Preparing For A Photo Shoot.

Here is a forecast of some of the areas that should have special attention paid to before you go to your photo shoot...

In the fast paced business of modeling, the structure of where it all gets started is surrounded by the still image. With the advent of technology and being able to digitally enhance and customize images, the importance of arriving for a photo shoot can not be down played as the costs of working with these images can prove very costly and counterproductive to some projects.

You certainly wouldn't want to compromise your opportunity by arriving for a photo shoot without some foresight into what will be required and how to prepare for an event such as this. Having worked with thousands of models over the past 20 years, a decent amount of information can be provided on the most effective way to maximize this experience and assist you in landing those potentially lucrative modeling spots.

Prior to even embarking on a photo shoot, you should, without great difficulty, be able to research the photographer and the project that he/she is working on. Photographers should have a portfolio of their works so that you can get some insight into the type of work that they portray.

Never compromise any principals when it comes to shooting with photographers. Know well in advance what is expected of you and whether it is a paid shoot or TFP (Trade for Print in which the model will receive copies of the work to add to their portfolio).

The importance of a professional portfolio and comp card can not be understated as these are the images that will be seated in front of casting companies, producers, editors and photographers who are tasked with making the decision on which people will best portray and represent their product or service.

Without further adieu, let's discuss some tips on how to come to a photo shoot to portray yourself in the best form.

Keeping yourself in good physical condition is tantamount to working successfully with photographers. For every model that is considered, you can rest assured that there will be several other suitable replacements should your physique come into question as to the conditioning that they are seeking. Quite often these projects provide little notice on when they will be shooting and you may not have lengthy periods of time to be fine tuning your diet and training to compensate for any discrepancies of your top form.

Contact the photographer or your agent prior to the project to confirm what you will be required to do as far as hair, makeup and clothing. Larger projects with budgets allowing for professionals to take care of these details gives you the leeway of ensuring that you show up for your shoot with clean hair, skin free of makeup and clothing to be provided.

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The photographer or agent will advise if you will need to have these details taken care of prior to the shoot. Again, to maximize results and ensure that your images are chosen, have a professional stylist, image consultant or cosmetician apply your makeup for you using the specifications that should be provided in advance. Leave nothing to chance and rely on those who have had success in these areas working with models.

Grooming is always essential. Hair, makeup, blemishes, nails, body hair, tattoos, scars, skin imperfections, etc. should not be taken for granted as you should pay exclusive attention to these areas. Ensure that your photographer is aware of such things such as piercings, tattoos and skim imperfections as there are a number of reputable products that work fantastically to conceal these conditions.

Dermablend is an industry favorite and is available in a number of shades to match most skin tones and will conceal trouble areas such as stretch marks, scars, blemishes and even tattoos. You certainly don't want to be overlooked for a project because of a skin condition that can be easily rectified without having to resort to expensive graphic design procedures to retouch photographs.

Pay Special Attention To The Following:

Here is a forecast of some of the areas that should have special attention paid to:


    Ensure that if your hair style has been altered or colored differently than what was originally presented to the photographer/casting that they are aware of these details in advance.

    The fact that you went from brunette to blonde may certainly change the scope of the project. Inquire as to whether your hair should be left natural or if you should arrive at the shoot with your hair styled.


    Tanned skin will always photograph well under brighter lighting conditions and provide more definition. Some conditions will require pale skin such as what is often sought by runway or fashion models.

    Males should always have tanned skin. Whether you tan naturally or visit tanning salons, stay clear of tan lines that may not be hidden by your garments when photographed.

    Do You Tan Your Face?
    Yes - All The Time!
    Yes - Occasionally.
    No - Are You Crazy!

    Commercial creams and lotions can provide natural skin tones and should be considered as an alternative to other tanning methods. Use the assistance of someone else to help in applying lotions to assure that your skin is streak-free and even.

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Body Hair:

    Most jobs pertaining to fitness modeling will require the removal of body hair. Refrain from experimenting with any hair removal methods that you haven't already attempted in the past as skin irritations can often result and should always be avoided.

