Twisted Betties Model Agency

Twisted Betties photoshoot – a new Sydney promotional models agency 

Lisa – the head Bettie, was looking for some sexy edgy glamourous photos.  

I had a big corporate shoot coming up so it gave me the opportunity to test out some new lighting setups and a new lens – you just can’t underestimate how important lighting is to creating the mood of the shot.

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Destination Is Never A Place

Your photo has just seconds to connect with your viewer – it’s in that “blink” moment a decision is made whether to either move on or delve deeper – to browse, tag, comment, short-list, share, contact or even buy.

Your photo portfolio providing more information – the scope of your work – aimed to resonate or reinforce with your targeted viewer / audience.

We all start somewhere – when you’re beginning/  learning, it’s shoot – shoot – shoot – what works sticks in your mind.  It’s like learning guitar or travelling – you play a hundred different artists until you develop your own style – influenced by the shoots, the artists before.

No one portfolio is perfect – like all forms of marketing what works depends on your viewer and what they are looking for.  A photographers perfect portfolio will be different than an agency-signed fashion model than a traveling glamour model than a fetish model.

No matter what business your in it helps to understand the customers customer, all the way through the supply chain. 

Modelling Agencies want to see very specific photos for their girls, and these photos are pretty standard head shots, 3/4, full body.

If you have the right look, you need almost no portfolio – word of mouth referral and recommendation, your reputation proceeding you, will always be the best form of marketing.

If you’re starting out there’s a lot of competition – How do you get cut through?  How do you differentiate or provide something the potential client needs right now so they pick up the phone?

Does it get you the job; win you (or the client) the award; showcase who you are or is just a bit of fun – a hobby – something explored?

But remembering, llike travelling “Destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

What Makes A Great Model Portfolio

G’day, good to see you – this blog entry came about in response to a model casting call for a fashion photo job for a friends clothes shop.

Picture this – you’re the photographer, you’ve got the job and now the client has asked you to find a model.  In the old days before the Internet then casting used to be mainly done by a casting agent or modelling agency – they were the conduit between client, creative and talent – the Agency knew what/ which model was good, available, the right price and had all the contact details – they saved the client the hassle (for a price) and provided work for the model.  Plus in those days, opportunities were limited – they  were the days when movies, TV, magazines and print dominated advertising revenues and expenditure.

Still today, the higher up the project ladder (the bigger the job), the more things generally stay the same.  Big business likes to do business with big business – from a corporate business perspective it’s elephants dancing with elephants.  The big brands like to deal with big agencies.  The big agencies like to deal with proven reputations and influence.  It’s all about returns and reducing risk (for a price).  

BUT, apart from all that, there are thousands of opportunities out there and as a model at some point you need to start – just like Justin Beiber via Youtube – the world is just waiting for you.  

When it comes to models starting out and everything below the big jobs then today’s highly connected digital age now provides a range of services that empower the client, the photographer and the model.


You’re the photographer (and casting agent) – you put a call out via your normal channels for example – Starnow; Model Mayhem; your Facebook fan page.

“Fashion Model for Clothes Shop – Ramsgate, Sydney  

TFP – Fashion Model for Clothes Shop – Ramsgate, Sydney”

Even for a TFP (Time For Print provides not for payment collaborative Win Win Win for all parties) the response is high – over 50 models have shown interest – there’s some great talent – some of which is great but not suited for this job – you flag them for other possible projects.  

Now comes the hard and time consuming bit – shortlisting.  

Shortlisting is a process of looking at a portfolio and trying to imagine if the models look will help sell the clients products.  That means for you as the photographer and then as the casting agent trying to understand and knowing what your client is selling; who your clients’ customers are and what type of model and photography will get results.

A search on Google finds some great tips on the the Perfect Portfolio 

Model Shortlisting – here are some tips on the perfect portfolio (in no particular order). 

  • Competition – modelling is a highly competitive business – As a model you’re a product and service as much as the client, the photographer and everyone else involved.  Like every product or service as a model you need to stand out from the crowd.  The objective of your model portfolio is to get you shortlisted and then a contact interview/ the job.  
  • First impressions – We’ve all heard you only get one chance to make a great first impression – means only have great and WOW photos – “OK” or “good” photos don’t cut it – yes this may seem way to obvious but you’d be astounded by the number of portfolios that have average quality images.  You’re only as good as your worst image.  We’ve seen main profile shots were the models face is nearly completely dark, blurry etc. 
  • Whatever market/ style  you’re interested in then get some professional shots taken – that tells the buyer you are professional  and professionalism means less time stuffing around and hopefully better images.  Either TFP or we’ve basic model entry package (the only selling reference in this blog)
  • Less is often better than more – ie quality over quantity – be ruthless in your selection.    
  • Style – Unless I’m specifically looking for promo talent then I don’t want to see crappy snappy candid shots of you drinking a beer at the V8’s. If it’s a lingerie casting I want to see lingerie shots; if it’s fashion then show me fashion;  swimwear swimwear – you get the picture.
  • What? – New model (6-12 shots will surf ice) – a range of head-shots and full body.  Some black and whites OK. Show me you can smile.      
  • Replies to callouts – read the brief and reply without writing a novel, people are time poor – spelling, grammar and punctuation does make a difference (but good photos will always take priority).
  • A website and testimonials – casting sites like Starnow provide other client feedback – have no doubt this impacts decision making as it reduces client risk.
  • Persistence – keep developing, learning and have fun.
  • Check out your competition – understand why you like their portfolio.

Hope that helps


Some of the better porfolios replies so far (for this job)

Mikaela Dombkins  · Susann W · Mika · Audrey  · Cassie · SoulFlyKiss 

Now time to schedule some shoots.  We’ll keep you posted on how this project progressess.


25/06 Update: What a shamazzole! Model yesterday didn’t front for shoot; others short listed not replying to emails; those that reply don’t have transport or available for the dates stated.  We’ll see how we go with the others.  

Thoughts – it certainly lends itself to

  • Getting a budget  
  • Making sure the brief is very clearly defined/ outlined
  • Only relying on referrals