An aspiring model recently asked me: As for the comp card, people have been telling me different things and I'm confused. I spoke with a someone who use to model and she told me I can work with amateur/student photographers to create my comp card just as long as the photos are good. Others have told me I HAVE to work with professional photographers because I don't want to send just any photograph. To tell you the truth, I don't really trust a 21 year old professional photographer with taking my picture because of the lack of years being a professional and I would want someone who has MANY years of professional photography experience, right?
YOU DO want to work with professionals and if you have even $100-$200 or so to spend on a professional headshot, you should! A well done headshot can last you for years. It is a good shot to market to print modeling agencies on the front of your comp card. Paying for photos with a professional can save you time and energy if you work with a professional and get some shots you need. Be careful about picking a photographer. Don't rush into it.
Invest, but I am not saying get a whole portfolio done, and go totally all out and spending thousands of dollars. No. I am saying get some natural shots of you being you that are taken by a professional. Someone who really understands photography, has a photography business, credits, is serious about the career as a photographer. Start with just a headshot. Approach with saying "what you need" and "your goals" for the shoot. You want commercial print friendly shots. Especially if you are short, if the photographer doesn't know what print modeling is, do not work with this person.
The thing is a print modeling agency is going to look at the photos and ask themselves if you can model or not, if you have a marketable look and personality. A print modeling agency won't care about your height as much as your personality and how well you photograph. So you don't want to send just random shots or just ok ones. You want well lit shots. NOT overly photoshopped and natural, you being you.
When you work with a photographer just keep in mind to work with someone who KNOWS lighting, KNOWS photography, age isn't such a factor compared to someone KNOWING what they are doing with the camera.
(A student wouldn't be bad, but I HATE the word amatuer, it just sounds terrible, shaddy and like a mistake waiting to happen, so don't use or work with people who call themselves amatuers. Someone starting out, who is studying photography would be ok for some headshots perhaps, but understand that paying a professional for a headshot is worth it.) The self investment is important. Many modeling agencies work with models in a less hand on way, meaning the model has to have her marketing material, and this means having professional photos and a comp card ready so you want to make sure you have a plan for your shots and are not justshooting to see what happens. And have a goal. A goal for each shoot you do. A headshot, beauty shot close up, smile shots, and many commercial print photos are important to have. You want to also think of ads and things you CAN actually model for despite height, so don't be dwelling on fashion and your height, focus on accessories, your personality, your smile, and make each shot say that you can model and also you have personality to use to sell the product you are modeling :)