How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot

Fawna Latrisch’s new book, “The wise girl’s guide to modelling,” covers everything from what kind of modeling a new model should do, choosing a modeling website, and how to manage it, TFP/TFCD/Collaboration, how to conduct oneself at a shoot, how to pose, shooting at home and away, chaperones, types of photographers, what to do after a shoot, applying to agencies, and constructing a personal website.

Last week, Fawna covered what to put in a modeling profile, how to manage it and finding work. This week’s article covers how to prepare for a photo shoot; from diet and exercise to makeup, clothing and “fakery.”

Fawna Latrisch -  How to prepare for a photo shoot
Model: Fawna Latrisch; Photographer: Chris Rout

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.

Skin-care: 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.

Makeup: 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.

Nails: 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.

Hygiene: It’s especially important when modeling to be hygienic. I have heard awful stories about models who smelled, or who left used tampons lying around, or who left stains in garments supplied for the shoot by the photographer. Not nice. If you are doing nude modeling clean yourself and stay clean. If it’s time of the month, make sure the little string is tucked away – you don’t want that in the shot.

Fakery: 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: 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.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please do buy the whole book. It’s only £2.05/$3.00, about the price of a coffee, and is tax deductible!

Fawna Latrisch

Fawna is a UK based professional model. She has been published internationally and worked in many countries, including Portugal, Spain, France, Isle of Man, Thailand, Mauritius and Madagascar. Fawna studied fashion and makeup and is now pursuing a photography degree. Her first book, "The wise girl's guide to modelling," is on sale now.

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11 Responses to “How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot”

  1. April 06, 2013 at 2:11 pm, STEFAN said:

    I suppose these are all tips on how not to ‘sell your body’.? It’s odd, because your comment in your other article, said it’s not what you sell, yet “Your body is your tool so look after it.” Sounds like a bunch of contradictions and hypocrisy. Nice photo .. I’m kind of figuring ‘your body’ is the subject of it? If it’s not, I’d love to know what is.

    Otherwise some good tips. Some things like hygiene I was surprised models need reminding of, but things like marks on skin from tight clothes is a valuable tip.


  2. April 01, 2013 at 6:56 am, Peter DeMarque said:

    Big fan of your “helping yourself” videos!


  3. March 30, 2013 at 8:04 am, FBY1K said:

    Sage words indeed Fawna.


  4. March 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm, Pietro said:

    Thank you! As a photographer this is very useful when booking or shooting unexperienced models: I’ve just purchased your book as a sign of gratitude, because I’ll tell all my models to come read this article on MM from now on, and I don’t want to feel like I’m freeloading 🙂


    • March 29, 2013 at 4:00 am, Unice McMullen said:

      I hear you on that, I have had straight trash show up for a photo shoot, I’m talking no shaved arm pits, no shaved pubic hair, no shaved legs, no shaved upper lip, and strange smells. wow I have had a couple. This is awesome. you would think as male photographers we would not have to stress to any women on how to be a women and take care of her business. hahahahahahaha I’m going to put this link on my port, here and on FB.


      • March 29, 2013 at 5:02 am, Lu said:

        Women shouldn’t be expected to have shaved arm pits or shaved pubic areas and this should not be put into the same category as turning up reeking of bodily functions or being unclean or unprofessional.
        If you want someone to be completely shaved when they work with you, specify that that is what you want.
        That way they can either comply or tell you that they aren’t interested.

        “as male photographers we would not have to stress to any women on how to be a women and take care of her business. ”

        This is one of the most chauvinistic comments I have ever read. Your attitude is abysmal.


  5. March 28, 2013 at 12:57 pm, John Allan said:

    Ok – I applaud your effort – but, the reason not to wear bright colored nails, in favor of neutral, is not because they look bad when chipped, it’s because they’re apt to conflict with the color pallet of the wardrobe and makeup.


    • March 28, 2013 at 11:32 pm, Fawna said:

      That’s another reason. Nice to find a man with knowledge about nail varnish. I applaud your effort, too!


  6. March 28, 2013 at 11:33 am, Birdy said:

    Is this about modeling, or just how to generally not be disgusting?


    • March 28, 2013 at 11:32 pm, Fawna said:

      No, it’s how not to be a disgusting model (among other things!).


  7. March 28, 2013 at 11:13 am, Jenna Chalker said:

    Very interesting and helpful, thank you!


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