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Sunday, August 15, 2010

How to Prepare For A Photoshoot for Models

Image Credit: Photo-IMS Photographic, MUA/HairStylist-Mallory McGowan

There are several things that a model can do in order to help make a photoshoot run smoothly. Sure, the photographer's job is to take good photos, but most photoshoots are two-way streets (that's not including shoots that involve make-up artists, assistants, hair stylists, and wardrobe people). Regardless of who is getting paid,

Here are some things that a model can do to prepare for a shoot:

1. Make sure that you have the photographer's (stylist's, MUA's, etc) phone number.(Emails are not enough) If you are going to be late, you should call to let them know that you are not simply flaking out. People put a lot of time and energy into preparing for a shoot.

2. Have a list of things that you need for a photoshoot ahead of time. With that in mind, ask the photographer (or whoever is creating the concept) to let you know what you should bring, and then bring some extras. What I mean by extras is a few more changes of wardrobe, shoes, etc.

3. If you are doing your own make-up, be sure to bring your make-up kit with you. Even if you do your make-up at home, bringing your kit to the shoot allows for touch-ups if necessary.

4. If you are shooting lingerie, esp if it's see through, be sure to cut the tags/labels off. It adds work for the photographer when he/she is finishing the photos in post production.

5. Look at a few magazines that show the style of images that you are looking to get. For example, if you want fashion images, check out the models' poses and expressions in Vogue, Elle., Harper's Bazaar, and 125 Magazine. If you do glamour/bikini/fitness/lingerie, check out Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Maxim, FHM, Oxygen, and Playboy. Magazines, catalogs, ads-study the poses and expressions. There is a reason why those photos are used that way, and that reason is-the photos are aesthetically pleasing and easy to look at.

6. It's not enough to just look at magazines. You should try some of the poses that you like before your photoshoot. The reason for that is because no matter how beautiful you are, not every pose/expression will suit you. Look at your poses/expressions in the mirror, practice, practice, practice. Then again, even if something looks good in the mirror, it may not look good in a photo due to the difference in angles between the way you looked at yourself in the mirror and the angle at which the photographer captured it.

7. Take care of your nails. Get them done. No, I don't mean spend $100 on a manicure/pedicure. I mean, trim them accurately, and paint them a nice colour.

8. Wax/shave your legs, bikini line, and armpits. Unless the concept is au naturelle nude photographs, it is probably a good idea to always remove unnecessary body hair. Also, do not wax/shave right before the shoot, or else you'll have razor burn/red marks from doing so, which add more unnecessary retouching work for the photographer. It's best to just keep shaved/waxed. ;)

9. Drink water and avoid salty foods and alcohol for at least 3 days before the shoot. You don't want to appear dehydrated and hung-over in your photos.

10. Get plenty of sleep before your shoot (and no partying). Eight hours is usually what most people need to feel well rested. If you are tired, have dark circles, and bags under your eyes, you will not look your best in your photos.

11. If you're bringing props/accessories, prepare everything that you need to bring to the shoot the night before it. Have a checklist of things you need, and check them off as you put them into your suitcase/duffel bag that you take to shoots. This almost eliminates the chance of forgetting something when you go to your shoot, not to mention prevents the unnecessary stress the day of the shoot when you're running late and have not packed yet.

12. If you're shooting outside, and the forecast predicts heat and sun, bring sunscreen, water and a towel. Also, it's helpful to bring make-up with you to the location, in case you need to do some touch ups, after you sweat it off.

13. Before you leave your house, make sure that you know exactly where you are going and where you're meeting the photographer/team. There is nothing worse than not knowing where to meet everyone, and appearing like a flake because you couldn't find the rest of the people and didn't have any phone numbers to contact them.

14. Whether you're driving, taking a cab, bussing, or walking, leave a little bit earlier than you think you should. You never know when traffic will prevent you from being on time, or some other mishap will cost you some time.

15. If you have nude coloured underwear, bring it just in case you're wearing see through items, and you're not comfortable having them see through.

16. If there are any accessories that you are bringing, make sure they are packed nicely, so you are not going through a mess of tangled up necklaces looking for the right one to use.

17. Have the "How?", "What?", "When?", "Where?" "Who?" of the photoshoot figured out, and preferably in writing BEFORE the shoot. Is the shoot TF or Paid? What is the purpose of the shoot? Where will it be? When are you supposed to be there? (don't accidentally mix up the dates)Who else will be there? (will there be other people around, as in hair/make-up/etc.)

I hope this was helpful. If you have any other points to add, please use the comment section, or simply comment via my Facebook Page.

Thank you for reading,


  1. hey aviva! you are such a great model. i found your blog from networked blogs on facebook--on the discussion board. i follow you now. go ahead and follow my blog too!

  2. I just read this and wanted to thank you! As a photographer I plan to point perspective models here. You covered it from top to bottom and even talked about the 'mirror' and work involved in being a good model.

    Thanks so much!!

    Maybe we will shoot together someday!

  3. A great post. My biggest pet peeve as a photographer is when girls come with chippy nail varnish and ugly dry feet. Even when you are doing fashion shots your hands and feet need to be looking nice, clean and maintained. A pretty face and a nice body are not enough.


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