What clothing models should bring to commercial photo shoots

Good commercial models have invested in a commercial wardrobe. Models are often requested to bring a wardrobe to the shoot. This is especially true of stock shoots. I have made lists of wardrobe items most stylists would like to see you bring.

Makeup, hair, and styling: Mary Erickson, Photo: MEMEphoto, Design: Carla Manuel


  • a few business suits
  • a little black dress
  • a few skirts (Current style is best, not too short.)
  • scarves and accessories (Cheap costume jewelry is fine—the more the better. A ring to look like a wedding ring often comes in handy.)
  • nice black slacks and tan pants
  • 5 or 6 tops (Colors are fine, but no black, no crazy colors or prints, and no logos.)
  • a turtleneck
  • jeans (no holes, not too worn-looking)
  • black and tan low-heeled shoes
  • tennis shoes without prominent logos (obvious branding)
  • black high heels (not too stripper-looking)
  • sandals
  • shorts (not too short)
  • ball cap with no logo
  • strapless bra, nude
  • nude undergarments
  • tube top
  • socks
  • a one-piece bathing suit and a two-piece if you have the figure for it
  • a jean jacket
  • a blazer, current style
  • push-up bra and cutlets if you are small on top

Makeup, hair, and styling: Mary Erickson, Photo: MEMEphoto, Design: Carla Manuel


  • a nice suit (not cheap—This is a good investment in your career.)
  • jeans (not too worn-looking)
  • black shoes
  • tan shoes
  • tennis shoes (no obvious branding)
  • socks—black, tan, and white
  • dress shirts for suits (4 or 5 in different colors)
  • 2 or 3 ties to coordinate with shirts
  • polo-style shirts (3 or 4 in different colors)
  • Dockers-type pants in navy and khaki
  • belts (dress and casual)
  • swim shorts
  • shorts, cargo in tan or khaki and one dark color
  • T-shirts (white, black, a few colors, no logos)
  • dress slacks, dark and light (no white)
  • turtleneck
  • pullover sweaters in a few colors
  • dress and sports watches
  • ball cap with no logo

My biggest pet peeves are worn-looking clothing. Take clothes to the dry cleaner to avoid fading and wrinkled clothing. I like to see models arrive with clothing on hangers in a garment bag. I hate seeing a wardrobe wadded up in duffel bags.

Obvious branding should be avoided on all clothing. If you can recognize a brand, we probably cannot use it on the shoot. Small logos on polo-style shirts normally will not show up, but anything larger may.

Mary Erickson

Mary Erickson has been a makeup, hair, and wardrobe stylist for over 25 years, working primarily in the commercial print market in San Diego and Los Angeles. You can view her portfolio at

More Posts - Website

28 Responses to “What clothing models should bring to commercial photo shoots”

  1. October 05, 2017 at 3:35 pm, Caroll Lané 👼 said:

    I have had a few photographers say they’ll give me an allowance for clothing.
    I have to deposit a check into my bank, deduct the amount for wardrobe and send a check or pay them via moneygram.
    Is this legit? Doesn’t seem like it is.


  2. August 03, 2016 at 9:46 am, Molon Labe! said:

    True commercial shoots provide the clothing…


  3. September 12, 2015 at 8:31 am, Geri Muck said:

    In the writer’s defense, let’s take a look at modeling in the smaller markets across the country where models DO supply most of the wardrobe for a commercial shoot. When a stylist is booked, wardrobe is often provided as back up only, in case the models need a little help. I’ve been a model/talent agent since 1981, and I can honestly say that most of our commercial/lifestyle bookings require that models are equipped with great wardrobe. In fact, clients request that I ONLY submit available models who have “great wardrobe.” For some smaller market local bookings, they hire a wardrobe stylist and/or a makeup/hair stylist, but for most shoots, models are expected to be prepared AND to be self-sufficient. Major market clients come with great budgets, including buy-out compensation, and ALL the necessary stylists. Needless to say, that’s the way we like it.


  4. January 16, 2014 at 9:00 pm, Deaunte said:

    Why not black tops?


  5. April 29, 2013 at 12:34 am, disqus_BCRMd8hvcR said:

    None? Isn’t wardrobe typically provided at a COMMERCIAL shoot?


  6. April 28, 2013 at 8:09 am, said:

    If every model brought this list with them- my job would be SUPER easy


  7. April 27, 2013 at 10:54 pm, said:

    Personally I don’t mind clothing with visible brands ie, Nike, Puma, Chanel, nearly as much as novelty shirts with stupid sayings.


  8. April 27, 2013 at 7:45 am, Fred Gerhart said:

    Great article. Thanks for sharing this with us. As for those screaming wardrobe is not required you are both correct and incorrect. It all depends upon what type of work is being done. If a model shows up loaded for bear as this article suggests then everything is always going to be a go!


  9. April 26, 2013 at 12:58 am, Ayya Azanova said:

    Fof commercial????? haha


  10. April 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm, TJPhoto40 said:

    I agree with some other comments referring to the confusing use
    of the term “commercial” in this article and need to know the specific expectations of the photographer. Commercial usually means that the
    shoot is intended to sell something or be applicable to a commercial or
    advertising usage. Stock is not the same, though stock images can
    certainly be used for commercial purposes.

