I was chatting with an aspiring model the other day and she told me how she had been going to many castings but not booking any work, and that all the other models had tearsheets and she thought that was why she wasn't being booked for the job. It very well could be.
Honestly, as a shorter girl, once I gained a few tearsheets it did the make difference. To work with agencies and to book work.
My first tearsheets I gained them on my own, by pursuing aspiring brands and also photographer's that aimed for published work or already had an established roster of clients in hopes I would be thought of for a gig they might be having.
Gaining tearsheets should be a goal and if possible at the early part of your pursuits, showing you "can model" and "have modeled for something" does matter.
Come on, think about it, why would a well known brand or magazine want to work with a model that appears inexperienced? They wouldn't, time is money, the client doesn't want to have to train the model, no, they want to bank on that the model can get the job done well, and tearsheets can make you come off more prepared, ready and able. Been there, done that!
To get modeling jobs that lead to tearsheets and which are a benefit to your print modeling portfolio consider doing this:
Strive to work with aspiring brands and designers who perhaps can't afford booking the "modeling agency" model and the agency rates, but still have a need for a model for their catalog. Network and strive to model for an aspiring brand or companies catalog, being in print will make a difference in your portfolio.
Examples of what a tearsheet can be:
a designers lookbook
a print ad in a magazine
an editrial in a magazine
packaging for a product
a book cover
an online catalog
I think print material, a physical printed tearsheet is best because that is what will go in your portfolio and yes even in this digital age, you need a portfolio and casting directors and marketing professionals do look at portfolios at castings.
Before the job/when you are at the job, ask about when the images will be seen, out, available, what month, season, if it is a magazine what issue?
Many jobs shoot months in advance so be on the look out for your work.
If you are involved with an online catalog I suggest going to the website of the brand/company, find the image of yourself, then pressing "print screen" from your keyboard, which will copy the whole screen and then open Photoshop or even the Paint program and press paste. Or open a new document and press paste in Photoshop. ((**Make sure to set the image print size resolution, which is 300 DPI. Remember 72 DPI is only web resolution size, and when printed at this size it could be grainy.))
From there crop out the web browser info and make it about the brand and you. Here is an example from a shoe modeling job I did and how I cropped the image from the website:
( cropped for comp card to look like this )
Trying to gain some tearsheets on your own is a good idea. Print modeling agencies are not as hands-on with crafting your career and modeling goals, it is up to you. What you put in, the time, the research, the self-promotion, the effort, the energy..... leads to where you go and what you gain. So having a tearsheet from even a local or regional magazine or newspaper, or an aspiring designers catalog or look book, is a good idea.
Proof you have worked before can intrigue a modeling agency, having a comp card that shows a tearsheet on it, which fits the vibe of print modeling can help you get an opportunity to work with an agency-even if you are shorter than most models they work with.
I do think tearsheets matter for the short girl. Work at getting some, maybe you'll be working with a small aspiring brand, and that's okay, your modeling pursuits are a growth, grow it! Start it up!
Also, when you are at a modeling casting, clients like to know they are booking a model who can handle the job, has experience, and can make their job easier. So having tearsheets, proof that you have modeled for "something legit" matters for the sake of getting others to believe in you, that you are a good model for the job.
So ask yourself if you are doing enough for your pursuits, are you headed in a "tearsheet gaining" direction? Get active. Start approaching local companies with your comp card. Attend trade shows, craft fairs, research even in the yellow pages small companies, family run businesses in your town that might need a model for their marketing and print or online promotional material.
Don't waste time waiting for things to happen, make them happen. Always ask yourself, "will this experience lead me towards my other goals?"
Again, aim to work with better photographers who also have goals of published work or have an established portfolio of editorials and advertsiing work. I gained my first tearsheet from a photographer I had done a test shoot with and later he thought of me for an editorial with Woman's World magazine when they needed a model last minute, the experience proved to me that it is possible to start to grow a portfolio yourself but you have to surround yourself with those who are serious, professional and ambitious like yourself.
Research better, use your self-promotion skills and introduce yourself to some aspiring brands and designers. Get out there in ways that will benefit your bigger goals. Step by step everything leads to the next bigger thing.
Also keep in mind it has taken me years to build my own portfolio and modeling pursuits, not months, not weeks or days....years!
Here is more on why tearsheets matter can how to gain some during your early stages of building a modeling portfolio and your comp card:
After the modeling job, collecting your tearsheets tips #1
After the modeling job, collecting your tearsheets tips #2