What should Models Bring to a Photo Shoot in their modeling bag?
If you are shooting with us, we will have already provided a detail list of styles and colors at least 1 week prior to the shoot. Everything except the kitchen sink and even that can sometimes make a great prop!
What you need to have in your modeling bag can vary from one shoot to the next. If you are working with a makeup artist or hair stylist, you generally won’t need to carry hair or makeup products, however it is a good plan to carry them just in case.
Headband, rubber bands, bobby pins, brushes, combs, hair appliances (curling iron, rollers, straighteners). Sometimes it is best not to come with clean hair if they are going to do your hair. Sometimes it’s best to come with Hot Curlers in your hair.
Skin cleanser and moisturizer (Arrive bare-faced for shoots with makeup artists). Bring your own makeup kit for emergency. You will also need body makeup, skin tape for clothes, cotton balls and cotton swabs, a mirror, and body lotion for dry skin.
Clear or nude nail polish, clippers, nail file, polish remover. My best advice is to go to the drug store and get some glue on french tip nails for about $4. They will last about a week and best to put on the night before the shoot.
Shoes in neutral colors, dressy and flats, and black is a must. Thigh high Boots can be the best.
No one uses nylon hoses but a few pair of thigh high stocking can make a shoot perfect.
Black, white and flesh toned undies (one should be a thong). Having a pair of ruffled undies can make a pinup perfect if you flash anyone and they are just like wearing shorts.
If you are bring kids to models – mom, make them wear shorts under their dress!
Assortment of bras (black, white, nude, and strapless)
Plain black and white socks. Having a pair of thigh high sock can make a sporty look amazing.
Thing to pack if you need them; most models bags are a suit case with wheels, it’s easy to carry and you can bring lots of them.
Safety pins, small sewing kit, clothes pins, clear nail polish (for runs).
Light dressing robe between changes, black scarf prevent makeup transfer or to put in your hair if it falls.
Dress shields or clear, non-scented deodorant; it’s best not to wear deodorant at a model shoot just incase it show when you lift your arms.
Emergency items to pack; headache medicane, tums, tampons, razor, bandages. Thou we have a first aid kit, you should be prepared. Visine for red eyes and acne.
Bring photo ideas you would like to do on your phone to show the photographers before the shoot.
3 days before the shoot
Wax or shave your legs and armpits 3 days prior to a shoot. If you are modeling swimwear or lingerie, be sure you hit the bikini line. This is also the time to be sure your facial hair is under control.
Don’t have your facial hair waxed in the three days prior to your shoot in order to allow for irritation to disappear.
Check your hair! If it has been a while since you had a trim, now is the time. Just be sure your hairdresser knows that he/she can’t go too wild this time. If you hair is dry, opt for a deep conditioning treatment. If you color your hair, get a refresher or have your roots done.
Now is NOT the time to try new hair color/style or beauty treatment! If your color doesn’t come out as planned or your skin breaks out because you reacted to a new cleanser, you won’t look your best!
2 days before the shoot
Call your photographer. It is VERY important that you call 48 hours prior to the shoot.
To confirm the date and time.
To confirm the list of outfits – styles and colors and props.
To ask any last minute questions that you may have.
Get your nails done. Generally, short and neutral (nude polish or a French manicure) is the desired look. I can’t even begin to tell you how many great photographs have been ruined by horrible nails! Don’t forget your toes!
Drink plenty of water, avoid salty foods and alcohol prior to a shoot so that you are not puffy on the day of the shoot.
24 hours before the shoot
PLEASE – Get plenty of sleep before a shoot.
Bags, dark circles, and bloodshot eyes will ruin a shoot. Sleep at least eight hours a night for the three days prior to your shoot and avoid alcohol. If you find your face with acne or your arm, know that visine will help take out redness and swelling for your eyes and acne.
How to Prepare for the Concept and Shoot?
Your modeling portfolio shoot is the most important photo shoot you will ever do as a model.
Think about it… hopefully some day you will appear on the cover of a major magazine and that will be the coolest shoot you ever do, but your very first photo shoot, the one you do for your modeling portfolio is the shoot that creates the images that will get you signed by agencies and get you hired for work. NO PRESSURE!
Proper photo shoot prep is crucial to being prepared, feeling confident and comfortable and having a successful shoot that will create the WOW images that your portfolio needs. Your attitude coming to it is like have a good day at work.
