What you should bring to a photo shoot. The basics…

Note: Your experience with different photographers will vary and you will want to discuss this beforehand.

Note: We discuss what to wear to a photo shoot in a separate post.

Generally speaking, this is what a model should bring to a photo shoot:

Items to Change Your Look & Appearance

Changing the way you look during a shoot will help keep the photos from looking like they were all taken on the same day.

Items I’d suggest bringing include (some of these are obvious — some may not be):

  • make-up
  • hair ties & rubber bands (so you can wear your hair in different ways)
  • hats
  • jewelry
  • glasses/sunglasses (but do not wear sunglasses before your shoot or you may end up squinting or with watery eyes during your shoot)
  • anything you think might make a neat prop or look interesting in a photo.

Additional Items to Consider Bringing to Your Photo Shoot

Don’t forget to bring a small portable mirror of some kind so you can check your make-up, hair, look, etc. during the shoot.

Depending on the style of the shoot, you may want to consider bringing a flesh colored thong & bra. This will allow you to wear such items under your garments without drawing attention to them in the photos.

It’s also a good idea to bring something to drink, such as bottled water or gatorade. Especially if you are shooting outside. You may want to consider bringing a cooler with ice to pack drinks and anything else you wish to keep cool while shooting.

Depending on the length of your shoot, you may want to pack a light meal and/or a few snacks of some kind. Fruits are preferable to “candy” items and will help provide energy to keep shooting. Avoid eating/bringing anything that may stain your teeth. This includes chocolaty items. As with wardrobe, please bring more than you think you will need.

Contents of a Typical Model’s Bag

Here are some items typically found in the bags of models who work regularly and/or professionally. Not all items are necessary if you’re just starting out, but it’s still a good idea to check this list and consider whether these items may be useful at your shoot. Many items depend on the type of shoot you’re doing and the location:

makeup kit nylons (nude & black) panty liners
washcloth toilet tissue mascara (brown and/or black)
false eyelashes (2 different lengths) concealer foundation
lipstick (various shades) blush eyeshadow (various colors)
translucent powder makeup sponges makeup brushes
cotton swabs cotton balls makeup remover
tweezers eye drops mirror
masking tape binder clips hairpins
toothbrush toothpaste baby wipes
hairbrush hair ties/bands sunscreen
sunglasses bottled water towel
tampons dress shields lint brush
dress hood or pillow case spray bottle facial tissue
aspirin (or equivalent) penlight/flashlight scissors
small first-aid kit razors shaving cream
model portfolio model cards body lotion
facial cleansers hairstyling products insect repellent

The headshot photographer charges a premium price, but “isn’t your career worth it?”

The headshot photographer charges a premium price, but “isn’t your career worth it?”

You get what you pay for. Right?

Your career may be worth it, but you don’t always get what you pay for.

While we often equate product quality with price, a photographer who charges a premium price doesn’t necessarily provide photos that are better than a photographer who charges much less.

So be careful not to be manipulated into working with a headshot photographer simply because their rates are above the average of other headshot photographers in your area.

In the end, choose a headshot photographer based on the quality of their work and your specific needs.

What clothes should you bring to a photo shoot?

Note: Your experience with different photographers will vary and you will want to discuss this beforehand.

Your Wardrobe (Selection)

Unless specific arrangements have been made in advance, the model is responsible for bringing her own attire.

If you plan to shoot photos of a certain style (Maxim style, fashion, glamour photos, etc), then it is to your benefit to coordinate with your photographer before hand to discuss wardrobe options as well as props, backgrounds, and various ideas.

If you are shooting with the intention of doing an “all-purpose” shoot, then bringing a variety of different types of clothes is a good idea. Most photographers prefer to have a variety of options (but please refer to “styles of clothes” below).

Options are always good and you never know when you’ll feel like wearing something. And if you think you might want to bring something, but have second thoughts about it, bring it anyway.

Models I’ve worked with almost always tell me that they wished they’d brought something that they’d thought about bringing but then decided not to. It is better to always bring more than you think you will need, however it may not always be possible to shoot with everything you bring.

Styles of Clothes

I recommend solid color clothing, with no polka dots, no wild prints, and no distracting stripes. Clothing of this type can have a tendency to distract the viewer from the most important subject in your photos, you.

[If you are doing a “themed” shoot, such as a pin-up shoot, then obviously the clothes you bring should match the theme and override the suggestion above.]

Recommended clothing styles include:

  • shorts
  • various forms of full and brief tops
  • mini-dresses
  • mini-skirts
  • form fitting pants
  • sports & fitness gear

Swimwear & lingerie are also possibilities, if desired — depending on what you’ve arranged to shoot with your photographer.

They imply that not working with them could could jeopardize your acting career.

The headshot photographer implies that if you don’t work with them, it could jeopardize your acting career.

This is a scare tactic intended to motivate you through fear. Of all the good reasons to work with a photographer, making the decision to do so out of fear is not one of them.

