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Hey models! I wanted to do a quick recap of what you should always come prepared with to your photo shoot. As we know, full preparation is key to a successful photo shoot. (Yes, this blog is going to cover things for men, women, and kids!) I’m putting together a list of things you should ALWAYS pack with you to ensure you will be camera ready! I’ll also be linking my favorite, most affordable photo shoot cosmetics and hair products.

Want more info on photo shoot preparation? Click here to read “The Pre Photo shoot Discussion all Models and Photographers Need to Have”, and make sure you become familiar with the “Photo Shoot Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts”

Okay, let’s get into it!!

1. Basic Photography Make up

Now, if this shoot is for a paid booking, you are probably going to have a make up artist. While you won’t have to pack all of your make up, it is still a great idea to bring the basics. If this is a student photo shoot or a trade shoot you will want to bring ALL of your makeup. Adults will need the following:

Oil-free Moisturizer

Not only will the moisturizer hydrate your skin, but it will prep your skin for a nice even layer of foundation. This SPF 15 moisturizer is my absolute favorite because It is the only one on the market that provides SPF protection against both UVA A and B rays, and works wonderfully under make up. It’s non greasy, PABA free, and is great for sensitive skin. #WIN

TIP: Use a sweatband to hold all of your hair back while applying your make up

Under Eye Corrector

Note, THIS IS DIFFERENT FROM CONCEALER. The under eye corrector will be slightly pigmented to neutralize the red, purple, or brown circles under your eyes. You will want to get an under eye corrector pigmented to suit your under eye situation:

GREEN=redness under the eye

YELLOW=dullness (medium/olive color skin tones)

PINK/PEACH=blueish/dark purple color under the eye (This is my absolute favorite under eye brightening corrector)

ORANGE/RED=Dark circles for medium to dark skin tones This one will last all day and give you the perfect matte finish!

BLUE=Yellowish tint under the eye

Use your finger tips or beauty blender sponge to lightly apply the corrector in an inverted triangle patch underneath the eye and onto the side of your nose. Be sure to blend up close to the water line (lower lash line)

TIP: Make sure you always wet the beautyblender/sponge before using it, or it will absorb all of the product and not blend very well.

Concealer

Hide the pigmented corrector by concealing it. Choose a concealer that is your same skin tone, or half a shade lighter. Tip: you can also use the concealer to highlight the inner areas of your face. Concealers come in different forms (solid stick or liquid). There are definitely fancier concealers out there, but I find that when paired with the right corrector, this $6 option from Maybeline works just fine.

TIP: Pat blend with a dampened sponge or beautyblender.

TIP: DO NOT USE HIGHLIGHTING POWDER unless discussed with the stylist/photographer. Highlighter will drastically change the lighting effect, and it may not fit the aesthetic of the shoot. They way the lights are positioned for studio/print photography will already add highlights to your face. Don’t make yourself look like a rookie. Leave off highlighting powder for head shots & print photography. READ THIS BLOG for more on Photo Shoot Etiquette.

Foundation

You will want a full coverage foundation that matches your skin tone perfectly. While there are plenty of high end options out there, the product doesn’t need to be on your face for that long, so an inexpensive option will suffice. I recommend the Stay Matte shades from Rimmel. This one is full coverage and works great. It comes in multiple shades and is super mattey…perfect for photo shoots!! The best part? You can get it here for under $5.

Translucent Face Powder

Time to set all of those liquid based products on your face. Opt for a powder that matches your skin tone, or that is neutral in color. The one I use has been on the market for about 100 years and I love the way it smells. Get it here for about $6.

Other

Aside from my mascara, eyeliner, contour, and lip color, I’m always sure to bring extra bobby pins, scissors (for loose threads/tags) eye drops (for redness/irritation)  and chapstick. Oh, and you’ll definitely want to bring a lint roller!!

2. Hair Products

While you will want your hair to stay in place, too much hairspray (or cheap hairspray) can make your hair look wet or stiff. While it’s totally okay to use less expensive cosmetics (they won’t be on your face for that long anyway) I definitely advise getting a great hairspray that will give you a soft, touchable hold. My go-to hairspray is this one from Rusk. It provides all the hold I need and doesn’t make my hair look stiff or stringy. And, by now you guys probably know that I’m kind of a sucker for anything that smells good. I am happy to report that this one definitely passes the #smelltest.

