How to Make Your Model Comp Cards Stand Out

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A comp card is one of the most important tools for models and those hoping to break into modeling. It showcases your abilities, look, and contact information to industry professionals—and hopefully, it gets your foot in the door. Read on to learn what to include on your comp card, how to format it, and insights from model industry experts.

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What is a model comp card?

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A comp card, composite card, or Zed card is a visual business card for models. It is a way for models to introduce themselves to potential clients.

A comp card for models should have:

  • Pictures: Include a portrait shot (a clear, unfiltered close-up of your face), a half-body shot (your face and upper body), a full-body shot (your entire body, preferably in form-fitting clothing or a swimsuit), an action shot (a lifestyle photo of you dancing, laughing, or whatever action feels the most you), and a commercial shot (you posing with an unbranded product). The usual layout features your portrait and name on the front of the card, and the rest of the shots, personal stats, and contact info on the back. 
  • Personal stats: Put your height, weight, body measurements (bust, waist, and hips for women; chest, waist, and inseam for men), hair and eye color, and shoe size on your comp card so that potential clients can see if you fit their needs.
  • Contact info: Model comp card information includes your name, city of residence, nationality, representation if you have any (agents and managers), and your own contact information (phone, email, and social media handles).

What size should a model comp card be?

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Comp cards should be printed on both sides of 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch A5 cardstock.

How to make a model comp card

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1. Choose your photos

Use professional photos that showcase your look and demonstrate your versatility. The setting should be in natural light with a neutral background.

2. Design the comp card

If you choose to make your comp cards yourself, you can use online design tools like Printique, Canva, Zazzle, or Sedcard24. Comp card fees are generally around $100, although you can hire a designer to create professional cards for a larger fee. Your comp card's format should follow these guidelines: 

  • Size: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch on A5 cardstock (the card can be vertical or horizontal, whichever feels best for you).
  • Front of card: Include your best natural headshot and your name in a clear, easy-to-read font like Times New Roman or Arial, size 12 to 14.
  • Back of card: Include a variety of images that demonstrate your skill set, experience, and the type of work you want; your personal stats; and your contact info.

3. Print the cards

Have cards printed and sent to you using sites like Headshots2Go, PrintPlace, and NextDayFlyers; or print them yourself using A5 cardstock. A good number to start with is around 100 comp cards. If you hire a comp card designer, they will likely print the cards for you. Remember that physical comp cards are double-sided with a primary photo and your name on the front, and smaller photos, stats, and contact info on the back. 

4. Post your comp card online

Although every model should have at least a few traditional printed comp cards, online comp cards allow you to reach a wider audience. The primary formatting difference between physical comp cards and digital ones is that online comp cards display your headshot and name on the left and smaller photos, stats, and contact info on the right (instead of on the front and back). Post your online comp cards on your professional modeling site and on social media to garner attention.

How to make your comp card stand out

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  1. Make sure it shows the best you: Your comp card should highlight your skills as a model. If your agency is making your comp cards, double check that your information on the cards is up-to-date and that your images reflect your current look.
  2. Use a strong design: Look at online templates and other model comp cards to see the different types of potential layouts you can use. Choose one that’s minimalistic with clean lines and a professional font to ensure your design stands out but remains professional. 
  3. Include social media handles: Agents and clients will almost always look at your social media profiles, so go ahead and include your handles on your comp card. You can also post a digital version of your comp card across your social media pages with hashtags like #Model, #AspiringModel, and #ScoutMe to generate interest in your image and abilities. 
  4. Self-promote: Along with bringing your comp card with you to go-sees, promote yourself by sending a digital version to agencies and agents via email or a physical version via mail. All it takes is one right person to see you to get your foot in the door. Check out Backstage’s modeling casting calls to find opportunities for self-promotion and land your next gig.