It’s just a headshot folks! It’s a photograph. Yes, you want a good one which accurately reflects who you are, but even if that’s not what you get, you’re acting career isn’t over. You have someone else take your headshot!

I know headshots can be a big investment, but as an actor, it’s something you need to grow accustomed to because every time your look evolves, you’ll need a new one. That’s why it’s such a beautiful thing if you find a great photographer who provides the type of shots you like. The chances are good that you’ll get another great shot the next time you get headshots.

And that’s also why it’s a little easier for photographers who have been working in a certain area for a prolonged period of time. Repeat business is beautiful!

Also keep in mind that not every actor who succeeds in Hollywood has an amazing headshot. But whatever it was about their headshot grabbed the attention of the casting director. And whatever it was about their audition, presentation, and acting skills sealed the deal.

Yes, the industry is incredibly competitive and having a professional looking headshot will help you, but it is no guarantee of success. And having a less-than-spectacular headshot will is no guarantee that you mission to make it will result in failure. Though obviously between the two, you’ll be giving yourself a better favor by getting a great headshot that showcases the true you.

How to transport your clothes to a photo shoot?

How to Transport you Clothes to Your Photo Shoot

Many models will either pack a small suitcase or bring a bag of some type to carry all their clothes. If you plan to shoot on location, it is important that bring something that allows you to transport at least three or more outfits easily.

Please pack carefully. Clothes you intend to wear should be free of wrinkles and lint. In the event your need to remove the occasional wrinkle, we have an iron/steamer available.

Please note that if you are shooting in a studio, you should check to see how the photographer can accommodate your clothes — for example:

  • Are there racks available for hanging your clothes?
  • Is there a convenient and private place to change and apply make-up?

The headshot photographer claims to know casting directors who love their work.

The headshot photographer claims to know casting directors who love their work.

The idea behind using this in a marketing fashion is that the photographer wants you to believe that due to their relationship with casting directors who love their work, that you’re far more likely to be called in by one of these casting directors if you work with this photographer.

These types of relationships are a beautiful thing, but having your photo taken with a certain photographer is still no guarantee that your photo will be looked at for more than 1/2 a second like everyone else’s.

If you don’t look the part, you don’t look the part.

What kind of props to bring to a photo shoot?

Photo Shoot Props

Unless discussed with the photographer beforehand, clients are responsible for supplying their own props for a shoot.

What are props exactly?

Props are any items you can help “accessorize” your photos with and potentially give it extra impact. Props can be anything from a cane or an umbrella, a mask, a magnifying glass, a furry rug, or satin sheets for a glamour shoot.

Clients that supply their own props tend to bring things that have significantly more meaning than what the typical photographer might provide. Plus, photographers who repeatedly use the same props over and over again in shoots tend to have photos that all look the same (or at least less distinctive).

If you intend to shoot “Maxim Style” or glamour or boudoir photography

If you intend to shoot glamour style photos, boudoir photos, “Maxim/FHM style” photos, lingerie photos, or any type of photos intended to give off an “intimate” look, please consider bringing items that may help reinforce the look you are going for. These items can be used to help adorn the set.

For example, if you wish to try some shots involving a fur-skin rug, then all you need to do is supply the rug.

Additional items to consider include comforters, pillows, sheets, fabric to drape across the set or hang from the ceiling, and anything else you think might help add to the look you are going for. If you have any particular ideas in mind and would like to know if you should bring something, please feel to ask.

The photographer has been featured in the media.

The photographer has been on TV (so they must be good).

Photographers who have been on TV are proud of the fact, but they also use this “as seen on TV” as a way to make themselves look important or significant in the eyes of others.

The fact a photographer has been on TV is no guarantee that you’ll get better photographs or have a greater experience than working with a photographer who has not.

In the end, judge the photographer’s work, evaluate the costs, and choose the photographer you feel is best able to suit your individual needs.

The photographer claims to be very “affordable”.

The photographer claims to be very “affordable”.

Regardless of what they charge, every photographer is “affordable” to someone. That may not be you.

Being “affordable” is obviously relative to what every individual thinks they can  or should pay for a photo shoot. So obviously a photographer calling themselves affordable doesn’t necessarily make it true for every individual.

When selecting a photographer to work with, be careful not to pick a photography strictly based on price. When comparing photographers, be sure to compare the quality of their work, their presentation, and your interaction with them (such as how receptive they are to questions).

The photographer highlights the fact that they’ve worked with celebrities.

The headshot photographer highlights the fact that they’ve worked with celebrities.

This is a marketing tactic intended to improve your perception of the photographer by impressing you with the fact they have photographed celebrities. Perhaps recently — or perhaps they are still promoting their brush with fame as far back as the 80’s or 90’s.

This is not in any way a guarantee that the photographs are good — so be sure to look beyond the celebrity and at the photographs themselves.

Many photographers who are in the business of working with VIPs and “high-end clients” do so almost exclusively. They are probably not shooting actor headshots for virtual unknowns — and if they are, then you can expect to pay a premium in the process.

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