The Z-Card: Modelling Tools of the Trade

  • Melissa Keen

Models don’t need many things to get going in the industry, but one handy tool is the z-card. The z-card is a bit like a model’s business card; it showcases their best modelling photos as well as contact details and other essential information relevant to the job.

Many professional models carry z-cards with them to make the job of networking easier. 

What Does the Z-Card Look Like?

The z-card looks like a small business card (like a credit card) that can easily fit in a purse, wallet or pocket. They’re a handy device for sharing information quickly and efficiently, as well as professionally. They make networking – a vital part of a model’s success – far easier. 

All z-cards look different, but they all have the same general information as well as several high-quality, clear photos. These photos need to be clear enough to be seen when they are small, so detail needs to be clear and backgrounds uncluttered. It is best to include photos taken by a professional photographer in a photo studio. 

Networking can improve your chances of success in the modelling industry, and the z-card helps make it easier

The Purpose of the Z-Card

A model has to network if they want to find themselves with more opportunities. Modelling is all about being in demand, and you can’t be in demand if no one knows who you are! A great way to get noticed and, more importantly, remembered, is to have a z-card. This makes the business of sharing details far quicker and more fluid than having to find a pen and paper (which you likely won’t have on you at an event or party). 

The beauty of the z-card is that it can also reflect your style and niche of modelling. You can select the layout, word size and font and images. This does mean that the z-card must be regularly updated (if your contact details change, for example, or if your measurements alter, and when you have updated photos). 

You can hand your card to anyone you think may benefit you in some way. Don’t be narrow-minded about this; think of all the people who may in some way benefit your future that you may already have access to. Your hairstylist will undoubtedly work with other models and photographers, as will your make-up artist and shoot runner. And of course any directors, brand workers, photographers, editors, set organisers… there are hundreds of people who will also be looking to network and build a portfolio of great people to work with. Remember that networking is about building a professional friendship; it isn’t just about using someone for your own advantage. Expect to do favours and help others out, and hopefully they will return the favour – at the very least, they will have nothing but good things to say about you. 

Making Your Z-Cards Unique

Your z-cards don’t have to be plain; in fact, it’s a good idea to show some personality in your carefully thought out design. It’s surprisingly difficult o design something in such a small space (even if the card is two-sided), so it’s a great idea to hire a professional graphic designer or z-card designer to help you out. There are also templates online to help give you some inspiration.

As well as the actual layout, you’ll also have to choose between a selection of card types and finishes. Do you want a gloss or matte finish? Sort touch lamination feels great to the touch and adds an extra level of charm. 

You could also think about adding a small QR code to your z-cards that will then lead the viewer to your own website.

How to Make a Z-Card

If you’re unfamiliar with PhotoShop or other editing software, your best to hire an expert.

Remember that there is no point in creating a z-card if it looks unprofessional or sloppy; you should only bother if you’re willing to put in a bit of time and money to make them look amazing. They should be memorable, easy-to-read, attractive and high-quality, so hiring an expert is usually the best way to go unless you are experienced with graphics and other forms of marketing creation.

For your images, you also need to work hard to create the best you can. A single glance will give the viewer a lot of information about your modelling style and capabilities. If you’re new to modelling, you may want to look into hiring a professional photography studio to take some photos for you; these can then also be included in your modelling portfolio and for your modelling agency applications. 

There are not many tools that a model needs, but a z-card is high on the list. While not necessary, it will definitely help you to gain valuable assets and improve your chances of finding work and, ultimately, success as a model.

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Everyone you meet while modelling has the potential to help further your career

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Posted by Melissa Keen

Melissa's experience in the beauty and fashion world as a writer and blogger spans over five years. Her other interests include reading, yoga and music.