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Shooting modeling portfolio can be fun and little difficult at some point. I personally find it much easier to shoot dedicated set, rather than portfolio work! Let me elaborate a little! When you have a certain job to do, for example, real fashion shoot, usually a theme and general direction of the shoot in most cases predetermined, meaning location, set of props and “final” outlook is set prior of the shoot!

When you shoot modeling portfolio, try to gather as much information as possible, prior of the actual shoot! I always like to start with clothing selection, or at least to pick best from what is available. Difference between the actual photo shoot and modeling portfolio, that there are much more people involved in the actual production! Designers, makeup artist, support crew, lighting etc. Modeling portfolio shoot usually happens one on one with a photographer, so it has it’s own nature to conquer!

Aram K Fashion Photographer Los Angeles


Prior of moving forward, get the best possible clothing selection, sometimes potential models like to use casual daily clothing, which is alright, but if you looking to get maximum out of your shoot, you need to step up your game! Different photographers approach modeling shoots differently, I know some who always shoot against a wall, others shoot in the same studio setups etc. I like to approach my modeling photoshoots as it is actual fashion gig. I’m trying to make images look like they came from the actual fashion magazine! By doing a little bit of work on both parties model and photographer it is very possible!



Once you figured out the theme of the shoot and obviously clothing, its time to move and look for a location. Depending on where are you from it can have its own potential difficulties. For example, photographing in Los Angeles is a nightmare. The city is pretty greedy when it comes to any kind of photo or film work. Police over there are notorious for giving people citations for shooting without a permit. So figuring out logistics of the photo shoot is very important. Depending on the client’s budget, if you end up shooting in LA, getting a permit may be a wise decision, however, permit also requires insurance so you looking at the significant amount of money just in the paperwork process which will give you about 2 hours of the time. Again, the budget is sort of a key player here. You can get away shooting without a permit if you keep low, out of the public places, but depending on what you looking for as the end result it may not be the best solution. I’ve done tons of shoots without a permit, but the worst part of it, that you always nervous and have to be on edge. That kind of stressful situation is not ideal if you want to stay creative. Some other cities may not even care, as long as you not blocking the street, so knowing where you shooting and your local wiggle is important.


Bringing things together is an ultimate challenge. Once location and wardrobe working like a well-oiled train, it’s time to get the vision into reality. Be prepared though, because in many cases what you thought going to look great may not work. It happens pretty often so always have a plan B to rely on! Below are the images from location scouting to the actual photo. You can see how technically different those images are. Using your imagination and making things work is the part of the game! Turning simple location into high end looking work is the job every photographer needs to know how to carry!

iPhone location scouting photo


Final Image


And finally! Try avoiding excessive retouching! Plastic face and skin, just look so cheap. Open up any fashion magazine and see how models look over there. I guarantee you will hardly going to find overly excessive plastic faces with a wax looking skin. The goal is to do just enough to make it look right, despite popular Instagram trends of weird split colors and other nonsense!

Photographer: Aram K.

Model: Marta C.

All Images are subject to copyright