Forums > General Industry > Do's and don't at the photoshoot?

Model

Alisa Meshkova

Posts: 58

Salt Lake City, Utah, US

Hi MM,

Would love to hear your suggestions, especially those from photographers and professionals. What do you expect from models to do? What don't you like about what they do? How much clothing do you expect from a model to bring? I am new to the industry and wanting to become better at modeling and need some tips, critiques and suggestions. I appreciate everybody's help.

Thanks everyone,
Alisa.

Jul 05 13 08:52 am Link

Photographer

Christopher Hartman

Posts: 54170

Buena Park, California, US

Show up on time.  Be ready and well rested.










And bring some money so you can buy me lunch afterwards. j/k

Jul 05 13 08:57 am Link

Photographer

K E E L I N G

Posts: 39894

Peoria, Illinois, US

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
Hi MM,

Would love to hear your suggestions, especially those from photographers and professionals. What do you expect from models to do? What don't you like about what they do? How much clothing do you expect from a model to bring? I am new to the industry and wanting to become better at modeling and need some tips, critiques and suggestions. I appreciate everybody's help.

Thanks everyone,
Alisa.

There is actually no such thing as a definitive list of do's and don'ts.  Just be as prepared as possible and tailor what you need to do based on the conversation you have with the photographer as you set it up.  Everyone is different and what one photographer tells you is a must will be a waste of time for the next photographer.

Above all else, communication is key and you should be able to find out everything you need to know before you go if you just ask.  If they don't answer, then they get what they get... it's out of your hands.

Jul 05 13 08:58 am Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 16713

Orlando, Florida, US

Don't bring a garbage bag or suitcase filled with clothing just thrown in.

Hopefully you've discussed what sort of outfits you'll be shooting. Try to put together 4-8 outfits, with accessories and shoes and please either fold or roll your clothes so they don't come out hopelessly wrinkled. I have an iron, but that's time wasted at the shoot.

Also, if you bring 47 random articles of clothing, I get overwhelmed with choice and that wastes more time.

It's also disappointing when a model brings 6 outfits and 5 of them are black.

Jul 05 13 09:02 am Link

Photographer

Cherrystone

Posts: 37171

Columbus, Ohio, US

Pet peeve of mine....model shows up with red nail polish on fingers, pink on their toes, and all chipped up to boot.

Clear neutral polish or French manicure is best unless otherwise indicated.

Jul 05 13 09:02 am Link

Photographer

ontherocks

Posts: 23575

Salem, Oregon, US

for the most part we don't stock wardrobe so that's on the model. hopefully in the pre-shoot discussion you've worked out some ideas for the shoot so you have some idea of what to bring. i'd say it's better to bring too much than too little. sometimes we get inspired just going through the model's suitcase.

each model is unique so i'd say just be yourself and give it 110% and it's all good. i think some models can be a bit reserved and afraid to "go for it" and for shoots like pin-up it can fall flat as a result. sometimes things that seem silly to you when you're doing them actually work out well in the final image. don't be afraid to be a bit over the top (unless the photographer asks that you not be).

Jul 05 13 09:02 am Link

Photographer

RKD Photographic

Posts: 3265

Iserlohn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Clothes: unless you've settled on an outfit and are just shooting in a 'style' then the more you bring, the more choices you'll have and potentially the more images you'll end up with. So for me: a giant rucksack full of underwear and skimpy clothes makes me very happy - I'll even help carry the bags. No-one irons underwear, so no problems there either... big_smile

If you smoke, ask for a smoke break before the shooting starts, not just as we get into our stride. Any reasonable photographer will thereafter offer smoke breaks to coincide with costume/lighting changes.

Be on time. SMS me to let me know you caught the train on time etc. and I'll not be stood waiting an hour for the next train because you missed the scheduled one.

Be properly prepared for the shoot that you've discussed: don't turn up for a lingerie shoot with only a business suit in your bag and think that's somehow going to be OK (it happened to me once).

