Model Portfolio

What is an agent looking for?
If you have to present your portfolio to an agent, you would like to give them the photo’s they are looking for.
1. You can show them how versatile
you can be and how good you can
express yourself.
2. It is also very important to show
in the pictures how good you can
tell a story.


Only a “pretty face” is not good enough. You have to be a little bit of an actor as well, in order to be successful in the modeling business.
To make a good modeling portfolio, you certainly need a good photographer who can support you with telling your story. And knocking
on my door is the first step in the good direction.

Why me?

I have studied 4 years of acting and have graduated from one of the best
performing arts colleges in Sydney, Australia; ACTT (Actors College of Theater and Television).
Please check out my acting website:
My education can support you to tell your story during the photo shoot.

To make this modeling portfolio guideline I will use the shots I made of Genyro Westmaas, who has been signed up in one of the best model agencies in Amsterdam, by only sending the pictures I made of him. This fact can only back up the story in this chapter, but it does not promise that it will happen to every model I make pictures of. Every agency is looking for a certain character, certain look, body shape, lenght and size, etc…That I cannot help you with. I can only give you a good advice: Keep you self in shape! That is what Genyro does by working out in a gym almost every day.

What kind of photos do you need?

You want to wow the agent (or a potential client) from the beginning to the end, so you put your pictures in certain order and make your agent remember you.


Let's first see what kind of images you need for your portfolio:

1. A head shot

There are two types of a head shot.

A. For a fashion or Editorial model
This is a color shot from the shoulders up, with a minimum make-up and jewelry. Hair should be natural with minimum styling. This way the agent can see the real look of a model. Editorial models usually do not smile in a beauty shot. 

B. For a commercial model
a clean head shot where model can be more relaxed, with a smile or not,
depends what he/she wants to portray in this shot. This head shot can be in color or black/white and the latest trend seem to allow the head shot to be from the waist all the way up. gw3

2. A body shot

(full length)
Model should be wearing something simple and body conscious
for the agent to see the proportion and the built of the model’s


3. A swimming suit shot

For female models:
For this next photo in your portfolio, you would like to have a stylish shot in a swimming suit. You do not want a picture in your portfolio that makes you look overly sexual, if your goal is a top model agency than a plain picture in a swimming suit will be just right. It might be good to check the top models magazines and look for these kinds of pictures to see what message you get from them, and then think about what kind of message you want to portray with this picture in your portfolio.

For male models:
Swimmers or boxer shorts are acceptable. 



4. Creative shots

Next few shots in the middle (8 to 12 creative shots in different outfits and locations, different lightning, indoor and outdoor), can be as creative as you can make them, in order to show how versatile you can be. Remember quality is more important than quantity.
A. Fashion shots for a fashion model.
B. A commercial shot for a commercial model.
Note: The standard photo size is 8x10 inches. Other sizes include 9x12 and 11x14

5. A smiling shot

You should have at least one smiling shot in your portfolio where the agent can see your teeth. And do not worry, your teeth do not have to be symmetric or perfect, there are many supermodels with a big gap in their teeth, or uneven teeth. They just want to see your personality and how you look like when you smile as well.

6. A closing shot

Always end with one of your strongest photos. Another great shot that is a little different than your opening shot because most people only remember the very first and very last photograph in your portfolio.


This is an advice how a model portfolio should be to start with. However, a portfolio should always be updated with new pictures and tear sheets of your modeling jobs. The more you work the more experience you gain the better your pictures would look like. Therefore keep updating your modeling portfolio as much as you can.


Genyro Westmaas

It was great to work with Shanna.
She as a photographer can empathize with the model en does not only take a shot, she also helps with the story behind the picture. Shanna was always enthusiastic about the shoots and was always open to new ideas.

The real plus point is that she does the shoots with pleasure and makes a real effort to get that perfect picture.

Vicky Zimmerman
Founder of Vicky-Foundation

Shanna was recommended to us by a mutual friend in 2016, and she was very enthousiastic to participate in our first edition of best Avantgarde Photographer challenge. 
As all other photographers, Shanna was linked to one of our models "Mister Avangarde" with a challenge to make three winning pictures of him. The journey to the finales was challenging with many outside factors, but despite all ups and downs that came her way, she never gave up. She kept giving her best, regardless the circomstances. The hard work always pays off, so she won the 2nd place in the finales. 

Shanna is fun, professional and enthusiastic person. I wish her all the best with her career as a photographer.

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