Arrive on time for your photo shoot!
Make sure you understand the travel directions well in advance and leave the house with plenty of time to spare.
In this business…being on time means be 15 min early – without exception!
Remember – you are working as a model. Do NOT bring a friend, relative or boyfriend to a photo shoot. You don’t take them to work with you. If you are not comfortable working with a photographer – you shouldn’t be going.
Drink lots of water. Bring snacks. Please avoid chocolate or anything that can stain your teeth. However feel free to bring chocolate for your photographer and makeup artist.
Wear loose fitting clothing so that there are NO lines on the skin. Do NOT wear socks.
Wear your hair natural and down, unless you have been given other directions by the photographer or your agency in advance.
Wear clear un-scented deodorant to protect your clothing and prevent flaking.
Do NOT wear jewelry.
Bring your portfolio and/or any recent photographs that you have had taken. Never leave home without them!
Should I tan for my photo shoot?
Most models are very pale. Photoshop these days can give you a tan.
You cannot assume that a client will be willing to pay additional money to have your photos retouched because of your sloppy tan lines.
Additionally, when you tan your skin becomes an unnatural color which will make it hard to photograph you in clothing and have the clothing appear the right color.
It should also go without saying that making a decision to tan right before your photo shoot is risking the possibility that you will over tan and then show up for your shoot looking like a ripe tomato.
A little color is fine. If you are going to the beach use LOTS of sunscreen and take different suits with different cuts and change them frequently. If you are going to a tanning salon be sure to use lots of sunscreen (the type that is designed for tanning salons) and tan in the nude in a stand up booth – not a bed. If you do use the spray on tanning booths, please do so about three to four days before the shoot so your skin can adjust to the chemicals.
How To Start Modeling
Do people tell you constantly that you should be a model? Do you look at magazines and billboards and think to yourself, “that could be me!” If so, then you might be thinking… “How do I start modeling?”
A career as a model can offer lucrative settings and amazing perks, but do not think for a second that it is easy. Pretty faces are a dime a dozen; the modeling industry is not an easy one to break into. You will face stiff competition and 90% of the business will be less-glamorous than you would imagine. While many models earn a healthy living, very few break into the big leagues and become household names.
Choose a Market
The first step is to choose a type of modeling you want to pursue. The main types of modeling are:
Fashion (Runway, Catalog, Editorial)– done to promote clothing or accessories. If you are taller- 5’10 and above and with a thin body type (5’11 for males)- then fashion modeling may be for you. Looks for this type range from beautiful to unusual and distinctive. Thou Editorial doesn’t have a type anymore.
Acting/Commercials-Playing a role on television in an advertisement for a product, service, or idea. Must be outgoing and have acting ability. Acting coaches are available to those serious about doing Acting.
Promotional-Live modeling designed to drive consumer demand for a product or brand. It can range from representing a company at a tradeshow to handing out samples in a shopping mall or appearing on behalf of an alcohol brand at a bar. A promotional model needs to be very outgoing and have a great personality. Height requirements are not as stringent as fashion modeling, but range from 5’5 on (5’10 for males). Promotional modeling is sometimes the only way to keep getting extra income to modeling in major cities.
Commercial and Print-Print modeling is generally done to advertise products, services and companies. There is no set height or weight for commercial modeling, but you must be a well proportioned, attractive, real person that can act and play different character.
Workshop Modeling – working as a workshop model can be benificial to your career if you don’t want to pay high prices for high priced photographers. Getting portfolio photos can help you get more work and help you network with alot of photographers in one shoot. There are alot of benifits to being a workshop model, you get free makeup artist, free networking, learn fast the details of the industry that most models pay at modeling agencies. Workshop models learn lighting, poses from mentors, tips on what works best for certain models shapes. Workshop models learn new hair styles, makeup tips and different styles of modeling or alternative modeling.
Keep At It
Like any job or profession, modeling will take time, patience and perseverance. If you aren’t finding any work as a model immediately, don’t be alarmed. Many people face rejection and will have to wait long periods of time to become a model. Find how many models get work and make a google alarm to find you postings for new work. If you make it thru your first 6 months of modeling than you have a chance. This is the breaking point of modeling or not modeling. Read everything you can about modeling and acting in your area. Make a list of what type of modeling or photos you want to do. Make your wish list of photos you want to redo.
Hair and Makeup Artists for Photo Shoots
Using makeup artists for photo shoots is extremely important if you want WOW photos.
