You really want to start a career in Modeling, but you actually just don’t know where to start, you know that you need a portfolio but you don’t have anything to show as yet, THANK GOODNESS it isn’t that difficult to get a Modeling portfolio started, take a look at the steps below, this will significantly improve your chances of getting noticed and booking your first jobs that could set you up for your Modeling career lets jump right in.

What is a portfolio?  It is your modelling CV, it is what your potential employees see first and it is the first impression that you create, it is your calling card. 

Your portfolio needs to show who you are, and what you can do, it should contain your best work that shows off you capabilities and your personality.  You can have 2 versions, the short one that is submitted to get an interview, but always take your complete book with you to every interview.


There are so many different styles and types of Modeling that you can explore and choose from, so have a bit of fun looking into all the different styles and see which ones you feel you could really enjoy and work with. 

Your portfolio images need to reflect this style, and you would need to explain your style to your selected photographer so that you can work together in designing your portfolio.  Deciding on your style will also help you to focus your marketing to promote yourself, and your future recruiters and agencies will find it much easier to work with you because they can see the direction you want to go.

Here are some examples of Modeling styles:-



Live – (tradeshows etc)

Catwalk or runway



This is a critical step in your portfolio building process, find a photographer who is working in the Modeling industry, this will add authenticity to your images, find someone you trust to work with you, you can get away with a non-professional, as agencies want to see you.  You need clean clear images of who you are, but to greatly improve your chances of getting hired, then choose to work with a professional photographer. 

Look at their work, do they fit the Modeling style you want. 

Give them a call and see if they fit the brand you are wanting to design and create. 

Are they the right artistic fit for you, can they diversify to fit your style and ideas?

Bonus Tip: Make sure you have clean, studio photos as these usually look more professional and impressive to agencies, compared to lifestyle photos that tend to take the attention away from the model.

Ashleigh Wegener Portraits, family, beauty, children, portrait, KZN Midlands photographer, Hilton,


Your selected artist needs to understand how to style and do your makeup for photography.  There is a skill to photographic make up, and your artist needs to be able to take your look from clean and simple all the way through to Avant guard – if that is the style you are wanting.

Cameras are super sharp these days and lighting can be unforgiving, showing imperfections in the make up like blotchy uneven foundation, glitter highlights, and when using studio lighting, highlighted foundation does not work.

Don’t get a shock if you feel that your make up is super heavy or dark, it doesn’t show up like that in camera, so you are safe.

Ashleigh Wegener Portraits, family, beauty, children, portrait, KZN Midlands photographer, Hilton,


A photo session can take a long time, so arrive prepared, practice your posing styles in front of a mirror, I don’t suggest taking selfies because your photographers angles and positions will be very different to yours and the images will NOT come out the same.  Use a mirror, and practice creating shape with your body, practice your hand positions, practice facial expressions.  Practice different positions, sitting, standing, using a chair, using the floor.  Practice, it will make your shoot easier, and it will give you some very good strong ideas of what you want to create in your portfolio session.  Practicing will also give you greater confidence for your session.

#ashleighwegenerportraits #family #portraits #children #beauty #photography #photographer


The fun part, picking your outfits!  How glamorous do you want to be?  This, once again, needs to work with the style of Modeling you want to pursue.  A great stating point is a clean and simple outfit that will give you your basic headshots, an outfit that will show your from and wont distract from you.  Try to keep your outfit selection from being baggy or oversized, agencies want to see YOU!  The model.   You can do some OTT looks to show what you are capable of, but keep those to a minimum.  Again, keep the focus on you as the model.  But have fun, show some diversity in your outfit choices, but keep them to point.  Keep them in the style of your Modeling type.


Its your photoshoot day!  Be professional, get there early, ask questions, communicate your vision to both your photographer and to your makeup artist and stylist, work with them to be as versatile as you can be at your shoot, show what you are capable of, you know your vision, so let them know and as a team you will come up with a sensational set of images.   See if you can shoot both in studio and outdoors, this will had more diversity to your portfolio.

Have your shot list prepared and make sure your photographer has a copy too. 

Headshots front and profile

Medium shots

Half body shots

Full body shots

This will give you a range of images to pick from.

Ask that your images always be taken in full colour, and then they can be edited into black and white later on if necessary


You only need about 10 to 15 of your best images, include a variety of compositions, i.e.  headshots, mid shots, half and full body, different outfits.  Maybe take your mom or a bestie with you to the viewing to help you pick your images.  This is a tough choice, so you may need help in deciding.

If possible, add in different settings, meaning studio and outdoors.


Have your images printed and arranged in your portfolio book, you can create your own with plastic sleeves, try to find a really classy and elegant folder for your images

Or have your images printed in a book form.  Chat to your photographer, they will more than likely have contacts and suppliers to have this done for you.

The industry standard size is A4, the cover is usually black and make sure the pages are easy to flip through.

If you are having a book printed the normal standard is 20 double page including 40 images, if you are just starting out, less images is totally acceptable, and arrange your images so that your best ones are at the beginning of your book.  You can work with your photographer to design your book.


You now have an elegant professional stand out portfolio that you can send out.

Stay tuned for the next post where we cover creating an online portfolio that will work in conjunction with your printed one.

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