New To Modelling?

useful tips & tricks


Your Portfolio

Store Front

You should consider your portfolio as a ‘storefront’.   

This is where you will present yourself to all potential clients, casting directors, and model agencies, it will need to be dressed accordingly.

Many people will pass by your ‘storefront’, a small number of people will stop and take the time to browse, however unless your ‘storefront’ is outstanding only a very few people will buy what you are selling. This is a fact!

So the more appealing your ‘storefront’ is the more likely it will be that you will retain more viewers,  working this though means, the more people that look the more people will buy your services. 

Knowing it, and accepting it will help you understand that browsers of ‘storefronts’ are not rejecting you, there’s absolutely nothing personal going on, it’s just the way it works.

Aspiring Models

Before you launch yourself off into this world it is vital that you decide what genres, styles or levels, as they are commonly referred to, of modelling you are comfortable to engage in….. broadly speaking they range from Portraiture to Adult. It cannot be stressed enough you really need to be sure of levels you are happy to work within.  [  more about levels  ]


Of course we all have to start somewhere and the best place is from the bottom rung of the ladder and work your way up.

Models new to the industry probably will not have worked with a photographer before and will not have any images, so they tend to use camera phone snaps and selfies in order to promote themselves.

However these image types are very limiting in their appeal and if a portfolio contains to many ‘selfies’ it will be veiwed as not professional, and potential clients will not stop for long to browse your ‘storefront’.

So it’s in your best interest to find yourself a photographer to work with and create a professional looking portfolio of images that will highlight your skills, abilities and natural assets.


Choosing a photographer to work with may not be as easy as it first appears to be and is not necessarily going to be something that is sorted out quickly.

One of the reasons for this is, there are thousands of photographers out there and like you, they have chosen styles, or levels if you like, they work within so your task is to try and find a photographer that is happy to shoot the same or similar levels as yourself.

The next problem you need to overcome is convincing a photographer to collaborate with you, as many photographers be busy with paying clients, however there will be photographers out there that will jump at the chance to work with a ‘new face’, all you have to do is find one.

Do not be offended if a photographer says no to a collaboration as painfull as rejection is, refusal is quite normal and happens all the time in this industry and if it really upsets you then, ‘this business ain’t for you kid’

Say thank you and either move on, or make an offer to pay them. Money can have a magical effect.



It doesn’t matter what device or communication mechanism you use it’s vital to always communicate clearly.

It is considered to be very impolite to start a dialogue with a photographer, spend a while chatting back and forth, then just drop the chat without explaination.

Do not use txt spk, don’t address a photographer as hun or babe.

Don’t sign off communications with “xxx” as this is a brilliant way to send the WRONG message.

You might be fine with these things but the person you are communicating with might not be.

Be professional and courteous.



Shooting time for…..



T/F, Trade, Collaboration liteally mean ‘time for’. All parties involved are giving their time for free in exchange for images. I’ts not exactlly working for free as it’s everyones expectation that they will recieve images that will help build their portfolio or add to an exsisting port. and the images will be payment for time given.


Good communication is key to succesful outcomes.

Being clear, and leaving nothing to interpretation is more important with TF shoots because there is so much variance in ‘ you’ll get some images’,  all parties need to know what they want and expect from any shoot.

  • mood boards / shoot plans, [ put mood boad link] are a good idea as they will give a visual representation of what both parties envisage the end result to be.
  • exchange phone numbers, chat on the phone about your ideas. also if you get stuck in traffic etc, you can let someone know. always be as communicative as possible and don’t leave anything to guesswork or assumption.
  • of course, if you are a Purple Port member it’s a good idea to use their email system as your primary communication chanel as everything there is traceable and just adds that extra level of security, should things not go well.
  • if you can’t make the shoot or change your mind let others know as soon as possible. There is no shame in changing your mind so don’t make excuses, just say you changed your mind. Not turning up will harm your reputation.

What is my contribution?

Be sure you know what your contribution to a shoot is:

  • if you are the photographer and you have agreed to pay the travel expenses of the model find out what those expenses will be prior to fully commiting to a shoot.
  • models should determine if, hair styling & makeup is required and if so, will it be done by you, or an ‘MUA’  (make up artist). If it’s an MUA whose paying?
  • simalarly with regard to any outfits and accessories or props required.

How many images are provided – will they be edited?

Be clear and upfront about how many images you expect to receive, or in the case of photographers, how many images you will supply. This is always best to agreed before commiting yourself as different people have different expectations and this will lay open a path that can easily lead to bad feeling.

Another important thing to agree on is whether the images, you as a model the images you will receive will be: Edited or Not Edited.

A photographer who fails to deliver images under a TF areement without good reason is totally not acceptable. A models is trading his or her time in exchance for photographs and is not working for free. A model is perfectly within their rights to demand financial recompense if images are not forthcoming.

What size images are provided and will they be watermaked?

Images can generally be generated in whatever size is needed and takes almost no extra effort for a photographer to generate small, web friendly images as well as full sized images. Agree on image sizes that will result from the shoot.

Web friendly images are exactly that, ‘web friendly’ and will not be suitable for you to use in a ‘printed’ portfolio. Generally photographers will be happy to supply you with full resolution images that will produce printed material of A4 size and beyond.

Whether images will be watermarked by the photographer needs to be agreed beforehand. Some watermarks are barely noticable, however some are incredibly distracting and can easily ruin the appeal of and image.

Choosing images

As it’s a collaboration, where everyone has been involved in the creative aspects of the images and everyone expects images they can use for their portfolio it’s a good practice to allow everyone involved to select images from the shoot.

This can be done in a number of ways…..

  • choosing them from the back of the camera
  • downloading and choosing from a computer
  • uploading a secure gallery to the internet and sending everyone involved in the shoot a link to it so they can select images.

Agree on the time taken for delivering images

It’s important to agree a time frame for delivery of images.  An agreement to deliver images to a model somewhere between 7 and 21 days is typical, however some photographers will deliver quicker than that, the vital pont is to agree a time scale to deliver and recieve images.

Are there any restrictions on image use?

Agree on any restrictions for the use of the images beforehand.

It is foolish to assume that images may or may not have encumberments attached as to where and how they can be used.

You should also seek to confirm what, if any, conditions apply to the usage and if there are any licensing rules in place.

Are models allowed to edit images?

Short answer NO.

Most photographers do not allow others to edit their work, this will include cropping an image to rid it of the photographer’s watermark.

If a photographer gives you some images do not assume that you have the right to edit them, you don’t. Check with the photographer.