Photo Shoot Preparation – Models

Your modeling portfolio shoot is one of the most important photo shoots you will ever do as a model. Otherwise, why bother. If your hope is to one day appear on the cover of a major magazine you will need your portfolio images to get you signed by agencies and get you hired for work.

Proper photo shoot preparation is crucial to feeling confident, comfortable and having a successful shoot that will create the incredible images that your portfolio needs.


  • Learn how your face feels when you smile, laugh, frown or pout.
  • Learn how your body feels when it is posed in an attractive manner.
  • Practice your facial expressions in front of the mirror. Practice your perfect smile – no gums, eyes open – not squinting.
  • Practice your poses in front of a mirror … naked. Yes naked … no pockets, collars, etc. to hang on to. Without clothes you learn where to place your hands and make them look attractive.
  • Look through current magazines for ideas. Study the way the models pose in different style clothing or without clothing and pay attention to their hands.
  • Think of props that will match your outfits. Props can make a photo more believable as well as give you something to do with your hands.


Wear what looks good on you.

  • First, do not go shopping. If you feel you need to buy something new, don’t spend a lot of money.
  • Solid colors are best. Avoid floral prints or patterns.
  • Wear clothing that fits properly, not necessarily the way you like to wear it, but in a way that looks good.
  • Select a good mix of colors and styles.
  • Do not wear jewelry, or at least keep it to a minimum.

If you are looking for head shots:

  • White and light pastel colors are best avoided.
  • Earthy tones or neutral colors are best.
  • Wear a top that has shoulders unless you want the “implied” look head shot.

Clothing is a costume. Clothing is meant to make the model look real. If someone looks at your portfolio and comments on the clothing (or tape or paint or whatever else you think looks cool) that you are wearing, you have failed. Your portfolio should be designed to sell you, the model not clothing, jewelry, makeup or the photographer’s creativity.


  • Make sure you understand the travel directions well in advance and leave with plenty of time to spare.
  • You are working. Don’t bring a friend, relative or boyfriend to a photo shoot that you would not take to any other job. If you feel that you need to take someone with you because you are not comfortable working with a photographer make sure it is someone who is there for your protection and not someone who is going to interfere with your work.
  • Drink lots of water. Bring snacks. Avoid chocolate or anything that might stain your teeth.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that won’t leave lines on your skin.
  • Wear your hair natural and down.
  • Wear clear un-scented deodorant that won’t mark your clothing.
  • Bring your portfolio or recent photographs that you have had taken.

In conclusion, be prepared to present yourself in a way that will allow the photographer to capture your most valuable asset, your look.


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