Building a Portfolio and Getting Booked
One of the reasons I love living in Las Vegas is that it is the entertainment capital of the world. Casinos, concerts, and over the top entertainment at every turn and for every genre. The entertainment industry is robust and ever changing. The large casinos host many events and cater to just about every interest group. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been a large and growing event every year bringing in almost 200,000 attendees and 4.3 million video views on twitter. CES may be one of the largest but the real numbers are in the amount of trade shows and conferences that Las Vegas hosts. As of May 31st 2017, convention attendance increased by 20% from 2016 to 514,000 attendees. So what does this mean? It means trade shows and exhibitions have a ton of work for talent agencies. These trade shows need models to showcase the products and services. Models and promotional brand ambassadors get attention to products and that attention sells products.
Getting booked for a job doing promotional work requires a good headshot and portfolio. Agencies are pressed for time and have busy schedules year round. They have to manage the customers (conventions, trade shows, product promotion) and manage the models. Having a portfolio ready for an agency can help streamline the process for you and for the agency. I reached out to a few agencies in town to see what it is they need from a model to help them get booked faster.
Here are a few agencies in Las Vegas to reach out to if you are looking to get started.
Selfies are great for your friends, not for getting work
One item that came up often was the dreaded Snapchat selfie filter. Those cute dog-ears are fun for friends but do nothing to help you on a professional platform. One way to get your application deleted is to submit a selfie with a filter on it. This tells people you are not serious or professional enough to take the time to get a proper picture that represents who you are and what you can do. Agencies need to see what you really look like in order to book you with a client. Those butterfly crowns and dog ears will not help you or the client. First impressions are made before you ever meet people, so showing them a recent headshot from a professional will pay for itself multiple times over when you get booked.
The next item that was brought up was to make sure you have a recent set of photos. An accurate look that shows how you really are will help get you work. You need to have a recent picture (within a year) or if you change your look (dyed hair, weight loss/gain) an updated picture. It sounds silly and self-explanatory but lets dig deeper into this. If you had a great headshot 10 years ago and you have lost some weight and changed your hairstyle you will look different when you show up to the agency. This potentially just wasted a lot of time for everyone. If a client needs a brunette with an athletic build and you have purple hair and look very different from your picture, it’s not going to get you more work. That agency may not take you serious the next time you come around. Make sure that first impression wows them.
The bottom line is having a clean and consistent presence of who you are and what you can do. Fashion and commercial work have different looks and needs, so a model portfolio should show how you could meet those needs. The better your portfolio is the easier it is to get you booked for gigs. Better quality headshots and pictures will help set you apart. Having a consistent look for the areas you want to work in will also help. Agencies and clients want to get people hired and in place as soon as possible. Submitting low quality photos, selfies with filters, or pictures that don’t look like you are all major problems for getting work. Find a few good photographers to work with for fashion and commercial work. Get a solid headshot and a portfolio that represents you well and you will see that modeling work will become much easier to get.
Here are some examples of clean and simple commercial headshots that I provide. The background, attire, hair, and makeup all work together for a clean look that brings attention to subject. Notice the subject has a confident yet approachable expression. I do my best to work with people to get a natural expression. Personally I think it resonates more when people view these pictures. It connects with them and draws them in. A forced expression does not display confidence and does not draw the viewer in. My whole purpose in my work is to get a picture that gets the person more work and the attention they deserve.