The Secret DOs and DON’Ts to Model the Perfect Photo Shoot

As I was preparing for a photo shoot the other day with a local photographer my scattered-brained mind was running through the best ways I normally would prepare for a shoot. I’m always one to stress about the little details (I’m sure some of you can relate) so I put together a list of the biggest dos and don’ts that have personally helped me to prepare for the shoots I have been a part of.

Now I am not some big hot shot model from NYC who’s here to give you the scoop on how to slay an editorial shoot for Vogue, but I do have enough experience in the area that I know what mistakes I don’t want to make again! Growing up I went to scouting events, worked with a couple of talent agencies for both modeling and acting, and work with local photographers so I have a good idea of what to look for when preparing to step in front of a lens. Follow these tips and you’ll be ready for senior pictures, college graduate pics, or just for fun glamour shots!


DO: Opt for More Full Coverage Foundation

While this tip isn’t mandatory for everyone, a full coverage foundation is really going to hide all imperfections really well from the camera and it’s going to make the editing process that much easier for your photographer afterwards. I highly recommend using a damp beauty blender to apply as it gives a great finish and when used correctly really packs the foundation in place instead of rubbing it away like a normal sponge or brush.

DO: Use Matte Eyeshadow and Blushes

Shimmer and satin finishes can still show up great in photographs but matte colors will show up looking natural and effortless. Remember that the cameras will likely provide bright and equal lighting. This means that light will reflect off of shimmer colors and will lighten up any shading or contouring quite a bit! If you’re going for a dramatic eyeshadow look, remember that the light will wash some of the darkness away. A great way to keep dark eyeshadows looking dark in photographs is to use a dark eyeliner as a base for the shadow to stick on. Blend the eyeliner out where you want the shading to be and blend the eyeshadow on top of it for a darker look.

DON’T: Feel Like You Have to Wear a Ton of Eye Makeup

Just because you’re getting some photos taken does not mean you have to go crazy with the eye makeup! If the photographer doesn’t have a particular look in mind then it’s whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and beautiful. Sometimes a plain eyelid and a bold lip is just as sassy as a smoky eye or a cut crease! You don’t want to see someone you don’t recognize in the final pictures; be yourself.



DON’T: Stress Yourself Out About Outfits

This can be the most time consuming portion of preparing for a shoot if you cannot decide what you want to wear. When it doubt, black clothing always looks great on camera. When I would go to any casting call or modeling agency I was always recommended to wear black simply because it’s timeless, slimming, and looks amazing on everyone!

DO: Reach for the Basics

In most cases the goal for the shoot should be to takes timeless photos that you won’t look back on and cringe. Did I really choose to wear cowboy boots that day -me looking at the photo in 10 years. To avoid these cringes, go for solid colors, simple prints like stripes, or classic knits.

DO: Have Fun With Whatever You Pick

Going mod with black and white colors is a staple for any fashionista but if that look doesn’t suit you try adding a pop of one color. I like doing accent pieces like this with either one large color piece or 3 small hints of color in the same shade (I am making myself sound much better dressed than I actually am in real life, but that’s the fun of photos, right? Then it’s back to yoga leggings for the win!).

When choosing shoes, heels work great for glamour shots and boots are classically stylish. On the other hand, a comfortable pair of sneakers gives an effortlessly cool vibe and sometimes going barefoot gives a playful story in the picture.



DO: Put Your Best Assets Forward

Remember that the parts of you that are closest to the camera are going to appear larger! This means that you can play into your posing to make your best features pop. For example, if you wanted to show off your legs I would try a seated position. This forces your legs to bend and get closer to the camera while giving your body an new shape and angle.

DO: Elongate!

When you stretch out your body, even subtly, you look so much better on camera. Models do this in a ton of different ways. Going slightly up on your toes not only makes you taller and look better, but it also helps your posture! Putting hands up and over your head does wonders to elongate the stomach and appear thinner and more flattering.

DON’T: Hide or Forget About Your Arms

Don’t know what to do with your arms? This is a problem a lot of models have when posing and can’t seem to figure out what to do with their arms. Don’t leave your arms by your side unless doing so with purpose. Focus on the lines your body makes. Put your arms and legs out to the side to avoid ghost limbs and create new lines and angles with your body. When it comes to arms think East and West and you might be surprised at how natural that looks in the end!

DO: Touch Different Parts of Your Body

This doesn’t have to be sexual and if you look in any magazine it doesn’t look abnormal at all. Play with your hair. Put one hand on the top of your head with your elbow out and the other touching your face. Try putting your hand on your neck. Any of these uses of touch will force you to think in different ways in your posing and will create a natural movement from one pose to the next. Before you know it, you’ll be moving from one pose to the next without thinking twice!

DO: Show Emotion!

Don’t be afraid to smile and laugh. Try getting serious with the camera or opt for a candid and look away. You don’t have to be over expressive in your photos. If you look too unnatural or disingenuous you probably won’t like the photos that result anyways. A good and natural deadpan will take time, so practice in the mirror or just have fun with it and be goofy! You’d be surprised what ends up working!

What To Eat 

DON’T: Skip Breakfast

You’re going to be moving around for a couple hours and the shoot will be less than enjoyable if you’re getting lightheaded or having hunger pangs from not eating. You’re not going to inflate to 3x your size from a decent breakfast; treat your body nicely!

DO: Eat a Small But Smart Breakfast

Foods like bananas, egg whites, and greek yogurt will keep you feeling full without puffing out your stomach! Fuel up and forget the bloat.

DO: Bring a Snack With You

Granola bars or unsalted nuts are tasty and easy to throw in a bag or purse and eat in between outfits or locations! You may be surprised how hungry you get after just taking some photos.



DO: Believe In Your Photographer and Believe In YOURSELF

Confidence is going to be your biggest asset on a shoot day. If you feel stupid, you’re probably doing something right. When you can finally feel comfortable and try a few poses that are uniquely you, that’s when you’re going to get the perfect shot that you’ll really love. And ALWAYS trust your photographer; it’s their job to make sure that you look incredible in every final shot!

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