So you’re all amped about your photo shoot–you should be. Photo shoots are super fun!! There are a few things you will want to consider when choosing outfits that you intend to use for your comp card. 

What’s a Comp Card??

If you are signed to any agency, you probably know all about Composites, or “Comp Cards”. You want to think of comp cards as your own mini portfolio, or a modeling business card. Comp cards can be used by your agent to pitch you to prospective clients, but they are also for your own personal use to take with you to modeling auditions and photo shoots. That said…

You want the focus on your comp card to go to YOU. You’re not modeling–yet. This is your opportunity to present yourself as a blank slate to the client or agency. While we want to incorporate a variety of styles in your comp (at least 3 different outfits), we still want the clients to be able to see your natural complexion.


What is your geographical market? Is the area you live in rather conservative with an ‘Average Joe’ or ‘Girl next door’ kind of vibe? (Midwest!!!) Or, is it beach waves and surf vibes all the way? (L.A./Southern Cali) Maybe it’s a mixture of both, or incorporates some NYC high fashion elements.  Whatever your market is, you will want your comp card to reflect it so that your comp card is competitive in your local market. (Read: Great Outfit Themes for Comp Cards)


Okay… Here is one that I see being broken all the time, so let me just say this: IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE!!! There is work for pretty much every age out there, but when aspiring models try to dress or alter their look to appear older (or younger!!) it totally stifles their own marketability!! What DOES matter is that you make sure your comp card outfits/looks fit your marketable   age range. Frequently, an 11 or 12 year old girl will audition for agency representation with us and present me with photos of herself wearing Forever 21 mini dresses, crop tops, and stilettos…Two words: NOT. MARKETABLE!!!!

As an Agency Director, I can not pitch a pre-teen emulating an 18 year old to a client. I have also seen the opposite happen, with middle-aged women trying to dress like teenagers. Please trust me when I tell you: it isn’t’ marketable, and it will not get you anywhere. There’s a saying in the modeling industry and it goes like this: “Be the best 20 year old, 35 year old–50, or 75 year old you can be!!” You need to embody whatever age you are (at least in your comp card!). Every stage in life is a gift that brings us new found wisdom and refined perspective. Different perspectives are required for selling different products. There is a high level of psychology utilized in marketing.  If you are wise, you keep your comp card athstetic within your age range to ensure optimal marketability.


Where will you be shooting? In studio? Outdoors? The location is extremely important because it is going to set the vibe for the photo shoot. If you are shooting outdoors, make sure you know the visual vibe of the area. For example, if you are shooting in an urban setting against a brick wall or under a bridge, it would make sense to wear an outfit with a cool grungy kind of vibe–maybe one that even includes a pop of color.. However, you wouldn’t wear a floral sundress in this setting because it just wouldn’t make sense…


The most important thing about a comp card is that the model’s natural beauty stands out. The worst thing you can do is distract the people looking at your comp card with excessive patterns/loud clothing, glittery embellishments, large logos, poorly fitted clothing, overly done up hair, giant accessories, dramatic makeup, or even small animals–there will be plenty of time for that later (when you are booked on set!). Please leave your puppy, or collection of garden gnomes at home. Keep it simple. Also, keep in mind that the lights are already going to make you look shiny–do not add glittery highlighting powder to your face! Make sure that you (or your stylist) has translucent face powder. A clean, matte finish is always the best for clean and professional headshots and comp cards.


Posing and on-camera movement takes time and practice. I will be writing a post outlining tips, do’s and don’ts about posing very soon! Be sure that your poses showcase the outfit in a good light. For example, you wouldn’t pose like a cheerleader when wearing an evening dress, and vice versa. Think of the emotion or feeling that your outfit is communicating, and do your best to express that idea in your body movement and facial expressions. Posing takes practice! Grab your friend with a camera and start working at it!

Read, What is Your Fashion Stating?


Your stats are a complete list of your most current measurements, which are printed on the comp card below your photos.(Read, Modeling Materials.) 

Remember, this guide is meant to provide you with insight to obtain awesome, competitive comp cards for yourself and for your agent to use to market you! Always ask your agent for their opinion of your photos prior to ordering your comp cards–they will know what looks and styles are the most marketable for you. 

Have any questions or tips you would like to share? Comment below!! Feel free to share any photo shoot stories you may have!