I actually think it smells like roses…

Also, I personally think “texture” sprays are kind of a waste of time. Most of them just end up weighing my hair down. Instead, try using some dry shampoo to maintain volume. Be sure you get one that matches your roots! There are a few options from Batiste: Blonde dry shampoo and brunette dry shampoo. They also offer a white/neutral color option as well.

To tame frizz, add shine, and retain moisture, I highly recommend this silkening treatment. One drop for all of your hair is all you need. Seriously. This product changed my life. I love the way it makes my hair look and feel, and it’s especially great for color treated hair like mine! I swore to myself that I would only use it on photo shoot days, but…I don’t know how to not use it every day. IT’S THE BOMB!!!

Bottom line:

When it comes to hair, you definitely want to be neatly styled. The “Messy Bun” or “bed head” looks do not photography well. Tame all baby hairs and fly aways back with bobby pins.

3. Nude & Strapless Undergarments

Okay dudes, you can skip this one. But only this one!! (And only if you promise to take your phone out of your pocket–we’ll be able to see the rectangle impression it will leave in the photo!)

Ladies. It kills me when I see a gorgeous girl with an elegant dress on, only to have the whole look cheapened by lime green bra straps peeking out.

#detailsmatter

Do not let your undergarments be an afterthought! If you are wearing a strapless dress, you are going to want a strapless bra or some nude inserts. Plan ahead of time, and clean up the details!

4. Clean, New Looking Shoes

Your shoes need to look new. No side scuffs. No salt stains. New.

Think about this for a second. Would you EVER see scuffed up shoes in a clothing advertisement? It is your responsibility to own a couple different pairs of shoes that you take excellent care of so that they always look new.

Once again: Details Matter.

5. Small Accessories to Compliment or Enhance the Look

Purses, belts, yoga mats, tennis racket, etc. If the shoot is for a comp card or digital modeling photo, you will definitely want to read, “How to Dress for a Comp Card Photo Shoot.” It’s a great idea to bring in a prop that compliments your outfit/style. Leave pets and babies at home–you want the attention to be on YOU.

6. Composites

To learn more about Comp Cards and other important modeling materials, read “5 Model Marketing Materials YOU NEED.” Think of composites as your modeling business card. While you may want to keep a few on hand, your digital modeling portfolio and social media are even more important to keep maintained.

Well, I’d say that just about covers it! Now that you know what to bring, it’s time to make a checklist before your photo shoot day. Be sure to read, “The Ultimate Photo Shoot Checklist”.

Know someone who will need Senior Photos soon? You may want to have them read this.

Have a question? Drop it in the comments section below! I’m happy to help 🙂

⭐️CYNTHIA

Whether you are signed with a modeling agency or are a freelance model, here are the top 5 materials you will need to work as a professional model:

Composites

Also known as “Comp Cards”, these 4X6 inch cards that feature a head shot or upper body shot on the front, and three to four additional photos of the model on the back. You will want to think of your comp card as a modeling business card; it is what you will take with you to any modeling/runway auditions, in addition to giving them to the photographers you work with. Your comp card should showcase yourself in various outfits and looks. Do your best to showcase as many different styles as possible to show off versatility across different model markets. (See “Top 10 Photo Shoot Outfit Themes) Make sure that the front of the comp card showcases your natural look–no dramatic makeup or overly done up hair; present yourself as a blank slate to the potential client. Remember, you’re not exactly modeling yet, so keep your outfits simple and leave cute animals and babies out of your photos… The focus should be on you and your natural complexion. I recommend ordering your comp cards here.

Measurements

Measurements, statistics, stats–whatever you want to call them–are vital to your knowledge as a model. Make sure that you memorize all of your own current measurements in inches. You will be asked to list your stats for any modeling job, so it is critical that you know them and know how to take them. (They will also be featured on your comp card.) Keep a fabric measuring tape in your modeling bag.

