Less is always better! You will not impress with quantity – you will make a lasting impression with quality. If your portfolio is littered with every photographers images you could possibly shoot with, it will generally only hurt your chances. Make sure you choose your photographers carefully and look at the type of images as well as quality of images before you shoot with them.
If you think about it – I can take two good photos of you – a headshot and a full length shot – and show that you are beautiful and have a good, fit figure. So if this is the case – why all the stress about a portfolio?
The purpose of a modeling portfolio is to show your modeling capabilities, your look, size and your diversity in modeling.– it is to show your ability to portray different characters, age ranges and importantly personality!
As a new model – 6 – 12 pictures is adequate to present yourself to a new agency or job opportunity. 20 should be a maximum – but only if they are 20 “WOW” pictures. Just average pictures will only hurt your chances. You have to have WOW pictures that make you stand out and show your very best capabilities.
You don't have to work with several photographers, but it is a good idea to have a couple photographers with different styles that have shot you in your portfolio. Different Photographers styles will help show your diversity.
Black and white is still a good medium used today. It is a good idea to have both black and white and color images in your portfolio
The answer is NO. Not every model is a swimsuit or lingerie model. Yet there are a lot of agencies and small time photographers that are telling models they have to have lingerie and swimsuit images in their portfolio. It really depends on what type of modeling you want to do. As a matter of fact, if a photographer/agency is insistent upon this, I would be very skeptical of their intentions. There are many types of modeling today that aren't looking at whether or not a model looks good in a swimsuit or lingerie. So keep that in mind when building your portfolio.
Two images definitely needed are a headshot and full body image with fitted clothing. No makeup is preferable for these. Then focus on what area of modeling you would like to be in and diversify it a bit. If its fashion modeling, then try to get some wearable fashion images as well as some HIGH fashion with clothing that you wouldn't see day to day. If its lifestyle/commercial modeling, you need images that show you in different characters depending on your age. This will show your ability to play the role and work with whatever is needed to get the shot.