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Children Photographer – Comp Cards

February 14th, 2007

Child Model, Reanna Normally, I would collaborate with the model or with the model’s parents (under 18 years old models) for modeling comp card (also known as composite cards or zed cards) creation. Planning tend to start weeks in advanced so that we’re certain what to expect, the styles, market segment to go after as well as the environment.

This shoot unfortunately was postponed twice due to bad weather and family emergencies. So, the proper planning was shorter than average. I spent only 2 hours on this shoot (unlike other modeling shoots for model’s portfolio that can span 3-5 hours).

A 7 year old model tend to not have the attention span to work for long period of times for a shoot. Going beyond 2 hours tend to wear them out fast. It is also crucial for the Ad agencies to see environmental shots where the model has an action oriented image where she is reading or playing.

Agencies and Art Directors often like to see the models’ versatility.

After all, modeling is a form of acting. Who wouldn’t hire an active looking model when the product that goes with the model is an active wear or even an music player?

Creating comp cards for modeling use isn’t rocket science, or is it? Is it really just taking lots of pictures and slapping them together as a card, then print as many as you can to send to Ad Agencies, Producers and Art Directors. hoping, just hoping to get a break. We’re in the realm of statistics here, right? The more you send, the better chance of getting a call back.

The market estimate survey shows that the chance to get a call back is 0.5% for the average model. So, in order to get 5 phone calls, you will need to send out 1000 cards! Realize that not all 5 calls will work out either. Now, 1000 cards isn’t cheap. Neither is the price of stamps nor the time it take to fill them out and send them off. So, wouldn’t you be better served to increase that chance by improving the statistics? How do we go about doing that?!

Expressions are important for Comp cards Before we even start, here are the things you should NOT do as they will decrease the statistics even lower than the market estimate of 0.5%

  1. Don’t have your family & friends take your modeling images for the comp cards (with the exception that they are professional photographers and done it comp cards extensively). With all due respect, photographing a model is just a bit more involved than clicking the shutter. Posing a model and understanding the market needs are two of the major components missing from your boyfriend’s mind while he drools over the camera while photographing you. ;)
  2. Using the same background/situation for all of the images in the comp card. You need a bit more variety to proof your ability to adapt and express.
  3. Using the same expression for all of the images in the comp card. Botox won’t win you a modeling job, unfortunately.

Doing all of the above will get you to the 0.5% acceptance ratio. We are getting somewhere, aren’t we? What if I tell you that you can triple or quadrupling that percentage? It takes time to create a WOW comp card.

  1. Time to plan on the outfit that suits your style
  2. environmental or action shots to show your versatility and your ability to fit into various roles
  3. the spectrum of expressions to show your adaptability
  4. masterful lighting that will showcase your charm (notice I’m not using the word beauty. Being beautiful doesn’t necessary make you a great model)
  5. post-processing or retouching to enhance your look will push your comp further than you can imagine.

Modeling isn’t always about how beautiful you are or how sexy you look. Rather, it’s your style and look that will fit the requirement, might that be a need for an athletic sportsman or a grumpy woman with an intriguing frown. Plan to collaborate with your photographer. It takes two hands to clap and only by working together, can this be achieved.

Child Model, Reanna
Here’s the final Comp Card.

- Michael Soo
Soo Photography

  1. yvette
    April 12th, 2011 at 13:34 | #1

    I was searching for sample comp cards and found this. It’s a beautiful card

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