Saturday, January 7, 2012

Five Things You Need to Know About Modeling Comp Cards

New to modeling? One of the first thing you'll need to do is create a comp card. So what are comp cards, and what do you need to know about them? Here are five things that any aspiring model should know about comp cards.

5. What Are Comp Cards?

Comp cards, also sometimes called zed cards, are like a business card for models. It has a selection of images from the model's portfolio, and it lists the model's vital stats. Comp cards usually also include contact information for the model or for the agency to which the model belongs.

The bottom line is that a comp card is a connection between the model and a potential employer. Any time you go on a casting call or audition, you'll be expected to leave a comp card behind - the same way an actor would leave a headshot or a regular employee would leave a resume. Check out this sample comp card to see what I mean.

4. What Kind of Images Go On a Comp Card?

A comp card is like a small, focused portfolio. You want to wow your potential employer, and at the same time show some range. A comp card typically features a headshot or similar close-up on the front, and a selection of 3-4 images on the back. The back of the card should include some variety - different styles of make-up, modeling, hair, what have you. This is also a good place to feature full length shots, as opposed to the headshot on the front of the card.

3. What Information Should Go on a Comp Card?

The information on the comp card has two purposes - to list size and measurements and to convey contact information. You should include typical measurements like chest/bust, waist, hips, height, and weight. You may want to include eye color and hair color, although this is less important if it changes from time to time. Some models also choose to include shoe size.

As for the contact information, that's up to you. You want to include the simplest way for the casting agent to get in touch with you. If you have a website or online portfolio, you should include that. If you have a business phone number, you should include that. I would definitely include an e-mail address.

2. What Size Is a Comp Card?

Printers will offer you a lot of different sizes, but the traditional size of a comp card is 5.5" x 8.5". Comp cards were initially printed on A4 sized paper (~8.5" x 11"), but this shifted to A5 size (~5.5" x 8.5") in the 1970's. The printer might offer you a slightly smaller size (~5" x 8") to conserve paper and make the cards cheaper. It's advisable to stick to the industry standard, however.

1. What Quality Paper Should You Use?

Comp cards should be printed on high quality, thick card stock. In terms of paper weight, this should be between 12pt and 14pt. Anything lighter than 12pt will seem chincy; you don't want to come across cheap. Some companies are beginning to offer cards printed on photo-quality paper, just like they offer "greeting cards" printed on photo paper. Although they may claim it will lead to better image quality, a good quality printer can reproduce colors well on card stock. You should stick with the traditional stock so that your card is thicker and more durable, rather than settling for the thinner photo paper.

Follow this link to read more about comp cards and comp card printing.


  1. I will remember all these steps when going to design plastic card printing for my own cards.

  2. Remarkable words regarding to plastic card printing that should be consider before going to it to achieve maximum results....

  3. Thank you very much for these GREAT and thorough information. I am traveling w my daughter in a few weeks to a state pageant and thought of having some of these made to have on hand, just case! It was very well detailed information....hank you once again!

  4. Let us introduce our brandnew Comp Card Maker 2.0 for Models! You can find it here: