So, you decided to take one for the team. You’ve been hunkered down for long enough, so now is the moment to be a hero. After it’s over, all your friends will celebrate your glory and valor… Well, at least until they post a super Kawaii (cute) selfie.
There are probably an endless amount of questions before a photoshoot. Seasoned models and everyday people always wonder what to expect or how to prepare. So, be ready to ask questions. That’s a great way to communicate what will happen and what to expect. I’ll just have to add to this blog post as subjects come up.
Hair and makeup
This will depend on the shoot. Many models have their make-up dialed in as an art, others not so much. Also, at least have clean combed hair. If you need to hire someone for hair and/or make-up, you will need to plan ahead. A photographer may have a list of people to hire for the day. You could go to your own salon, get your hair did, and then show up for the shoot.
- Hair/Make-up could happen at your salon
- do it yourself
- or a hair/make-up artist could have been arranged as well.
- Be prepared to do touch ups too
Oh, it costs a MUA money to restock their supply even on a trade shoot, so be prepared to cover the kit cost and/or tip. Hair, make-up, stylist, and space rentals have to be paid whether you show up or cancel a shoot.
Grooming may have to happen. Be ready for the shoot as you see fit. There already are too many social ideals floating about what to shave or shape. Just do what you normally do. Besides legs, arms, armpits, and genital areas, I need to mention the face. Eyebrows, mustaches, beards, nose hair, and peach fuzz will show up in fine detail, just so you know.
Well this is optional. Oh, I don’t mean not any clothing as an option. Wait that actually is an option. Any way, you’ll want to figure out what you will need to wear. And how many changes you will need to make. Layers are great for removing and adding items and accessories. Be sure to try on pieces before a shoot, sizes may vary when ordering online.
Depending on the photoshoot, you may want to start in one outfit and then switch to your favorite. It takes a moment to warm up to the shoot, so why not take advantage of that by starting out with something you are comfortable in, then switch to that new or favorite outfit.
It may be obvious, but pulling clothes over your head may mess up your hair. So plan accordingly, wear it before doing your hair, use button ups, be sewn in, use body paint, or what ever.
If you are using a stylist, be sure to plan ahead for that and be prepared to pay for that time. A stylist may have to pull items from a designer or store, that’s a rental fee whether you use an item or not.
Have a wildcard look ready. It’s that idea or sexy outfit that you want to try out. It could be just a trendy idea that you can have fun with, like a floating in mid air photo or using long fabrics. I’ve got lace and a few cut t-shirts that are handy as a wildcard or a backup. Anyway, time to go shopping…
It’s always a good idea to have a location to shoot at, maybe indoors or even outdoors. The possibilities are endless. We’ve got a Nashville based website called Avvay.com that is like an Airbnb for artists. So that’s a big help to find a spot. Of course there are shared co-op spaces and studios to rent out.
If you have a cool location, suggest it. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous. Also, keep in mind your photo goals so that it works together.
Some locations are going to cost money, definitely be prepared for that. Hair, make-up, stylist, and space rentals have to be paid whether you show up or cancel a shoot.
Mom always said to wear clean underwear, or something like that… There are so many options, everything from thongs to leggings can be worn during a shoot. If you don’t wear any, that’s ok too. But you may want to warn a photographer or you can just surprise them, either way is fine. Besides, the look on the editor’s face will be priceless.
The braless trend has been going on for a while too. I spent part of a shoot holding a bralette that got tossed my way. So here’s a pro tip: sticky silicone pasties (some call them cutlets) and sticky silicone strapless bra’s. These are handy for covering up for whatever reason or situation, one being to prevent rubbing. I’ve got teenage models who wear them regularly, so no excuses for the adults, have a set handy. If not, you may end up looking for tape out of the first aid kit. Speaking of tape, double sided tape is very handy.
Calvin Klein underwear is trending right now, probably over used as a status symbol. Seems everyone is advertising that they bought CK or maybe there was a big sale. Nothing is getting between you and you’re Calvins, so show them off. These photos pop up often, something is happening there.
It’s a lot of hard work. You’ve got make-up to do, hair to fix, closes to wear, and the one thing no one can do for you is practicing poses to get ready for a shoot.
