How To Build a Modelling Portfolio
Even if you’re completely new to the industry, you probably already know that the one thing every child or teen model needs is a modelling portfolio. This is because a model portfolio is a casting director or photographer’s first chance to see your child or teen. And if they like what they see, they may call your child in for an audition or, as sometimes happens with child models, they’ll go right ahead and book them for work.
So as you can imagine, learning how to create a modelling portfolio should be pretty high on your to-do list. And luckily for you, we’ve got plenty of experience at doing just that. You can imagine just how many child model portfolios we’ve seen in the past four decades!
We’ve drawn on this experience to create a quick guide on how to build a modelling portfolio, but before we get to that, let’s take a look at what a kids model portfolio actually is.
What is a kid’s modelling portfolio?
A kids modelling portfolio is a collection of photos that highlight your child’s potential for modelling assignments. It’s a very straightforward little album that is usually presented in digital format although some models do still use hard copies that they might take along to an open casting.
The vast majority of modelling portfolios are stored on a talent agency’s website. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that your child or teen’s photos are there for all to see. Model portfolios are usually in a gated area of the site that casting directors and photographers will need a password to access.
What’s in a child modelling portfolio?
A child or teen modelling portfolio will have at least 4-5 images (more if possible) that include a headshot and a full length body shot. It will usually include two different outfits (which we call looks) and the photographer will make sure to showcase your child’s various poses. This will give casting directors and photographers an idea of what your child or teen is capable of and if they are suited to the assignment.
How to build a modelling portfolio?
So now you know what’s in a child modelling portfolio, let’s see how you go about creating one.
In an ideal world (or one where you have signed with Bubblegum Casting) your agency will help you create your first portfolio. This will save you so much time and energy, and in some cases, money too. The agency will guide you through the process and will ensure that your child has exactly what is needed in their portfolio.
If that’s not the case and you need to find your own photographer, we recommend looking for someone that has model portfolio experience so that they can offer you some guidance.
Whatever approach you take, your child or teen modelling portfolio should include the following.
Photos taken by a professional
It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but we’ll just remind you that a modelling portfolio should only contain images that have been taken by a professional photographer. This means that no matter how good you are with a smartphone or DSLR camera, family photos won’t cut the mustard.
Casting directors and photographers want to see what your child or teen looks like when a pro is handling the camera as this gives them a much better idea of your child’s potential. A photographer will also be able to present your child in such a way that each image catches their best features.
There should be at least 4-5 images, but a few more is better. They’ll include:
A headshot is an 8 x 10 photo that shows your child with no makeup or hair styling products. This natural look is exactly what casting directors want to see so it’s absolutely essential that you give it to them. Most kids will change their headshot image once a year to account for how they change as they grow. For some younger kids, you may even want to update this every six months. You can learn more about this in our quick guide to taking headshots.
Full-length body shots
These are also usually 8 x 10 photos that show your child’s overall posture and build. This might not seem like a big deal to have this shot, but for modelling, it’s hugely important. Ideally, you’ll have bodyshots for at least two outfits that are different in style. Remember too that these shots should be in a variety of poses which your child or teen will need to learn how to do before the shoot.
If your child has done any modelling work, it’s always a good idea to include at least one image from each modelling assignment. Again, this gives the casting director or photographer an idea of your child’s abilities and how they look in a studio environment.
Yes, that’s right, a child model will have their very own resume. This will include any skills they have even if you think they’re totally unrelated to modelling. You never know what kind of requirements an assignment will have so always include every skill even if it’s horse riding or singing. Just remember that if the skills are included then your child really should have at least taken some classes for that particular skill.
Remember too that you need to add any experience your child has and update this every time that they complete an assignment
Super important to include this because without it, the casting director or photographer won’t know anything about your child other than their first name and the skills we mentioned above. This information includes clothing sizes, shoe sizes, height, weight, and age. And please don’t worry if you think that your child is small or even big for their age. Diversity is encouraged in this industry and children of all shapes and sizes will get opportunities.
And that is pretty much that. While it might seem like a lot to take on board, it’s really not all that difficult to create a modelling portfolio for your child or teen. And this is especially true if you have a great agency like Bubblegum Casting on your side!