Don't start asking questions about when you're going to get the images - all of that should have been addressed during the pre-shoot discussions/emails. You can couch the question as a confirmation though: "...and I'll be getting your pick of these within 14 days right?"

On the subject of images: most photographers will show you your progress on the LCD monitor (some don't because they're very strange, but hey...) - if you see an image you really like - say so: the photographer can 'tag' it in-camera so to be sure that it's included in the final cut.

Be enthusiastic.

Jul 05 13 09:03 am Link

Photographer

Envy - Art

Posts: 3319

Kansas City, Missouri, US

Practice posing and be prepared to do it naturally.  DON'T, under any circumstances, just stand in front of the camera and ask what you are supposed to do.  If you don't know what to do, then practice in front of a mirror until you do.  Just being pretty, or unusual looking, does not make you a model.

Jul 05 13 09:07 am Link

Photographer

K E E L I N G

Posts: 39894

Peoria, Illinois, US

Good Egg Productions wrote:
Don't bring a garbage bag or suitcase filled with clothing just thrown in.

Hopefully you've discussed what sort of outfits you'll be shooting. Try to put together 4-8 outfits, with accessories and shoes and please either fold or roll your clothes so they don't come out hopelessly wrinkled. I have an iron, but that's time wasted at the shoot.

Also, if you bring 47 random articles of clothing, I get overwhelmed with choice and that wastes more time.

It's also disappointing when a model brings 6 outfits and 5 of them are black.

This is what I mean by everyone is different...... I LOVE 47 random articles of clothing, haha!  Me and Good Egg have 2 different ways of looking at things and 2 different sets of expectations, and neither of us are wrong or right....... so as I said earlier, the key is to communicate with the photographer in advance.

Jul 05 13 09:08 am Link

Photographer

Green Grape

Posts: 293

West Paterson, New Jersey, US

Don't Pose for 10 min and look as if the shoot is taking too long.

Don't ask to see the shot soon as the photographer takes every photo.

Do Ensure your makeup & hair is taken care of every time. Even if you have to handle that yourself.

Stay Positive. Doing what you love doesn't require you to act angry if something goes wrong. There is always a professional way of handling things.

When your in an odd situation and feel hesitant to speak up, use the power of the word "Let's"

Jul 05 13 09:13 am Link

Photographer

Click Hamilton

Posts: 36555

San Diego, California, US

What people like and don't like varies widely from person to person, so in this regard I'm only speaking for myself

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
What do you expect from models to do?

Friendly and positive attitude.
Enjoyment and appreciation for what we are doing.
An ability to reflect light.

Slow, deliberate and easy movements, so I have time to think, compose, focus and make many adjustments. I shoot fast, but I'm not a shutter-monk*y

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
What don't you like about what they do?

Bringing drama to the photo shoot.
Negativism, distraction, complaining, being a Diva.
Arguing with their BF, quarreling.
Bringing friends or escorts who distract and get in the way.
Manipulating, playing games, hustling.
Being hung over or high.
Poor personal hygiene.
Open lesions from too much meth or other bad habits.

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
How much clothing do you expect from a model to bring?

In most cases, less is more.
[Edit: OP is 17. Please disregard this suggestion.]

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
I am new to the industry and wanting to become better at modeling and need some tips, critiques and suggestions. I appreciate everybody's help.

Pay attention and work at what you love to do. Practice and improve. Seek mentors who you like to help you learn.

Enthusiasm and a good attitude is what makes it all worth while. This goes both ways, from the photographer too.

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
Thanks everyone,
Alisa.

Good luck!

Life is sweet smile

Jul 05 13 09:14 am Link

Photographer

G Images

Posts: 271

Lexington, Kentucky, US

Cherrystone wrote:
Pet peeve of mine....model shows up with red nail polish on fingers, pink on their toes, and all chipped up to boot.

Clear neutral polish or French manicure is best unless otherwise indicated.

