Fashion Photographer London – iPhone Challenge

Fashion Photography London image shot on iPhone by Jarek Duk

Fashion Photographer London – iPhone Challenge

Can you believe it’s been 10 years since the first iPhone was introduced? In less than a decade iPhone has become not only the most popular mobile phone in history, but with estimated 160 Billion images taken last year alone, also the most popular camera ever. With many news reporters using it as the main tool of the trade, recent Apple’s advertising campaign featured on billboards around the world or front cover and entire editorial in Elle Australia shot by fashion photographer exclusively on iPhone it is fair to say it is no longer a novelty but viable commercial tool if placed in the right hands.

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Model Portfolio London – How not to get scammed.

Model portfolio London, modelling portfolio London, portfolio book

Model Portfolio London – How not to get scammed.

The Ultimate Guide For Aspiring Models


I have decided to write this article touched by increasing volume of rather sad phone calls and emails I receive from young boys and girls that dream of modelling career.

They all have one thing in common, they are victims of their own dreams and ruthless people that are prepared to shamelessly take advantage of a vulnerable, young person and run with their money. By now you are probably wondering what I’m on about? I am talking about so called “professional model portfolio” or modelling portfolio photo shoots.


The story is always the same. One way or the other (they are really good at marketing) they get your attention and lure you in.

Along the way they convince you that you are absolutely gorgeous or insanely handsome and the only thing that stands between you and the cover of VOGUE is lack of “professional” portfolio.

You can not believe your luck when they tell you that today they have very special offer and the £2000 package goes for mere £750. What a bargain!

While wave of excitement washes over your body, you empty your account, squeeze something out of your parents, maybe even call your grandma. You are completely green in this field so nothing triggers your suspicion… until few days later you proudly present this marvel to a modelling agency. Unfortunately this time you deal with real professionals and after quick scan they reject your photos and tell you to come back when you’ll have something they call a portfolio.

You are shocked, speechless, wondering how this could happen?

You just became another person that have been scammed. I personally work with several modelling agencies so feel qualified to explain you why.

Reputable modelling agency would NEVER put on their website anything that is even slightly below their current standard. That would lower the agency’s perceived quality and damage their reputation.

If you are really drop dead gorgeous and the agency wants you very much, they may offer you a test shoot (more professional term for model portfolio building session) but this time with real professional from within the industry rather than some weekend warrior/happy snapper or your local high street studio that is guaranteed to deliver results matching their standards.

Then they deduct the cost of the shoot from your future earnings so it all happens painlessly, without further damage to your budget.

Only few of you will be that lucky though. Unfortunately most will have to prove their potential before they would be accepted.


So what do you do next?

Have really good look at your agency’s website. See what quality of photography they display and find photographer that will deliver it.

Don’t panic, it’s not going to cost you arm and leg again. You may be surprised that often real commercial or fashion photographer will charge you less than your awesome, flashy local studio. The point is that our main source of income is commercial photography for commercial clients and we don’t feel the urge to scam naive, young people.

We are actually happy to help, give something back to the industry, not only take professional looking photographs but also teach you something along the way.

Give you advice on styling, latest trends on hair & makeup, shed some light on posing techniques, even give some homework so you can practice and progress on your own.

I often get to work on commercial projects with models that few years back have showed up at our door green and clueless as you are right now. But they’ve worked hard, they’ve persevered. Some of them failed… but some have succeeded and they say it was worth it.

Please share your thoughts and related experiences in the comments below.

More information on this topic in my other article Modelling Portfolio – Expert advice.


Please note that I do not intend to comment on particular studio, agency or other individual cases as they are all different. My intention was to give you information and advice that is hard to find elsewhere and enables you to make conscious and rational decision before you send your hard earned money. I really hope it serves the purpose.

Yours truly

Model portfolio London, modelling portfolio London, portfolio book


Model portfolio London, modelling portfolio London, portfolio book


Model portfolio London, modelling portfolio London, portfolio book


Model portfolio London, modelling portfolio London, portfolio book

Fashion Editorial. Fashion Photography London

Editorial shot

fashion editorial, fashion photography London, men's fashion, winter collection, moody, intense

Today I would like to share with you nice fashion photography editorial I have shot recently.

I have to be honest with you, although I have real passion for photography like in any other job some days are better then others. This particular day has been great from start to finish.

For this editorial we had planed mostly studio setups with an option of shooting one quick shot outdoors. However as I was driving to my studio the beautiful, golden, low winter sun has presented itself and I knew that we will definitely have to take advantage of this rare occurrence here in London on the middle of winter.

I have managed to gather really great team for this shoot. Our model Ash is full of character, charisma and generally cool and good looking chap. I can’t stress enough the importance of good hair and makeup artist (yes, even for guys)!

While ago I have started cooperating with Gosia Peruzynska, not only is she very professional and does some black magic to people’s faces but also brings to the shoot tones of humour and positive energy. I also had a great assistant, fellow photographer Pawel Spolnicki.

Quick side note to anyone that is just starting out and willing to take their photography to next level. You will NEVER make it as “one man band”! Behind any successful photo shoot stands the whole TEAM of people. Yes it is a challenge and yes it takes time but once you’ll find the right people and build those relations your work will improve dramatically. So if you wonder what step to take next, make team building your New Year’s resolution and see where you stand at the end of the year.


Back to our topic. As the weather was great and light beautiful we have shot a few outdoor setups. All with natural light and little help of a silver reflector. After couple of hours we have moved back to studio and finished it off with couple of moody photographs where Ash although cold and tired still gave me his 110%.

