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First modeling portfolio picture of a Tampa model on Tampa Bay Modeling. All portfolio photographs, unless otherwise noted, by C. A. Passinault, lead photographer for Aurora PhotoArts Tampa Photography and Design, as well as Director of Tampa Bay Modeling. C. A. Passinault is a top photographer, as well as a modeling expert.Second model photograph on Tampa Bay Modeling. Click on the image for an anecdote of the modeling shoot which produced this picture.In this third picture, you can see why the Tampa Bay area is one of the best in the world for modeling portfolio development work. Photograph by Tampa photographer C. A. Passinault.Image four of our online portfolio of another Tampa model. This photograph, if we are not mistaken, was taken on location in the Tampa Bay area. The best modeling portfolio photographs are location shots.This is another great picture. This is the fifth model photograph on Tampa Bay Modeling. Pictures featured in our thumbnail array may not be the same as those of models which are in our featured model section, but often, they are one and the same.Unmatched in any Florida modeling market. The quality of this image is excellent! Photograph by C. A. Passinault, our resident photographer and modeling expert.Another top Tampa model gets their look on. The best models can obtain a wide range of looks, as you can see when you look at other pictures of this model!Is it any wonder why more and more companies and art directors are booking independent models without going through an agency? Proof that you can be a professional model, with a lucrative career, without being dependent upon an agency to find and book modeling jobs!Another awesome photograph of a Tampa model by modeling photographer C. A. Passinault, lead photographer Aurora PhotoArts, and director of Tampa Bay Modeling.For modeling portfolio work in the Tampa Bay area, nothing beats location work. Studio photography is not nearly as cost effective, or appropriate, for modeling portfolio work.Keep in mind that this picture, for a modeling portfolio, was taken by a qualified modeling portfolio photographer, C. A. Passinault, for a specialized, professional market, which is modeling. A wedding photographer or a portrait studio will not be able to give models what they need for an effective modeling portfolio, as you have to know what you are doing!This is the 12th picture in our Tampa Bay Modeling online portfolio. Yet another Tampa model shows a marketable look in their portfolio. The best models are capable of the most looks, and are not locked into a single look!Agency model or independent model? It doesnt matter, anymore, especially in Tampa Bay. Professional models like this one can be booked without going through an agency, saving both the model and the job agency fees.Modeling portfolios need at least six looks, and by looks, we mean different looks. A composite cards needs at least five, on average, with a headshot on the front, and four different looks on the back of the comp card. This Tampa model is demonstrating a marketable look right now, in this photography. Picture by C. A. Passinault.
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TAMPA BAY MODELING

You can thrive in a modeling market full of free alternatives

The way for both professional models and photographers to make it in a saturated market full of hobbyists, amateurs who are enabled by cheap technology and free online profiles in today’s modeling industry.
Invest in your career. Learn from professionals. Use professional quality marketing tools. Work your career. Demonstrate value in what you do. Give the perception of professionalism, and above all, do not mislead anyone. You are what you know, and what your do. A professional is the sum of their experiences, as well as how they apply those experiences to what they do.
You can’t fake it. You either know your business, or you don’t, and most people will be able to figure out if you offer a real benefit to them or not.
There is a lot of noise in the industry today from amateurs and aspiring professionals who don’t know what they are doing. The key to being able to do business is such a market is to be a strong, concise signal which transcends the noise, and you will only be able to do that by demonstrating an investment into your career and experience to what is relevant to what your customers, or clients, are in the market for. Value is the key. Positioning your business by offering services at the lowest rates, or by offering free services to those who need what you offer, giving away the store to those who are in the market for what you do, will not only undermine your credibility as a professional and make it harder to get work, but it could also be the end of your business. Professionals are able to set themselves apart from the mayhem of amateurs in the industry today.

Modeling checklist

1. Learn about the modeling industry before you do anything, or even contact anyone. You can start by reading the information on Tampa Bay Modeling. Although we will not test you, your career will. If you know what you are doing, you dramatically reduce the risk of making a irreversible mistake which can cripple your career, or even end it before it begins. As pictures are permanent, and you cannot control them after they get out, you must especially be careful about the type of modeling that you do, and the photographers that you work with.
Models who have knowledge and show invest in professional tools not only have an advantage over their competition, but they will also be equipped to have modeling experiences which will grow their career and make them a competent, strong model.