    Waxing, depilatory creams and/or shaving should be considered as fine hairs will show in photographs. Again, requesting the assistance of another individual to help accomplish this will improve your overall appearance.

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    Males should always arrive at a photo shoot with nails clean and trimmed.

    Females may wish to consider using artificial nails and should contact the photographer to request their input in this area.


    Always avoid wearing tight clothing to physique type photography shoots as the tight elastic closures will cause creases to your skin that may take several hours to dissipate. Photographers will not want to retouch imperfections such as this as it will add to the overall cost of the project and could have easily been avoided.

    Females should bring with them some variety of bras as the clothing provided may not afford the exposure of straps.

    Males should also choose undergarments wisely as the clothing may involve showing parts of your legs that some underwear may reveal.

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    If the photographer has requested you to bring your own clothing, make sure to ask what styles/types they prefer. Bring a variety of clothing to the shoots to reflect this diversity. Clothing should not be folded but hung in garment bags or dry cleaning bags to avoid wrinkles.

    Refrain from wearing clothing that depicts commercial brand names that may pose a conflict with specific companies looking to use these images. If in doubt, always consult with the photographer or your agent for specific details on clothing choices. Dark clothing often photographs better and complements black and white photography.

    Avoid lavish designs, floral patterns and stripes. Stay away from white clothing if being photographed indoors and stick with the bright colours if the shoot is outdoors. Clothing that shows texture such as weaves, knits, etc. often enhance a three dimensional look to photos.

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    If you are certain that make-up will not be applied for you at the photo shoot make sure that you bring everything that you will require to touch up the make-up and/or change shades and colours if requested.

Strange Requests:

    Some photo shoots may have unusual twists that you should be aware of in advance so that provisions can be made if necessary.

    For example, if you'll be performing a variety of shots in conditions that may pose conflicts such as allergies, heights, outdoor conditions, etc. that could cause concerns, this should be communicated to the photographer.

    Not much point going to a photo shoot that you'll have to be turned away from because of a specific conflict.


    Your agent or photographer should be aware of your past work history so that you are not being submitted for work that will pose a conflict with the hiring company. Conflicts should be communicated to you before the job is booked and you must convey the fact that you have a similar project or conflict in existence.

The Night Before:

    Obviously going on a huge tear the evening before your shoot and arriving with blood shot eyes and circles under your eyes is a celebration that should be deferred until after your shoot. Get plenty of rest so that you're able to arrive on time.

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    Your reflection as a professional model should be portrayed at all times as your relationship with photographers and your agent can be easily compromised if you're not punctual at attending appointments and assignments. Know how to get to all of your assignments and purchase a map of the area if you're unfamiliar with where you will be attending.

    Quite often photographers will rent equipment, studios and hire assistance based on a specific schedule. Driving up the costs because you are late should not be tolerated. Always conduct yourself as a professional through mannerisms and gratitude. For the period of time that you're working on this project, they are your employer and should be extended these courtesies.

Weather Restrictions:

    An alternate date will likely be provided should the weather hamper an outdoor shoot. If you have other commitments in your scheduling, make sure that you block out the alternate date as well in case the weather is not favorable.

Read The Fine Print:

    All paperwork that you sign should be reviewed prior by your agent. Avoid signing any waivers or releases before your agent has had the chance to look these over.

    Photographers should be well aware of this fact and should not ask you to sign anything before your agent has had a chance to preview the request.

    If in doubt or when requested to sign a waiver, contact your agent and request a copy be sent before the photo shoot to avoid unnecessary delays.


Diligence and professionalism will be rewarded in the modeling business. Always assume that your agent is working on your behalf to provide you with as much exposure as possible as their success is also reliant on your success. Professional comp cards and portfolios will increase the likelihood of you securing assignments and thus increasing your modeling bio.

Have fun, stay relaxed, enjoy the experience and smile!

About The Author

Daryl Gazey is the booking/talent director of The FAME Agency; specializing in fitness modeling for print and television. Daryl is a director of the World Natural Sports Organization and FAME World Events, the largest international fitness modeling event in the world. Daryl can be contacted at for more information regarding their events or the FAME Agency.