top of page

Helpful Tips on preparing for your Photo Shoot

Women's Photo Shoot Preparation & Model Kit

Okay ladies, you know you want to look good for your shoot or you wouldn't have an interest in modeling. Follow these steps and you will arrive at the shoot fully prepared to deliver amazing shots. How much time you have to prepare will vary so adjust accordingly.

1 Month Before the Shoot:

You will almost never have this much time to prepare so consider this your "always" list. Models must be in top shape at all times in terms of physique and grooming. These are things you should always be doing to maintain yourself and stay ready for the next opportunity.

  • Spend 5 minutes every day in front of the mirror. Practice smiling, practice intense looks, practice every face you see in magazines. Do it until you know what your face feels like in each expression so you can do it without the mirror and still nail the right expression. Copy the models in magazines and find your most flattering poses, the ones that show off your assets and minimize your "flaws." You may also want to spend time modeling different accessories such as shoes or purses so that both you and your prop look good - this will pay off later in ad campaigns!

  • Alcohol leads to weight gain, a tired and dull complexion, and spotty skin. Cut back or quit.

  • Drink water! You've heard it a hundred times but that's because it's so true. A hydrated body has less food cravings, glowing and clear skin, faster metabolism, detoxed organs, and much, much more.

1-2 Weeks Before the Shoot:

  • Don't start using any new makeup or skincare products, they could lead to a breakout.

  • Keep out of the sun, it dries your skin and leaves tan-lines.

  • If you want a tan, try out any self-tanning products at least two to three weeks before the shoot and make sure you know how to maintain it.

  • Consider your wardrobe. Remember that the focus should be on YOU, not the clothes, so don't select wild prints, bright colors, or anything too baggy or too tight. For headshots, dark colors and textures show up best. Tips and more tips on wardrobe selections.

  • Arrange to have a close friend or relative come to the shoot with you (depending on the situation - a major production with a client arranged by your agent doesn't require a chaperone but you should never go to a shoot alone if it's just going to be you and the photographer)

  • Make sure you're getting lots of sleep to avoid bags under your eyes.

  • Whiten teeth if needed.

  • Stop wearing dark nail polish, it leaves a stain on nails and will show through when you are wearing clear polish.

  • If you are going to wax anything (legs, eyebrows, bikini line, etc.) do it about one week prior to the shoot to allow any redness and swelling to subside.

2-3 Days Before the Shoot:

  • Call your photographer; confirm time, location, wardrobe, and ask any last-minute questions.

  • Get your hair trimmed by your regular stylist if you need it. This is not the time to try a new style!

  • If you dye your hair, make sure your color is good and roots are not visible. Get a touch-up done if necessary.

  • Get a manicure and pedicure or do one yourself. Short to medium length nails with just a clear coat of polish is what you want for any job you are doing. If you are doing a portfolio shoot and prefer something different, make sure it coordinates with your wardrobe and try to stick to light, neutral colors. For a do-it-yourself mani/pedi, do the following:

  • File nails to an even, uniform length

  • push back and clean up cuticles

  • apply cuticle oil

  • exfoliate hands/feet and apply deep moisturizer, leave on overnight.

  • use a pumice stone to remove any rough areas on your feet

  • apply clear or neutral polish

  • Tweeze eyebrows. Don't overdo it!

  • If you are having close-ups done or doing a makeup job, have a light facial to close the pores. Test-run this step several weeks prior to make sure you don't have any adverse reactions.

  • Even if you have very light and fine hair, you may have "peach fuzz" on your face. It often catches the light in portraits, especially headshots. I highly recommend using Finishing Touch to get rid of this, it's available online or at most Walgreen's, CVS, and pharmacy type of stores. Use it along the jawline, cheeks, forehead, upper lip, or anywhere else you might have fine hair that could be visible in photos. It also has a great tool for grooming eyebrows.

  • Exfoliate your face and body.

