How to Prepare for a Modeling Photo shoot


Here are a few recommendations for beginning models how to prepare for a modeling photo shoot. These are written from my own perspective as a photographer, and are not intended to be a definitive guide (you might be flooded with advice on this very topic).

Alexandra in San Francisco on a modeling photo shoot
New Face, Alexandra, Modeling in San Francisco

There are a lot of moving parts on a photo shoot. These simple steps will help you resolve some of the smaller items so you can save your focus for the bigger ones.

Get a lot of rest the night before.

Not enough rest taxes your muscles, attention span, creativity, and your mind. Physically, this exhaustion shows on your face—where your muscles attach directly to the skin. It may also create dark patches under the eyes (called “bags”), and adds small flecks of red into the whites of your eyes.

While some of those things can be resolved in post-production and may be removed from the final images, don’t let exhaustion drain some of your focus from the photo shoot. A photo shoot can be a wonderful collaboration between the photographer, model(s), and other creatives. Be rested so you can contribute your best work.

Be hydrated on the days leading up to your photo shoot.

Increasing hydration before the photo shoot will really help your skin. Your skin gets irritated when it is dry, and that skin irritation can cause pimples. In addition to being really good for you, in general, drinking a lot of water can help with your complexion.

Read the creative brief and/or information.

New face, Sabrina, Modeling in San Francisco

There should be some sort of documentation provided before each photo shoot (even simple ones). I provide an actual creative brief after we have chosen the details of the photo shoot. My written brief contains a storyboard sketch (if applicable), images for the mood, and details about the hair, makeup, wardrobe, location, and time of day.

Discuss any questions with the photographer BEFORE the photo shoot.

For beginning models (although this applies to all levels of the industry)—think about your modeling boundaries before the photo shoot. You might need to make some time and specifically think about your comfort levels and what type of modeling you want to do.

I can’t speak for other photographers, but in a Marsolais Photography photo shoot, we make the decisions ahead of time–in the planning stages. On the day of the photo shoot, we stick to that plan. The middle of the photo shoot is not the time to be changing things.

Most importantly, no one can use the images if you are uncomfortable. An image with an uncomfortable model doesn’t sell clothing. It doesn’t sell your ability to model. And, it doesn’t sell my ability to make beauty and fashion images. So–your comfort is very, very important.

Eat a well-balanced breakfast on the morning of the photo shoot.

Don’t overeat and make sure you have eaten something before a photo shoot. If you are hungry, you will be thinking about your hunger during the photo shoot. If you are stuffed, you will feel sleepy.

Be on-time.

Leave early so that your commute will be safe and stress free. (Stress changes the shape of your face—in addition to being bad for your entire body.)

Be present, and have fun!

It is fantastic to work together and make something as dynamic as fashion and beauty images. After all your work to prepare for a modeling photo shoot, it is time to enjoy yourself and have fun!

Ready to schedule a Beauty Photo Session with Marsolais Photography?

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