How to Prepare for a Photo-shoot

How to Prepare for a Photo-shoot

Diet and exercise:

Your body is your tool so look after it. This doesn’t mean heavy dieting and living in the gym, but it helps if you eat small, regular meals, and try to keep your weight consistent. Doing a little exercise also helps – not the heavy strength stuff, but gentle swimming, cycling, or running to keep your heart and lungs in good shape, and keep you toned–plus some flexibility exercises to keep you supple. Eating small meals encourages a higher metabolic rate, and also keeps your stomach smaller, meaning it will look flatter in pictures.


Find a good skin-care routine which suits you, and try to stick to it. We all get the odd rash or spot outbreak, but you want your skin to be as good as it can be, which then makes it easier for the photographers in post processing. If you suffer badly from acne or have a poor complexion, you must be honest about this when applying for shoots.


Invest in good make-up. Pharmacy brands are OK, but the best are brands that specialize in make-up for make-up artists. If you are not particularly confident in applying it, there are places you can take a short make-up class. There are also lots of tips and tutorials on YouTube for you to try and find what suits you.


If you don’t have lots of time to maintain your toenails or fingernails, it’s best to opt for a natural look which goes with everything, because bright colors look scruffy when chipped.


Fakery is expensive and very time consuming, but many models, especially glamour models, have lots of fake additions such as hair extensions, fake tan, eyelash extensions, and false nails. Sometimes these work well, but they are very time-consuming to maintain, and can look awful if neglected. I am frequently told by photographers how nice it is to work with a model without a patchy fake tan, because it is impossible to edit out. Hair extensions can be a nightmare too because the joints often show during movement, and you can’t get them wet during shoots, or swish them around without risking pain or damage to your hair. If you want to use hair extensions the best ones are temporary clip-in ones.


Tattoos can look great in moderation and when thought through properly, but they can also limit the work you can do because many photographers don’t like them. Models without tattoos are more likely to get work over those with tattoos, except for shoots involving “alternative” work such as extreme fashion or bondage. So, think before you ink!

Marks from clothes:

When traveling to a shoot it’s important to try not to wear tight clothing which may leave marks on your skin. This includes bras, jeans, etc., and is especially important if there is little time after arriving before the shoot starts. So wear something loose, and if you’re shooting from home, be wearing a robe or dressing gown when the photographer arrives.

What to pack:

When traveling, it’s important to think about what you need to pack. Clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and shoes are obvious, but I’ve heard stories of models turning up to full day shoots with a carrier bag containing only knickers, a bra, a pair of heels and nothing more. Ask the photographer in advance to give you an idea of any styles of clothing they want you to bring, and pack according to the length of the shoot. A holdall or suitcase may be required for a full studio day or tour. Take a variety of outfits and shoes, plus a robe. Deodorant is useful, but also take, baby wipes, skin shining moisturizer, aspirin or your preferred headache remedy, and of course an emergency supply should your period come unannounced. And don’t forget your business cards! If you are going to be working outside in the wet or a dirty environment, check with the photographer that they are bringing towels and wipes to clean you afterwards, or bring your own. The last thing you want is to have to climb back into your clothes all wet and dirty and then travel home again. If you are going to an interview for an agency or casting they may ask you to bring a set of plain white or black underwear and high heels. Pick a set that look plain but flattering, and wear attractive but appropriate attire.