Starting A Model Portfolio Part II: Picking The Right Photographer

How To Pick The Best Photographer For Your Portfolio

You're a tiger!

You're a tiger!

You’ve gone this far in your research; you now want to pick the right photographer. You are in luck because there are thousands of photographers you can work with. As a new model there are tons of people who are willing to work with you for free. Great right? The old saying you get what you pay for could not be truer at this stage.  You can certainly build a portfolio with budding photographers but you will not get the results of an experienced professional.

What to Look for In A Photographer

Consistent Quality

Look to see if they have a good sample of high quality work. Photographers have work displayed all over the internet. They may have Flickr accounts, Facebook fanpages, Model Mayhem portfolios, and portfolio websites. Take a look at these different portfolios and see if they have a consistent amount of work you think is high quality. You can even look at dates of those being published to see the evolution of their work

Shooting Style

Does the photographers work match the style of work you want to pursue? If you want to become a high fashion run way model look for a photographer that has experience lighting and posing a more avante guard style of work. Conversely if you want to be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, that takes a very different style of posing lighting, and composition. Think about what target market your portfolio will attract, and what look you are trying to achieve.

Processing Style

The final images you will receive can be very different from what you see while shooting in the photographers LCD screen. Some photographers go for a very natural untouched look, while others do a fair bit of processing. This can include adding various filters, a varying amount of skin retouching, or other artistic choices. These come down to personal preference. Try to examine how the images have been touched up and if that adds to detracts value for you as a client. There can be a fine line between interesting looking and tacky.

Niche vs. Versatility

Some photographer’s images all look the same; while some are so varied it’s hard to imagine the same photographer took all those shots. When you are starting off it’s nice a get a range of different looks in your portfolio so it’s helpful to look for someone who can shoot and edit a lot of styles. If you have a specific style of modeling in mind hiring a photographer who specializes in that is your best way to go.


Starting off as a model can be pretty intimidating/scary. It can be nerve racking being in front of the camera as a novice especially when you are working with a complete stranger. I believe it’s critical to work with someone with whom you can create a good rapport with and have fun while shooting. There are incredibly talented artists out there who have zero social skills and create discomfort for new models. Often discomfort seeps into the images and the final product is not ideal. Pick someone you will enjoy shooting with. Not only will a good experience produce better results, but it will encourage you to continue shooting.