2. Invest in a modeling portfolio from an experienced professional photographer who specializes in modeling portfolios. Portrait and wedding photographers will NOT be able to give you what you need, as they service the easier, less critical consumer market (most consumers are unable to evaluate what good photography is. Also, those pictures are not used to get them work. Additionally, the consumer market is a larger market, because models are not even close to being as common as other people). A photographer who specializes in modeling portfolio photography, and who is successfully at it, not only thrives in a more competitive, professional market by giving models the effective portfolios that they have to have for their careers, but will also know what is appropriate. Portrait photography DOES NOT translate to talent headshot or modeling portfolio photography, as there are big differences; any model who goes to a portrait photography studio for their modeling portfolio, and who tries to pass off portrait photographs as a modeling portfolio, is going to find that their “modeling” portfolio will be ineffective, and that they will not be able to compete with models who have real modeling portfolios. You don’t think that an art director who is evaluating models for a modeling job isn’t going to know the difference between portrait photographs and appropriate, professionally-relevant modeling portfolio photographs? Do you think that they will consider a model who obviously took a shortcut and doesn’t know what they are doing when they are also looking at experienced models with strong portfolios? You get what you pay for.
If ANY photographer insists on shooting an entire modeling portfolio in a studio in front of a backdrop, avoid them. You will not be able to get a modeling portfolio with good range of looks in a studio setting, and the most that you can hope for is a decent headshot. The best modeling portfolios are shot on location, period, as they give you a more natural look and a variety of real, organic backgrounds. Besides, a lot of new photographers often use turn-key “just add water” set ups with studio photography because they do not know what they are doing, and use a studio photography set up as training wheels. Since all of the pictures in a studio session tend to look the same, it is extremely difficult to shoot an effective modeling portfolio in a studio. We haven’t seen a single Tampa photographer who can do it, and if there is one, you will certainly know that they can do it when you evaluate their portfolio. Well, maybe not, too, as one of the keys to marketing photography is to be able to replicate your work in you portfolio for clients in a cost-effective manner. A studio photographer who is able to shoot portfolio-relevant pictures in a studio might not be able to do the same type of job for a model and their portfolio. Why? Because such photographers are usually commercial photographers with studio sets, props and support staff who usually do that work earning commercial photography rates, which are too expensive for a model trying to get their modeling portfolio done. Unless the model wants to spend a fortune paying commercial photography rates, it is highly unlikely that the photographer can do the same kind of work for the model at appropriate rates for modeling portfolio photography, which is much lower than commercial rates. Also, if a photographer claims that they can do that level of work at modeling portfolio rates, hold them to it and make them put it in writing. Make them give you a written guarantee. Make sure that the photographer can give you the same results as the results that they are marketing their photography work with. As a rule of thumb, though, studio pictures with simple backdrops should be avoided for modeling portfolios, as they come off as simple portraits.
The more experienced the photographer is, and the more variety that their modeling-relevant photography work shows, and the more valuable that they are going to be.
As a rule of thumb, a professional modeling portfolio photographer, like a professional model, will invest in their career, and will be able to demonstrate that they have without having to tell you. Words are cheap and can mislead you. Check up on them. If a so-called professional photographer does not have a real web site with a domain name (a domain name is something like www.AuroraPhotoArts.Com, or www.TampaBayModeling.Com ), does not have a portfolio book with prints of their work in it, does not modeling and talent-relevant work in their portfolio, does not have experience taking pictures of models as a business, and does not have references, avoid them. We do not recommend working with any photographers who operate their businesses from a freebie social media account, such as Facebook or Myspace, or a free portfolio networking site, especially one with an unprofessional name; especially when that unprofessional name perfectly describes what goes on at the site. So-called professional photographers who operate off of such free networking profiles have no accountability, and working with anyone who can disappear and easily start over again is not only risky, but it can even be dangerous. If you can’t find information about a photographer, and it is difficult to verify who they are and what they do, skip them!
We recently read on a modeling web site message board that the Tampa Bay market is “saturated with modeling photographers.” This is true if you count the amateurs running around doing free shoots with amateur models. It’s not true when you discard the amateurs and the hobbyists who can’t really do anything for the careers of models. There are just a few professional modeling portfolio photographers in the Tampa Bay area, and there are far greater numbers of wedding and portrait photographers, as the consumer market is larger and less qualified; for the consumer photography market, the bar of professional standards is much lower, too, and it’s easier. Another reason that there are so few professional modeling portfolio photographers is that most photographers who start a photography business discover that it’s a difficult market to get work in, as there are fewer work prospects, and with the little work that there is they face the toughest competition from photographers who thrive in that specialized market, and those successful photographers really know what they are doing. As a result, reality set in, and the aspiring modeling and talent photographer retreats to the easier consumer market doing portrait photography and wedding photography, as the standards are lower, and there are far more job prospects (This is also why a photographer with a successful track record in modeling and talent photography is difficult to compete with if they also work the lower consumer market, as they are better photographers to begin with, they know the difference between different types of photography, and can easily adapt to a market with lower standards). Regarding professional modeling portfolio photographers, there are even fewer that have more than five years of work history in the modeling photography field, and who have a long track record. So, no, if you only consider the experienced, professional modeling portfolio photographers, as you should, there really are not a lot of them.