+1

Jul 05 13 09:15 am Link

Photographer

JohnEnger

Posts: 868

Jessheim, Akershus, Norway

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
Hi MM,

Would love to hear your suggestions, especially those from photographers and professionals. What do you expect from models to do? What don't you like about what they do? How much clothing do you expect from a model to bring? I am new to the industry and wanting to become better at modeling and need some tips, critiques and suggestions. I appreciate everybody's help.

Thanks everyone,
Alisa.

Be ready and on time. Make sure you actually read and understand every bit of communication. If anything is unclear, clear it up. Be serious about what you do. Too many people in this business aren't. smile

Jul 05 13 09:17 am Link

Photographer

Light and Lens Studio

Posts: 3450

Sisters, Oregon, US

There are lots of good suggestions in this thread already.  Most of them dealing with pre-shoot issues.

If you have discussed with the photographer what you will be shooting, arrive pretty much camera ready (make up and hair needing only touch up), ready to get into (or out of) the outfit you will be posing in.

During the Shoot
Once you arrive, turn off your cell phone, put it in your purse, and focus on the shoot.  Constantly texting is not professional

Jul 05 13 09:20 am Link

Photographer

Lumatic

Posts: 13750

Brooklyn, New York, US

If you don't understand a direction, try it first and then ask if it's not working. 

Be willing to feel awkward or uncomfortable.  What may seem like it won't work to you often looks great on camera.

Photographers vary in their work methods.  Ask them what they prefer in terms of you taking direction, offering suggestions, speed and flow of posing, etc.  Some are very particular, some are very not.  You will develop your own preferences.  Don't take it personally if theirs don't mesh with yours.  If you take the gig, do the gig!

Know the difference between looking with your eyes and moving your head.  Ditto for shoulders and hips.

Know the difference between making a face/striking a pose, and projecting an attitude.  Presence is a function of who you are being, not just what you are doing.  And you don't have to be looking at the camera to connect with it.

Feedback can come with or without an attitude.  Try to filter out the attitude so you can take advantage of the useful bits.

Study great models.  Emulate them.  Practice in front of a mirror.

Broaden your repertoire constantly.  Even a great pose can grow stale if overused.

Useful disciplines to study/practice:  acting, dance, yoga, anatomy/biomechanics and lighting.

What I've learned from working with stylists:  Every Model Needs Black Leggings, a Black Camisole, and Black and Nude Heels In Their Bag.   smile

Be on time!

Jul 05 13 09:23 am Link

Photographer

Christopher Hartman

Posts: 54170

Buena Park, California, US

Cherrystone wrote:
Pet peeve of mine....model shows up with red nail polish on fingers, pink on their toes, and all chipped up to boot.

Clear neutral polish or French manicure is best unless otherwise indicated.

This is an excellent point. Sucks to have colored nails clashing against the outfit.

Jul 05 13 09:35 am Link

Photographer

Gems of Nature in N Atl

Posts: 1334

North Atlanta, Georgia, US

Finally! a great thread with a lot of great suggestions..

Jul 05 13 09:36 am Link

Photographer

Green Grape

Posts: 293

West Paterson, New Jersey, US

Gems of Nature in N Atl wrote:
Finally! a great thread with a lot of great suggestions..

thats for sure

Jul 05 13 10:01 am Link

Model

K I C K H A M

Posts: 14689

Los Angeles, California, US

Cherrystone wrote:
Pet peeve of mine....model shows up with red nail polish on fingers, pink on their toes, and all chipped up to boot.

Clear neutral polish or French manicure is best unless otherwise indicated.

G Images wrote:
+1

Little note-- on nails, if you're a French manicure girl, you may want to ask first.

I actually ask before every shoot to know whether to go neutral, bold or dark. Buuut, aside from chipped nails, I know multiple photographers who have a pet peeve with french manicures. I don't know what it is... but I've heard 3 rants from different people about them. tongue Just food for thought!

Jul 05 13 03:55 pm Link

Model

K I C K H A M

Posts: 14689

Los Angeles, California, US

My best advice to give is to focus on communication.

