You’ve got a great sense of style, infectious personality, impeccable selfies, consistent high caliber content, and you’ve been noticed for it. Now, professional photographers want to shoot with you and brands want to book your face in their feed. Congratulations! You’ve avoided the rigamarole of the traditional path most professional talent had to take to get where you are. Now it’s time for you to uplevel yourself and arrive to work like a professional. That’s right, you’ve got your own pre-production phase of work to do – just showing up to set just with no preparation on your part won’t cut it. Good thing there’s not that much heavy lifting required! Just a few small pointers, but they make all the difference. So here’s your prep list:
- Ask questions. If your gig has a producer/creative director, keep an eye out for an email or phone call from them well ahead of the shoot. You’ll have the opportunity to ask what state your hair should be in when you arrive, if you should shave, if you’ll be expected to do your own hair and makeup, etc. If this is a less formal shoot, discuss wardrobe, colors, and location in depth with the photographer ahead of time.
- Practice your moves. If this is an official gig with a brand, then guess what? You have absolutely no control over how the final image will look before it goes out into the world. Hopefully you’ve not been applying too much makeup or getting heavy-handed with FaceTune or similar apps, and you’ve been presenting a mostly honest representation of how you look to the world. If you have, then spend some time before your shoot in a full-length mirror checking yourself out; angles, body movement, facial expressions. Not for “perfect” poses, but for moves and poses that make you feel confident while speaking to the client’s audience. The photographer and/or creative director will guide you from there on set, but you’ve got to give them something to work with. If you have been hiding behind filters, Photoshop wizardry, and heavy make-up, then I guarantee you, the crew will not be pleased. Arrive presenting your true self.
- Make sure your nails are nice. This goes for everyone: men, women, gender non-conforming – whoever you are, your nails don’t have to be painted but they need to be neat.
- Ladies: bring underwear options. This is only, of course, if you’ll be doing several changes. Bandeau bra, triangle bra, strapless bra, nude thong… you get the picture.
- Clear your schedule. If your is a gig with a major brand, don’t try to schedule anything else the day of your shoot. Bring your laptop, charger, a book or magazine, get some work done, and be prepared to hang out all day. If your gig is one you set up yourself, still, clear your day. No matter how small or “not a big deal” a shoot may be, you don’t want to be frazzled and rushed from trying to accomplish unrelated tasks in your spare time. You want to be present and focused so that your photos come out perfectly.
- Do your research. Whether the client is you, or a major brand, or it’s just a collaboration with a crew of creatives, take the time to understand and anticipate what might be expected of you. Is the client’s audience young girls aged 12 – 16? Don’t waste your time practicing sultry looks and extreme poses that belong in Harper’s Bazaar. Is this purely for your own portfolio? Do a little blog and IG stalking of accounts that share the same audience as you. And then plan a look and feel that’s totally different than theirs. Is this a collaboration between a makeup artist, photographer, and/or wardrobe stylist? Get on an email chain and make sure makes and shares a mood board. You’ll bring your A Game.
Whether it be for stills or video, arriving fully prepped and ready-to-go for a shoot will impress the photographer and/or crew, reinforce your professionalism, strengthen your reputation, and possibly even lead to more front-of-camera work. It is so important to make sure that no one regrets having worked with you. This doesn’t mean you have to people-please. It is just as simple as making your mark as trustworthy talent in a space where many are clueless flakes. You’ll stand out.