Why Polaroids Are Still The Gold Standard For Model Agencies

Why Polaroids Are Still The Gold Standard For Model Agencies

Our generation has witnessed the death and rebirth of Polaroid Instant Film; yet it is interesting to note that most model agencies have always preferred the format as a staple facet in portfolios. From the model's perspective the idea of a harshly lit and un-editable image is less than ideal. However; standing in the shoes of the photographer or creative director, it is always best to have an idea what you'll really be working with. Originally, Polaroids were used for their instant nature and ease. They are a great reference to physically clip to the model's profile. Now with next to no limitation of photo editing software, there is a huge demand by agencies to get unquestionably true images of their models. Polaroids and instant film achieve that necessary validity.   

Miranda Kerr - Photo via www.beautylookmagazine.com

Many agencies will admit; while Polaroid headshots are necessary, it doesn't complete a portfolio. Just like anything, clients and agencies want to see a complete body of work that demonstrates adequate experience. Yet at the core, the truth in a Poloroid photograph can make all the difference.

As photographers, we are looking for the best path to achieve our vision. In the instances where we are able to choose our models (I've found this rare, except on personal projects), it's always best to have a full understanding of what we're dealing with. When it comes to how we photograph, light and pose a subject - it is always better to be in-the-know. Additionally, if the retouching is in-house, it's great to know how much will need to be done to achieve your photographic goals. Having a crude blank canvas of a model presented in a Polaroid is paramount in making these creative decisions. 


Kate Upton - photo via beautylookmagazine.com

via [beautylookmagazine]

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Jason Hudson is a writer and photographer living in Central Coast California. Jason is currently a full time photographer and designer at a reputable branding firm and has freelance clients ranging from GoPro, Phillips, Outdoor Magazine and more. For inquiries about Jason's work, The Keller Whale, visit www.thekellerwhale.com

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I've had the thought that Model Mayhem should require one new polaroid every quarter for models so you know what the models actually look like instead of an over-retouched picture from five years ago that is barely even the same person. But obviously that's never going to happen. :)

That's why you should have someone from the agency with you when you are shooting the "polaroids". If you are trusted to be a professional that does what you are told, then you can shoot digital without a problem.

polaroids is just snapshots and its not necessarily should be done with instant cameras or polaroids... its just pics without makeup, retouch to show how model is look like naturally
or i missed something?

Another Fstopper misinformation article. A polaroid is on occasion requested by a client but as a rule a digital snapshot will be what is excepted and most clients will know how accurate an agencies photos are, the digital snapshot is a much more true representation than a polaroid these days. Up until 5 years ago all casting directors would use a polaroid when casting for fashion shows or major campaigns now they can't justify the price of polaroid. Also a polaroid has to be scanned to be emailed to the client. I don't understand where these misinformed articles come from. Why don't you ask for some quote from actual model bookers at IMG, NEXT or DNA. All the polaroids that are shown here are from a marketing standpoint to make it look "authentic".
Again, unless requested by a client to be specifically shot on Polaroid you will get digital snapshots.

Ok I just read the article that this hack was taken from and the original article is correctly using "Polaroid" as a term that means simply lit un retouched photo against a white background of an un made up model to show how she really looks. This article has repackaged the article to make people believe that the agencies are still shooting everyone on instant film.