Before the shoot, make sure you know where you're going. Are you responsible for your own hair and makeup? Should you show up makeup ready? Sometime photographers want to shoot a very natural, or even no makeup look, and then build up. Everyone is different.

Are you responsible for your clothing? If so, bring what's applicable to the shoot. Some people prefer as many options as you have, some prefer less.

Is someone else bringing the clothing? Try to always have no-show black and nude thong and brief (or boyshort) and well as a black and nude bra. You don't want your pink polkadot undergarments showing through a dress. smile

I recommend bringing a swimsuit. Oddly enough, even when not planning to shoot swimwear, they can come in handy (sometimes under a sheer or lace top).

Try to bring a tube top or bandeau bra in case there will be any bare-shouldered headshots.

Be on time, of course-- but if you ARE running late, communicate that very clearly. Emergency, traffic, whatever, try to get the message to the photographer so that they are in the know. Not texting and driving though!

When at the shoot, if you're having trouble figuring out what to do, you can ask for suggestions, or for the photographer to explain the feel of the shoot. Sometimes it's not super helpful, and sometimes there is a trigger word that makes everything fall into place.

Bring a straw! If an MUA does perfect red lips on you and you smear them all up drinking your water/ soda/ coffee, they will not be happy!

If you have a time restriction, make it known. Maybe set an alarm on your phone. Don't be a clock-watcher checking your phone every 5 seconds.  If you have a REAL reason you need to do that (parent in hospital, something like that), tell the photographer.

Good luck on all your shoots! There is a lot of great advice in this thread!

Jul 05 13 04:04 pm Link

Photographer

Mauro Luna

Posts: 82

Houston, Texas, US

A well-informed meeting before the shoot always helps. Meeting first time, the same day of the shoot, is nerve wrecking.

Jul 05 13 04:08 pm Link

Photographer

Cameracamera

Posts: 65

Abbeville, Alabama, US

My pet peeve: Model shows up with eyes that look like 2 olives in a sea of tomato juice; the result of smoking a blunt beforehand.

Jul 05 13 04:24 pm Link

Photographer

Chuckarelei

Posts: 11155

Seattle, Washington, US

I'm surprised that no one says not to bring an escort?

Jul 05 13 04:27 pm Link

Photographer

Mauro Luna

Posts: 82

Houston, Texas, US

Chuckarelei wrote:
I'm surprised that no one says not to bring an escort?

That's a big one. Specially when the shoot is somewhere like an abandoned warehouse.

Jul 05 13 04:33 pm Link

Photographer

Solas

Posts: 10390

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

don't put on make up before the shoot, saves the time of getting it all off when the MUA puts their own melange on.

Mauro Luna wrote:
A well-informed meeting before the shoot always helps. Meeting first time, the same day of the shoot, is nerve wrecking.

i hate these, waste of time imo. there's a huge thread about that though..

Jul 05 13 04:34 pm Link

Photographer

DLH Photo

Posts: 344

Seattle, Washington, US

Chuckarelei wrote:
I'm surprised that no one says not to bring an escort?

I would say clarify if escorts are allowed or not. tongue

Jul 05 13 04:35 pm Link

Photographer

Solas

Posts: 10390

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Chuckarelei wrote:
I'm surprised that no one says not to bring an escort?

OP is 17 years old, so ...escort is required. if the photographer says no, avoid the photographer.

Jul 05 13 04:37 pm Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 33210

Dearborn, Michigan, US

K E E L I N G wrote:

This is what I mean by everyone is different...... I LOVE 47 random articles of clothing, haha!  Me and Good Egg have 2 different ways of looking at things and 2 different sets of expectations, and neither of us are wrong or right....... so as I said earlier, the key is to communicate with the photographer in advance.

It's fun to look through a bag of lingerie for the right one.   smile

Jul 05 13 04:37 pm Link

Model

K I C K H A M

Posts: 14689

Los Angeles, California, US

Karl Johnston wrote:

OP is 17 years old, so ...escort is required. if the photographer says no, avoid the photographer.

Ding ding ding!

Back on track, now...

