What It's Like Behind the Scenes as a Model
There are many roles that go into a photo shoot. They typically go in order of creative director, producer, photographer, hair and makeup and model, but can extend to further parties. The best way to prepare for a shoot is to be familiar with everyone's jobs and understand the purpose of why you're there. In order to do this, you may have to think with different hats. Make sure that you can think as a consumer, marketer and creative, to further help you understand the shoot. I think from everyone's perspective before I go into a shoot. Working as a model, you are the vehicle to convey the vision of the shoot. So, it's crucial that you are prepared before the shoot, and know what you're getting into.
Before the shoot, study the mood board and make sure that you understand the vision of the project. Ask yourself what are we selling, what is the concept and how can I convey that with posing, expression and body language. Is it a commercial shoot, or editorial? Should I be smiling and expressive, or more stoic? If it's a TFP shoot (Test For Prints, or an exchange of services), think about what you want from the shoot, then the photographer and the makeup and hair artists too. Once you know the vision, think of what poses work best, then PRACTICE. I get ideas by looking at other model's Instagram accounts, campaign videos, and through Pinterest, and Youtube.
Know your poses and work on the fluidity of them before the shoot. That way, they will come naturally when you're in front of the camera. The best way to practice is at home in front of a mirror so that you know how you look. If you want a more hands on experience, shoot with someone. You can work with a photographer or friend and have them work behind the lens and give you feedback. Your poses should always feel natural and comfortable, if they are too rigid or uncomfortable it will show in the final image. As awkward as these tips may seem, following them will only help you get better and build your confidence.
This should go without saying, but treat your body well before the shoot. You should treat your body well already, by drinking enough water, eating well and getting enough rest. When you feel good, you look good and it's important to take care of yourself.
If asked to provide wardrobe, make sure that you bring pieces that fit with the concept of the shoot. If it's a beauty shoot (like this one was), bring off the shoulder tops, and simple looks so that the focus is on makeup. If you don't need to bring any wardrobe, just be comfortable. Wear the typical model off duty look that consists of jeans, a fitted tee, boots and leather jacket.
ON SET |
As a model, you are a blank canvas for hair, makeup and wardrobe to work on. So, it's imperative that you come clean and ready to go. Your hair should be free of product and you should have no makeup on.
When it's the day of the shoot, make sure that you are on time. There is nothing more unprofessional than having an opportunity, and making a bad impression because you're late. Tardiness is one of my biggest pet peeves, so I always try to be at least 15 minutes early.
No matter what your role is, be a team player. If you're not busy check if anyone needs help. Photo shoots can easily go over time, so the more help there is, the better. During our shoot there was a fire drill, so we got a late start. Everyone worked together to make up for lost time and we finished ahead of schedule.
Hair and makeup can take a long time, so bring snacks, and eat beforehand. When on set make sure that you are where you're supposed to be, when you're supposed to be there and that what you're doing doesn't interfere with, or slow down the process. On set anything goes, and concepts change and evolve as the shoot progresses. Go with the flow and adapt your look and poses to the changes. With this being said, if the hair or makeup goes in a different direction, the timeframe may change. So, like I said make sure that you have snacks, water and patience.
It is important to make sure that your needs are met on set and that you are drinking enough water. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the shoot and forget to take a drink all day. And trust me, there is nothing worse than getting a headache post-shoot because you didn't take care of yourself. If you're lucky enough to have Alexi on set, you'll be in great hands. He always checks to make sure that everyone is staying hydrated and that their needs are met.
I usually carry a 32oz Nalgene water bottle with me at all times. These are a few other options:
IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA |
When in front of the camera, you will get a sense for what the photographer wants. Sometimes the photographer or producer will give direction by saying things like "pretend you're at beach and soaking up the sun" or "be sophisticated." I agree with the idea that modeling is 2D acting, so having those leads is a big help when posing. Also, show as much of yourself as possible, and be sure that you change poses after each photo is taken. It can be a simple tilt of the head, or changing the direction of your gaze. But if the pose gets a good response, tweak it a little and go from there. Your purpose is to give the photographer as much to work with as possible.
Work with the photographer and follow their advice or recommendations for poses. They have enough experience to know what looks good and what doesn't. While shooting, April told me to push my shoulders forward to make my collarbone pop. And while it may have seemed a little strange, it photographed beautifully and created a lot of depth to the image. Sometimes poses can seem awkward, but provide a beautiful result.
Speaking of posing and movement, know your angles! It's important to know what photographs well and how to work your body. Your poses should feel natural, and come fluidly one after the other. When in doubt, do the typical poses: front, 3/4, profile, look away, look at the camera. Think about the angles of your face and body too, and where the light will hit them. The more you shoot, the more posing and working with a photographer will come naturally.
POST SHOOT |
This goes without saying, but thank everyone for sharing their time with you. If you took behind the scenes photos, make sure that you share them with the group. It's always nice to have images of your work. That way everyone can give teasers of the shoot on their social channels.
WATCH THIS SHOOT BELOW |