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Model Behavior With Sharon Quinn: Getting a Proper Composite Card, 4/01/2009
sharon quinn
Meet Sharon Quinn

As usual this "model behavior" column is fueled by aspiring models that I meet during my travels through the plus size model circuit.

A few weeks ago, I attended a beauty pageant for plus sized women.  I was on hand to check out the pageant but I was also there to collect an award.  After the show, I went backstage to chat with some of the contestants.  I happened upon a young lady that I didn't know but she obviously knew me.  I stopped to give her a few words of encouragement because I thought she was really beautiful.  She in turn accepted my words and reached in her bag and pulled out her composite card.  I took one look at that card and knew immediately that I had to do a column on this subject because I see aspiring models making the same mistakes across the board when it comes to their comp cards.


WHAT IS A "COMPOSITE CARD" OR "ZED/Z-CARD?

A composite card (also called a ZED or Z card) is a model's business card. As with ANY business card, you should never leave home without it.  It's what you leave with a client to keep you fresh in their minds.  It's all your information, in one little neat, easily accessible package. Many agencies will not even meet with you until you have your comp card done - because that is the tool that they use to market you.  The printing and reproduction quality of the photos and the comp card is extremely important. Poor reproduction makes your images look bad and as a result - YOU look bad.  I don't want that for you.

I noticed several things out of whack immediately about this young lady's card.  The first thing I noticed was that the SIZE of her card was a little odd to me.  It was smaller than the average size comp card.

WHAT IS THE INDUSTRY STANDARD SIZE OF A COMPOSITE CARD?

Professional composite cards generally measure in at 8 x 5 to 8 ½ x 5 ½ inches in size.  The size can vary about a half an inch, depending on your agency's preference.  Any other size silently tells someone that you are new to the business and haven't done your homework.  With the advent of the Internet highway, the information is right at your fingertips.  Just go to GOOGLE and type in your question and watch what comes up.  If you get conflicting information, keep researching and look for consistency in the numbers and/or information.

HOW MANY PHOTOS ARE NECESSARY TO PRINT UP A CARD?

When I first signed on with Wilhelmina in 1995, I remember that my very first photo shoot I did to try and put together a composite card was absolutely disastrous.  I didn't like the photographer and he didn't like me and that came across in ALL of my pictures.  I walked away from that shoot without a single usable photo.  Not one.  The clock was still ticking though – so I needed to shoot again quickly to try and get some decent photos.  The second shoot went much better than the first and at the end of the day my very first composite card had TWO photos on it, one on the front and one on the back of the card.  There is no hard and fast rule about how many photos you should put on your card; you can do two, three, four or even five photos.  But the key is that the number of photos you use should be your two, three, four or even five STRONGEST shots. 
 
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