Women will need to know the following measurements : 

Bust/Chest  

This measurement is different from your bra size; it is the measurement around the fullest part of the chest (over the nipple, to be exact). Do not list your bra size instead of this measurement.

Natural Waist

This is the measurement around your waist, or the smallest/thinnest part around you. Although this is usually just above the belly button, it is slightly higher or lower for some people.

Hip

Take the measuring tape and wrap it all the way around the widest/fullest part of your butt. This is your hip measurement.

In addition to these measurements, you will need to know your exact height in inches, shoe size, and all clothing sizes.

Men will need to know the following measurements:

  • Chest: Measurement around the fullest part of the chest
  • Waist: Measurement around the smallest part of the waist
  • Inseam: Pant length (crotch seam down to the floor)

Portfolio

Ah, the classic 9X12 inch modeling portfolio. While not completely extinct, this is definitely something any serious model should obtain as more photos are accumulated. Fill your portfolio with professional photos from trade shoots (or Trade For Prints/TFPs), fashion shows, or any publications. Do not put every photo from your last photo shoot in this book; similarly to the comp card, we are going for a variety of outfits, looks, and locations. It is better to have fewer, excellent photos than a bunch of average ones. Remember, when it comes to portfolios, you are as strong as your weakest photo! Take your portfolio to agency interviews, talent expos, and auditions.

Social Media

Even more important than any physical portfolio or comp card is your social media presence. ESPECIALLY INSTAGRAM. Now is the time to up your gram game to give yourself more exposure and network on a local, national, or even global scale. Treat your first 9-12 Instagram posts like you would your portfolio. Make sure that you include or tag your agency in your Bio, and include your agent’s email address. This will direct potential clients or photographers to your agent–and if they are legit–they will reach out to your agent directly, with a personal introduction and model inquiry, instead of DMing you with a bunch of emojis inviting you to ‘become a Brand Ambassador’. Agents are great at negotiating rates with potential clients on your behalf, in addition to weeding out less than desirable projects with suspicious or inexperienced prospects…

Website/Online Portfolio

By now you have established yourself as a model and have had a number of photo shoots under your belt. It is time to create your own digital space for your work that gives potential clients, agencies, and photographers a place to learn more about you, view your photos and contact you (or your agent) directly. If you are with an agency, or thinking about agency representation, the agency will usually have its own modeling web database that they will have you create your own account on. This is a HUGE advantage because traffic will already be directed to your page under your agent’s name. (It will not be your sole responsibility to drive web traffic to your site).  Read, “Should I Get an Agent?”

If you are an unsigned or freelance talent looking to start a website for your work, I would  encourage you to invest in a secure domain that is http accredited right from the start. (You won’t be able to go back and change this later!) Your hard work is worth protecting, so security should be a top priority.  I recommend WordPress for servicing your site.  They are secure and have so many modern web templates to choose from. (They even have layout options specifically for digital modeling portfolios!!) 

Final notes

Make sure that your usernames are the same across all of your social media platforms. This is a mistake that I made early on…my Instagram username is positivelife5489.  Also, be sure to add your new website link in the website portion of your Instagram page to help drive traffic to your website!

Have a question or a helpful tip?? Comment below to join the conversation!

Listen up all MODELS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, AMATEURS & PROFESSIONALS: We need to have a LIFE CHAT about photo shoot etiquette in today’s ever changing world of photography.

First thing’s first: We all know there are so many different types of models, bloggers, designers, musicians, artists, etc. That said, there is no difference when it comes to photographers. Each one has their own angle (literally!) But in all seriousness, this art requires a high level of collaborative spirit rooted in equality and creativity from both the model and photographer. So let’s get into it:

DO: Discuss details ahead of time

If you haven’t read, “The Pre-Shoot Conversation all Models & Photographers Need to Have”, READ IT. You will want to make sure that you understand the scope of the project in full detail, and know what questions to ask.

DON’T:

Assume that you will just discuss details “as you go”. Not being aware of the details pertaining to wardrobe, location, shoot duration, photo terms/releases or even compensation will add unnecessary stress, and may cause problems in the future.