Don’t be foolish enough to think that you are going to be able to do a great job of your own hair and makeup AND then get in front of the camera and model. When a model is in front of the camera, they have absolutely no idea how how they look.
A good makeup artist will make you look your best and also works with the photographer as a second set of eyes to insure that things always look great while the photos are being taken.
You can quote me when I tell you that ANY photographer who is willing to shoot your portfolio with you doing your own hair and makeup is a beginner! This is a person who has no sense of quality and simply does not care about the outcome of your photographs and ultimately your success. After doing 2 years of free group shoots, I have determined that makeup on the models is what really makes the photos. We even spraybrush the male models that work for us. I have learned the hard way that doing Free Group Shoots is for the beginners and someone has to start somewhere but when we stepped up the cost, we started charging to do the workshops to make them the best production around.
Be sure to read the articles linked here for more information about selecting and working with a makeup artist, as well as a comprehensive directory of makeup artists from across the United States.
Do I really need a Makeup Artist
YES – Hire a makeup artist or ask if there will be one at your shoot!
Every model should learn how to apply makeup. However, when you are building your modeling portfolio –HIRE A Makeup Artist!
Your modeling portfolio are your primary and most important marketing tool. Not only is it important to hire a great photographer, but it is equally as important to hire a great makeup artist.
No model can do their own hair and makeup as well as a professional can and it is crucial that you look amazing in your pictures. Additionally, makeup for the camera is very different than makeup for everyday wear and a good makeup artist accounts for this difference.
A good makeup artist not only brings excellent skills and artistry to a shoot – but also is very involved in the creative process and contributes equally with the photographer and model.
Believe me – we love it when people tell us how wonderful our photographs are, but we assure you that every photo that you see on this web site took at least three people to create. We only receive one-third of the credit. The makeup artist and the subject are equally important to creating the wow pictures.
It’s not enough to be pretty if you want to model
Modeling = Acting
Let’s face it – if modeling were all about looks – why pay a model some ridiculous amount of money when a quick visit to the local shopping mall would easily turn up a bevy of beautiful women?
It is somewhat of a given if you are entering this industry that you are attractive. What it takes to “make it” is personality and the ability to act and smart business sense!
Day after day I review new models portfolios and I see books with 15 – 20 pictures that show a grand total of 2 expressions – happy/smiling and serious/sexy.BORING!
Even worse yet – I can’t tell you how many times I see the classic photo of a model holding a phone to her ear and looking at the camera and just smiling. Yeah – that looks real!
I receive emails every day asking me: “Do I need to take Modeling Classes? If so, what kind of classes?” You don’t “need” to take classes to be a model, and if you are going to be a commercial model you certainly don’t need to be taught how to walk a runway. If you want to take classes to improve our ability to model – take acting classes.
Think about it
How often do you see an advertisement in a consumer publication where the model is just looking at the camera smiling – unless of course the ad is for makeup, clothing, or male enhancement products?
What you do see
Photographs of models interacting with products, locations, other people. You see models acting out characters.
Many modeling agencies now have you do a cold reading of a commercial script when you first meet them. The reason for this is that more and more modeling agencies are providing casting services for television commercials and industrial videos.
So what is my message? Don’t think its all about you when you produce a modeling portfolio. It’s all about acting. Your portfolio needs to show your range (ages, looks, expressions, characters) not just the fact that you are pretty.
Walk into an agency with a portfolio that not only shows how good you look, but also the range of work that you could realistically be considered for and you are showing that agency that you have done your homework and that you are able to provide them with the proper marketing tools so that they can get you work and make money for both of you.
So you want to be a model
Well, you have picked a tough and competitive business that requires a lot of hard work, patience, and the ability to take rejection well and often.
There is a simple fact that all models must learn about the business of modeling…
The most successful models fail many more times than they succeed.
It is simply the nature of the business. Generally several models if not ten or twenty are submitted for the same job – not everyone can get the job and nobody is picked for every job.
Modeling is NOT the glamorous profession that is portrayed in the movies and reality TV shows.
In fact the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in the year 2006, the job of being a model ranked #8 on the list of Top 8 worse jobs to have. Models made a median hourly wage of $11.22, a bit less than twice the minimum wage of $5.85. Not so glamorous. Most models work part time.
