Clothing Selection for Your Model Portfolio and Head Shot Session


What should you wear?

If someone looks at your photos and comments on the outfit, you have failed. Your model portfolio is designed to sell you, not the clothing, definitely not jewelry, and definitely not the makeup or photographer’s creativity. When selecting outfits for a portfolio shoot – be sure to follow these simple guidelines and you won’t go wrong.

Solid colors. Absolutely no floral prints or patterns.

Make sure the clothing fits properly. Be realistic. Just because you like to wear your clothing tight doesn’t mean that it looks good in a photograph that way.

No trendy or fashion-oriented outfits. A commercial portfolio is about personality – your ability to look and act like an “attractive real person.”

Be sure to have a good mix of colors and styles. An agency should not be able to tell what your favorite color of clothing is when they look at your book. No jewelry.

Be sure the clothing you are bringing to the shoot is clean (no stains, rips, or other imperfections) and properly ironed, pressed, and hung. Yes, wrinkles do show up in photos! In fact, they are 100 times worse and can take hours to retouch out in photoshop.

For model and actor headshots, also be sure to remember the following guidelines

Avoid white and light pastel colors.

Warm earthy tones or neutral colors are best.

If you are shooting more than one top – be sure to mix up the necklines.

Be sure that the top has shoulders – no spaghetti straps, tank tops or sleeveless shirts.

Shirts with texture are great for headshots. (Sweaters, knit or ribbed material, etc).

If you have planned your shoot properly – you started with ideas and then selected outfits to match the ideas.

Remember – your modeling portfolio is selling you and your ability to portray different characters. The outfits that you select are a costume and should not become the focus of the picture.

Do I need to do photos in a swimsuit or lingerie?

There is NO type of modeling or photograph that you HAVE to do to be a model. You do NOT have to model swimwear. You certainly do not have to model lingerie, and you do not have to model anything that is in conflict with your cultural or religious beliefs. Certainly, the more that you are willing and able to do, the more opportunities that you will make available to yourself, and there is no legitimate modeling agency that will ever tell you otherwise.

What about makeup and hair?

I always go by the rule less is more. So a little concealer, mascara, brow maintenance, and lipstick is all you need. If you want to put some eyeshadow on, keep it natural. If you have blemishes, it’s OK! Everyone has them and I retouch the blemishes out anyways unless you tell me otherwise. For hair I would keep it as natural as possible. If you have straight hair feel free to give it a blowout and if you have curly hair just do what makes your hair look best. Remember, the whole point of this is to show what you look like naturally, just elevated a bit. I would also suggest painting your nails a neutral color, beige is your best friend. If your not confident in doing your own makeup I would sugest hiring a makeup artist.

One final suggestion. . . If you find yourself with a great idea, but you don’t own the outfit that you need, avoid running out to the mall and spending money on an outfit that you may never wear again.

Beg, Borrow and Steal. Check with friends and relatives – you may be able to borrow the outfit that you need.

Use a credit card. Be sure to check on the store’s return policy. Return the item after your shoot. (Don’t tell anyone that I gave you this idea.)

If you absolutely have to purchase something that you will only need for the shoot – go to Wal-Mart or Target!)