DO: Prepare Accordingly

Carefully select an outfit that will compliment the venue. The photographer will have ideas in mind as to what stylistic goals they are trying to accomplish with the photo shoot. Make sure that you discuss all of this ahead of time so that you are fully prepared. Be sure to bring everything you will need to your photo shoot. Read: What’s in my modeling bag

Part of preparation is being on time…which means being EARLY. Should any difficulties arise, contact the model, photographer (or corresponding agent) immediately.

DON’T: Show up in your favorite club dress “just cuz”

Or any outfit that doesn’t flatter the shoot location or venue. Discuss all wardrobe and venue ideas ahead of time, and work together to determine the desired theme or aesthetic of the photo shoot. Not caring about the photographer’s vision and simply wearing whatever you feel like is not only disrespectful, it shows that you only care about your vision. This is a TEAM EFFORT.

DO: Communicate kindly

Sometimes an idea just doesn’t work, and that is OKAY. Whether you are the model or photographer, if something isn’t working, calmly and kindly explain that you need to modify what is being done, or simply change directions. Do not pretend to be comfortable doing something you are not. Chances are, it will show in your face, and ultimately…the photo.

DON’T: BE RUDE OR CONDESCENDING

This really should go without saying, but showing patience and kindness in a moment of frustration is the only way to maintain professionalism and mutual respect. Do not make passive aggressive comments about the model’s look or photo movement. Models, don’t ask the photographer to see the photo in the preview screen every third shot. If there is something you do not understand, kindly ask the photographer to clarify, or even demonstrate.

DO: Freely create & explore

That said, when you establish a respectful, effective working dialogue, the creativity is limitless. Set a tone that is kind and open. Inspire the model to feel comfortable and explore new ways to showcase their personality (and fashion!!) When both the model and photographer take an equal role in creating, the final product will be much more vibrant and captivating!

DON’T: Feel like you are not “allowed” to do certain poses.

I’ve styled so many photo shoots, and often times the models will ask if they can raise their hands, jump, sit down, etc. You can do whatever comes to mind. Your photographer is open to capturing your on the spot creativity.

DO: Reflect and discuss

Did you love the way your photographer was able to catch you in mid air while you were doing a back flip? SAY SO! Compliment your photographer’s adaptability and expertise. Think you need to work together to develop a better way to communicate or plan? Also let them know. It is also helpful to mention anything that you feel that you did well with, in addition to mentioning things you could improve yourself.

DON’T: Pretend everything was perfect if it wasn’t.

If there was something that ;made you uncomfortable, tell your photographer. Many times, it may not have anything to do with the photographer. For example, letting your photographer know that you don’t feel comfortable shooting in front of strangers is something he or she should be aware of.

DO: Say Thank You!

Thank your photographer/model for their work on the project. It takes a TEAM to accomplish the vision, so be sure to extend your sincere gratitude. Take a selfie together and post it on Instagram! This is a great way to let your following audiences know that they can expect some awesome photos yet to come!

Don’t: Bolt out as soon as the last photo is taken.

Help clean up and load up the photographer’s supplies if needed. This is a kind gesture and shows that you care.

DO: Review Details

Discuss when the photos will be available, how you will receive them, and ask the photographer any questions you may have regarding their release form before you sign it. (Read this blog for more details)  Also, leave the photographer with a couple comp cards. This is a great way to leave a reference of yourself. The photographer may pass along your comp card to other awesome photographers. Click here to learn more about Composites, or, “Comp Cards”, along with other standard modeling materials.

DO NOT: Harass the photographer for photos the next day

Chances are, your photographer has a TON of other projects going on simultaneously. Do not expect to receive the photos that week! By this point, you should have already discussed an approximate timeframe of when you will receive the amount of photos that were previously agreed upon. At a very minimum, most photographers will not offer the photos prior to two weeks. Photographers usually take an average of 2-4 weeks for a single photo shoot, or 2+months for a wedding or large event.

