What Does a Model Expect from a Photo Shoot?

A professional photoshoot can feel like an overwhelming experience, even for experienced models. But you must overcome your nerves to perform at your absolute best.

Whether you're just starting with modelling or you're running a campaign, you may be faced with your first photoshoot ever. Understandably, there may be some nervous jitters. After all, you don't want to do something that might delay the photoshoot from starting.

What can you expect? How can you make the process run smoothly? These are all excellent questions to consider to make the shoot run efficiently and make everyone involved in the shoot happy and relaxed. Therefore, this article will discuss what you can expect when undergoing a studio photoshoot.

Different Types of Photoshoots

A photoshoot can take place anywhere. Whether inside, outside, in a small room or a large studio, the location of the shoot will depend on the size of the company and the photos that need taking.

It also depends on the lighting the photography chooses to use. For example, studios contain many large lights, while outdoors photographers may rely on natural light rather than an artificial light setup.

Types of photoshoots include:

  • Fashion photoshoots
  • Family portraits
  • Sultry boudoir photoshoot
  • Themed photoshoot
  • Child photoshoot (e.g. school photo)
  • Maternity/baby bump photoshoot
  • Pet photoshoot
  • Promo shots

What Is a Photoshoot 'Concept'?

Fashion Photography

A photoshoot concept is the theme of the shoot. It's important to decide with the photographer beforehand what the idea is so you both know what to expect and plan for a pre-photoshoot.

An example of a photoshoot concept can be literal like 'fitness' or 'British', or more artistic like 'moody' or 'high-end'. More elegant themes may have a wide range of costumes and unusual-looking studios with giant props. The concept will be pre-chosen if you are a hired model, and you will be expected to meet this criterion.

How Long Does a Photoshoot Last?

A photoshoot can last for a few hours or a whole day, depending on the type of photos the photographer is taking.

In general, expect to spend at least a couple of hours at a photography studio. Remember, too, includes style consultations, outfit changes, hair styling and makeup application.

If you have booked a photoshoot, time will be spent at the end of the shoot going through photos and selecting the ones you like best. If a company hires you to model for them, you will likely not be present at this stage as it is the brand's decision.

If you book a photoshoot yourself, you will get to choose a date and time slot, but if you are a hired model, you will be expected to show up at a specific destination at a pre-chosen time and place. You may have months notice, or you may have a days notice depending on the importance of the shoot.

What Do I Need to Bring to a Photoshoot?

You'll be told beforehand what to bring to a photoshoot. It might be a good idea to get a bottle of water and some snacks if food isn't available, but an all-day shoot should provide both.

There should be no need to bring clothing or makeup to a photoshoot you are hired for. Instead, bring a book or something to keep you occupied when waiting for photo setups or for other people to be photographed.

Also, check on social media if there are any reviews for the photography studio. These comments may give you a better idea of what to expect.

What to Expect from a Studio Photo Shoot

To make things a bit easier and less stressful, here is what will be expected of you when you go to your first photographic fashion shoot:

  • Be on time, or preferably 10 minutes early.
  • You will be told what to wear if anything specific is required, and you will also be said to come with or without makeup depending on if there will be a makeup artist there or not.
  • You should be prepared to spend the entire day there, and sometimes you might even work into the night depending on the urgency of the shoot and if they get the right shots they need or not. Your day can last 12 hours or longer. Find out from your agent about the overtime policies on photographic shoots.
  • You might be expected to change into different outfits throughout the day and wear clothing given to you by the agency or company in charge of the shoot. For example, it could be for a fashion magazine, catalogue or clothing store branding.
  • You could be required to be in a studio or another location for the shoot, such as on the beach, at a park, in a factory, field, street, parking lot or anywhere else. There should be professional crews and equipment to have a place to change, as a tent or caravan, and you will have portable toilets to use for the day.
  • The day can be very tiring, so ensure that you bring water and anything else you might want like a book or music, just in case you have some free time. There is usually a catering table where you can help yourself with fruit and something to drink, and you should also be provided with breakfast and lunch.
  • Fashion shoots and photographic modelling sessions will involve a photographer, lighting assistant, hair and makeup, dresser and maybe one or two other crew members. There are not usually a lot of people there.
  • Acting for the camera will be expected, which you will learn in your modelling training course. Listen carefully to what the photographer wants and go with the feeling and vision that they have. You do not have to comply if they want you to do something that you feel uncomfortable with, like something sexual in nature or to wear a revealing outfit. Instead, contact your agent.

Finding the Right Photography Studio

The first step in any photoshoot is finding the proper photography studio for your shoot. You want professionals. More than that, however, you want experienced professionals.

They're the ones who know exactly what they're doing. They have the eye that can make your campaign or advertisement take a life of its own.