3. Avoid free photography offers, TFP, TFCD, and TF shoots if you are a new model. It’s ok to collaborate with other professionals after your career is established, and you are no longer in the market for a portfolio, as your experience can be a benefit to other professionals. No experience, no demonstrated benefit, and the cards are stacked against you. No professional is going to give you free photography if you are in need of a portfolio, as that is no way to run a business, and if they don’t know how to run a business, they won’t be able to do anything for your career. Photographers who are incompetent in business might as well have no credibility when part of that business is making models marketable in their career. An amateur photographer, commonly known as a “guy with a camera”, or GWC, might offer TFP, but really, is an inexperienced amateur going to be able to do anything for your career? At the most, you will end up with uswless pictures which are ineffective in the marketing of your modeling career, and you will waste valuable time. More typically, you will put yourself in a risky situation, and may even learn some bad habits. Don’t play around with your career, get serious, and invest in your career by only working with experienced, professional photographers who are in business to give you the effective portfolio that you need. If a photographer offers free photography to new models, take them as seriously as they take their professional careers. Avoid them and unnecessary risks.

Merely buying a lot of career tools does not work if you don’t learn how to use them. Investment is a combination of buying effective tools and proper training. Talent must be developed into skill, and this takes time, hard work, and professional guidance. If you have the best tools, you have to know how to use those tools. Start small, learn, and work your way up to where you need to be. Don’t run marathons if you can barely walk, as you will only get trampled by the professionals who have properly paid their dues. You will not be able to compete.
You can thrive in a market full of free alternatives if you invest in your career and demonstrate both benefits and value to your target market. You also have to work your market, but only those who have integrity last. You are what you do, and you define your career with your actions. It’s also much easier to compete when your competition eliminates themselves.
You have to invest in your career, as it is the foundation of professional credibility. You also have to learn the business from professionals, and practicing mistakes is not learning the business, as you only perfect those mistakes. Amateurs assisting amateurs is the blind leading the blind, and those people are left wondering why they can’t make it against real professionals who invest in, and work, their careers.
Regarding modeling training, modeling schools, if they are not outright scams which mislead people to convince them to sign up, are poor values. We don’t know of a single modeling school in the Tampa Bay area which is worth it. For modeling, all of the training that a model needs is to work with qualified professional photographers with experience in working with models and talent. Also, the best information on modeling, in our opinion, is available free of charge here on Tampa Bay Modeling, as well as on Independent Modeling, Florida Modeling Career, and Advanced Model. The only modeling school that a model ever needs may just be right here!
Photography is a little trickier, as it is a more technical profession. Tampa Bay Photographers will have good information and tools for photographers who are serious about becoming a working professional photographer, as well as being an excellent resource for professional photographers. Photography school? We don’t care what the television commercials promise. We have yet to see a Tampa photography school which is not a poor value, and cannot recommend even the large ones which flood television with commercials. Those who cannot make it in their profession teach; it’s that simple. Would you rather pay a photography school a lot of money to learn the mistakes of photographers who aren’t good enough for the business, or would you pay less to work with a photographer who is actually working a thriving photography career? Also, professional photography associations with membership made up of photographers who have thriving careers is a better value than any photography school, as you can learn from working professionals. The same goes for modeling.
The key is to be a strong signal transcending the noise in today’s modeling industry. Signal to noise is the way to thrive.
- C. A. Passinault.
Director, Tampa Bay Modeling
Top Tampa modeling and talent photographer and expert since 2000


PUBLISHED 06/09/11

UPDATED 06/09/11

 

   

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