DO: Follow up with your agent

Definitely let your agent know how the shoot went! Your agent will want to know the positives and negatives (if any) pertaining to your shoot. Was your photographer on time? Did he/she communicate effectively? Did they facilitate a comfortable environment? Any feedback you can provide your agent is always extremely helpful. Remember, your relationship with your agent is also a TEAM.

DO: Always Value Professionalism

Even after your shoot is over, always be professional no matter what. Chances are, you are going to have a few fantastic photos!! However, if for any reason you run into problems with your photographer (or model) you need to let the corresponding agent know right away.

Unfortunately, if you are not working with an agent, there is not much you can do when it comes to a photographer failing to deliver photos, or deliver photos that matched your expectations. The best thing you can do in this unfortunate situation is to remain calm and kind. Your reaction is always a reflection of your character. Do not turn to social media to verbally bash or lash out on anyone. (Doing so only makes you look immature and inexperienced.) A true professional knows how to endure unfortunate situations calmly and respectfully. If you really were not pleased with your collaborator’s work, simply do not shoot with them again. 

Photo shoots are a blast, but behind the scenes they are a lot of work! The best artists are the ones who are confident and collaborative.

Are you ready for your next photo shoot? Be sure to read, “What’s in my MODELING BAG” (available next week!!) to make sure you are ready to go the next time you hit the set!

Did you find this blog helpful, or have a follow up question? Definitely leave a comment! I respond to all of them 🙂

Attention to detail is an absolute MUST when it comes to modeling auditions. Although there may not be a specific “dress code” stated on the audition post, your agent will generally require you to arrive in Agency-Standard Runway Attire. You will look professional and experienced. Better yet, you won’t have to think so hard about what to wear to your next modeling audition.

In short, Standard Runway Attire is defined as an all black, form fitting outfit. Not only will this give you a professional edge, it will help the clients pay attention to your stage presence, confidence, and walk without getting distracted by a complicated outfit. You will want to wear something that is comfortable that showcases your shape and size. Yes, standard runway attire is different for men and women:

Women:

Solid black leggings and a cami work perfectly for a runway audition. If you plan on auditioning for multiple shows a year, I highly suggest investing in some excellent quality leggings that are comfortable, move with you, and are never sheer in places that you do not intend them to be. My favorite are these Lux Flow Crop Leggings.

Ready for the Runway Dress.❤️Was $45. Buy it now for $27 by clicking the photo.

Runway Shoes:

A common mistake many inexperienced models make is wearing high heels that do not fit well, or are simply too uncomfortable to wear. The goal is to have a confident walk, so a major confidence-killer can be the wrong pair of shoes. I recommend wearing a classic black pump, 3″-5″ inches high.

Tip: Closed heel and closed toe will give you added stability. I usually opt for a classic black pump for runway auditions: 

Hair:

Keep it natural. Clients like to see the length and overall health and color of your hair. Wear it down, and do not over style it with a bunch of hair products. To tame frizz or flyaways, I always recommend this weightless silkening oil. I actually use this silkening oil every day. (It also speeds up drying time) One drop is all you need for all of your hair:

Accessories:

JUST DON’T. Leave statement necklaces, large hair pieces, and sparkly bracelets at home. The focus should solely be on your stage presence and walk. I encourage talent to take navel rings out, and all facial jewelry larger than a single stud.

Men:

I have not forgotten about you! However, you guys have it pretty simple:

DON’T FORGET:

Your runway attire is not complete without your modeling materials. You should bring your modeling portfolio to every audition, or at the very least, your comp card or printed out, professional full-length photo of yourself.  Showing up to a runway audition without a photo of yourself gives the appearance that you do not care about being selected. Be sure that you also have your up to date measurements to list for the client.

 

 

Still have questions? No worries–I am here to help! Drop a comment below and I’ll be sure to follow up ASAP! 🙃

So you’re all amped about your photo shoot–you should be. Photo shoots are super fun!! There are a few things you will want to consider when choosing outfits that you intend to use for your comp card. 

What’s a Comp Card??

