Model Tearsheets

Modeling Tearsheets
Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

Modeling is all about marketing yourself, and one of the top tools you’ll need is a strong portfolio full of your best and most current work. Your “book”, as it is often called, should contain a range of professional shots that not only show off your top assets, but also your attitude, personality, and versatility. And the best way to do that? By including as many tearsheets as possible.

What are Tearsheets and Why are They important?  

Traditionally, a tearsheet is an actual page torn from a magazine or other print publication that goes into a modeling portfolio.

Today, thanks to a little something called the Internet, a tearsheet can also be a digital ad or editorial.

Basically, tearsheets prove you’ve actually been published. They put your photos into context and show agencies and clients who you’ve worked for and what kind of work you’ve done. If your portfolio is full of tearsheets featuring known brands and publications, you’ll have a better chance of landing more lucrative jobs and signing with the best modeling agencies.

Tearsheets that prove you have worked as a professional model can also be required by some foreign countries before they will issue a visa allowing you to work in their country.

Why Do I Need Tearsheets for Digital Work? Can’t I Just Include a Link to the Photo?

Definitely not! Agents and clients are incredibly busy people who don’t have time to go online and look up every photo you’ve ever done. They want to see all of your work in one handy place.

Plus, websites are always updating their content, meaning your image won’t be online forever. So, instead of linking to a photo that may or may not exist in a few years, months, or even days, it’s better to print off the actual image while you can.

What’s the Best Way to Grab an Online Image?

You don’t have to be a tech wizard to print off a digital image.

It’s really quite easy! Just copy the photo, paste it into the photo editor of your choice (Photoshop is best, but whatever comes with your computer will work just fine), make it as large as possible without sacrificing quality, and print it off.

Make sure to use glossy photo paper, not regular printer paper, and choose the highest possible printing quality. If you don’t have a printer or are overwhelmed by the process, you can always download the image, upload it to a photo printing site, and let them do it for you.

How Do You Get Original Copies of Your Work for a Tearsheet?

It would be great if your modeling agency could send you a copy of your work after every job, but that’s not always the way it works. As a model, it’s up to you to keep track of the work you’ve done and collect copies for your tearsheets. And when your photos aren’t online, or if they aren’t high quality, it can take a bit of effort to get them.

There are two ways to go about this:

  • Tear the actual page out of a magazine, catalog, or other print material. But wait! Before you find your page and rip it out, remember that the page needs to have clean, professional lines, without any tears or jagged edges. What you want to do instead is rip the page at the binding. To do that, rip out an entire chunk of pages (with your page in it) all the way to the binding. Then, tear off one page at a time until you reach your photo (you can take off 3 or 4 at a time if your photo is far away). Rip off your page slowly and carefully, starting at the top or bottom. You can use a razor or box cutter type tool to cut it out. If you did it right, the page should be perfectly intact.
  • If your ad is in a foreign magazine or is otherwise inaccessible (a poster, for example), a good option is to go right to the source—the photographer, art director, or ad agency—and get a digital version of the original file. It will look better than a scanned image anyway, and it never hurts to show this kind of professional initiative. After your shoot, ask who you should contact about the photo and how long you should wait before getting in touch, then be sure to follow up!

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