Which Portfolio Is Best?

Since the introduction of the iPad in to the modern world, the fashion industry has been slowly shifting towards a more digital medium. There are online magazines, social media campaigns, instagram fame and digital portfolios.

A few years back, a day of castings was a mission. - You needed to find a bag big enough to hold your portfolio and strong enough to cart it around. I often suffered from sore shoulders and back after a big day or week, of castings. Frankly it was sort of a nightmare.

Then came the iPad. I started seeing them more regularly a few years ago and I was instantly determined to get one. "Oh boy, that looks so much easier to carry around and it will fit in my favourite handbag!" And so came the day when I converted.

Now it hasn't been all smiles and roses - I started to encounter some problems.
It was hard to find an appropriate application to house my images in a presentable manner. Using the photos library is not really and option as you can't really arrange the images in any specific manner. (If any one knows how to do this please let me know. I also came across a few flats - if I didn't check my battery the night before I might discover it flat in the morning and have to wait by it and become 15 minutes late to my appointment- or worse, not realise it is flat until at my appointment. Oh no! I also had a few days where there was just a random glitch in the software and I would have to power it on/off, repeat until I could sort it out.

The software has advanced a bit since then of course and I encounter these problems less, but still on occasion.

The Research Says:

Of the models surveyed, a majority of models use iPads, and some of the models were shown to use both. There was a comment that it depends what city you are in.

For example, in cities such as NYC, Milan, Munich, Paris & London, agencies tend to prefer you to have a hard copy book. Where as other cities like Sydney, LA, and Tokyo prefer the digital approach.

Some models stated that they prefer to use their iPad for busy days of castings, when they will be running around all day but they use their hard copy book if they have an important casting or just a couple on that day. 

Funnily enough, throughout the survey I didn't find anyone who used an android tablet. I thought there would be more people using them...

Here are the results from the survey I created:

iPad VS Hard Copy Portfolio

I surveyed models to see which style of portfolio they prefer.



  • Lightweight and small  so it is easy to carry around all day.
  • You can have multiple portfolios, so you can don't have to keep editing whenever you travel to a new city or cast with a different client.
  • Some agencies have their own app that you can download for easier access to your portfolio.
  • If there is wifi or you have internet connected you can show clients your social media if they request it.
  • It is multiprpose.
  • You can also use your iPad to: write emails, manage your social media and read books as well as other things.


  • The battery can go flat on a big day of appointments.
  • Less professional than the standard hard copy portfolio.
  • The screen gets covered in finger prints and can crack/smash if it is droppped.
  • Images are not as large or clear. You will need HD images.
  • Cost a lot of money upfront.
  • Can suffer from software glitches making it hard to show your portfolio.




  • Large, clear photos that are easy to see.
  • A more professional approach. Some clients much prefer hard copy images to digital.
  • Doesn't run out of batteries.


  • Images are expensive. 
  • Heavy to carry all day. They can weigh a few kilos, depending on how many images there are.
  • Awkward size, doesn't fit in most handbags. You may need to carry and extra bag just for your portfolio.

In Conclusion your choice of portfolio will depend on what city you are in, who your agency is, and your personal preference. I think it is great to have both options ready so you are prepared either way. I much prefer my iPad, but I do use my hard copy portfolio when I need to.

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Check out these related posts for more information about modelling portfolios!