If you are signed to any agency, you probably know all about Composites, or “Comp Cards”. You want to think of comp cards as your own mini portfolio, or a modeling business card. Comp cards can be used by your agent to pitch you to prospective clients, but they are also for your own personal use to take with you to modeling auditions and photo shoots. That said…

You want the focus on your comp card to go to YOU. You’re not modeling–yet. This is your opportunity to present yourself as a blank slate to the client or agency. While we want to incorporate a variety of styles in your comp (at least 3 different outfits), we still want the clients to be able to see your natural complexion.

MARKET

What is your geographical market? Is the area you live in rather conservative with an ‘Average Joe’ or ‘Girl next door’ kind of vibe? (Midwest!!!) Or, is it beach waves and surf vibes all the way? (L.A./Southern Cali) Maybe it’s a mixture of both, or incorporates some NYC high fashion elements.  Whatever your market is, you will want your comp card to reflect it so that your comp card is competitive in your local market. (Read: Great Outfit Themes for Comp Cards)

AGE BRACKET

Okay… Here is one that I see being broken all the time, so let me just say this: IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE!!! There is work for pretty much every age out there, but when aspiring models try to dress or alter their look to appear older (or younger!!) it totally stifles their own marketability!! What DOES matter is that you make sure your comp card outfits/looks fit your marketable   age range. Frequently, an 11 or 12 year old girl will audition for agency representation with us and present me with photos of herself wearing Forever 21 mini dresses, crop tops, and stilettos…Two words: NOT. MARKETABLE!!!!

As an Agency Director, I can not pitch a pre-teen emulating an 18 year old to a client. I have also seen the opposite happen, with middle-aged women trying to dress like teenagers. Please trust me when I tell you: it isn’t’ marketable, and it will not get you anywhere. There’s a saying in the modeling industry and it goes like this: “Be the best 20 year old, 35 year old–50, or 75 year old you can be!!” You need to embody whatever age you are (at least in your comp card!). Every stage in life is a gift that brings us new found wisdom and refined perspective. Different perspectives are required for selling different products. There is a high level of psychology utilized in marketing.  If you are wise, you keep your comp card athstetic within your age range to ensure optimal marketability.

LOCATION

Where will you be shooting? In studio? Outdoors? The location is extremely important because it is going to set the vibe for the photo shoot. If you are shooting outdoors, make sure you know the visual vibe of the area. For example, if you are shooting in an urban setting against a brick wall or under a bridge, it would make sense to wear an outfit with a cool grungy kind of vibe–maybe one that even includes a pop of color.. However, you wouldn’t wear a floral sundress in this setting because it just wouldn’t make sense…

PATTERNS AND ACCESSORIES

The most important thing about a comp card is that the model’s natural beauty stands out. The worst thing you can do is distract the people looking at your comp card with excessive patterns/loud clothing, glittery embellishments, large logos, poorly fitted clothing, overly done up hair, giant accessories, dramatic makeup, or even small animals–there will be plenty of time for that later (when you are booked on set!). Please leave your puppy, or collection of garden gnomes at home. Keep it simple. Also, keep in mind that the lights are already going to make you look shiny–do not add glittery highlighting powder to your face! Make sure that you (or your stylist) has translucent face powder. A clean, matte finish is always the best for clean and professional headshots and comp cards.

POSING

Posing and on-camera movement takes time and practice. I will be writing a post outlining tips, do’s and don’ts about posing very soon! Be sure that your poses showcase the outfit in a good light. For example, you wouldn’t pose like a cheerleader when wearing an evening dress, and vice versa. Think of the emotion or feeling that your outfit is communicating, and do your best to express that idea in your body movement and facial expressions. Posing takes practice! Grab your friend with a camera and start working at it!

Read, What is Your Fashion Stating?

STATS

Your stats are a complete list of your most current measurements, which are printed on the comp card below your photos.(Read, Modeling Materials.) 

Remember, this guide is meant to provide you with insight to obtain awesome, competitive comp cards for yourself and for your agent to use to market you! Always ask your agent for their opinion of your photos prior to ordering your comp cards–they will know what looks and styles are the most marketable for you. 

Have any questions or tips you would like to share? Comment below!! Feel free to share any photo shoot stories you may have!

⭐️CYNTHIA