This article covers aesthetic & cosmetic preparation. For model poses and expressions, see: How to learn model poses & facial expressions.
Aesthetic & Cosmetic Preparation
Be sure to take care of all hair removal prior to a shoot, but leave at least 2-3 days between when you wax/shave any sensitive areas (such as your bikini line) and your shoot date. This time is necessary to allow for any irritation to disappear before your shoot.
Take care of your nails. Be sure that your nails are neat and well maintained. Short nails are preferred. A natural, non-colored, or French manicure look is preferable. If you plan on posing barefoot, be sure your feet and toes are in good condition.
If you plan on showing your smile, be sure that your teeth are ready for prime-time. If your teeth are discolored, you may want to consider having them cleaned/whitened.
72 Hours Before Your Photo Shoot
Be sure you have worked out all the necessary details about your shoot. You should know where you’re supposed to go, the easiest & fastest way to get there, and what you need to do to prepare for your shoot.
Be sure that you know how to get to the studio or location where you are shooting. If you are working with a make-up artist, please be sure that they are aware of these directions as well.
You should also have a good idea of what items you are going to bring to your shoot.
If bringing a make-up artist, you will want to talk with your photographer about having your make-up ready prior to your appointment start time.
24 Hours Before Your Photo Shoot
Eat healthy. Drink plenty of water. Avoid fatty, greasy, and salty foods prior to shooting. Please avoid alcohol or anything that will make you puffy or bloated. Also avoid anything that may stain your teeth.
Pack up what you’ll need at least the night prior to your appointment so you are not rushing around in the time before leaving for your shoot.
Check your nails. You may not be the type who likes to keep their nails long and well manicured, which is fine, so long as they are ready for their close-up. However, damaged nails, beat up nail polish, and nails that have been bitten down to the tips of your fingers will not add to the look of your photos.
If your nails are not ready for pictures, you are encouraged to purchase temporary press-on nails. They may not feel “real” to you, but they can help save a photo or two.
It is also important that you get a good night’s sleep. You will not only feel better, but you will look better if you are well rested and energetic on the day of your shoot. Dark circles and bags under one’s eyes is not attractive.
The Day of Your Photo Shoot
It is generally considered a courtesy to call your photographer and confirm your departure — and plan to arrive prior to your appointment (but not too earlier — discuss the best arrival time with your photographer).
Please note that appointments are made to fit within allotted time slots. In order to maximize your time to shoot, arriving and being ready on time is important. Unless otherwise arranged, clients are encouraged to arrive up to, but no more than, 20 minutes early.
Please note that showing up late does does not mean your appointment will get pushed beyond its allotted time slot.
In some cases shooting beyond your allotted time slot may be possible, if the time beyond your appointment is not booked.
In the event that something unexpected happens and you are going to be late, call your photographer.
Consider eating a light meal before you leave. Food is fuel and if you skip your meals before shooting, chances are you’ll run out of energy, lose focus, or become irritable. None of which will improve your photos.
Consider bringing bottled water, snacks, and anything else necessary to keep you going, but avoid bringing anything that will stain your teeth. Additional items you may want to consider bringing to the shoot are listed on the next page.
To avoid squinting due to bright studio lights or sunlight, wearing sunglasses prior to your shoot is not recommended.