What Is A Polaroid?

How To Model Nov 20

At the Elite Model Look boot camp, the models are being put through intensive course of photo shoots, catwalk training and video interviews. Their first port of call is to get measurements taken and Polaroid pictures on file. Mauro Da Silva, Director of Elite Amsterdam, is overseeing the process. We caught up with him between takes to find out why Polaroids are so essential to a model’s portfolio.

What are you doing for the Polaroids?

It’s really important that we see their face, so we are asking them to pull back their hair, not in a ponytail but behind their ears, because we want to see all the features. We are taking one photo from the middle, where they look straight into the camera, one from the side a little bit, and one is a full-length. We want to see every aspect of the models – how tall they are, what is the composition of their body. 

What are Polaroids used for?

Polaroids are used to send to the client to see how the models really are, without make-up, without their hair done, without all the changes you can make. They have to be pure. I’m the first person the finalists come to in the boot camp. It’s very important to see them before they go into hair and make-up. 

The Finalists are getting measured as well?

Yes, they are. In this business, it’s very important for the casting directors and designers to know their exact measurements.

What is the purpose of asking the girls to wear high heels?

It’s for posture. When you are in your bare feet, you tend to let your arms hang and you slouch. So it helps them to stand straight.

When might models do Polaroids day-to-day?

In agencies, we are taking Polaroids all the time to send to clients. Normally, we take Polaroids in daylight, but here at the World Final boot camp, we will be shooting all day and after it gets dark, so we need the light to be the same for everyone, so we have set up this studio. Otherwise, it would not be fair.

Can you be asked to do a Polaroid at any time?

Polaroids are the most important photo you will ever take, even more important than your book, because it’s what the client will book you from. Clients usually want to see Polaroids and video, because there can be no retouching in video. Sometimes we have to ask models to come in to do Polaroids and they live two hours away, but they have to be done!

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