Model tips – preparing for a shoot..

27 11 2008

I’m regularly asked by models/clients for tips regarding preparation for the shoot, so here’s a very basic summary..

There are no hard and fast rules of what you must and must not do before a shoot, everybody is different – IVOK STUDIO have tried to summarize some of the most popular tips into a quick reference checklist dating down from 1 week before the shoot (can begin before that of course) till shoot date. Most of the tips are pretty obvious; hopefully there are a few that you can use…

1 Week Before Shoot:

Confirm shoot with photographer, including specifics like type of shoot, deposit, outfits to bring, location & directions. Ensure that the photographer understands what you expect from the shoot.

Research poses which will compliment the shoot type and you as an individual – get examples of photos from magazines/books which are similar to the look you are going for, practice the poses in front of a mirror and make sure that you can pull them off confidently and that they suit you. (Take the photos with to the shoot as a reference for the photographer.)

If you’re exercising then follow your regular exercise routine, don’t overdo it just before your shoot.

Try to eat healthy but don’t starve yourself.

Stay away from new makeup/skin-care products just before a photo shoot, don’t risk an unforeseen reaction.

Plan your outfits (and test that they all fit) and think of “props” you’d like to incorporate in the shoot.

3 Days Before Shoot:

Wax/shave your legs and armpits, bikini line & facial hair if necessary – do not wax within final 3 days prior to shoot, in case of irritation. If you need to visit the hairdresser be sure not try anything too radical (unless the shoot demands it). If your hair is dyed be sure to remember to check your roots, preferably don’t experiment too much with colour.

2 Days before shoot:

Confirm shoot with photographer and agency (if necessary).

Get your nails done (fingers and toes). Generally, fairly short and neutral colour. If you need colour then your make-up artist will most likely do it for you.

Drink plenty water, avoid salty foods and alcohol, get enough sleep.

Day before shoot:

Get an early night, being well rested can make all the difference in a shoot. No alcohol.

Don’t starve yourself, the pale “I’m about to faint” look only sometimes works on ramp.

Exfoliate to remove dead skin and moisturize. Remove remaining unwanted hair using a blade, not wax or chemical hair remover.

Shoot date:

Eat light meals throughout the day; a shoot can require a great deal of energy.

Wear deodorant but stay away from the white powder types which can leave stains on you and the clothing.

If you must wear perfume then ensure it is a gentle fragrance.

If MUA (make-up artist) and/or hair stylist then arrive with no make-up and hair product (hair spray etc).

Wear loose fitting garments to avoid marks on the skin. If possible don’t wear a bra (you can put one on for the shoot if necessary), and wear a front button top to avoid messing hair and make-up.

Take along make-up cleanser, hair clips/elastics, lip balm & eye drops (if your skin tone is specially dark or light then take along your own foundation to suit your skin colour – just incase the MUA is unprepared).

Leave early for the shoot; try to arrive at the shoot location at least 15 minutes early (know exactly where you are going before the time). If you get lost on the way, phone the photographer immediately for assistance (before you leave be sure that you will be able to call the photographer. I.e. you have the number and call-time on your cell).

If you are supplying the outfits then ensure they are on hangers and ironed.

Speak openly to the photographer, let him/her understand exactly what you expect from the shoot. If you feel you have a better side or a strong feature then advise the photographer. If at any stage you feel uncomfortable with a pose or any aspect of the shoot then speak up. If you are particularly embarrassed about one aspect of your body (eg. your smile, nose, a birthmark), let the photographer know for angles and editing purposes.

Outfits to look slimmer:

There are certain handy tips when selecting your outfits too if you want to appear slimmer.

Dark colours and solid colours generally make a person appear slimmer, and it’s best if the top and bottom are the same colour. Vertical lines are slimming, such as pleats or a chain.

Cool, neutral colours remove focus from problem areas while bright colours attract attention.

Wear the right size outfit, tight clothing can make you look uncomfortable and unflattering.

Avoid bulky pockets, drawstrings or flashy designs that might draw attention to the waistline.

Heels add height and can make you appear thinner in full length photos, as well as improving calf definition.


The most important tip is to relax, speak freely to the photographer and say if a pose is uncomfortable or doesn’t feel natural.

As mentioned above, practice your poses often and test which ones work for you well before the shoot date so that you become comfortable with them. If you’re still nervous then use props to help you pose if necessary.

To appear slimmer it’s best to turn your body slightly away from the camera and rest your weight on your back foot.

An experienced photographer will use angles that compliment your body, extreme angles generally tend to distort the image and (if done incorrectly) can appear unflattering.

Don’t pull your head toward your body, in fact try push it forward slightly to remove the appearance of a double chin.

Posture is important; shoulders back, chest out and stomach in but avoid it appearing too obvious.

Be careful not to press your arms against your body, it flattens them and makes them appear wider. Also be careful not to let your elbow “lock” (when leaning on it) to avoid appearing double jointed.

Hold a pose until after the flash or you hear the camera shutter before moving and remember to use a variety of facial expressions unless told otherwise.


Be sure to use a photography studio that is respected and preferably referred to you by a friend or has a good online portfolio that you can view beforehand. Good editing can make the world of difference to an image and can make you appear slimmer and better toned.

Avoid over editing though, images that are too “soft” or “smooth” can look fake and will not be accepted by agencies. A good photo-retoucher will remove blemishes while retaining skin detail, airbrushing should be a last resort.




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