I’ll let you judge the results. Please leave your opinions in the comments below.

fashion editorial, fashion photography London, men's fashion, winter collection, moody, intense

fashion editorial, fashion photography London, men's fashion, winter collection, moody, intensefashion editorial, fashion photography London, men's fashion, winter collection, moody, intense

fashion editorial, fashion photography London, men's fashion, moody, intense, model portfolio

fashion editorial, fashion photography London, men's fashion, moody, intense, model portfolio

fashion editorial, fashion photography London, men's fashion, moody, intense

fashion editorial, fashion photography London, men's fashion, moody, intense

Modelling Portfolio – Expert Advice

Modelling portfolio London

Expert Advice – How to get it done – A Perfect Modelling Portfolio in London

Over the past few years I had a pleasure to work with some of the top London’s agencies and modelling schools.

I am also being regularly invited to various seminars and modelling courses where I try to help those beautiful and ambitious young people to get on the right path to successful modelling career.

I guess I have become kinda known for it so I receive a lot of questions in that matter but one particular question comes over and over again: “How do I build my professional, modelling portfolio?

So lets start with the definition.

Modelling portfolio or model portfolio (also simply called “book”) is a book that should present the model and showcase model’s work.

It is collection of high quality photographic prints (no smaller than 8×10 inches and no larger than A3 size) presented in elegant sleeve or case (London Graphic Centre carry good selection of decent and inexpensive portfolio books).

It should contain somewhere between 10 and 24 images but remember, always put QUALITY OVER QUANTITY! Five great photos will get far better response than twenty average ones.

So what kind of shots do you need? The answer is all kinds. You should include at least one headshot, one “polaroid” (unretouched, full length picture in bikini or basic underwear on a clean background), couple of studio shots, couple of indoor location images, couple of outdoor location images and your best commercial work.

The most common mistake that beginners make is filling up your book with images from one photo shoot. Even if you plan to start your portfolio with only one session, make sure each image looks different (different outfit, hair, make up, different photographic style, location etc.).

No one will hire a model that has only done one photo shoot so you need to create an impression that you were building it for some time.

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Now, if you reading this article you probably just starting out and don’t have anything to show, right?

There are two ways to build your portfolio from scratch.

First: You can ask your friend to take couple of pictures for you then sign up to one of the websites that bring together models, photographers, make up artists and other people from within the industry (Model Mayhem and Star Now are both good place to start, at least here in London). Once you get your profile up and running you look for photographers that would be willing to cooperate with you on TFP basis. TFP stands for Time For Prints, which is slightly archaic because most likely you will only receive images on CD rather than prints. Anyway you both invest your time for mutual benefit, you learn how to pose and your photographer learns… well, photography, but there is no money involved. Following this long and winding path you sure saving money but risk wasting countless hours with unskilful, unexperienced photographers resulting in images that will rarely be on acceptable level to be included in your portfolio.

Second: The other way can kick start your career and get you paid jobs within weeks rather then years. It will require some investment but hey, that’s how the world works. If you wanted to be successful musician, doctor or lawyer you wouldn’t expect to get there without an investment. Same applies to modelling. Basically you need to hire someone that has knowledge and experience to help you achieve your goals – professional photographer. I feel obligated to give you a warning here! These days every guy that owns a camera and likes to look at pretty girls calls himself “professional photographer” and that’s definitely not what I had in mind! I mean working full time commercial, fashion or portrait photographer. So please take great care when choosing one. Check his work, website and credentials or you will end up wasting your money on images that will be too low quality to be accepted by any serious modelling agency. However if you hire good photographer not only you will have fantastic images that you will be able to submit to agencies but you also acquire tones of skills and knowledge like posing techniques, styling advice, casting contacts etc.


I hope I have answered most of your questions and cleared some of your doubts. If there is anything else please do not hesitate to ask me in the comments below.

All of the images in this post are of non professional models and were taken during portfolio building sessions.

More on this topic in my article Model Portfolio – How not to get scammed

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Modelling portfolio London

Model portfolio London, modelling portfolio London, portfolio book

Modelling portfolio London

Cold and windy. Model’s portfolio shoot.

A few days ago I photographed rather cool lifestyle model Janu. For those of you from UK I don’t need to explain how nasty English weather at this time of the year could be… and so it was. 70-90 km/h wind has forced me to change my game plan drastically.

My only assistant on set was Maggie, our make up artist (she’s about size 0 😉 so making her hold onto even small size softbox would only make things worse cause not only would I have to worry about my equipment but also about health and safety of my lovely assistant. So instead we have settled for three Canon 580 EX II Speedlights triggered by Pocket Wizards Flex TT5 and Mini TT1, mounted on TriFlash bracket and my old trusty Manfrotto monopod.

That way Maggie had only one piece of equipment to worry about and it was rather light and wind resistant.

So we were ready to go! Since the freezing rain was coming off and on we had to move fast. We started off in the building right opposite our studio were we found this old and dirty loading bay.

As ugly as it was, it was full of texture and had moody feel to it (see first three shots). Next we headed for the street. I know the area pretty well so we took advantage of a few tried and tested locations. Janu was brave enough to take his thick jacket off and pose for a couple of shots only in T-shirt, showing off his awesome tattoos. We were cold, the batteries were dying so it was time to go back to the studio. A few cookies and hot cup of tea put us back on our feet and we were ready for set of head-shots, which came out great.

So here it is, another lesson learned! Even though it seemed like we fighting against all the odds (believe you me, I was so close to call the whole thing off) we did not give up and came back with shots far better then I could possibly wish for. My model has suffered (just a touch 😉 ) but Janu’s model’s portfolio went right through the roof!

Great outcome from miserable day!


Special thanks to my assistant Maggie, that was so bravely fighting the elements.


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