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  • Writer's pictureRachel Z

What is a Model Comp Card?

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Man holding onto hat while looking at the camera wearing green and tan striped shirt
Photo by Rachel Z Photography

If you are in any line of business, an essential part of what you do to create brand recognition starts with the basics, and part of that means having a business card. Well, the same can be said of models, but their business cards vary. If you are a model, having a comp card is essential to your career, but you may wonder what is a model comp card? Well, at Rachel Z Photography, your San Francisco photography expert, we are here to help!

What is a Model Comp Card?

A Comp Card is two-sided, about 5×7 in size and contains the model’s name, contact information, and measurements. The front of the card should contain a great headshot while the back should contain a variety of 1 to 4 photos.

While traditional business cards usually just contain a person’s credentials and contact information, a comp card includes photos, measurements, and other relevant information. They’re an effective way to professionally showcase your abilities and make a great first impression. Many models will even have different comp cars for the different modeling they do (i.e. commercial print vs runway).

These days, many models use a combination of digital and physical comp cards.

Digital vs. Physical

These days, many models use a combination of digital and physical composite cards. They’re basically the same, but with one obvious difference: One you email, and the other you snail mail or hand out.

However, if you are just starting out, then an online composite card is the way to go. The beauty of an online composite card is that you can quickly swap out photos yourself rather than having to reprint hundreds of cards at the printing company. Online comp cards are the most inexpensive choice for new models who are often changing their photos in the beginning. Once you become a little more established, then you can invest in printed cards.

What Does a Comp Card Look Like?

While no two comp cards are identical, there is a standard industry template that cards follow. Typical comp cards include one large photo (usually your best headshot), 3-4 smaller photos, and your information. Physical comp cards are usually double-sided and printed on an 8.5” x 5.5” piece of cardstock with your headshot & name on the front and smaller photos and information on the back.

With choosing what photos to include on your comp card, look to your modeling portfolio. The strongest photos out of your book are usually the best ones to put on your comp card. You will want to include a range of photos from a headshot to a full body shot, and include different poses and facial expressions. If you have an impressive portfolio, it can sometimes be difficult to narrow down your best photos and decide which ones to showcase on your comp card. This is where the expertise of your agent comes into play. They will provide you with advice on which photos will help you appeal to the type of clients you want to book jobs with.

How to Select Photos

If you’re signed to an agency, there’s a good chance they’ll help you pick the photos that best represent you. If you aren’t with an agency yet, you’ll need to choose your photos carefully and possibly tweak your choices until you find the combination that gets the best results.

Your main photo needs to be eye-catching and engaging—one with a true “wow factor.” This is the most important image, so make it count! That doesn’t mean you can choose any old photos for the remaining images, though. Even though they’re smaller, they need to give the viewer a powerful look at your skills and versatility.

About Rachel Z. Photography:

I’m a 31-year-old San Francisco-based photographer, whale-watching enthusiast, and guardian of 2 lovely rescued birds. My goal with my photography is to empower you by taking the essence of who you are and turning it into works of art. I want to hear what YOUR ideas are and help make them into a reality. I want you to feel powerful. I want you to feel beautiful. I want you to feel confident, because we all deserve that.

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