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.