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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

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 🙂

Need a little inspiration for your next photo shoot? I’ve put together a list of top photo shoot ideas that are perfect for comp cards!

#1: Athletic/Sports

Athletic looks are a go too look for so many reasons! There are so many different options when it comes to Athletic themed photo shoots: Running, Yoga, Hiking, Sports, etc. If you plan on doing a sports theme, be sure that you do not wear a jersey/uniform that displays a team or a logo. (Dress for practice, not the game!) Hit the tennis or basketball court, or down the street for a run. Yoga mats look nice at a park or a beach, and also work well in a studio setting.

#2: Casual Season (Fall/winter/summer/spring)

Think in seasons! A fitted sweater with leggings and heeled boots will photograph really well, just as a sundress with some color popping sandals! While these looks work in studio, take your casual look out doors for a more realistic effect. Autumn is a great time of year to walk through the park and capture the liveliness of the season.

#3: Business casual/Professional

Grab your blazer and your briefcase and hit the corporate streets of a nearby city. Whether you’re waiting at the train station or walking out of an office building, a photographer with the right angle can make even Milwaukee look like New York City. I recently did a shoot with Omniverse Media outside the Chase Building in Downtown Milwaukee. The reflection of the blue windows gave the shots so much depth. 

#4: Occupational  

Whether you are behind the bar serving up the best Brandy Old Fashioned, or a doctor about to treat patients, here is an opportunity to collect photos that will make you “look the part”. Get creative! Especially if you are trying to land extra work in local film projects, an occupational look will help you obtain the photos you (or your agent) needs to submit for applicable projects.

#5: Beach

Have some fun in the sun and show off your bod on the beach! Walk along the shore with the waves gently brushing over your feet, or throw a beach ball up in the air and see how many times you can set it in a row! Wear a swimsuit with bold color to really make the photo pop.

#6: Formal 

Arrive in style to the nearest 5 star hotel in a luxurious maroon gown with a dramatic train. Lay the train of the dress down the stairs, while you pose elegantly at the bottom of the staircase. While you may not be there as the top model leading the fashion gala event, you will definitely make people think that you are! Just be sure to call or email the management to ask permission to shoot before you show up looking like a celebrity–they may need to call in extra security staff!

#7: Vintage

Pinup bikinis, swing dresses, or a polka dot playsuit is perfect for a 1950’s summer look. Head down to your vintage ice cream parlor (Leon’s! In Milwaukee!!) or the roller skate rink for the cutest vintage vibes. Ask grandma if she can borrow you a pearl necklace or some statement earrings…or better yet–take her thrift shopping with you! There are some seriously cute thrift shops on Kinnickinnic street in Bayview!

#8: City Street/Urban Vibes

Distressed denim and converse never looked so good against a brick wall.  Add some dimension and texture to your look by incorporating mesh/cutout tops, or patterned tights to pop through the tears in the jeans. Tip: This is the perfect opportunity to wear a sassy graphic tee!

#9: Student/Young Professional (Coffee shop)

The next time you sit down to sip your latte at your favorite coffee shop, grab your favorite photographer to catch you in the moment! As you are vigorously typing your blog post on your mac, you will score some awesome studious shots. Plus, your glasses really do look cute on you.

#10: Dinner/Date Night 

Find that little black cocktail dress and head down to a dinner patio on the Milwaukee river. (Rock Bottom is perfect!) Order your favorite entre and look out into the city lights. Choose a signature cocktail to sip–they have a great selection! The fairy lights along the patio will give you the perfect radiant glow.

Acquiring many different looks will improve your marketability to perspective clients. Clients love when they can visualize you in a particular role/part, so submitting applicable photos of yourself to your agent (or to the client directly, if you don’t have an agent) will greatly increase your likelihood of getting booked!

Have you done a photo shoot recently? What was the theme of your shoot? Let me know if the comments section:-)