Basics of modeling in India: Portfolio

If you want to become a model, you supposed to have certain pictures to start with. Basic required materials are portfolio and polaroids.

Check how to make model’s polaroids Here

Portfolio is very important for every model. It is a foundation of your entire modeling career, without it you can not be a professional model.

Many people want to built their modeling portfolios on collaboration shoots. However, this is not always the way to make a good start. On collaboration shoots more often you can get a creative type of pictures, which is also good, but for your portfolio you need to have basic looks as well. You need to understand that collaboration shoots are something that photographer, make-up artist, stylist and the model want to do together, the pictures should be useful for everybody in future. But your portfolio is something that you need, first of all. And..the quality of your initial portfolio is that important that your entire career may depend on it! Later, when you will start getting jobs, they will add more and more pictures to your portfolio, but to start getting good jobs you need to have good pictures!

It’s not impossible to built a good portfolio on collaboration shoots, but…In most of the cases photographers, stylists and make up artists are not very interested in doing basic looks – for their portfolios creative looks are more important. It’s still possible they will agree on doing some pictures they way you need as well, but to find one team or even just one photographer who will do full portfolio for free for you is way more difficult. Usually it can be some beginner photographer which won’t be able to make a good quality pictures yet. Collaborating with different people and asking them to make different pictures you need every time, can take you a quite a long time to built a portfolio to finally start working with – a strong portfolio with a good or at least decent quality images. So, if you want to be sure in the quality of your portfolio and want to start working fast – better you pay some good photographer for it. Or, you can also find an agent/ agency for yourself – then they are the ones who supposed to arrange it for you (but they can charge for it from your first payments as well).

What basic portfolio means? In India it means you are supposed to have pictures in different type of clothes, without dramatic make-up or lighting (again, you can have them too, but additionally). Why different type of clothes? Because that’s how clients here do choose the models for their shoots most of the times. You can’t send bikini pictures if you want to get a saree shoot, suppose, and vice versa.

The beginner portfolio for models in India should include:

  • 4-5 looks;
  • Full body shots, medium shoots (knee length) and portraits;
  • Portraits: you should have at least 1-2 portraits with nude make-up. You can have creative make-up pictures too, as many as you want – they can be helpful for you to get creative type of assignments. But basic make-up photos are must-have.

The basic looks you would need:

*The following pictures are just examples and you do not need to copy them exactly for your portfolio!

  • Casual look pictures: street style or catalogue type of studio pictures but not a blogger style of posing – learn how to pose like a model Here;
  • Formal look pictures: necessary for male models to have because there are many formal wear shoots for male models in India. But optional for female models – there is not many formal wear shoots for female models in India;
  • Indian wear look: It’s really advised to have such pictures for models to work in India (even International models have to make them sometimes to get Indian wear assignments). You don’t need it if you are an Indian (or international) model who is too skinny and has very International, non-commercial looks – then you will not really get ethnic wear assignments here. For those female models who need to make it, it may feel like bridal make up images are useless for you, but it’s not true – they can also help you to get Indian wear assignments, and jewelry shoots as well;
  • Elegant look pictures: it can be evening dresses for girls. Not necessary but better to have it. For male models it can be elegant formal suits, that means it is not really necessary to have since you already have formal wear pictures;
  • Portraits. Necessary to have at least 1-2 portraits with basic make-up, not just creative ones, as I have already mentioned above. Creative make-up and jewelry shots will be beneficial for you. Creative make-up pictures are not necessary to have for male models but they can help you to get high-fashion shoots assignments as well…or contract abroad;
  • In India models mostly are given the choice to do or not to do lingerie and bikini shootings, at least Indian models (with international models it depends on how it was discussed with the agency). There is a lot of lingerie work in India actually. If you want to do lingerie shoots, you are supposed to have lingerie/bikini photos in your portfolio as well. But, needs to remember also that not every model has a body for lingerie shoots as well;
  • Other type of pictures, like sport wear photos, sunglasses portraits, pictures with bags etc, will be also beneficial for you to have: the more types of clothes & accessories will be on your portfolio pictures (and right posing for them), the better for you. However, for sport wear, sunglasses, bags etc. you can be easier selected without having similar photos in your portfolio.

Important tips for portfolio shoot:

  • Find a good photographer/photographers for that! Seriously, it’s very important. If the photographer is beginner and doesn’t shoot well, those pictures will spoil the whole impression of you and won’t help you to get work;
  • Discuss all the looks with the photographer before the shoot, ask about make-up artist (it’s better you have a professional make-up artist for your portfolio shoot, because if you do make-up yourself, you might look not as good on your pictures as you desire);
  • If you supposed to have a stylist on your portfolio shoot, you do not need to worry about clothes & accessories (however, it’s better you still carry some, along with multiple foot wears, because what if the stylist’s foot wear will not fit you?). If you will not have stylist on your portfolio shoot, then you need to carry as much outfits as possible (but according to the kind of looks mentioned above, or discussed with the photographer, or your agent telling you to carry). It’s always better to take more than required! Also carry different accessories, bags, sunglasses – they can be useful;
  • Prepare – physically and mentally. Take care of your skin, nails, hair -read Here how. Don’t do portfolio shoot if you need to make some changes in your look before starting modeling: to loose weight, to change your hair style etc. – otherwise you will not be too much able to use those pictures after. Also learn posing as much as you can before the shoot and tell yourself not to feel shy. Photographer, of course, can let you know some poses, but the confusion and fear on your face can’t be photoshoped. Take care of your face expressions as much as possible on your portfolio shoot – face expressions often are more important for clients than the posing of the model even. Feel yourself as already professional model – it will add you some confidence – feel as someone, who expected to give as many different poses and expressions as possible already because it’s your future work. And just experiment with posing – don’t worry about looking weird on some photos – it is totally normal thing for professional models as well and even celebrities – nobody can look perfect on just every picture!;
  • And the last – portfolio is only type of shoot that supposed to show the model, not the clothes. So enjoy it, you can be more creative on this shoot than on commercial shoots! (but yet, pose the way that the pictures could be useful for your career).

P.S.: Remember, if you have an agent/ agency – then you don’t need to organize it yourself – they will do it. If they ask you to do it – change the agent/ agency – they are useless and most probably just don’t have contacts.

Pictures source:

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