Getting booked for a shoot is only half the victory. Once you show up you are still expected to deliver quality work. A good model doesn’t just rely on genetics to get a good photo. All of the top models in the world have at least one thing in common; they work hard. Here are some things to remember that will help you be at the top of your game and nail your next photoshoot!
It is important to always put your health first. Eating a proper diet consisting of an abundance of fruits and vegetables is a key factor in looking and feeling great. And in doing this all the time, there will be no need for any crash diets days before your scheduled booking. Maintaining a low fat, low sodium, high fiber, high carb diet is a great way to keep yourself fit and full of energy (don’t forget to exercise a few days a week). I would advise against trying any new foods the night before a shoot as you don’t want any surprise allergy attacks or an upset stomach ruining your day.
Drink and Be Merry
Well, drink water, that is. Water is necessary for our bodies to function properly and will flush out toxins. Toxins are responsible for a plethora of side effects including allergies that can make you look puffy by causing internal inflamation, poor digestion, headaches and more (all things that could get in the way of producing a great picture). Also, while I recommend eating healthy food in abundance, sometimes we think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty. But contrary to popular belief, not everyone needs 8 glasses of water a day and some people need more. It really depends on how much water you’re getting in your food (i.e. if you eat a lot of water-rich foods) as well as your body mass. A grown adult needs more water than a small child, for example.
Keep it Cardio
While consistently exercising is great for staying in shape and overall health, you don’t want to do anything brand new or strenuous the day before a shoot. Showing up to a shoot too sore to move will hurt your performance and anything that affects your ability to be fierce could also potentially hinder your confidence. You’re going to want to be able to move about freely and that will be hard to do if your muscles are in an extreme state of repair from tears because you decided to hulk out at the gym. If you don’t want to break routine and skip a day of working out, try some cardio. Unless your are a fitness model, in which case lifting could help accentuate your muscles, sticking to low intensity exercises the day before a photoshoot is a good way to go.
Be a Sleeping Beauty
This is probably a no-brainer but you should get plenty of rest the night before a shoot. Bloodshot puffy eyes and dark undereye circles don’t look good on anyone. What’s more, you’re going to need to keep up your energy to not only get through your shoot but to be able to give good face and hold various poses. You know your body best but a minimum of 10 hours of sleep works for me. Don’t let yawning get in the way of the perfect shot!
Keep In Touch
If you are running late for whatever reason always keep in communication with your booking manager so that everyone is on the same page. Sometimes things happen; we get lost, there is an accident on the freeway… but not calling could make the client worried or just plain irritated.
Get An Early Start
Showing up late to a shoot could get you fired and even leave you with a bad reputation. Clients are paying photographers, make up artists, hair stylists, and crew members to be present and do their jobs on set. If everyone is waiting on you to show all the client will hear is her money being flushed down the toilet and the clock ticking away. This can bring the shoot to a rocky start by putting everyone in a bad mood. In fact, you may even be replaced before getting to the shoot location.
There are other great reasons to show up early to a shoot. Giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination gives you an opportunity to do last minute touch ups on your make up and hair, if you are asked to provide that yourself. It also gives you a chance to collect yourself. There is already a lot of pressure on you, as the model, to give the client exactly what he is looking for as the face of his brand. Why add more stress to your life by showing up late and making yourself frazzled because you are in a rush to get in front of the camera?
Keep Your Complaints to Yourself
While we models sometimes get put in clothing, hair, and makeup that we absolutely would never wear and may not even like, it isn’t usually about us. If you are booked by a client and aren’t just shooting for your own portfolio, you are expected to be a silent cheerleader. In other words, even if you abhor your hairstyle, smile and be humble about it anyway. Pretend that you love whatever makeup was just put on your face. Get in whatever mindset you need to that will help you continue on with the shoot and still exude positive energy. Not every look is going to be flattering on you but you are getting paid to do a job so do it!
Of course, you should never go forward with doing something that goes against your morals. I, for example, would never allow a stylist to put me in animal flesh because I am a vegan, nor would I ever pose with a cigarette. Make your limits known ahead of time by telling your agency what you are and are not willing to do and by finding out what it is you’ll be promoting in the photos.
You’ve Got to Move
Unless otherwise instructed, you should always give the photographer a lot of different poses and looks to work with during your shoot. Don’t be afraid to move within your frame, making full use of every part of your body (or as Tyra would say, model from H to T – head to toe). The face has 33 muscles alone. Use yours to give various expressions to convey whatever message the photographer and/or client wants. A good trick is to strike a pose, wait for the click of the camera, and then make a small adjustment to what you are doing. Some of the most magical pictures are captured while the model is moving. Focusing too hard on one look could leave the photographer with only a few pictures to choose from, in the end. One of the best problems for a photographer is ending up with so many great photos that it’s hard to decide which one is the absolute best. Make yourself known for causing good problems.
Find Your Light
Always be aware of where the light is be it from a flash, the sun, or a sun reflector. Turning away from the light, unless directed to do so to create a certain mood, is an amateur move. A few ways to deal with blinding and hot light are to give your eyes a rest by closing them until you and the photographer are ready, to look around the light and not directly into it, to look down with just your eyes occasionally (but with intention so that those shots can still be considered), and to look up with just your eyes (and not your whole head) to the right or the left. That last tip is a great way to make your eyes look wide open without killing them with bright sun rays or bulb flashes.
Let your personality show not only on set but before, in between, and after your shoot. It isn’t uncommon for a client to book one model over the next because he has an awesome personality. Yes, the photos are very important and you must be able to do your job well. But if it comes down to you an another model who has your same level of expertise, the person who is known to have the better attitude will likely have a better chance of being booked.
Photographers, designers, booking managers… they are all people. If you are easy to work with you will make their job… well… easier. And if they like you as a person and know they can count on your positive energy to fill the room, they know they will have fun doing their job when working with you. Always be professional, respectful, and polite, of course, but never worry about being too positive or smiling too much when talking to people on set.
Check out Daniela Braga in this Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show casting call. How contagious is her energy?!
You should use your discretion, however, and don’t overdo it with the personality. After all, this isn’t Broadway, honey *wink*.
Photo Credit: Lola O Photography