Any young woman breaking into modeling knows how expensive modeling portfolios can be. And the younger you are, the more often you need to have your photo taken because your looks are constantly changing. Knowing this, most reputable agencies accept good quality snapshots for younger people interested in modeling. And with today's easy to use cameras, any friend can take great pictures of you without great expense. Keeping just a few photo tips in mind.
Use film that is balanced for skin tones. Wedding and portrait photographers often use Kodak VPS print film or Fuji professional print film which you will find at most camera stores. If you can't find that, try regular print films like 100 ISO. Faster films such as 400 and 1000 can result in harsh looking photos and don't enlarge to 8x10 as well as lower speed films.

You can use almost any camera to take snap shots, but for that real professional look, an SLR camera is your best choice. Today's SLR cameras are completely automatic yet you have the option of selecting certain settings on the camera or changing the lens to get the type of shot you want. The lens is critical. Portrait lenses, anywhere from 90mm to 135mm, provide the best perspective for facial features. The lens can also be "opened up" to blur out the background making you stand out. This is accomplished by setting the camera to aperture-priority and setting the aperture at F/2.8 to 5.6. The camera takes care of the rest.

Experiment with lighting. Take pictures by a window with a northern exposure. This will give you a very natural look. Light changes color from morning to evening. For that golden look, late afternoon sun is best. Avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 11am and 2pm which will cause glaring overhead shadows.

Try using a flash outside to fill in severe shadows and provide a professional look. A flash will also give you that "twinkle" highlight in your eyes. Today's cameras automatically se the flash for outdoor use. This is called "fill-flash" on most cameras. Or you can use a white card to bounce light into your eyes and eliminate shadows.

Position yourself where there is no distracting background. Don't let trees, poles, etc., look like they are sticking out of your head. Stand or sit in front of colorful foliage, green trees, or a blue ocean and blur the background by setting your lens at F/2.8 to 5.6. 6. Be sure to focus on the eye closest to the camera. If your eyes are out of focus, the portrait loses its impose.

Experiment with filters. A big advantage of SLR cameras is that the lenses will accept filters like softening filters (Remember Moonlighting's Cybil Shepherd?) or warming filters that give you a golden glow.

Don't overdo your make-up. Stick with basic foundation, lipstick, a little blush and mascara. If you want your eyes to be more dramatic, try some brown eyeliner. Avoid colors like blue and purple around your eyes. You want the agency to see what you've got. They are looking for bone structure and features to work with. Let them decide what to do with your make-up.

The same goes for clothing. Keep it simple and undistracting. And pay attention to colors. If you don't know what colors look best on you, it's worth the time to find out.

Lastly, have fun. Let a good friend take the pictures so you're at ease. And take pictures often. Looking at your snap shot portraits and trying to improve them will help you later when you get those assignments.