Building a Model Portfolio in Chicago

Launching a career in modeling in a vibrant city like Chicago demands a standout portfolio. A professional model portfolio not only showcases your versatility and range but also sets the foundation for your career in the competitive modeling industry. At John Gress Photography, we specialize in creating compelling model portfolios that capture the essence of each model, ensuring they shine in front of potential agencies and clients.

Section 1: Essential Types of Images for a Model Portfolio

In building a diverse and impactful model portfolio, the inclusion of various types of images is crucial. Each type serves a specific purpose and highlights different facets of a model’s ability, ensuring that you present a well-rounded image to the industry.

3/4 Length Portraits

3/4 length portraits are important in demonstrating a model’s physique and fashion sense. These portraits focus on a slightly broader frame than typical headshots and are perfect for showing off outfits and personal style.

Christopher in a black suit on a red velvet couch
Christopher exudes elegance and style in a 3/4 length portrait on a red velvet couch.


Professional headshots are crucial as they capture your facial expressions and subtleties, which are often the first thing casting directors notice. A good headshot is a gateway to making a strong first impression.

Moody black and white close-up of Christopher
Intense and emotive, Christopher’s headshot captures compelling facial expressions and the depth of character.

Commercial Looks

Commercial images are designed to appeal to a wide range of advertising needs, showcasing the model’s ability to embody the persona of different consumer products or services. These are typically more relaxed and friendly images that convey approachability.

Christopher in a striped turtleneck sweater
Christopher in a casual commercial look, perfect for mainstream advertising campaigns.

Fashion Looks

Fashion images delve into high fashion, emphasizing a model’s ability to carry off designer outfits with poise and elegance. These shots are often more artistic, focusing on the fashion rather than the model alone.

Christoper shows off a blue suit and red vest in this fashion portrait.
Christoper shows off a blue suit and red vest in this fashion portrait.

Editorial Shots

Editorial shots are thematic, telling a story through the model’s poses, the setting, and the attire. These images are crucial for models looking to work in fashion storytelling, which is a significant part of magazine shoots.

Christopher backlit in green, shirtless
Dramatic and narrative, this backlit editorial shot of Christopher reveals a strong, dynamic presence essential for editorial layouts.

Section 2: Why Choose John Gress Photography for Your Portfolio?

Choosing the right photographer is pivotal in launching a successful modeling career. Gress, with his extensive experience and expertise in fashion and model photography, offers more than just a photoshoot; he provides a gateway to the fashion industry. Known for his keen eye for detail and deep understanding of fashion trends, Gress has helped countless models in Chicago create portfolios that capture attention.

At John Gress Photography, we understand that a model portfolio needs to be diverse and impactful. Our studio specializes in capturing a variety of looks that showcase the model’s versatility and appeal across different genres of fashion and commercial work. Whether you are looking for high fashion drama or commercial approachability, we tailor each session to meet these broad spectrum needs effectively.

One of the key benefits of working with Gress is his commitment to quality and his understanding of industry standards. This insight ensures that every image not only looks stunning but is also strategically crafted to meet the requirements of agencies and casting directors. By choosing John Gress Photography, you are ensuring that your portfolio will be professional, modern, and aligned with current market trends.

Section 3: Our Photographic Process

Our photographic process is designed to be thorough and personalized, ensuring that each model’s unique vision and career goals are realized through their images. It begins with a pre-shoot consultation where we discuss your aspirations, style preferences, and the types of roles you are targeting. This initial meeting is crucial as it helps us plan a shoot that aligns perfectly with your career objectives.

The photoshoot itself is conducted in a comfortable and professional environment at our studio in Chicago. We ensure that every model feels relaxed and confident, allowing them to express themselves naturally in front of the camera. Our team is skilled at providing direction and support throughout the shoot, making the experience enjoyable and productive.

After the shoot, the process of selecting the best images begins. We provide a gallery of watermarked proofs for you to choose from, ensuring that the final images reflect your best looks. Each selected image then undergoes professional retouching to enhance its quality while maintaining a natural appearance. Our retouching process is meticulous, focusing on enhancing your natural features and ensuring the images are polished and portfolio-ready.

To give you a clearer insight into our shooting process and what you can expect during your session, please watch the following video:

An inside look at the photographic process at John Gress Photography.

