It certainly would be great if we could get copies (tear sheets) of all of our work to add. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, it’s not. My portfolio, or any model’s portfolio for that matter, only reflects about 25% of their actual work.

When I started, I would estimate that I received less than 20% of the work that I did. I would have friends see my ads in other states and comment on it – but not bring me a copy because they assumed that I, of course, would have one. I can’t tell you how many really cool shoots I have had that I have never seen.

I have a one attempt “rule.” After a job, I always politely thank the crew, client and photographer. As I am leaving, I ask if it is possible to get a copy. They will usually share when the ad will be out and in what publications, etc. And sometimes they even offer their card to follow up for a copy. Now they may have every intention of getting you that copy, but, really, after the gig they are on to the next one, which is understandable. I do follow up with one email but if they do not respond then I let it go – It is more important to respect the client and remember you were paid for the job and it doesn’t necessarily obligate them to get you a copy…and you, of course, want them to book you again! You can always ask your agents, too, and sometimes they will be able to get it.

I always save the emails from my agencies with the job details so I can remember the names of the products to follow up. Believe it or not, you can easily forget product names when you are working consistently…or getting older! Thankfully, it is easier now to find your work with most advertising also being seen on the company websites. You can just go to the website and look for your ad and then do a screen capture or save it. The resolution might not be great. But, hey, it’s something.

So the odds are you can probably now see over 50% of your actual work. Just keep track of your bookings, try to contact the client, and then periodically search on the internet until you succeed.