On the plus side, it is a business that can give you the opportunity to meet lots of creative people, have a lot of fun and make some money and who knows, for the very lucky few even travel and notoriety.
The reality is that this is a BUSINESS–just like any other business–that requires constant research and marketing to keep up with the trends and to keep your face in front of the modeling agencies that you have employed to market you. Note Texas now lets anyone label themselves as a modeling agency. Ask them if they have a Agency Liciense. If not, move on.
Models must take care of themselves and work hard to maintain a marketable image. Photo shoots can be long and difficult and take place in less than desirable conditions.
Still interested? Ok – here is where you start…
To begin work as a commercial model – you need to start your modeling portfolio.
Your modeling portfolio is the most important expenditure you will make in the business of becoming a model. It is your marketing tool. It is how you will show modeling agencies and potential clients that you have the ability to act and portray the characters that they need for their advertising campaign.
Your modeling portfolio and the comp card (zed card) that you have printed will ALWAYS be seen by a potential agency or client – before you are. Most models these days will create themselves a Model Page on Facebook. This should be clear of drama post.
The modeling portfolio should be filled with photographs that look as though they have been published. You want people to assume that the pictures in your book have been used in a commercial advertisement or fashion magazine.
Certainly – if you are asked, be honest. But you want to impress people with images that look as close to the real thing as possible and show not only how attractive you are – but how much personality you have.
Remember the rule – “Less PHOTOS is BETTER!”
You don’t win any prizes for having more photos than anyone else. You are competing against many other models for jobs. Your pictures need to have the “WOW Factor”. They need to be professional – visually catching and most importantly – make you look incredible and show how much personality you have. Don’t post your bad photos in your portfolio. They will only remember your worse photos.
What is a Promotional Model
A promotional model is a model that interacts directly with consumers – face-to-face.
Promotional modeling rarely involves photo shoots or walking the runway. It is a type of modeling that is used to engage consumers’ in-person by giving the consumer direct contact with the product.
In the marketing and advertising world promotional models are often referred to as event models or brand ambassadors. This type of marketing falls into a category called Event Marketing where the goal is to put the product in the consumer’s hands and give them a chance to sample it. This is a technique that is used for everything from bubble gum to beauty products, and form video games to automobiles. All advertising is evaluated on a factor called ROI (return on investment). Compared to television, event marketing reaches a small percentage of potential buyers, but it costs MUCH less than television advertising and frequently yields a much higher return on the investment.
You have likely encountered promotional models and may not have realized that they were models at all. At sporting events and fairs and festivals, you will frequently find promotional models staffing booths for mobile phone companies or video game manufacturers. You will see promotional model sat these same kinds of events handing out samples of products. People of ALL ages (over 18) are hired for promotional events like these. It’s not uncommon to walk into Wal-Mart and see senior citizens doing promo gigs on a Saturday morning. These types of promotions can pay anywhere from $15 to $25.00 per hour on average. Models handling alcohol must have their TABC certificate.
Promotional models, like print models need to be attractive and they need to have outgoing and engaging personalities. Good public speaking skills are essential for this type of work.
Practice – Practice – Practice!
Even top models spend time in front of the mirror – practicing expressions and poses to prepare for a photo shoot.
It is important to know how your face feels when you smile, or laugh, or frown, or pout.
It is important to know how your body feels when it is posed in an attractive manner.
Practice facial expressions in front of the mirror – learn how your face feels with a perfect smile – no gums, eyes open – not squinting.
Practice your poses in front of a mirror – while naked. Yes – it says “naked”. With clothes on you have pockets, collars, etc. to “hang on” to. Without clothes – you have to learn how to place your hands and make them look attractive.
If you are shooting with us, we will guide you in poses – however you will be much more confident if you are able to do some basic poses on your own. Look through current magazines for ideas. Study them and pay particular attention to how the models pose in different style clothing. Look closely at how they hold their hands. Pretty hands and feet will make or break a photo.
Select your outfits and write a detailed list of the styles and colors that you are bringing. Add specific shoes and accessories to your list. Do NOT wear jewelry. Props! – Think of props that you can bring to match your outfits. Props make a photo more believable and also give you something else to do with your hands.
Do you do it? Do you know what it is?
If you answered “no” to either of these questions – you shouldn’t be calling yourself a model. Top models practice daily and Mirror Work is how they do it.
Athletes, Musicians, Singers, Actors – they ALL practice to become good at what they do.
