Catch-22 of Building a Glamour Portfolio

“Photographic success is not just about getting the equipment. And you can’t market yourself without a portfolio. If you love photography enough, the equipment will come, the portfolio will result and if you enjoy the process, successful will follow. You will evolve your own “formula.”Bruno Schreck

There’s a big Catch-22 in glamour photography: You need a portfolio to attract models but you also you need models to build that portfolio.

Just as you will determine a potential model’s abilities by reviewing her portfolio, she will want to evaluate your talent by reviewing portfolio. A portfolio is important because it will show potential clients or models your photographic style and level of technical competence. It also demonstrates the type of photographs you enjoy making and gives people a chance to assess your ability to communicate through those images.

As soon as you do your first glamour shoot, you should also start assembling a portfolio containing your best images from that shoot. The most important factor to keep in mind when preparing your portfolio is that quality is more important than quantity. And you have two options:

  • Digital: There are many ways to produce a digital portfolio displaying your glamour images. One of the least expensive to display images on-line is a free Tumblr page but some modeling websites, such as Model Mayhem not only offer a free portfolio (there are paid options too) but have an e-mail system to securely communicate with models. Depending on your approach, having a model search option on your website, like mine, isn’t that expensive and gives you the ability to show potential models a more complete image of your capabilities.
  • Traditional: You don’t need to show stacks of tear sheets or dozens of images and most beginning glamour photographers won’t be able to do that anyway. Instead of displaying fifty images of lesser quality choose 8-10 well-composed and nicely lit photographs to show your capabilities Later, when you are more experienced and successful, you may be choose to use a combination of tear sheets and more (and better) prints in your portfolio.
  • Since you will be showing images under plastic in the portfolio you don’t have to use expensive paper. Instead high quality but inexpensive papers such as Epson’s Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte, which costs less that twelve bucks for 50 letter-sized sheets.

You can learn more about model posing techniques in “Posing for Portrait & Glamour Photographywith brand new books are available from for just $14.75. For some reason, Kindle versions are $20.99 but I know some of you might prefer to have the book in digital form.


Author: Joe Farace

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