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To TFCD or Not?
Portfolios & do I need one

TFP is an acronym for Trade for prints. In this trade a model trades her modeling time in exchange for the photographers shooting time and receives prints as a payment. TFCD is an acronym for Trade for CD (as in compact disc) whereby the photographer supplies the images to the model on a CD.


Generally TFP's and TFCD's are ways for inexperienced and amateur models and photographers to both acquire images for their respective portfolios without spending much in the process. But if you are trying to break into the modeling world and proceed with a modeling career, then it stands to reason that you want a professional photographer who knows what he is doing to take your model portfolio photos to the next level. Getting an amateur to shoot your photos is a sure fire way to ensure that your career remains amateurish and flames out before it has a chance to start.


Experienced professional photographers generally do not need your photos for their book. But you definitely need their talent, expertise and experience to produce exceptional photos for your book. and for this reason among others you should expect to pay their professional photography fees / rates.


Always remember that ULTIMATELY, ONE GREAT PHOTO can be the difference between a successful career and a failed one. Never go for quantity - always look for the quality.

A modeling portfolio is a book that you can carry around with you that contains your modeling photos. Make sure that you only put your very best photos in your model portfolio. Your portfolio is only as good as your weakest shot. If you only have 5 strong shots then only put five photos in your portfolio. Remember always quality over quantity and always leave them wanting for more.


Decide what kind of modeling you want to do high fashion, glamour, fitness, health, lifestyle, etc. and then put images that show you in those kind of settings.


Develop a great portfolio and always make a great first impression. Choose a durable classy looking binder. Mix your images, follow with a good headshot (portrait) and with a good full body shot. Don't put similar shots in your portfolio, for instance, two shots of the same look. Choose one, and discard the other. Mix black-and-white with color shots. As you get better photos replace your older photos with newer ones. Never just add photos. Always keep your book limited to your best images only. Always select images that reflect the type of modeling you want to do. Keep it classy and keep them wanting for more!

Professional attitude goes a long way

There is no substitute for hard work and commitment. As a professional photographer who works with hundreds of models each year, both amateur and professional, I can tell you that there is one thing that all successful professional models have. Take it from me its not their stunning looks or awesome figure. It's their Punctuality , professional attitude, commitment, hard work and dedication.


Sure it helps to be great looking and have a perfect figure. But if you are lazy, late to make-up calls , show up late for shoots, don't keep yourself in shape, start whining because you are cold, hungry or tired, then believe me your days in the professional modeling industry are numbered. Models that succeed do so because they have a great attitude, on top of their looks.


They show up on time, they are prepared, they answer their phone, they return their missed calls, they get a good nights sleep the night before, and they never complain no matter how hard and unpleasant the shoot might be.


Remember that there are literally millions of models with the same dreams of stardom that you have, they all want to succeed at being a professional model. Those that make a career out of modeling work at it, all day, every day. Its a job, and sometimes it can be a grinding one. It might look glamorous from the outside, but stand half naked on a hot sunny day in summer while the photographer waits for a cloud to pass overhead, and see if you can look sexy and stay cool!


As far as I am concerned, having done this for years, I would rather work with just an OK looking model with a great attitude than a stunner/dime piece with a prima-donna attitude.

Comp cards

A Comp Card is a card with one or more pictures on it, with your name, contact information and vital statistics: Height, weight, hair,  eye color, bust, waist, hips and dress size. Its called a comp card because it normally comprises several images in a composition (composite). Very often your compcard will have a headshot on the front and several different looks on the back. You can have a one-side or two-sided comp card. The size of the comp card can vary but is typically in the 5x7" range.


Comp cards are designed to be printed in mass quantities so that you can leave them with every agent, talent scout, and photographer you meet. Reason being is that they have something permanent to remember you by and also your contact information to get a hold of you in the future if and when they need you to come and get your first paid modeling gig!


How do I go about getting my Comp Card?



Start off by finding a good photographer whose work you like and admire, a photographer who regularly photographs models.  Book a model portfolio session with your photographer. Do headshots and body shots in several different looks. Do as many different looks as you can afford, and dont be shy to experiment. Often a photographer will see something in you that you did not know was there. Take their direction, trust your photographers eye!


A starter model portfolio session can cost anywhere upwards from a few hundred dollars to several thousand depending on the photographer and the amount of time you need.


From the shoot select the best images for your comp card, never more than 5 or 6 at the most. Take them to a local printer or email them to an online comp card printer. They will tell you what size and resolution they need. Your photographer might also be able to arrange to have them done for you or point you to a good local printer. Get 100-200 cards printed. 200 Comp Cards should cost under $200. Most comp card printers have templates and can advise you on the design and look of your comp card.

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