    I’ve been doing
    freelance and on-spec shoots for 20 years +, and over the last 12 years
    I’ve amassed quite a lot of shoot wardrobe because most models don’t
    have enough quality clothes for a shoot. But I always ask models to
    bring certain items, if possible. That includes dresses (black and
    colors), skirt and top combinations, swimwear, lingerie and stylish
    clothes they think are “shoot-worthy”. In general, clothes should be
    clean, unwrinkled, in good condition, and up-to-date in styling, with no
    bold prints or logos. A few accessories are helpful for most shoots,
    so that’s something a model can supply. Shoes are important, too–heels
    and boots in excellent condition. The style of shoes is determined by the kind of shoot.

    In general, a photographer looking to get good results will either supply wardrobe or have a stylist involved. The clothing list for women in this article seems geared to a generic and conservative stock shoot where a stylist may also be involved. Otherwise, much of the clothing in the list is too plain to be useful in the shoots I do which are more fashion and glamour. So it’s always most important for the model to know the styling the photographer and/or stylist are going for and pick any personal clothes you have that might fit.


  11. May 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm, LaCristalitaSD said:

    Great Tips!! Thank you for posting.. Def going to follow some of these for my next shoot 🙂


  12. March 03, 2012 at 4:00 pm, Treats Threads said:

    Its an informative article, just needs to be clear on a few points. These are things male/female models should have in their arsenal. I just think people are inferring that you suggest they bring all these items. Not true- I hope, these items should just be available.


  13. February 04, 2012 at 11:09 am, Haleydancer95 said:

    Outstanding information! These are all great thing to bring to a small commercial or photoshoot, Ladies always have your nude bras NO crazy prints.


  14. January 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm, Ann_skowronski said:

    This list is helpful, except that’s a lot of stuff to bring along to model with. It seems more helpful for me as the model to be told what kind of stock or commercial pics are being sought. I’m not bringing my nice business wear to shoot with dirty tires. I save my skimpy spandex dresses for that.

    I’ll bring my business wear if its clear that it will be used. I don’t want to muss up the clothes I wear to my day job. Otherwise, I pack my mink, jewelry, corsets, undies, jeans, and black leather jacket. Stuff like that.

    You are spot on about the underwear and shoes. I get a lot of compliments from photographers for NOT bringing ‘stripper’ shoes along. There are sexy, peep toe pumps out there that are not on platforms.


  15. November 18, 2011 at 8:03 pm, Anonymous said:

    Thanks for this article. Good to have a check-list. Maria


  16. October 11, 2011 at 2:52 am, Jkdrama said:

    how do i become a model i am 14 almost 15


  17. October 10, 2011 at 11:32 pm, Tensilverdollars said:

    I have been a semi-pro Photographer for 30 years. Either I supply wardrobe or a stylist pulls from the rack or the client supplies wardrobe to be shot. Besides a headshot or comp card, at what point has the model been responsible for wardrobe? This weekend I had a model That was amazed she didn’t have to supply wardrobe. WTF. This was a commercial shoot for a local Boutique. The only pet peve I see being an issue is undergarments. Nude, black and white are required.


    • November 12, 2011 at 12:09 am, instant said:

      It all depends what kind of shoot. The problem is that this article opens in an ambiguous way. When I see the words “commercial shoot,” I think commercial client. But when you read the article, Mary is not talking about that kind of shoot. For example, one kind of shoot she specifically calls out is stock. The article would also apply to a model test in a commercial style. Basically we’re talking about shoots that are not commissioned by a client. This isn’t the first edu article that needed extra context…. (hint hint moderators).


      • October 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm, Tensilverdollars said:

        OK, a stock shoot. I also shoot stock. Medical field is hot as well as electronic engineering. Do I expect a model to bring a labcoat? a dust free suit? a respirator? Safety glasses? ….NO
        Unless you are shooting her Zedcard or portfolio work I don’t see the need for her to supply wardrobe. beyong undergarments


    • April 25, 2013 at 3:21 pm, headshots Los Angeles said:

      Yeah, several of these “edu” articles have just been completely wrong with the information.


    • March 25, 2014 at 6:15 pm, Heathyr Wolfe said:

      I agree with Tensilverdollars. I always bring EVERYTHING as a stylist except;
      Your underwear
      I may request you bring shoes if I don’t get your size.
      That is all.
      I also bring pasties (we don’t like playing ring toss in bikini shoots), and disposable thongs. You can buy a box of them on the internet.
      Please invest if you are a stylist or work with one.


  18. October 09, 2011 at 4:16 pm, H. Jules said:

    You summed it up great. Now when models ask what they should bring I will refer them to your article. 🙂


  19. October 09, 2011 at 3:04 pm, Kenneth Aston Jr said:

    Outstanding info, thanks for sharing


  20. October 07, 2011 at 1:18 pm, Chantalhasse said:

    Very good info.Thanks for sharing


  21. October 07, 2011 at 4:45 am, Veganfruitarian said:

    very helpful information and thoughtful


  22. October 06, 2011 at 8:24 pm, Marketa Fei said:

    Rolling clothes (not sure how to describe it other than “carefully” also prevents wrinkles, and lets you bring more more easily.


  23. October 06, 2011 at 4:55 pm, streetaccessphoto said:

    great information for both parties.


  24. October 06, 2011 at 10:30 am, Starkey said:

    Very helpful information for photographers and models alike.



Leave a Reply