**Per usual, I started this post and realized I had a lot more to say than I originally thought, so this will be Part 1 of a series of posts on photoshoots!**
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been modeling for quite some time now. I’ve done a bunch of photoshoots, and I know how nerve-racking it can be. What to do and eat the days following up to the shoot, worrying about what to wear, how to do your hair and makeup, how the photographer and you will get along, what poses to do, etc. etc.
I still consider myself somewhat of a beginner, but after my most recent photoshoot with a new photographer went SO well, I wanted to share all the tips of the trade that I’ve learned over the years with you all.
So, whether you are a beginner model, aspiring model, influencer, blogger, or just shooting pictures for fun, this blog series will be your COMPLETE guide on how to book a photoshoot, how to prepare for a photoshoot, and what you can do during the photoshoot to make sure you get the results that you (and the photographer) want! Plus, a little mini dictionary with slang of the trade to know before you start shooting!
Here is Part 1 of the series–how to book and prepare for your photoshoot!
Photoshoot Slang Terms For Models
** Scroll down to download the free resource, “Photoshoot Terms Cheatsheet for Models” **
Burst Mode: Many, rapid photos taken in quick succession
Contact Sheet: A page of small photo thumbnails (used to quickly choose which shots to keep). Often times, the photographer will go through many shots to narrow down a bunch to send the model to choose from.
Focus: The point of maximum sharpness and resolution in a photo (the background may be blurry while the foreground is in focus…the photographer usually needs a second to get the shot in focus before they begin shooting, which is important to keep in mind when modeling)
Lookbook: A catalog of photos showcasing a particular style, collection, model, or look
Moodboard: A collection of photos to communicate a certain mood, vibe, or concept–can include photos of things like landscapes, foods, textures and colors (example, below)
MUA / HMUA: Stands for Makeup Artist / Hair & Makeup Artist
Photog: Short for photographer
Portfolio / Book: A compiled selection of a model’s or photographer’s photos
Shot: Each photo
- Beauty shot: close up shot of your face & hair
- Commercial shot: capturing a product or service
- Detail: super-close up shot (could be of the clothes, hair, hands, etc.)
- Editorial: edgy, fashion shots (think designer ads in magazines)
- Lifestyle: candid-style shots of everyday activities or looks
- Portrait: posed shot of the top half of your body or face
Shoot: Short for photoshoot
- Collab: Short for collaboration, meaning the model and photographer both get something out of it. For example, the photographer wants to test out a new lens in exchange for a few edited photos for your portfolio (typically no money is exchanged).
- TFP: Stands for Time For Photos. Essentially you and the photographer are both giving your time in exchange for photos for your use (no money is exchanged).
- Product Shoots: Photos highlighting a particular product (examples include clothing, accessories, food/drink, home goods & other lifestyle products).
- Test Shoot: Typically a photoshoot where the model pays the photographer for basic shots to “test out” their natural skills as a model. This is typically required of models just starting out or aspiring models looking for modeling jobs or to get signed by modeling agencies.
Studio: Space to set up a backdrop, set, and lighting for a photoshoot (sometimes a photographer will rent or own their own studio space)
Booking The Photoshoot
Just like there are different types of models, there are many different kinds of photographers. This is important to keep in mind when selecting the photographer you want to work with. Do some research and try to pick someone who takes photos similar to the ones you want taken of yourself. Reach out to them with a particular idea or look in mind. Be sure to do thorough research–you wouldn’t want to waste either of your time reaching out to a landscape photographer looking for beauty shots (for example).
Types of Photoshoots
Before reaching out to a photographer, decide on what type of photoshoot you are looking for. It could be a product shoot for an item you’re showcasing on your blog, photos for applications to modeling jobs, or a basic test shoot for photos you want to submit to modeling agencies. The type of photoshoot you decide on will determine what you need to bring to the photoshoot as a model, and what equipment and location the photographer will choose.
Location can seriously make or break a photoshoot! When speaking to the photographer, have a few location options in mind based on the types of shots you’re going for. For lifestyle shots, think casual places like coffee shops, your kitchen or living room (or a fake set-up one), a park, or the sidewalk. For editorial, commercial, or beauty shots, you’ll want studio space, or anywhere you have room to set up a backdrop and lights.
Lookbook / Moodboard
Your lookbook and/or moodboard is going to determine the general vibe and look of your photos. Sometimes the photographer will send over a moodboard if they have a particular idea for the photoshoot, but sometimes it will be up to both the photographer and the model to create. As a model, I like creating a Pinterest board of outfits, poses, color palettes, and other photos to inspire the photoshoot.
Preparing For The Photoshoot
** Scroll down to download the free resource, “Photoshoot Prep Checklist For Models” **
- Research The Photographer: Check out your photographer’s website or portfolio. Get a sense of their style, what types of shots they like taking, what the mood of their photos is, etc.
- Research The Location: Once you’ve decided on a location, learn everything you can about it! For example, I recently did a photoshoot at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Google Maps was able to give me a good idea of the different spots within the park that might be good, how far we would have to walk in between spots, etc. I made a list of spots (including waterfalls, bridges, fields, buildings, and other structures) to bring with me in case we wanted to reference it during the shoot.
- Check The Weather & Plan Accordingly: SO important, especially if you’re doing an outdoor photoshoot. Rain, snow, wind, etc. can totally change the outcome of a photoshoot. Sun and clouds will also effect the lighting and mood of your photos. Even if you’re doing an indoor shoot, you’ll want to check the weather–I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had rain ruin my hair or humidity ruin my makeup on my way to the shoot.
- Research Poses: Especially for beginner models, it’s SUPER helpful to research poses beforehand (I do this every time)! I like creating a Pinterest board with ideas to reference before (or even during) the photoshoot. You can even try practicing some of these in the mirror the day before!
- Plan and Pack Outfits: Give yourself a couple of days to research and think about outfits. Try on different looks and decide on a number (more than you anticipate using) of outfits to bring with you that you’ll feel comfortable in, and will match the mood of the photoshoot. I also recommend sending a photo of your outfits to your photographer beforehand if you’re worried about matching their ideas, or if you’re looking for suggestions. Always pack a few extra “basics” like a plain white shirt or basic jeans, just in case. If I’m shooting for a brand, I like to look at the brand’s Instagram to get an idea of what clothes previous models have worn (plus, if you match their social media aesthetic, you have a better chance of getting your photos shared on their account)!
- Plan and Pack Hair & Makeup: It’s also important to take some time to decide on how you’ll be doing your hair and makeup. If you are doing your own hair and makeup (often times for TFP photoshoots, you’ll need to do your own), do a test run or two to make sure you’re comfortable creating the look the day of.
- Personal Grooming: Along with hair and makeup, make sure that you’re groomed appropriately. If your hands or feet will be showing, be sure that your nails and groomed. If you’ll be in underwear or a bathing suit, you might want to get a wax. For up-close beauty shots, you’ll want to make sure your skin is clear, eyebrows groomed, etc.
- Good Night’s Sleep: This one is the most important!! Getting a good night’s sleep the night before your photoshoot will not only ensure that you’re fresh and ready for a day of modeling, but “beauty rest” is real, people! Avoid salt and alcohol, drink tons of water, and get a good night’s sleep.
Click the Download buttons below for a few free resources to help you prepare for your photoshoots!
To read more about how to get into modeling and about my modeling journey, click here.