What is a Comp Card?

by Sarah McDowd on April 20, 2012

Author: Sarah McDowd

“What are comp cards?” A comp card is an essential item for any model, especially those models seeking agency representation. You may also hear the expressions ‘zed card’ or ‘composite card’ in place of “comp card”, but they are synonymous; they all describe the same thing.

A comp card essentially serves as a models’ business card- and like any other business card, it should aim to leave a lasting and favorable impression upon first glance. Your comp card will be comprised of your best modeling images; therefore you will need to have your portfolio in order before you move on to your comp cards.

A comp card should be two-sided and include a total of 5 photos (1 headshot on the front, and 4 separate photos on the back). The front of your comp card should include your first and last name, as well as ONE full-sized photo. This image should be your very best headshot. Your headshot is the most important and immediate first-impression that you can make, so make it count! In addition, be sure to choose a high-resolution image, one that is free of grain or static, and one that is rather simple (photographically speaking); as in NO excessive Photoshop, no graphics, no Sepia or other filters, or any other distracting and unnecessary features. Just remember: Your headshot should showcase your natural beauty, not detract from it.

The back side of your comp card should include FOUR photos. Choose these photos from your modeling portfolio carefully. It is imperative that you choose your strongest and most striking photos. You want to showcase your variety as a model, so be sure to choose an assortment. If you have 4 photos of you in a white t-shirt, how are you going to convince potential clients or agencies that you can handle fashion, swimwear, or beauty shots? These photos are your opportunity to show your range as a model; use this to your advantage and remember that variety is the key here.

In addition to your four modeling photos on the back of your comp card, the back side should also include your basic stats: height, weight, bust, waist, hips, dress size, shoe size, hair color, eye color, and your preferred contact information (include your cell phone and email address, at a minimum). Make sure that the font color can be clearly read (for example, no black font typed on top of the black sweater you are wearing in one of your photos).

As for the comp card format, here are a few widely-accepted guidelines that you should try to stick to. The comp card’s dimensions should measure in at around 8.5” by 5.5”. Comp cards should be printed on quality card stock (NOT on flimsy paper), and the font should simple and easy-to-read. (Use fonts like Times New Roman or Arial- leave the swirly, cursive fonts out.)

As for where to get the comp cards printed, most models find it easiest to simply go online and order through a company that specializes in comp cards. It IS possible to print them yourself using a high-quality printer, though there is tons of room for error and frustration if you are not “computer-savvy” enough to produce a polished and professional-looking result from home. There are tons of great companies that can print your high-quality comp cards, and mail them directly to your doorstep. If you are interested in a list of such companies, please check out the following:

As always, we hope to have answered all of your questions about the basics of comp cards. If you have any further questions, please comment below and we will be happy to answer! If you found this article useful, please be sure to share it with others. Xoxo – Your friends in the Modeling Industry

Copyright Sarah McDowd

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