If you are new to the modeling / photography industry you've probably been told that you need a book or portfolio to even get your foot in the door most places. Even if you've been in the industry and are a known person you still need a book. Portfolios are quick easy shortcuts for agencies and artistic directors to find the right look they want for a particular campaign they are creating.
Some questions that I field consistently on this topic are listed below.
1) Where do I find a model portfolio or book?
There are a lot of places you can find books and portfolios for you're prints and tare sheets. While its always nice to have a leather bound case and spend the money on something really nice its not always the best idea. Portfolios and books are meant to be moved around and shuffled from place to place. This creates a lot of wear and tare on a book. I would get a portfolio that has a hard casing that is scratch resistant. Leather looks nice and is very professional, but I guarantee you'll scratch it before you know it.
2) What should my model portfolio or book contain?
You should have to seperate portfolios. One book for specific meetings where the agency or photographer is looking for something in particular. The other book should be a general portfolio that contains a variety of different looks. This book should have a little bit of everything, from portraits to the most unique shots you've done to date.
3) Where can I find photographers willing to help me with my book?
Most photographers will help you develop you're book, but higher end photographers will most likely charge you for it. If you are looking to start a new portfolio, one of the best ways to get it developed is to seek out new and semi pro photographers working for TFP. TFP stands for Time for Prints, and is what it sounds like. You give the photographer you're time in exchange for some prints for your portfolio book. This is a great way to get a lot of shots for your book at a reasonable price.
4) What size should my book be?
As a photographer myself, I prefer to look at 8x10 books. Thats just a personal preference really, but I think its a good target size as it is large enough to see full details of an image and clients can hold it up and stand back a pace to look at it. Books and portfolios can come in all sizes, but anything bigger then an 8x10 is clunky and hard to lug around.
5) Besides photos, what else should be in my portfolio?
You should always have your contact information clearly labeled on the inside front cover of the book. This provides the viewers with direct access to your most important information, a way to contact you! Other possible things in the book might include a listing of photographers you've worked with and a contact for references.