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Model Files : How to find a photographer Pt2.

So, you've finished part one of the blog  realize now that you need to find a photographer who knows how to take good photos. You want this because since your image is your moneymaker, you want to look like YOU, right? Good. Now let's look at some examples of good and bad modeling photos, and why.


Image courtesy of Summer Crook of Gaia Lios

This is a great example of a good image.

As you can see, there has been some editing, but: 

  • The model still looks like herself

  • The model still has her natural skin tone, and texture (she does not look like a plastic doll)

  • The model still has some of her natural features like dimples

  • The model has natural highlights and shadows on her skin, and does not look flat


*One of the quickest ways to have your image fail is to have a blurry model. People looking at portrait need to connect to it. If your subject has blurry eyes, the image fails right away.

Image courtesy of Summer Crook of Gaia Lios

This is another example of a great image, more on the editorial side, but still holds true to the basic photo principles:

  • The model is in focus

  • There are creative effects on it, but they are subtle. The model still looks natural.

  • The colors are still natural, and the image looks clean and bright.

  • The image isn't degraded by gimmicks like heavy vignetting, over saturated colors, glitter, or anything else that you'll find in the "special effects" panel of most software.

  • Blur within the image is used properly, and does NOT affect the model


One of my early attempts

Here is an example of an image that's not completely terrible, but not good, and not at ALL good for a portfolio. It's very good as a teaching photo:

  • Harsh lighting

  • Model's eyes aren't fully in focus

  • Unflattering angle (model's features look flat and distorted)

  • Does not show any of the rest of the model

  • Super saturated and unnatural colors

  • Unnatural retouching (plastic skin)

  • Use of green screen with blonde hair


Now there is one caveat to all of this for both models and photographers. MOST (nearly all, if not all) agencies want "clean" shots. That means, no fancy props or makeup. While the type of shots listed above are good creatively, and are excellent if you want to show some bonus creativ pics (or if you're a photographer looking to be a part of a showcase for "editorial" work), the beat portfolio shots are ones that just show YOU.


Lucy McKeown, Makeup Artist at Lucy Mc Makeup, and Owner/Agent of La Moda Models, explains, "We need snapshots. Agencies need to see the blank canvas, and then we can work around your look and sell you with professional photos."  One thing to be clear about though is that "selfies" don't cut it. " Selfies in toilet mirrors, or night clubs, or people in pajamas, are my top 3 pet hates," She says.

Even some professional photographers offer these types of "agency" shots and may have a "Modeling Portfolio" package or pricing so be sure to ask if there is a photographer that you're interested in. You want to make sure that you're using your time wisely and even if it's just for trade, getting photos that you can use later to further your career.


Example of clean agency shots - Courtesy of


So the takeaway from all of this is:  if you're serious about a modeling career you need to make sure that you're being represented as your best in your photos. If you're hoping to join an agency, that means clean, not over the top filtered photos, and if you want to use your pictures for publication (assuming you have permission from the photographer), you need quality photos that are also not over the top and filtered. 

Here's a project: Google five sites that deal with modeling, either for submissions, or for current models at the agency. Take your 4 most recent pictures done with a photographer, and compare them to the pictures you see on these sites. How do they stack up?


Special thanks to Summer D. Crook of Gaia Lios, and Lucy McKeown of La Moda Models, and Lucy Mc Makeup