  • Give your hair a deep-moisturizing treatment.

  • Ensure you have everything you need in your model kit (see below).

Day/Night Before the Shoot:

  • Remove hair from underarms and legs. Don't forget your bikini line if you are going to be in swimwear! Don't wax this close to the shoot, it can leave the areas red.

  • Exfoliate and moisturize your whole body.

  • If you are using self-tanner, do it after you shave and exfoliate or you'll just scrub it off. Try to do this in the morning so that any mistakes are visible by evening. This should not be your first time using a product, only use self-tanner the day before a shoot if you are experienced with it and know it will look natural.

  • Avoid drinking any alcohol, it leaves the face puffy.

  • Remove any watches, rings, or other jewelry that could leave an impression on your skin.

  • Unless you have very oily hair, wash your hair the day before the shoot, not the day of. Second-day hair is more manageable.

  • Lay out your wardrobe, with shoes and accessories. Make sure it is all clean and ironed.

  • Charge your phone and make sure the contact info for the photographer is saved in it. Ensure you have a map and/or directions to the shoot location.

  • Try not to schedule any activities today, just relax and rest your nerves if you are anxious about the shoot.

  • Pack your model kit

  • Confirm a meeting time and go over the plan with your friend or relative who is accompanying you.

  • Get plenty of sleep!

Day of the Shoot:

  • If the shoot is very early (sunrise), go for a light jog prior to the shoot to help wake up. This eliminates the tired look we see on most people first thing in the a.m.

  • Shower and apply antiperspirant. Do not wear perfume, it attracts insects and can stain clothes. Deodorant also stains clothing so do not apply it if you are modeling clothes that don't belong to you.


  • Do not wear a ponytail to the shoot, it leaves a kink in the hair. Style your hair and either leave it down or wrap it in a loose style that you can let down when you arrive (a loose bun secured with pins can give the hair body and a nice wave)

  • Wear a button up shirt so you don't mess up your hair taking it off when you arrive and get into wardrobe. Wear sweatpants and loose sneakers. You'll look like hell when you arrive but you won't have any marks on your skin during the shoot - and isn't that what's important???

  • Do not wear a bra or underwear that will leave marks on your skin.

  • Don't eat very much for 2-3 hours before the shoot, you may get bloated. Sip water and eat light.

  • Don't have too much caffeine.

  • Wear sunscreen for outdoor shoots, they sometimes last hours!

  • Pack all of your wardrobe (with shoes, accessories, and props) and your model kit and arrive on time. It's so important to be punctual, especially for outdoor shoots. Make this a priority.

  • Have fun!

Women's Model Kit

It is not necessary to bring everything listed but there will come a time when you will be glad if you did! This is a fairly comprehensive list, tailor it to suit your needs.

As a general rule, always bring more than you think you'll need!

  • Wardrobe

  • Shoes

  • Accessories and props (sunglasses, hats, neckties, jewelry, beach ball, etc.)

  • Undergarments appropriate for each outfit (usually skin-tine, black, and white)

  • Towel (bring two if you'll be getting wet at all)

  • Robe (to wear between wardrobe changes)

  • Complete makeup kit (foundation, powder, concealer, blush, lipsticks/gloss, mascara, eyeshadows, eyeliner, etc.)

  • Translucent powder

  • Tweezers

  • Mirror

  • Lint brush

  • Small sewing kit with scissors

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste

  • Hair brush, comb

  • Hairstyling products (spray, gel, smoothing serum)

  • Hair ties, headbands, bobby pins, etc.

  • Eye drops (especially for beach locations)

  • Tampons

  • Small first-aid kit

  • Shaving kit (for touch-ups if necessary)

  • Lotion

  • Sunscreen (especially for beach locations)

  • Insect repellent

  • Tissues, Cotton balls & Q-tips

  • Bottled water

  • Light snack (for longer shoots)

  • Pen and small notepad

  • Phone & datebook

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page