What you need to know about Comp Cards
A comp card, also known as a composite card, z card or zed card, is used as a marketing tool for models. It serves to showcase the latest and finest photographs in a model’s portfolio and is used in a similar fashion as a headshot. This card is a 5X7-5.5X8.5 composite and is the model’s business card, which typically displays a single large image on the card with three or four additional images on the back side.
History of the Comp Card
The model’s composite was invented in 1985 by Peter Marlowe. Various other companies began publishing cards for the model industry but used different names to get around Marlowe’s trademark “model composite,” which was registered in Europe and the United States. This resulted in the varying names for these cards but today “model composite” and “comp cards” are freely used terms in the modeling industry.
Comp Card Format
The image used on the front of a comp card should either be a headshot or half-body shot of the model (never use a full-body shot on the front of a comp card). The talent should have good eye-contact in the photograph and may smile but it is not required. The name of the model should be printed on the lower right-hand side of the front of their comp card.
The back side of a comp card should display images that show the ability of the model to be versatile and provide variety of images for the viewer. There are different ways to achieve this such as with an assortment of facial expressions (intense, laughing, etc.) poses (sitting, leaning, action shots, etc.) types of camera shots (close-up, half-body, full body) and styles of clothing (it is also acceptable to use accessories for comp cards).
When young talent is featured on comp cards, the card will provide a way to get print modeling jobs, therefore the images on the card should have a similar appearance to pictures in a catalog or print advertisement. Much like headshots, interesting and natural looking shots are the best. Images that look too postured or stage should not be used.
Ideally, the background that is used for the cards will provide a neutral element such as a photography studio or shots that are taken outdoors. Even though the background and props that are used are important, the model should still be the main focus of the image. In addition to the three or four images on the back of the comp card, the model’s statistics and contact information should be printed on the bottom. The statistics should contain the model’s birthday, height, weight, eye color, hair color, clothing sizes and shoe size. Females ages 13 and older should include their waist, hip and bust measurements.
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