If you are starting out modeling, practice poses, practice more, and find your light. Some one may have said you should go into modeling, your posing skills will keep you in modeling. I’ll know instantly how experienced you are. Don’t worry so much, I’ll just have to spend more time setting up the parameters. Experienced models will adapt quickly and find their light which is very important.
One secret to modeling is that models will pose and after the shutter click will then make slight adjustments to get ready for the next shot. That will go on for a while. It takes lots of concentration to keep doing that, so I’ll pause often to let you relax. I’ll also show you shots so you can see what you have been doing. That helps both of us understand what is being photographed.
Ask questions and answer questions. Communication is key to know what is happening and how to relate to the shoot. There already are endless variables to a photoshoots, questions help with the details.
There may be more paperwork than just a photo release. Some projects need a NDA too. If you are doing the shoot for your own sites like Patreon, OnlyFans, Zenfolio, Smugmug, self printing, etc., you may need the photographer to sign a print release.
If you have been hired for a shoot, you may have to ask if you will get photos and what you are allowed to do with them. Tearsheets are sometimes available on projects. A TFP (Time For Photos) shoot is all about photos for all involved. I only do TFP a few times a year, so don’t count on that when you need photos for you portfolio.
Be on time and do your best not to cancel. Cancelling means you may not ever be booked again. It’s better to not book a shoot than cancel.
You’ll probably need headshots on a regular basis, especially if you are starting out. Definitely plan to invest in a set. You can pay or even your agent will pay for tests for your book. If your agent pays, keep in mind that you will be paying that back out of future projects. On a TFP shoot it’s not a problem to ask to get some headshots, you do want to get photos you can use even if the project doesn’t work out. You will want to see what you are doing and maybe use those photos for learning. Even if you’ve been hired for a shoot, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Normally I’ll show you the photos during the shoot. That’s so we can see how the shoot is progressing and maybe catch something that can be improved.
It’s your time to show off to your fans via social media, merch, or even an album cover. Musicians already are familiar with contracts. Hiring a photographer won’t be that much different. You will need to know your numbers, a photographer will be doing that research too. There will be lots of questions.
Musicians sometimes get their fans or friends to do them a solid with photos. Why would I mention that? Photographers do go to shows to network with bands, managers, event planners, label insiders, writers, producers, venue staff, magazines, TV, YouTubers, PR people, social media, and any one else working in the music industry. When one of my friends performs, she has lots of music industry personnel in the audience, so it’s best to go to her shows. I’ve meet so many people. Working for exposure has long past.
For a photoshoot, you will need a clear vision of what you need. You may have a limited budget, but you need to be working with a photographer to make that vision a reality. There will be expenses to consider such as location, fashion stylists, set decorating, and more.
You’re going to need headshots starting out. This is going to be an investment to land roles. It really does help. I apply to roles too, and have to have recent photos to show.
I do like to take a cinematic approach to composing a corporate headshot. It’s a little more interesting than the plain backdrop photos that have to be made too.
Whether we are on a stage or in front of a Red, we have trained to present our character to an audience with words, movement, emotions, and timing. A photo is just a still from one of those moments. It is not hard to adapt to stills for actors, you just need to be aware to help make the shoot go smoothly. I may need you to repeat actions so I can get a proper still. Models have a knack to wait until a shutter clicks and then moves slightly for the next shot.
The great artists painted and sculpted nudes. Fine art nudes is a time honored tradition. If it’s something you want to try or do many times, there is no shame after turning 18. It’s perfectly normal to have a go at it. Besides, there is so much more to you than the outside.
There are so many reasons why you may want to give a nude/implied shoot a go. Believe it or not, I get the most inquiries from church ladies and from those in the CCM/Gospel music industry. Also, there are cancer survivors who get pre and post mastectomy shoots, going flat is trending. Maybe after a divorce, or after having kids, or just because you want to freak out your grandkids a century from now.
It’s been trendy for hikers to top a hill or mountain and pose topless while someone gets a photo of their back while facing the view. It’s a fun innocent implied nude. While no one may be out there for that view, you may be wanting to do something similar at your own photoshoot, so you may need to plan for that. Shirts and bralettes get tossed my way, so I have to figure out how to hold them and shoot at the same time. Having a reflector, a robe, or something to cover up with readily available helps save those awkward moments before you can get something back on.
