Models primarily use two forms of marketing materials: portfolios and composite cards. These items go by many different names depending on your market and the era in which you were working, but might also be referred to as a book, comp card or zed card.
Comp cards are primarily used by the model’s agent. They are sent to clients who request models in a certain demographic. The comp card shows the client a teaser (like a movie trailer) of what the model has to offer. A model’s card may have tear images from work or highlight a certain feature the model is known by.
If the client likes your comp card, they will usually ask you to attend a go-see, which is a form of audition. The photographer or ad agent wants to meet the model and is looking for several things. First, they want to see the model’s book, which should have a more comprehensive show of their experience. Second, they want to be sure the model really looks in person like they do in their images. Too often images are retouched and the model has blemishes in real life that the client didn’t see on the card. Third, they want to find out if the model has a personality. There are a lot of brunettes at an “All American Girl” type casting – of course they want to work with the beautiful brunette who is the most fun! Go sees can be scheduled once for a job or multiple times depending on the client’s request.
Each step of the way narrows the competition and helps the client create an ideal mental image of what they want to achieve. If any one of these materials is lacking, the model will be overlooked somewhere in the process. If a model’s comp card, book, and personality are all stellar, though, he/she will likely be booked many times over and build a solid career.