The majority of my email comes from women and men asking questions regarding fitness modeling, photo shoots, and general information about how to model. So, I decided to put together a "How To" article about what you need to know and do for your first photo shoot.
Whether you have wanted to model for awhile and are finally getting your shot at the first shoot, or you are a competitor who knows the stage well but are just shooting for your first magazine ever, here are a few must know tips.
Let me tell you a little tip about landing your first photo shoot. Be prepared. One of my favorite quotes is from Bobby Unser, "Success is where preparation and opportunity meet." It is true. The first step to landing your photo shoot, is to prepare as if you already had one scheduled. That way, when you meet the photographer or magazine editor that likes your look, you will already be in your best shape.
This means you need to look your best whenever attending an event, have a few great pictures of yourself on hand at all times, and always have a good professional business card. Even if you have never modeled a day in your life, LOOK THE PART. If you look like a model, people will assume you are one. Eventually, someone at the right time will take notice.
So, once you have landed your first shoot, there are several things you need to know a few weeks before the actual shoot.
You need to know if, when, where, who is shooting the pictures, what specifically they are for, and how the images shot will be used. Don't come off like a jerk. Just be polite, and to the point. You won't know unless you ask. Make sure you are going to be comfortable with the terms of the agreement.
Find out beforehand just how "sexy" or "revealing" a look they are going for. If it is beyond what you are comfortable with, tell them. If they can't respect that, then don't do it. Ultimately it is an image of you at the end of the day that will be published for everyone and their brother to see. Don't ever do anything you might later regret.
Find Out Details
Once you are comfortable with the terms of the shoot, you need to know the following:
Will There Be A Makeup Artist On Hand?
Or do you need to show up at the shoot with your makeup and hair ready to shoot? Yes, you would be surprised how many times I have had to do my own makeup for a shoot. Shocked? Don't be, it is not uncommon.
If you can't do your own, go to a mall makeup counter like MAC or ALMAY. There are people more than willing to help you out, even though you may end up having to purchase some blush or whatever. Remember what I said about preparation, another way for you to prepare yourself to be a model is to take makeup classes. Learn how to make yourself beautiful. That is one more thing that may give you an edge over another equally beautiful model.
Is There A Stylist?
Or should you be bringing your own outfits? The answer to this question is easy. Even if they have a stylist on hand, bring a variety of your own clothing, and shoes. Do find out if you will be wearing workout clothing, lingerie, bikinis, or whatever.
Then bring those items, and shoes that match. You would be surprised how many times I have gone to a shoot and the stylist has one shoe missing, or brought the wrong size for me. If I hadn't been prepared, who knows what I would have ended up wearing! There is nothing worse than having to cram your foot into a high heel that is too small, then smile, model, and walk around in it all day.
How Tan Do They Want You To Be?
While this question sounds absurd, the truth is, in the bodybuilding and fitness industry, people are ridiculously tan. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. If I know I am shooting bikinis on a beach in Malibu for a fitness spread by myself, I will show up looking pretty dark.
If I know I am shooting a spread in a studio under bright studio lights with a REALLY tan bodybuilder who just got done competing and is in competition color, I have to be considerably darker.
Someone standing beside you that is much darker will only make you look lighter. How to be really tan you ask? I'll get into that later.
What To Do A Few Days Before The Shoot
Avoid anything high in Sodium that might make you retain water. Keep up the cardio, and tan. Try on all the outfits you are planning on bringing the day of the shoot. Make sure they fit, and nothing is torn. If you have to do your own makeup and hair, practice a few times.
If you are nervous about modeling, it is ok. Use the mirror as a tool to practice your poses, faces, and angles. Sometimes rehearsing in the mirror isn't a bad idea, especially if you have no previous modeling experience.
If you are not naturally able to tan well, it is a good idea one or two days before the shoot to begin layering on a self-tanner. You can use the do it yourself stuff, one of my favorites is the new mousse/foam by Olympic Tanning. The owner of the company gave me some to try at the recent Orlando Pro Show, and I absolutely loved it.
If you can't put it on yourself, or don't want to bother, another good option in the Mystic Tan. Go to and you can find a location near you. It is basically a booth you walk into, get airbrushed by the machine in a thirty second process, and you come out dark.
The Big Day
So, it is the day of the shoot. Relax, you are prepared, and will be amazing! You are in great shape, and ready to go. Remember to double check and make sure you have everything before you leave. If the shoot is all day or even more than a few hours, pack something to eat.
Anything that won't get stuck in your teeth is a good idea. I personally like to bring a salad, protein shake, or some fruit to munch on. Also bring water, just in case they don't have it.
Bring extra business cards in case you make any good connections with other potential job offers.
The Best Advice I Can Give You
Show up on time, or even a little early if you can. Models are notorious for being late and making everyone else wait. If you are on time, it will immediately give you an air of professionalism. Don't be a diva. (And this applies to GUYS and GIRLS). Yes, as a model you might get cold in the freezing ocean. You might have to roll around and get dirty in the sand. It will be ok.
Don't ask for a million breaks, one or two good snack and bathroom breaks should suffice. Be professional, nice but not flirtatious. You wouldn't believe the things I've heard models say to the photographer, or whoever. You are a professional model now, so act like one! Just remember to respect everyone you are working with. At the same time, make sure they respect you.
Don't let anyone talk down or be rude to you. If you find yourself shooting, and feel uncomfortable with something the photographer says or does, tell him. If he keeps doing it, leave. The bottom line is modeling is a profession, so the photographer should also treat it as so.
Hopefully you can take some of these tips, or all of them, and put them to good use! Good luck to you, and I hope to see you in the magazines!