Jul 05 13 04:39 pm Link

Photographer

Eralar

Posts: 1778

Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

Chuckarelei wrote:
I'm surprised that no one says not to bring an escort?

lol that's because the OP is 17... has to bring a parent or legal tutor in many cases.
Edit: hehe, took me too long to write, got beaten many times to it!

OP, it was briefly said higher, but one can't emphasize it enough. Don't bring drama, don't talk against this other photographer or that other make-up artist, it only makes you look bad, and everyone on set will be wondering how you will talk of them in future shoots.

But DO ask photographer in pre-shoot communications sample images of what he intends to shoot, and practice the poses and emotions in front of your mirror. That will be much appreciated by everyone as it might accelerate the whole process.

Oh, and by all means, turn off your cell phone ringer and chat beep noise. Even during breaks, unless you have lots of time, keep interested in what the photographer or crew are doing and keep chatting with them if it does not interfere.

Anything that will make you appear as fun to work as possibe with during a shoot or pre-shoot communications will greatly enhance your networking capacity... and MM is all about that after all smile

Jul 05 13 04:43 pm Link

Model

Bunny Bombshell

Posts: 11779

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Don't mess with your phone between shots. On breaks or wardrobe changes is fine, but unless it's an emergency, that's considered very unprofessional. Talking smack about others you don't know, drama of any sort, is also frowned upon. Unless there is a valid reason to "warn" someone about a hack or pervert, it looks like a jealous blacklisting attempt

Jul 05 13 04:50 pm Link

Photographer

ForeverFotos

Posts: 6662

Indianapolis, Indiana, US

DO: Try to have fun at your shoot, your attitude will show up in all of your photos. Let your inner sunshine come through!

Jul 05 13 04:56 pm Link

Photographer

UCPhotog

Posts: 992

Hartford, Connecticut, US

Click Hamilton wrote:
What people like and don't like varies widely from person to person, so in this regard I'm only speaking for myself

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
What do you expect from models to do?

Friendly and positive attitude.
Enjoyment and appreciation for what we are doing.
An ability to reflect light.

Slow, deliberate and easy movements, so I have time to think, compose, focus and make many adjustments. I shoot fast, but I'm not a shutter-monk*y

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
What don't you like about what they do?

Bringing drama to the photo shoot.
Negativism, distraction, complaining, being a Diva.
Arguing with their BF, quarreling.
Bringing friends or escorts who distract and get in the way.
Manipulating, playing games, hustling.
Being hung over or high.
Poor personal hygiene.
Open lesions from too much meth or other bad habits.

Alisa Meshkova wrote:
How much clothing do you expect from a model to bring?

What we have discussed and maybe a one or two more outfits, plus extra accessories.


Alisa Meshkova wrote:
I am new to the industry and wanting to become better at modeling and need some tips, critiques and suggestions. I appreciate everybody's help.

Pay attention and work at what you love to do. Practice and improve. Seek mentors who you like to help you learn.

Enthusiasm and a good attitude is what makes it all worth while. This goes both ways, from the photographer too.


Good luck!

Life is sweet smile

Christopher Hartman wrote:
And bring some money so you can buy me lunch afterwards. j/k

He's not kidding. If you bought me lunch you'd be one of my new best friends! I'll bet it would be the same for CH.

Marc, UCPhoto

Jul 05 13 05:07 pm Link

Photographer

Chuckarelei

Posts: 11155

Seattle, Washington, US

Karl Johnston wrote:
OP is 17 years old, so ...escort is required. if the photographer says no, avoid the photographer.

It's not 'required' for a 17 year to have an escort. I have done high school senior photos when the kids just drove down here and did everything on their own without an escort or parent. It is necessary only when you need legal paper work signed.

Jul 05 13 05:18 pm Link

Photographer

Kevin Connery

Posts: 17703

El Segundo, California, US

Moderator Warning!

Chuckarelei wrote:
It's not 'required' for a 17 year to have an escort.

No, but it is required that posters not troll.

