5 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Portfolio
If you’re out there in front of the camera or behind it and just having a bit of compensation free fun then who cares, this will not apply to you. But if you’re serious about how your port is perceived, if you’ve devoted time to even having a port, then you owe it to yourself to understand how it might be perceived when these common mistakes are made.
1. Too many selfies. If you’re serious about your port (meaning you really want to attract and land some high quality assignments or attention) dispense with the selfies. Put them on your Instagram Page, your Facebook personal account or whatever is being used to house your casual going ons. But a professional account or any page where you’re trying to bring in quality collaborations, you’re not going to get them with selfies. Sure, I know you want to show clients and other potentials your casual fun loving side. Trust me, they’ll get that when they meet you in person. The port is your resume and your first chance to deliver what you’re about and what you’re capable of. You will not be landing any big fish with selfies today.
2. Too much of a good thing. It doesn’t matter how hot you look in that dress, showing 15 different variations of smiles or poses in it will get you laughed at. It demonstrates a gross ignorance of the process of selection on the publishing and booking side. Agencies and booking agents want to see one and at the very very most two images of that dress or blazer you’re so proud of. If you’re booked for a job, they’re likely looking for one image of any given look (two tops if it’s catalog work) to sell or advertise what they need to. To land the big fish you need to understand the industry and the selection process of advertising and publishing. STOP WITH THE SERIALS of that same jacket, in that same scene with little to no differentiation between the shots. Even a catalog will show two maybe three of the garments they advertise so that you get a good viewing of the overall look, one closeup for detail and perhaps (very rarely) a third showing it in the context of use such as a lifestyle scene. Lose the serials. Even the best look can get boring after the third pic.
3. Too much emotional attachment. I know you really really love that designer. You’ve seen his or her work everywhere. Plus you have met them and have a deep friendly connection. You’re pretty much pals. But it might stand to reason that their particular garments do not suit you. Bad colors, poor fit and just cuts unflattering to your body. It doesn’t make you any less of a model or them any less of a designer. It just means it’s not for you. So while you might absolutely love that skirt in your port, to the unbiased eye it a horrible horrible fit. It makes you look plump, or anorexic, or just plain wrong. It also extends to photographers as well. You love this model. She’s easy to work with, professional, always on time but the pics kinda suck for some reason or another. It’s not her. It’s not even you. It’s just poor creative chemistry but you really really like her cause “she’s good people” you say. Change the nature of what you’re shooting or move on and get it out of your port.
4. Too much randomness. No direction. No clear objective. No clear path of what it is you’re trying to achieve. It’s great to have variety but you risk being a jack or jill of all trades and a master of none. I understand. You want to give yourself the broadest chance of being discovered. Look I can do all sorts of looks. Let me be honest with you, it doesn’t work that way. The same way you have to tweak your resume for each individual job you want, you have to tweak your port for each assignment you want to book. Some of the most popular models in the world all said their agents literally ripped out over half of their port pages and started from scratch because they were all over the place. Do yourself a favor a narrow your path and focus on your strengths. You’ll be better off and you’ll thank me later.
5. Too much of the same crew. You love your stylist. You adore this model. You want this photographer to shoot your entire port. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. By all means, do what I do and come back to them as often as possible for your more ambitious creative projects. Yet, when building your port which may include credits, you would fair best having some personnel differentiation. It proves you can work with different people in different circumstances. It also proves you can step outside of your comfort zone. When I see 10 out of 15 pics from the photographer in a model’s port I cringe. It tells me she’s absolutely brand new with zero experience and that this photographer may be the only one they’re comfortable with thus far. Not to say that he or she is but it implies same. It may also suggests you don’t get along with people or that you’re shy and unwilling to branch out. It’s a deal breaker.