If you want to get noticed by a modeling agency, you need to have a modeling portfolio: a collection of amazing professional photographs that show you in your very best light. As a general rule, you want to have around 12 photos in your portfolio, but no more than 20, so you need to make each snapshot count. Here are the pictures you need to have in your collection to get you noticed by fickle modeling agencies who have seen it all already, so you can get the edge on your competition.
At least one amazing headshot
In modeling, your face is your moneymaker, especially if you want to do fashion or runway modeling. You want to have at least one amazing headshot in your portfolio, taken by a professional photographer who specializes in portraits and headshots. A full-on frontal face shot should be included in your portfolio, as well as a side shot of your best view if you have one. These shots should be in color with your hair pulled back to avoid distractions from your face.
Black and white photos
While most of your photos in your portfolio will be in color, you should toss in a few black and white shots to show your versatility as a model as well as your range in different mediums. This is particularly the case if you have striking features that are brought out in black and white, such as thick eyebrows, a strong jawline, or very lean legs. You don't have to have black and white photos in your portfolio, but they can make a difference in helping you stand out.
Believe it or not, a modeling agency wants to see your natural side as much as they want to see how beautiful and flawless you can be with makeup on. Makeup-free shots done by a professional photographer show you in your most natural light, and allow modeling agencies see what they are truly potentially working with. Your small ears, long forehead, freckles, gap teeth, or other perceived 'flaws' may be what actually help you stand out among all the other beautiful modeling portfolios modeling agencies see every day.
You want to make sure that you choose the same excellent photographer for all your shots, especially as you begin to get more established as a beginner model. With time, you can double the number of photos you have in your modeling portfolio so you can continue to wow the modeling agencies you apply to and land more steady work.