If this starts to turn into an escort thread, the hijackers will be escorted out so as to permit the thread to continue.

Jul 05 13 05:25 pm Link

Photographer

UCPhotog

Posts: 992

Hartford, Connecticut, US

Yeah - let's get back to who's buying lunch.

Jul 05 13 05:34 pm Link

Photographer

Click Hamilton

Posts: 36555

San Diego, California, US

RoadRunnerPhotography wrote:
My pet peeve: Model shows up with eyes that look like 2 olives in a sea of tomato juice; the result of smoking a blunt beforehand.

Hahaha

Why do I understand so clearly what you are talking about?

Jul 05 13 09:23 pm Link

Photographer

FotoArcade

Posts: 393

San Diego, California, US

So many excellent suggestions so far. I have a couple that I would like to add; they are small things but they help me a lot. First, within the boundaries of the shoot, be fearless. The confidence comes through. Second, move slowly between poses. I'm not trying to catch lightning in a bottle and one pose can lead to an idea for the next pose. If we have to rebuild the whole pose from scratch, it slows down our momentum. I feel like I'm over-directing and throwing off your rhythm. If you are looking at this as a serious craft, you'll have to practice and look at a lot of photographs. It wouldn't hurt if you learned a little about photography so you and the photographer can speak the same language. And lastly, many shoots are slow with lots of set up demands. Please don't act like the delay is sucking the last ounce of life out of you.

Jul 05 13 10:41 pm Link

Photographer

DAN CRUIKSHANK

Posts: 1786

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

If you can fluidly rock a bunch of creative poses without direction I'm stoked!!!
A model who brings creative energy to a shoot is my favourite! A model who stands there waiting for me to demonstrate a specific pose for each shot... not so much.

Jul 05 13 10:53 pm Link

Photographer

Miss Photog

Posts: 288

VALLEY VILLAGE, California, US

there are a lot of good tips on here, though I didn't read them all.

I have been a full time professional model for 4+ years, but I also do photography, so I have a lot of experiences on both sides of the lens.

If you show up on time, you're late. Try to be there 10-15 min early, but not any earlier (cause too early isn't great either).
If hair/mu is provided, always show up with a clean face (nothing other than moisturizer on) and clean, dry hair.
NEVER show up with chipped nail polish. If your nails are painted, make sure they aren't chipped. if they are, just remove the nail polish.
Always get a good nights sleep before a shoot. no partying until late; the camera will see it.
even if hair/makeup is provided, I would suggest bringing a small bag of essential makeup with you, just in case the mua flakes or there's an emergency, etc. and you have to do your own.
Do not bring clothes crumpled up in a suitcase. Neatly pack whatever you need and bring things on hangers if they need to be hung up. Make sure your outfits are ironed beforehand. Feel free to bring a bunch of options, down to the shoes, jewelry & accessories. It's always better to have too much than too little. It can be a hassle, but it's worth it.
Practice poses and get comfortable with them; they should be second nature. It's terrible when a model is posing and 10 minutes goes by and they tell you they don't know what to do or they ran out of poses. I've had to do continuous poses for 4 hours before with no breaks; there are always more poses you can try.
Do not be afraid to look stupid! If you make an expression or do a pose that the photographer doesn't like, there's a delete button for those photos. If you are too scared to try something new, then you won't grow and become a better model.
don't do the same facial expression in every shot. vary your expressions.
put your phone on silent at a shoot. if there is some reason why it has to be on (i.e. you have kids, etc., let the photographer know ahead of time).
Do not chew gum at a shoot.
If a photographer is paying to shoot you for a set amount of time, do not set a timer or count the clock. If they start to go too long over your time, then let them know (like 15-20min or so), but don't be counting the clock and say it's time to stop the minute that hour mark hits. You don't want them to take advantage of your time, but you also don't want to come across as a model more interested in counting the clock.
Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself if the photographer does or says anything that makes you uncomfortable.
I could honestly go on...but i'm sure most everything has been said already!

Jul 05 13 10:58 pm Link