What To Bring To A Photoshoot


In the area I live in, there is not much scope for the style of work I do and models to match it, and I get a lot of first time or newbie models coming to me for shoots or help. A common misconception about working with me is that you can just turn up and stand there and I will teach you everything you need to know – I may be a “modelling pose tutor” or whatever but that doesn’t mean I want to work with a literal blank mannequin.

Today I am going to provide a little guide for people interested in modelling for me, and walk through some things stated on my model release form.

The 2nd page of my model release form looks somewhat like this:

Models should bring these basics to each shoot:

  • Contact details of others on shoot, directions to shoot – this is basic and common sense, if I have no way of contacting you then how will I be able to ensure your safe arrival and keep on top of things? So many times I have had models “get lost” on the way to a shoot and be late in both car and public transit and not respond to contact.
  • Black plain underwear and bra set, Nude plain underwear and bra set, strapless proffered – Strapless because there is nothing more annoying than editing out bra straps, even when you tuck them under your arm, they will still sneak out, better to just eliminate them altogether – also means you wont have red marks on your shoulders for me to edit out later. Clear shoulders are a staple look for any portfolio and professional images. Black is timeless and sexy, nude is high class and is more original in looks.
  • Black or Nude high waist shape wear underwear set – same colour reasoning above, as for style, you cant beet a high waisted granny pant waist shaper, it may seem stupid, especially for a size 0-8 model, but they look classic and work with practically any ensemble and theme.
  • Black or nude plain heels – coloured heels are a no-no unless otherwise agreed, they add height and posture and tone your muscles for photos.
  • Black and sheer tights
  • Lip balm or gloss for throughout the shoot – nothing worse than chapped lips, the important part is remembering to keep applying it.
  • Phone charger – This is a difficult one. On one side, I hate models being on their phone during a photoshoot at all. However I am more than happy to do BTS pics with them, but be sure to bring a charger because if your phone runs dead, I cant guarantee a way for you to contact someone once the shoot is over and it is a very important part of safety to stay in touch with people who know you are on the shoot.
  • Makeup to apply after the shoot if you so wish
  • Makeup wipes – otherwise your going home how we made you look. And you could look like a dragon for all I know.
  • Towel – Often I provide a shower for models after the shoot who get particularly messy, but I also use a lot of oil and paint and sometimes it is just good to have a good rub down before going home.
  • Hairbrush – Because it is important for you to keep your hair in presentable condition and I wont have one for you at the end of the shoot when there’s a beehive on your head.
  • Sources of inspiration – this is always nice, but very rarely happens. Often before a shoot there will be a lot of passing around of ideas, but rarely are the images brought to set which can mean we forget to do a lot of cool things. 
  • A selection of hair ties and slides – I always have a couple, but it’s never enough, and models tend to walk off with them at the end of the day so my supply dwindles fast – always better to bring your own. 
  • Spare, warm and comfortable clothes
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Food, drink and medicinal or personal and hygiene items
  • Nail polish of colour worn for top ups or remover and cotton pads – If you come to my shoot with nail varnish on that is not nude or black I will be pissed off. If you come and that nail varnish is chipped and the wrong colour I will be extremely pissed off, it takes hours to edit nails back to normal and they are a staple point of a shoot that many people take for granted. Check before the shoot!
  • Any extra items that would fit well in the shoot or have been asked for specifically – I often find the model will be told to bring a specific prop and not bother to bring it, leaving me short on originally thought up ideas and I feel like I’m expected to provide everything. 

Models must ensure:

  • The model release form has been signed and returned to the photographer before the shoot. – if you don’t, I wont have a copy of your contact info and will not know what conditions you agree too.
  • Finger and toenail polish is not chipped and painted nude, black or clear unless otherwise stated.
  • Facial and body hair is appropriately groomed, no stray hairs particularly eyebrows or lip. – editing out stray hairs is very annoying and time consuming and sometimes impossible, stubble stands out a mile with lighting as it interrupts the clean shine.
  • Moisturise fully before the shoot, come bare faced unless otherwise stated.
  • Well rested, and do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol the night before the shoot. – if I find out you are on a night out or otherwise before the shoot I will ask you not to attend because you will not be in a fit state nor appearance to perform to your full extent the next day, but also that the Photoshop has not been prioritised important enough to avoid alcohol. If I don’t find out until the day of the shoot and you have turned up then I will be unsympathetic.
  • All jewellery is removed. – whether its piercings or tokens or festival bands, it all has to go, no compromises.
  • Hair is freshly washed with no product unless otherwise stated.
  • Contact with the photographer is established on the day before and the morning of the shoot, as well as when setting off for the shoot. – this is so important and relates to why the photographer needs contact information, personally, I will freak until I establish contact, then I will know everything is going ahead, I have dealt with a lot of last minute cancellations.
  • There is no smell of smoke, if you are a smoker please be aware no smoking is permitted around shoot items. – this is because the samples of clothing are to be sold and must be kept in a smoke free environment at all times.
  • Hair, if dyed, does not have root regrowth showing. – another annoying thing to try and edit.
  • If possible, do not wear items that will leave grooves on skin areas that will be photographed, such as socks, jewellery or bra straps. – another annoying thing to try and edit.

I have missed out the first page and the last part of my release form because I wanted to focus on helpful hints and tips for what to bring on a shoot with me in particular as a photographer, these however can be applied to most photographers and though they may not get used every single time, when a photographer is in need, it is always appreciated when the model saves the day with a handy hair clip or proper underwear.

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