So what IS Mirror Work?
It is the process of building “Muscle Memory”
If you have ever played organized sports – your coaches talked to you about “muscle memory.” I’ll give you an example – in the sport of Baseball, players take batting practice before every game. Before each at bat – the player stands in the On Deck Circle and swings the bat over and over again. All of this practice is for the purpose of training the body and its muscles how to swing the bat.
Think about it – when a ball player is standing at home plate with someone throwing a ball at them at more than 90 miles per hour – they don’t want to be thinking about how to swing the bat – they need to think about where the ball is and where it is going.
This same principle applies to a piano player or a guitar player – they practice and practice the chords and locations of keys and strings, because when they are playing they need to concentrate on the tempo and music.
Models need to do mirror work for TWO reasons
The first and most obvious is posing. A smart model learns quickly that nobody has a perfect body. You must learn your best as well as your worst features and more importantly how to make them work for the camera. It is important to learn the basic bikini pose and more importantly understand why it makes the body look so good.
Every model should have an arsenal of at least 10 poses that they can do well and have the confidence of knowing that their body looks great in these poses.
Your goal while practicing in the mirror is not just to find attractive poses – but to concentrate on “how does your body feel” when you are doing a pose correctly. Remember that when you are in front of the camera, you don’t have a mirror in front of you to look at.
The second and most important reason for doing mirror work is facial expressions. Modeling is acting and your face is your MOST important communication tool.
First and foremost a model must learn how to smile. It is natural for people to tend to squint their eyes or show too much gum when smiling.
Mirror work allows you to learn how your face “feels” when you smile correctly. It also allows you to learn how your face feels when you do a big look of surprise or anger or the classic open mouth smile.
The purpose for all of this practice is just like that of the athletes and musicians – so that these skills become second nature. When you get in front of acamera if you have to think for just one second, “Does my smile look ok?”, “Does this pose make my butt look big?” then you have blown the shot. When you are in front of the camera you have to be thinking about the character you are portraying and the personality that is needed to sell that idea.
A few quick pointers for successful mirror work:
Do it alone – nobody else in the room, radio and TV turned off.
No more than 5 minutes at a time. Good mirror work takes lots of concentration. If you stay at it too long – you will start looking at the pile of wash that you see behind you or the books on your desk that are waiting to be read. (Feel free to do mirror work several times a day if your schedule permits – but still only for 5 minutes at a time.
Only work on one pose or expression in each session. Remember – anybody can look in the mirror and do a perfect smile in 2 seconds – your purpose is to learn how that smile feels. Keep your sessions short and focused.
When working on poses – be sure to do your mirror work in the nude from time to time. There is no better way to see how your body looks when posing then when you are naked. Additionally – it is a great way to learn how to pose your hands. With no clothes on – you have no place to put your hands.
(I challenge you to come up with poses that DON’T include placing your hands on your hips!)
Be critical but constructive. Nobody has a perfect body or perfect face. Don’t watch yourself in the mirror thinking that you are “all that” and don’t look in the mirror and totally tear yourself apart. Learn what your strengths and weaknesses.
What to wear -Proper Clothing Selection:
I recently received an email from a prospective commercial model. The young lady sent me a very well written inquiry requesting some information and guidance for an upcoming modeling portfolio shoot. She was smart enough to provide me with all of her stats and attach a few photos that she had recently shot with a local photographer.
As I opened the photos, to my disappointment I found a selection of images featuring floral print dresses, hoop ear rings and outfits that didn’t fit properly.
For headshots, also be sure to remember the following guidelines
Avoid white and light pastel colors.
Warm earthy tones are best.
Avoid v-necks unless your photographer is proficient at photographing them properly.
If you are shooting more than one top – be sure to mix up the necklines.
Be sure that the top has shoulders – no spaghetti straps, tank tops or sleeveless shirts.
Shirts with texture are great for headshots. (Sweaters, knit or ribbed material, etc).
If you have planned your shoot properly – you started with ideas and then selected outfits to match the ideas.
Remember – your modeling portfolio is selling you and your ability to portray different characters. The outfits that you select are a costume and should not become the focus of the picture.
One final suggestion. . . If you find yourself with a great idea, but you don’t own the outfit that you need, avoid running out to the mall and spending money on an outfit that you may never wear again.
Beg, Borrow and Steal. Check with friends and relatives – you may be able to borrow the outfit that you need.