How To Take Model Digitals
So much attention is placed on professional images for a model that sometimes one of the most important tools for booking- model “digitals” or “polaroids”- are overshadowed. Digitals are natural, unretouched snapshots of the model as a blank canvas, to show what a model looks like just as she is. Clients very regularly request these from agencies before booking a model for a job, and even if you are just doing freelance work, including a composite selection of some of your digis can really help with booking jobs as it helps assure the client of how your look.
Digitals are sometimes done by your agency, or even occasionally by a professional photographer in a studio setting, but most often you can just have a friend take them. Choose a neutral location, like a plain wall, indoors or outdoors, with good natural light. Try to take them at a time of day when the light is flattering and soft for the best pictures.
Wear something very simple and neutral that shows off your body, nothing bulky or distracting. No jewelry, no bright colors, definitely no patterns. Jeans or leggings and a tank top or crop top, a fitted dress, or shorts and a tank top, are all great options. Pair them with simple heels and wear either black/dark grey, or a neutral color that flatters you without being in any way distracting.
For swimwear digis, wear a simply suit that compliments your skin tone, no patterns, no crazy straps or distracting hardware. Choose something flattering to the body, preferably a two piece, again with a simple pair of heels. You don’t always need swimwear digitals, they tend to be for certain jobs or in certain markets where there is a good deal of this type of work (such as Miami). If you need digis and don't have a swimsuit with you for whatever reason, a tank top or crop top and plain bikini or boyshort style panties works fine too.
For makeup, it should appear as though you are not wearing any. Just a very light foundation or concealer, perhaps a natural looking lip gloss or a very very thin coat of mascara; less is best as the client has already seen what you look like in makeup with your professional shots and they want to see you looking as natural as possible. The same with hair- your natural hair texture (or the way you wear it to castings), perhaps enhanced with a blow dry, but very natural looking. Nail polish should be very neutral and non-distracting as well.
It is recommended that you shoot some images with your hair back or up to better show the shape of your face, and some with it down and in front to show the hair. At least one image should be full length, from the front, and you can also shoot profiles/sides this way, or shoot them 3/4 length.
In total, there should be at least three images from the first set- front and profiles. Then do front closeup and side closeup (back as well if you often do work for hair companies), and lastly one or two either full or ¾ (whichever you didn’t do previously).
Digitals can include many more poses and angles, but that covers the basics. You should take them every 1-3 months, or anytime your look changes at all (changes to hair, weight, etc.). They are an essential tool for booking work and the fresher they are, the better!