Because they're experienced, they can also predict problems that may arise and coach you through them. Understandably, you're going to be nervous. One way to help yourself relax is to put yourself in experienced hands.

Once you've found that studio, it's time to book an appointment. Some studios are particular about what kind of clients that they shoot. Not all of them are invite-only, however.

Essentially, you should choose the studio that speaks to you. That connection is going to be what makes the transition from a good photo to a fierce shot. A representative from the studio will contact you to confirm your appointment.

Before the Photo Shoot

Sometime before the photo shoot's appointment, you'll likely receive a call or email from the studio. During this conversation, you'll discuss what you want to wear if the photoshoot requires you to wear certain clothes.

Otherwise, the studio might suggest specific garments. This is typically known as the Styling Call.

It's in this conversation that you can tell the studio precisely what you're hoping to get out of the photoshoot. It's a chance to say to them the goal or message you're trying to send.

You may be asked to send them a few reference pictures of yourself and the specific clothes item if there is one. This is because photographers have their style and signature.

By seeing what the clothing item is, what you look like, and your goal for the photoshoot, a photographer who best aligns with you creatively can be aligned.

Sometimes this isn't perfect on the first choice. In the art world, it's a lot like dating. You first have to dip your toes in before it can be determined whether the match will work or not. Having that connection is vital for any successful photo shoot. A photographer should be allowed their creativity since they can often enhance the message or goal you have in mind. However, the creative decision must be something you enjoy and are comfortable with.

Other times, the theme of the photoshoot may determine what photographer is used. For example, a photographer may be particularly experienced shooting that theme and has a lot of creativity.

However, if they're not available, then you may be scheduled with another photographer. If you already have a particular photographer in mind, you should inform the studio. In that way, your appointment can be made for when that photographer is available to shoot you.

Typically, clients are requested that they bring a set of clothes from home. The usual number of outfits range from 2-4. However, it's certainly not a bad idea to get more businesses just in case.

If there's more time, then those outfits can also be worn and shot. Studios typically have a wardrobe on hand as well. However, if the shoot is specifically for a piece of apparel, the node will focus on those outfits you must wear.

You shouldn't decide what to wear makes you too nervous for those who aren't shooting fashion. Ultimately, what studios want is an outfit that reflects who you are.

Sometimes this can be form-fitting and professional. Other times, it may be an entirely zany and bright outfit that reflects your personality. As long as you feel like yourself in the business and allow you to show your best self, bring it to the shoot.

The Day Before the Shoot

Those who have never been to a photoshoot before may wonder if there is anything that they need to do the day before to be best prepared for the shoot.

There are a few tips that studios recommend. For one, you shouldn't hit the tanning booth the day before. This is because the powerful rays from the booth can dry out your skin.

This can make you look pretty patchy in the photos. Not to mention there may be some discolouration in your photos.

It would help if you also resisted the urge to wax your eyebrows the day before. The skin might not heal in time. This could result in irritating eyebrows that are still red and splotchy for photoshoot day. If your eyebrows are a cause for concern, then you should have them taken care of a week before the shoot.

Or, at the very least, three days before the shoot. While touch-ups can undoubtedly help improve the appearance of your skin, a lot of work needs to be performed to fix discoloured skin and blotchy eyebrows.

That work can often be read as fake in the final print. You want to appear as natural as possible.

Most studios suggest that you groom and wash as per your usual routine. Moisturise and cleanse as you typically would. Again, this helps ensure that your skin doesn't become irritated due to too much cleansing that it is unused to. Your hair, on the other hand, might need a little extra love.

For those who don't have oily hair, you can come into the shoot having washed it the night before so long as it is clean and dry. However, it's not a bad idea for those with oily hair to wash it just before the photoshoot.

Again, you want to make sure that it's dry at the shoot, so try to blowdry and towel it into submission. If you suffer from frizzy and dry hair, you should skip doing anything with your hair for a day.

This is because curly and dry hair can sometimes appear too soft in photos.

By allowing yourself a break, you can add a bit of oil to your hair, then make it shine and look just a bit more lively and voluminous. Your hair is important because it requires the right kind of health and sheen for hairstylists to do their best work.

The Day of the Photo Shoot

Fashion Photoshoot

You should do your best to get a good amount of sleep the night before your photo shoot.

The last thing you want is to put more work on the makeup artist's shoulders to fix those dark circles beneath your eyes. Of course, it would help if you stayed away from drinking anything that might stain your teeth, too.

After all, you want that bright and white smile. At the studio, things are likely buzzing with activity as they prepare for your shoot. The photographer will probably be working on forging that connection with you and the theme you want to capture.

Some photographers even create a mood board to inspire them and help them understand your personality and desires for your shoot. It can set the mood for the shoot and keep everyone focused.

