Monica Hahn Photography | The DO’s & DON’Ts Of Shooting Your Portfolio
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The DO’s & DON’Ts Of Shooting Your Portfolio

April 19, 2014  •  1 Comment

The DO’s & DON’Ts
Of  Shooting A 'Model' Portfolio

Photography Session Types & Pricing for Photo Shoots at MonicaHahnPhotographySession, Pricing and Details at Monica Hahn Photography


The DON’Ts:


This is an important day, your photo shoot.  We know you are excited for your shoot, but don't over do it.  Keep it simple.  Let your photographer walk you through wardrobe selection.  It's important you select wardrobe, styles and looks that will make you the most marketable.  More is not necessarily better.  Agency's want to see a clean polaroid and clean beautiful shots of YOU, not as much about how elborate you can look.  Keep the focus on YOU and your best assests


DON'T try to be Avante Guarde. 
Keep your first portfolio shoot all about you.  Don’t try to over create something wild you  saw out of Vogue last week.   

DON'T shoot in too many different locations on your FIRST shoot. 
Keep it simple till you have your modeling techniques down.  You’ll have enough to focus on in your first shoot, don’t add too many extra elements that will complicate and clutter.

DON'T wear Loud or Chunky shoes 
Avoid Thick platforms. Avoid Anything that adds thickness or draw attention your feet.  It's your face and body we want the attention to go to.  For your First portfolio shoot, stick with nudes and black heels.

DON'T Shoot all your images in the same outfit.

DON'T Shoot clothing that looks old or worn
A portfolio shoot is a perfect time to Buy or Borrow something fabulous! 

DON’T try a new haircut or new make up the day before your shoot! 



Don’t Showcase Outdated photos. Most agencies like the images to be no more than six months old to reflect the model’s current appearance and showcase up-to-date photography and fashion trends.  Note: Modeling vintage styles with intentions is different than old photos with dated clothes and hair styles.

Your personal looks including your skin texture, skin color (tan/pale), hair length/styles and overall appearance change throughout the year.  Especially kids, tweens and teens, their proportions, expressions and overall looks change evolve until they reach 20. 

DON'T Have A Cluttered Portfolio!  Your portfolio should be organized and ready to been shown. Don't include outtakes or additional photos in the back that are not meant to be seen. Make sure you are happy with every photo in your book and make sure it neat and clean. 

                                                                           ….And Please DON’T stay out late and party the night before your shoot!



The DO’s:


DO Practice & Perfect 5-10 Facial Expressions. 

Expression is Everything!  What you are wearing will tell the story; your expressions need to complete that message.  Try these cues for different looks:  

“sexy”, “intense”, “serious”, “pouty”, “Gritty”, “mysterious”, “Flirty”, “Naughty/Mischievous”, "The DuckFace Pout”, "The Squint & Stare", "playful", “Laughter”, , “happy/smiling”, and "Confident/Powerful"

DO Practice & Perfect 5-10 Poses. 

Look in fashion magazines while in front of your mirror and mimic the poses that capture you.  See which poses are most comfortable for you and which poses are the most striking with your face and body type.  Try Poses with these positions:     "Sitting", "Standing", "squatting", "kneeling", "from the back", "over the shoulder", "sitting on a stool", "lying down", "leaning". 

DO Get Your Hair Trimmed & Highlights Done 1 Week In Advance.

DO Get Plenty Of Sleep The Night Before.

Do Drink Water All Week Before Your Shoot.  This will give your skin a refreshed look.

DO Invest In Chapstick, Visine and Moisturizer!  

There is nothing worse than a beautiful face with chapped lips, dry skin or tired looking looking eyes.  Chapstick & moisturizing should be part of your 'forever routine'.  Visine the night before and the morning of your shoot is a definate!

DO Shoot A Mix Of Fashions & Styles. 

Show that you can model contemporary looks and classic looks.  Be sure to include casual looks & formal looks.  Showcase looks that are youthful to more sophisticated. Show as much diversity as you can.  Clothing and fashions will set the tone for these varying segments. 

DO Show A Mix of Hairstyles & Make Up.  

I suggest starting with light make up w/hair down to start your first looks - shoot a more natural casual look first.  Have your professional hair/make up artist add to your palette for richer and more glamours looks as the shoot progresses.  

DO Shoot In Layers 

For a richer more complicated look.  Remember your looks should not only showcase ‘you’ but also the fashions you are wearing.  Add a scarf, a hat, gloves or jewlery to add depth to your look.

DO Include Swimwear, Lingerie and/or Tight Fitted Clothes. 

Swimwear and ligerie is not necessary but most people like to have atleast on or two shots showing their body for tone, shape and figure.  Fitted jeans or leggings work here.

DO Shoot For Hands, Feet and Details. 

After shooting your headshots, consider wearing a few pieces of jewelry your ability to work with hands & jewelry.  Make yourself marketable to a broad range of clients.  Show tight in shots &

DO Shoot With Various Accessories: 

Hats, scarves, sunglasses, jewelry, packages, bags, purses, flowers. 

DO Use Various Base Props 

such as: ladders, stools, benches, chairs, tables.  Create interest in your images with these base props.  Break free of your ordinary poses using these bases.



DO Put Your Best Work In The FRONT Of Your Portfolio.  End with a strong image as well.  Make sure the last image they see one leaves them with a good impression.

** DO Share your Online & Printed Portfolio with as many as many industry contacts who will see them!




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