Thursday, September 1, 2011


Model:  Kate Moss
Photographer:  Mario Testino

My first blog for September, my dear readers. The air is getting that nice little crisp feel. School is about to start and before you know it, we will have little children running along the streets screaming “trick or treat.” I love the fall. It’s the start of the new fashion season. I have my September issue of Vogue and admiring the work Anna Wintour has put together for the upcoming fashion year (by the way, Kate Moss must’ve made a pact with the devil, she looks AMAZING on the cover), and in a few days, New York’s Fashion Week will be upon us. I can’t wait.

When Fashion Week comes around it is honestly a rest period for me. I am not one of the photographers that frequent the events. I am certainly not a runway photographer. I like to sit at home, tune in to the Fashion Network from the privacy of my home (in between bouts of retouching) and recap the day’s events.

Today’s blog, however, isn’t about Fashion or New York’s Fashion Week. It is about the rights and wrongs of a model’s portfolio.

In previous blogs, I’ve discussed the importance of choosing the right photographer, the importance of not being a photowhore, and lastly understanding yourself as it pertains to branding. Today we will discuss the importance of your hardbook portfolio and why.

When people actually see my book for the first time, they marvel at the fact that I don’t have a lot of men in my book. What I mean by that is this: if you Google me, or look at my photography on Facebook, lots of times it is inundated with scantily clad men, in various states of undress, most often wet, most often in various forms of sexual arousal. So upon meeting me, they open my book and are amazed that none of those images are in my hardbook portfolio. Then they asked why.

“I am a primarily a beauty and fashion photographer, shooting these guys do not benefit my book.”

I will repeat that. Shooting these guys do not benefit my book (however, it does benefit THEIRS).  If you learn nothing else today, being a model, when you decide to shoot with a photographer, how does that benefit YOU?

As I stated before, there should be a handful of reasons why you should shoot with any photographer during your modeling career.

A. Portfolio building

B. Magazine submission

C. Work related (commercial usage, campaigns, etc.)

D. Payment

E. Development

There are lots of times I have come across models’ portfolios and I see beautiful artistic work, where the model is not featured, their face is hidden, or the model just isn’t showcased properly. The first question I always ask is this: “What was this shot for?” If your answer is “I shot it for my book.” Then you need some serious evaluation.

Your portfolio is a representation of you. It should always show you in the best possible light. Your book should be photograph after photograph after photograph of photographic wonder based on you. A lot of models have this undying need to want to do couples shoots. Why? Does it benefit your book? Unless it’s going to be used for something, it is honestly useless to you. What if the other model is better looking than you? What if the other model is more dynamic than you? What if other the model is awful? All of these factors play in the aspect of bringing down your modeling stock. Therefore, is it honestly worth it?

There will be times when a photographer may want to do some “over the top work” with you. Outrageous costumes, dramatic lighting, “avant-garde” makeup. The photos are fabulous – but for the photographer. This won’t benefit your book, unless, of course, it is going to be used for something, so when the question comes up “what was this shot for?” you can proudly give the answer. So can you see where this is going?

There will be times when you will have shoots, and your agent will not use at all. You may like them, they may be hot, but they may not be a good photographic representation of you, or it may not be a “look” in which the agent wants to market you. So therefore, these photos will not benefit you.

If you were to look at a photographer’s portfolio, every single image in that book should be there to showcase THEIR work, THEIR lighting, THEIR concepts, THEIR angles, THEIR photographic prowess, because the bottom line is, they are trying to get booked. So the next time you see me and get a chance to look at my portfolio, now you will know the reason why my book is not filled with a bunch of naked male models.

Because it didn’t benefit my book. Think about it.


  1. im slightly confused after reading your blog about "benefit your book". so if im understanding this right you have shot numerous guys in many states of undress released them the models/agencies & to blogs, also use the images to promote your work because your logo appears on all of them. then say shooting them does/did not benefit YOUR book but THEIRS. wow all these male models that thought they were killing it with you will now realize that it served you no purpose. 1 photographer i would stay clear away from because obviously you have no respect for the (male)talent that you shoot. very disappointed in reading this blog post today. "talk among yourselves"

  2. I see that you've taken what I've said COMPLETELY out of context, so let's try this again.

    I shoot a lot of work that won't make my hardcopy print book, because my agent promotes me a certain way. I've shot wedding photos for friends, I've shot children for their parents, I've shot family portraits. Guess what? They are not in my book either, because my agent does not market me that way.

    When I promote work in various forums on Facebook, Twitter and the like, it is not only to promote MY photography, but the MODELS as well (I am constantly approached by various enterprises regarding how to book the models). So please, step down off the dais and understand the business as a whole...

    When I first went to my agent, my book was filled with a lot of the men that I shot, the first words out of his mouth was "why are all these guys in here? I can't promote you as a beauty photographer when your portfolio is full of men!" My book had to be completely be revamped for the market that I am catering to.

    I have much respect for all the models I shoot (male or female), and a lot of the work I produce I cannot use in my hardbook portfolio. Revlon, Clinique and L'Oreal would not want to see that kind of work when I am trying to pitch them, however, the modeling agencies want that type of work, so I produce it accordingly. If you see it best that models should "stay clear" so be it. I am still working.

    Please check your facts and "talk amongst yourselves..."

  3. thanks for your reply. i can see that your obviously still a "newbie" in the business. i have learned at some point its not about the clients (although we love them & need them for some pesos) & agents ( who regularly give some of the worst advice). jumping through hoops, change this, change that, this is whats hot now do this. your work should be a reflection of what best represents you male/female clothes or undress. because if they are going to hire they will. i.e terry Richardson (to me some of his images are soft-core porn)he works & shoots for all the major magazines & advertising companies/brands etc....the proof is in the work. so i look forward to seeing your work with Revlon, clinique & L'oreal. at the end of the day work integrity speaks volumes

  4. an after thought:
    my facts are checked. this is my 1st time responding a blog post because i felt so strongly about this topic. i'am glad you are "still working" (not on revlon/clinique or l'oreal)im just saying. so since shooting these models & for agencies & lighting seminars is how ur making your chips/pesos/guap=MONEY. sometimes some things are better left unsaid. but i respect the fact that you put your words out there for the world to see. but im thinking in this age of social media/networking blogs etc..are we info overload? dont let your comments take u out of the running...."talk among-est yourselves" ( i believe this is from SNL skit circa 1991-linda richman,played by mike myers "coffee talk". me and my facts...DAMN

  5. Ah, now i am a "newbie". So be it.

    I see that you are using this forum to get things off your chest, and I am happy about that. I don't have to prove anything to you. My agent has done right by me in terms of my growth as an artist and business man, Terry Richardson notwithstanding.

    I shoot what I like, and market it accordingly... The men still get showcased in their forum and the beauty still gets showcased in its forum. It is a win-win situation for all. At the end of the day, I still decide what gets placed in my book to secure future work.

    If you are a photographer, you can control what goes into YOUR portfolio.