Fisher has spent two decades representing the most famous models in the world:
Stephanie Seymour, Naomi Campbell, Eva Herzigova, Janice Dickinson, Monica
Bellucci, Carole Alt, Carre' Otis and hundreds of other famous faces. He has trained
many of today’s top modeling agents and has seen the fashion modeling industry
first hand and up-close. He is now the CEO of The Network, an international
consortium of fashion modeling agencies.
This article is
written specifically for female fashion models. Portfolios for commercial,
glamour and other kinds of models can be quite different.
Testing / the Creation
of a Portfolio
- By Paul Fisher
I will break this
down in three stages:
First set of Pictures
Photos for clients
3) The Final Goal
/ The Resume.
First set of
The first set of
photos that a potential model needs are “simple” photos. These photos need to
show exactly what the girl looks like: natural, simple, little makeup. Nothing
overdone. The goal is to be able to be able to really critique the model, really
see how she looks. The reason for this has to do with “who” will need to view
these initial photos: a local, New
York or International
Modeling agency to accept the potential Model. The Photos are for Agencies
Not Clients (unless of course the kid is “perfect” and you are going directly
to the top 100 clients).
photos can be done a few times. A trained eye can tell if the person is
photogenic / cool looking / right for the modeling business. If the photos are
too overdone, too much makeup, the agencies will not be able to really make a
decision as to if that person is right for their agency.
The type of photos
a model needs for clients depends on what kind of model we are creating…. high
fashion, swimsuit, beauty catalog queen, etc. Sometimes, the photos that are
put into a portfolio need to cover all of the above, sometimes not.. It all
depends on the model and how the agency plans to market the model.
A few questions
are often asked:
Does a model pay for these photos? Who does pay?
What kind of photos are the “right” photos….
3) How many photos
should a model have in their portfolio.
regarding payment for photos is, “it depends”…. If a person has money, then yes
they should pay. If person doesn’t, they should get a part time job and earn a
few dollars to pay for the photos. Can an agency who is excited about the
model pay? Or advance the money against future earnings? The answer to this
is Yes. Many agencies do advance the cost of the testing.
I always feel it
is good for someone to “earn” things vs being given. It creates more
The worst thing a
model can do is see clients with bad photos. There is way too much competition
to show bad photos to potential clients. That is a killer. Many times a
potential models needs to do many testing’s to get the right photos.
The trick is to
get a few great photos vs. a lot of average photos. A few GREAT photos can
open a lot of doors.
The agency will
decide on what are the right kind of pictures.. However, unless this agency has
developed a Star, don’t listen to them! Rule #1 Only listen to people who
have represented and or created a star or two. Don’t be a guinea pig!
(If an agency has represented a model that has gone on to be a Star, then they
should know how to market you.)
The Final Goal
/ The Resume:
The testing photos
are now turned into actual “pages” from magazines. How does this process
occur? Testing photos to pages from magazines? Take the testing photos out and
replace them with pages from magazines. Now that sounds cool yes? That is one
of the goals. This is the creation of your “resume” your “portfolio” that will
now be used to help you earn “real” money. As in the business world, usually
the person with the best resume gets the job. That is correct for the modeling
industry also. The Model who has the best “book” aka “portfolio” aka “resume*”
wins the job….
How are resumes
“judged” by the casting people? What makes one resume better than the other?
Answer: It is all about who a model works for. Once a great designer, a hip
national advertiser or major fashion magazine uses you, you are on your way. Casting
people and editors judge a models book on the following criteria:
Has the Model worked
with any Prestigious Designers? eg.: Ralph, Calvin, Lagerfeld, Cavalli
Which major Fashion
Magazines has the Model appeared in? eg: Vogue, Bazaar, W
Any National Ad
Campaigns? eg: Guess, Gucci, Prada
Who has the Model
been Photographed by? eg: Steven Klein, Patrick Demarchelier, Gilles Bensimon
a model can show in their portfolio that she worked for Vogue or Bazaar for
example, did the Gucci campaign and various famous photographers have taken her
photo, she is on her way to a wonderful career as model. Having your photo in
Vogue is perhaps like having a fortune five hundred company on your resume and
you were the CEO of the company.
and demand. Not too many models per year get the opportunity to have their
photos appear in the fashion pages of Vogue, just as there are only a handful
of guess and Gucci girls. The Models who appear in these campaigns portfolios
are at the top of their profession.
which we will now call a models “book” should tell a story: a story of who
that model is. It should start out sexy and end with laughter. Turning on the
client at the beginning and make them feel good with laughter when the close
the book. The book should be laid out like a magazine. Photos going the right
way, colors with colors and black and white with black and white. No
advertising or catalogs in the book. ONLY editorials which of course includes
covers. The ONLY advertising that should be in a book are HUGE campaigns.
What is the apex,
the best of the best? The best “book” one can put together . . . the goal, the
dream . . . perfect “resume”? That is easy, the best two magazines are American
Vogue and American Bazaar. Covers and Pages from these two magazines are the
best a model can do. They are the Bibles of the industry. Nothing is higher. Once
on these covers or on the inside of these magazines every catalog company and
advertiser in the world wants you. Your agent can then pick and choose what
jobs are best for you. Hundreds of calls coming in every week. Hundreds of
requests for your time. Every other magazine in the world wants you. Every
famous photographer wants to shoot you. Designers must have u in there shows
at $25,000 per show. Your advertising and catalog rates go through the roof!
*Note: book, resume and portfolio are all the same thing.
This article is an excerpt from Mr.
Fisher’s forthcoming book “Forbidden Fruit” about modeling at the apex of the
fashion industry. Used by permission. Article copyright 2010 Paul Fisher