from external sources like YouTube and Facebook. If you’d like to create a short video yourself, check out Wix’s video maker to put together a few images and video clips that will entice your audience and add a dynamic touch to your modelling portfolio.
Share All The Vital Information.
Whether or not you choose to write a resume and upload it to your model portfolio, bear in mind that there are a few essential details that potential employers will be looking out for.
Models are usually expected to share information like age, height, body measurements, hair, and eye colour. You may choose to include additional features that are unique and appealing to you (tattoos, acrobatic skills, birthmarks, or anything else that might make a photoshoot more interesting).
Add A Contact Section.
What’s the use of creating a modelling portfolio if people can’t get in touch? Make sure that prospective employers or clients can easily reach out to you.
Your contact information can appear as a separate page, in your website footer or as a section within another page, such as your About page. Either way, make sure it stands out and can be found intuitively.
When creating a contact page, include essential details, like your name, business email address and phone number. You can also add a live chat widget so that visitors can contact you quickly and get an instant response. Another option is to create a contact form, enabling people to reach out directly on your site.
We recommend connecting your social media profiles to your portfolio by adding a social bar to your website. This will offer viewers an additional channel through which to see your pictures. But more importantly, your social pics reveal another side of who you are by providing a fuller picture of your personality and abilities.
Use professional social accounts if you have them, but even personal accounts can work, as long as they don’t depict aspects of your life you’d instead not share with colleagues and employers. If you have an impressive Instagram account or are in the social media marketing game, you can also set up your Instagram feed to directly show your model portfolio.
Get Personal With A Blog.
Creating a blog is a great way to inject some personality and add value to your online modelling portfolio. It offers you a place to share experiences from behind the scenes, tips about fashion and beauty, inspiration and more. Besides, running a blog will provide opportunities to casually promote your site by sharing the link on social media.
If you’re unsure where to start, browse online to find some impressive blog examples by other models and professionals from your admire industry.
Choosing the Perfect Images for Your Online Model Portfolio
Now that you have your photos, it’s time to pick the best ones. Typically, you should use between 10 to 20 of your best images—these are the photos that complement your best assets while exemplifying what you’re all about as an artist. Be sure to include clean and simple layouts, too, as most casting agents prefer “blank canvases” that can be moulded into something that suits the client’s brief.
Another thing to consider is the ordering of your photos. It’s best to use a website builder that lets you organise your projects into galleries or even custom pages for different work styles. If you already have some client work under your belt, put these at the beginning of your site.
How to Create a modelling Portfolio
Ready to build your website? If you’re entirely new to the game, you’ll need to go out of your way to start from scratch—this means staging your shoots so you have something to show potential clients. Here’s what you can do to get started on that:
Pick A Few Genres You’d Like To Work In.
Are you looking to get into high fashion or commercial modelling? Are you up for some swimsuit modelling, or do you prefer going the fitness route? Pick a lane or two that you’re comfortable in and design your shoot concept around these. You don’t have to box yourself in just one genre, but you can highlight your strengths in the ones that you want to do.
Get A Photographer.
Don’t just get a friend with a camera—commission a photographer who’s had ample experience in fashion and commercial photography. You can strike up a deal where you both allow each other to use the photos in your portfolios. An up-and-coming photographer trying to build their portfolio would likely be happy to have a willing subject for their work.
Prepare A Variety Of Layouts And Angles.
Aside from styling your shoot to suit the genre you’re going for, you should also aim to get various shot sizes and angles. Every model website should include headshots (smiling and neutral), 3/4 shots, and full-length shots.
Model portfolio shoots are one of the most challenging areas of photography to execute. There is a lot of value in appropriately developing models for their markets and helping get them placed.
Mastering the skill to produce quality no matter what increases confidence as a photographer, it will also improve all subsequent model tests in the future and build lasting relationships with the various modelling agencies. Not to mention that the production and art direction learned can also cross over into other profitable areas of portraiture such as branding and boudoir