Modeling Polaroids

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Even today with the advent of digital image technology, you might be asked to provide polaroids (also called snapshots) by a modeling agent. Don’t despair or think you have to dig out your grandfather’s polaroid camera!


What they really mean is that they want snapshots of you to show what you look like in your ‘raw’ form. Without makeup, without your hair done, without professional lighting, and without photo shop.  Good polaroids make an agent’s job much easier and they are more likely to choose you for a job. It’s frustrating to have models submit overly photo shopped pictures only to show up for the shoot looking completely different. I’ve had to send a few home when this happened in the past.

The pictures don’t have to be professional by any means (and they don’t have to be from an actual Polaroid camera), get a friend to take some of you with your digital camera. Rules are: Don’t style your hair, no make up, don’t retouch or photo shop your pictures, and keep the background simple. Don’t distract from you.  Wear a swim suit bikini top or modest bra (if over 18). Solid dark color is best.

Typically, they’ll want head shot and full length shots.  In total, it is 11 pictures.

Polaroid Head Shots

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Take one straight on head shot with your hair down and one with your hair in a bun.

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Take four 3/4 shots with your hair down and in a bun looking to opposite sides. (A 3/4 shot is between straight forward and full profile – or 45°)

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Two profile head shots with your hair in a bun and ears visible.


And one smiling head shot showing teeth.

Polaroid Full Length

For full length you should wear a two piece swim suit or dark solid color underwear (if over 18).  You want to show an accurate depiction of your body structure. While some photographers will tell you to go barefoot, I always shoot model polaroids with heels on. Most modeling for fashion print or runway is with heels. Your polaroids should show what your legs look like in heels.

Stand naturally, arms at your sides, feet together:

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Four photos, front, back, right profile, and left profile. (Don’t get caught flipping the picture like I did above, take genuine right and left profiles!)

sample model submission

If you change your hair, gain or lose weight, gain height, etc. you should get new polaroids.  If you’re modeling between the age of 10 and 20, I recommend new polaroids every 6 months to accurately show your look as you get older. The whole idea of polaroids is to accurately show your look. Providing them to qualified agents and photographers shows you to be a professional who understands the business. Personally, I’m much more likely to choose a model who provides polaroids.

Los Angeles Fashion Photographer