What to Bring to a Photo Shoot

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

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

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.

How to Bring All Your Stuff

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?

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. If you have any items you think might be cool in a photograph, please consider bringing them. When in doubt as to whether you think you should bring something or not, please feel free to consult with me.

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 shooting “Maxim Styles” or Glamour 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.

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: make-up, hair ties & rubber bands (so you can wear your hair in different ways), hats, jewelry, glasses/sunglasses, and 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
How to learn model poses and facial expressions
Ideas for photos & photo shoots