A location will help you to be comfortable. Don’t be afraid to mention ideas you may have. I already get nervous shooting in public areas for regular shoots, even models don’t like an audience on small shoots. I’ve got some locations I keep secret just in case we can’t find a suitable space.
Remove anything tight that leaves a mark in the skin like bras and elastic waist bands a good 30 minutes ahead of time. The skin needs time to relax.
Grooming may have to happen. Be ready for the shoot as you see fit. There already are too many social ideals floating about what to shave or shape. Just do what you normally do.
Models and photographers will discuss what will happen before a shoot. You can set your limits. Both parties will know what is expected. I actually don’t expect you to ever to be nude. I’m not going to try to convince you to take clothes off. In fact, unless you bring it up it won’t even cross my mind as an option.
From a fine-art nude perspective, these will not be sexy, hot, or whatever. I’m sorry to bring up those terms. If the photos we make are that, then we did something wrong. Even an escort that came with the model using those terms will find the shoot being shut down.
It’s normal for a model to be nude during a shoot but cover up for breaks. Also on implied shoots a model may cover up just for the photos and be nude the rest of the time. What ever your comfort level is, just be yourself.
Know your photographer. Check out their portfolio, that will help you while finding a photographer. You’ll get a feel for their style and what to expect. There are lots of GWAC’s (guy/girl with a camera) out there who just wants you to GNOC (get naked on camera).
From a model being objectified: Art Modeling and Intent We need to keep working on ending objectification.
Boudoir is growing in photography. Boudoir is going to be about your confidence, sensuality, and femininity. An everyday ordinary person gets to made up or even shows up ready for the shoot. Someone new to boudoir may have a lot of questions. Discussing beforehand what needs to happen saves a lot of trouble.
This one genre can have a vast range of outfits used, there is no limit to your imagination. It may be a stretch for some to pose in a significant other’s article of clothing or even lingerie while some will be comfortable nude. You get to explore your own self and even be daring to try something you normally don’t do. Just don’t confuse this with a lingerie shoot, that’s what pro models are doing when they are shooting in underpinnings.
This type of shoot is where you can have serious fun. Discussing it ahead of time will help with expectations. This shoot is for you, you may want to do it for a significant other, but ultimately you find that it’s for you.
Keep in mind that being sexy is a state of mind, not your clothes. You can show confidence even while pretending to be shy.
Athletes: Climbers, Skaters, etc.
Generally a photoshoot is going to be straight forward. You can work on a theme, get headshots, and make photos according to your personal branding.
It’s sponsorship that makes things a little tricky. You and your photographer may need to review the contracts. Make sure you don’t submit anything you don’t have permission to use. Also the use of brand hashtags needs to be discussed prior to the shoot and before posting photos. You can ruin a business relationship between photographer and the company very quickly if you are attempting to advertise for them.
Normally you can make your own photos with whatever camera you have to make posts and blogs to show off your sponsors. It’s when you get another person involved that things get complicated, you own your own rights to your photo but not someone else’s photo. A family member, a friend, or a fan may be thrilled to give you permission to use a photo. You’ll still need a print release/permission from a photographer no matter who they are.
Movie Stills/Production Stills
Normally I’ll have access to get a wide variety of stills on and off set. That may be stills from directly behind the cameras or even photos that include behind the scenes views of production. Of course talent will want to be photographed, and there will be times to be discreet to allow personal prep time. I may have to meet with producers or even marketing for any specific shots that may be needed.
Dates and times are also important, a call sheet is handy on long production days. Even though I don’t have to have an assistant, having a contact person for occasional questions helps a lot.
- What happens on shoot, stays on shoot. I’m always doing poses and being goofy that no one wants to see, besides, who wants to know there was an ongoing conversation about disaster relief.
- Your privacy is respected, your projects are met with discretion.
- Your ideas are welcome. It’s better to have more ideas than needed going into a shoot. In fact, your ideas are a big part of the photoshoot.
- Bring someone along, I’ll put them to work.
- Bring snacks and water just in case. I have thought I packed water bottles, but didn’t. And I’ve brought beef jerky while shooting a vegan, oops.
- Try on clothes before the shoot, sizes may vary when ordering online. We’ll get creative with safety pins and clips.
- Be your amazing self. Don’t worry about what others are doing.