Section 4: Pricing and Packages

Understanding that every model’s career path and needs are different, John Gress Photography offers a variety of pricing and packages designed to accommodate both new and experienced models. Each package is crafted to provide specific benefits that help models at various stages of their careers showcase their best selves.

  • 1-Hour Session ($499): Perfect for quick updates or for those who need a single professional headshot with minimal time commitment. Includes 1 retouched image, ideal for acting, modeling, LinkedIn profiles or corporate websites.
  • 2-Hour Session ($749): Designed for professionals and performers needing multiple looks. Includes 3 retouched images, allowing for versatility in marketing and casting opportunities.
  • 3-Hour Session ($999): Best suited for those looking to create a comprehensive portfolio with various styles and settings. Includes 5 retouched images, offering a complete suite of options for personal branding.
  • 5-Hour Ultimate Experience ($2299): An extensive session providing an in-depth exploration of your visual potential across multiple locations and numerous looks. Includes 15 retouched images, ensuring a diverse portfolio that can cater to a wide range of professional needs.

Each session is conducted using state-of-the-art equipment and by Gress himself, ensuring high-quality images. The value in these packages is not just in the quantity of the photos but in their capability to open doors for models in a competitive industry.

Section 5: Client Testimonials and Success Stories

Hearing directly from models who have worked with John Gress Photography can provide insight into the effectiveness and impact of our photoshoots. Below are testimonials from individuals whose careers have advanced as a result of their new portfolios:

“Working with John was easily the best experience to date! John is super personable, engaging, very talented at his craft, and is genuinely a nice guy. And the customer service he provides is amazing! I can’t say enough about the quality of work that John provides. I was so pleased with my daughter’s 21st birthday session and final photographs that I will definitely use John in the future. I would highly recommend John.” – Tan A

“John Gress is an amazing photographer. I’ve used him for corporate headshots at two different companies, and the results are always stellar. John is thoughtful, patient, and takes the time to put his subjects at ease to capture them at their best. And his mastery of lighting is unparalleled. John doesn’t rely on a single lighting setup or a one-size-fits-all approach during his photo sessions. Rather, John’s deep expertise in all aspects of lighting and his attention to the finest details allow him to find the lighting and poses that work best for YOU. I can’t recommend John highly enough.” – Jeffrey W

“I have worked with John many times for my fitness photo shoots and I can honestly say he is the best of the best. Some photographers go way overboard with the photo shop, leaving their subjects look almost like a cartoon. John makes you look like the best version of yourself. The photos that he created for me attracted a lot of business to my personal training practice. I owe much of my success to him. He is also very good at making his subjects feel at ease. He is very funny, down to earth, and genuine. He is great at communication and had my photos finished for me in a very timely fashion. I’ve included one of my favorite shots from him in the photo section. I cannot recommend him highly enough. Thanks John!” – Michael E

“This was my very first headshot session as a professional actor and my experience was very pleasant John Gress is very patient and courteous and as a photographer he aided me in physical direction which is important for photo sessions High recommended.” – Joseph W

These stories of success underscore the value of investing in professional photography with Gress. We not only focus on capturing stunning images but also on providing a service that contributes to our clients’ career growth.


A professional model portfolio is more than just a collection of photographs; it is your gateway to a successful career in the modeling industry. It serves as your first impression, showcasing your versatility and unique appeal to casting directors and agencies. John Gress Photography is dedicated to crafting portfolios that highlight each model’s distinct characteristics and professional potential, using a blend of creativity and technical expertise.

If you are looking to start or enhance your modeling career, a well-composed portfolio by John Gress can set you apart from the competition. We invite you to book a photoshoot with us. Whether you’re new to the industry or looking to refresh your existing portfolio, John Gress Photography will provide you with images that are not only beautiful but strategic and purpose-driven.

For more information or to discuss your specific needs, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at our studio, call us, or send an email. We are here to assist you in making an informed decision about your professional imaging needs.

We look forward to helping you achieve your dreams and welcome you to visit our studio to see firsthand the passion and professionalism that Gress brings to every shoot.

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If you’re considering enhancing your professional portfolio, don’t just take our word for it. See what others have said about their experiences with John Gress Photography by checking out our reviews. Visit us on Google and Yelp to read testimonials from models and professionals who have taken their portfolios to the next level with our services. Their success stories and positive feedback underscore our commitment to quality and client satisfaction.

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model head shot pricing in Chicago