Choosing the Right photos for your Model Comp Card
Here are some tips that I’ve learned throughout my modeling & photography experiences for how to choose the right photos to put on your modeling comp card for commercial print work.
Now, these guidelines apply specifically towards getting work in the commercial print area, as that is the genre of the modeling industry I’m most familiar with. When it comes to high-fashion, typically your exclusive agency will choose the appropriate photos to best market you to their clients. But when you’re pursuing commercial print work (typically because you don’t fit the prerequisites of a fashion model) most likely you’ll be freelancing with more than one talent agency and often will need to supply your own comp cards. (And you should want to! It’s SO much cheaper to produce them on your own than to let the agency charge you for their supplier.)
Photo #1 – The Front
Obviously, the front image should be your strongest image and almost always it should be a headshot or close-up.
* You should have just ONE image on the front of your comp card & your name. Similar to an actor’s headshot.
Photo #2 – The Smiling Shot
Commercial print is all about selling the product, and typically, with a smile! :) So, include your best happy, natural looking smiley photo available. If your “big smile” is on the Front, then include another smile on the back. It can be a different outfit, angle, or different kind of smile. (like the “soft smile” or the “smirk”)
This is the “everyday You” look. The outfit you most like to wear to auditions. The photo that most shows the REAL you – day to day, what you look like when you’re not trying too hard. You get the picture. Jeans & a nice shirt. 3/4 or full body length.
Photo #4 – Business / Professional
The level of exactly how businesslike or how professional you want to look for this next outfit depends on you & your particular niche market. If you’re typically being cast for roles as a business person, then you’ll want to show a business look. If your “serious” look is a younger, student kind of serious, then you could either dress semi-formal/business casual or fully formal suit & tie. You can do this one as dressy or trendy as you like!
Photo #5 – The Character Look
This fifth photo is optional, though it’s the general standard to have 4 (rather than 3) photos on the backside of the comp card – and why wouldn’t you want to? Why pass up the opportunity to show an additional “look” you can achieve to the quite possibly unimaginative casting person or their bumbling assistant?
For this one, I say have fun! And highlight your best feature or character. Say you’re also an athlete. Or yoga practitioner. You could include an action shot, a sporty look, a yoga pose, etc. Or you have a killer cop uniform, or surgeon’s scrubs, or judge’s gown. This is also an opportunity to include a photo of the role you see yourself playing. Or highlighting a unique skill, talent, or experience. You’d be surprised how much you can affect the viewer with a single rockin’ image.
Now if you’ve been in the business for some time, you shouldn’t need me to tell you this, but of COURSE, if you have a great tearsheet (copy of actual published work) then replace ANY of the back photos with your tearsheet(s). Even if it’s not a ggggrrreaat tear, just an OK tear, it might be work it to include if only to show that you’ve been cast before & have some experience. It would have to be a SUPER tearsheet to put on the front, but if you’ve got it – ROCK IT!