Instead of just throwing you right into the shoot, a Meet and Greet typically occur. You'll meet with your photographer, the makeup artist, the creative director, and perhaps a few other individuals who will play critical roles in your shoot.

During this meeting, you'll discuss the business side of the node, like pricing and when you can view your photos. However, you'll also be able to let your creativity expound. This is the moment to let the studio know what you're after and any ideas.

Understandably, the creative director and photographer might have a few of their own. This is the time to discuss those ideas and determine what works and what might not work.

Meet and Greets are the perfect time to forge that connection with those you'll be working with. It can also be an excellent opportunity to become excited about your shoot rather than nervous.

The photographer might even show you their mood board or idea tree for the possibilities of your shoot. You may even become inspired by some of the ideas that they display.

It's the creative producer who is the one that keeps everyone's needs and desires aligned. They're likely your biggest ally. Their goal, specifically, is to ensure that the studio meets your needs and wishes.

This can vary from client to client. In some cases, it may simply be the beginning of a modelling career. You want to show the versatility and skill that you have as a model.

The creative producer will help direct the innovative design in a direction that achieves that desire. Sometimes you want to take photos that help to build your confidence.

Again, the creative producer will suggest ideas and touch base with you during the shoot to feel confident. Finally, the creative producer can ensure that the ad campaign runs strong and effectively for those who use the node to sell their items.


Once you've met with your team, you'll be whisked away to the makeup chair. In this regard, you should come in without makeup. At most, you may want to freshen up and wash your face before the artists start their work. Fresh is always best. If you have any allergies to particular makeups, you should also inform the artists. The last thing you need is to have an allergic reaction during the middle of taking photos.

As for the actual makeup used, how heavy or light the makeup becomes depends on your theme and desire for the shoot. For those who want to keep their appearance natural, then clearly light makeup will be used. Nudes and colours enhance your face rather than obscure it. Yet 0in the cases when you want to make a statement, then editorial makeup may be used.

Typically, clients want to look like the best versions of themselves. The artists make that happen. Other times, if the theme calls for it, you may have some bright or dark colours applied to your skin to make a bold statement. Perhaps it goes with the background, theme, or even your wardrobe.

When it comes to men, there is typically little makeup used. Again, nudes and other enhancers are applied to define their bone structure and boost their appearance. The only exception is when the men are being used in a shoot that requires something editorial. Or if the client, in particular, wants to go bold.

Essentially, depending on what you want from your shoot, you'll be given a natural makeup experience or a creative one. But, again, depending on the shoot's needs, the team can take from a few minutes to several minutes.

Hair Styling

Once your makeup is finished, the hairstylist moves into play. In some cases, the hairstylist may work with the makeup artist to help cut down on the time you spend in the chair. All extensions should be removed from your hair if you're wearing any when you walk into the studio.

Like your makeup, the hairstyle that your stylist goes with will broadly reflect the shoot's theme. In most cases, your hair will be styled in such a way that enhances your natural beauty. This may be a simple straightening or may require waves or curls to be formed in your hair. Since the stylists typically see photos of you before you walk into the door, they usually know what they want to do from the start.

For more creative shots, the hair may take longer than the makeup. It all depends on the requirements for the shoot. Either way, you can be sure that both your makeup artist and your hairstylist will be readily at hand during the shoot to keep you looking fresh.

Wardrobe Styling

One of the most important aspects of a photoshoot is the wardrobe. You already brought in the clothes that you want to be shot wearing. Hopefully, you brought along some extra pieces and some accessories, too. The wardrobe styling is where the creative team gets together to figure out what you will wear. It can go quite a few different ways. For example, your outfit broke up and switched with other pieces to create an entirely new business. In other cases, an accessory may be the focal point of the shoot and an outfit designed around it.

An essential aspect of wardrobe styling should be considered for first-time models. Your initial shots should be done wearing simple and plain clothes.

This ensures that the model is noticed wearing the clothes rather than focusing on the clothes themselves. Then, as you start to build a portfolio, you can start wearing more colourful and exciting pieces of clothing.

The Shoot

With the final pieces chosen as the backdrop, it's time for the actual shoot to begin. It's not a bad idea to do a bit of jumping or stretching before a shoot.

This can help you feel relaxed and comfortable on the set. No doubt that you're going to feel slightly vulnerable. You can release some pent-up energy and nerves and settle in for the shoot by running around.

When it comes to the actual shoot, you can expect your creative team there to help you through every shot. How the node runs typically depends on the photographer and creative director.

Some like to shoot you while you remain still, while others prefer to hit you while moving around. It all depends on the theme and what you're going for.

Essentially, everyone is there to support you and help you through the shoot. They're all working together to offer you that perfect photo.


Once the shoot is over, it takes some time to go through all of the photos. Once a few have been selected, you'll be shown them. From there, you'll choose those you love for print.

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