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Things to think about before a photo shoot

  • Freya Hill

Knowledge is everything, so the more you know about a modelling job you’ve been hired for before turning up, the better. Below we’ve outlined a few questions you might want to ask yourself to help make the most of your modelling experience.

Who am I modelling for?
This is more than likely to be a photographer or a brand. By finding out from your agent who you are working with, you will be able to do a bit of background research to help you get your head around their style and to get a basic understanding of what they’ll be looking for from you.

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What do they sell or promote?
By finding this out you can make a good guess about what sort of modelling you’ll be doing. If you’re going to be working with a clothes brand, you’ll probably be asked to do catalogue style posing that shows off an item really clearly. If you’re working with a healthcare brand, the chances are you’ll be asked to work with a product. This will probably mean using it to show customers how to work it themselves. (Don’t worry, the professionals will show you what to do first.)


Who are their target audience?
Finding this out is really helpful. It helps you gage what sort of approach you need to take to the shoot. If you’re modelling for a brand that sell to an older generation, desired poses will undoubtedly be classical and traditional. If you’re modelling for a brand or photographer whose target audience includes young people, you will probably be encouraged to playfully pose to create quirky and cool looking images. Turning up with no idea of a brand’s target audience will seem a little unprofessional so being one step ahead of the game will ultimately work in your favour.


What are the brand/photographer’s goals?
Are you being employed to sell a product or are you being employed to show how a product works? Or, is the photo shoot purely conceptual, thus you’re being photographed to get people thinking rather than buying? This will be explained at the casting or on the day of your photo shoot (so don’t panic if you have no idea before you turn up) but if it’s information you can get your hands on before the big day, perfect.


Are they a conceptual or literal brand/photographer?
Conceptual, if you’ve not heard of the term, relates to ideas that are creatively inspired rather than being very traditionally approached. For example, a photographer may be inspired by Henry VIII but instead of dressing a male model up to quite obviously act as the King, the photographer might employ eight very modern women to represent his wives. It’s about intelligent scene setting. This type of modelling tends to happen in the editorial or high fashion world. Literal photographs are far more popular in catalogue, commercial, fitness and glamour modelling. These photographs are not designed to be clever, they are designed to show off a product or service in a very matter of fact fashion. By understanding the approach that the brand/photographer is taking you will be able to alter your poses accordingly.

That may feel like a lot to take in but after time you will begin to start asking these questions quite naturally. Remember, you do not have to find the answers out so don’t stress yourself out worrying about them, they’re just useful things to do a little bit of research on if you can. A brand’s website, Facebook or Twitter page are all really good places to find out information if your agent hasn’t been able to tell you, alternatively, if all else fails, just have a good chat with the photographer or creative director on the day of your shoot. They’ll probably set ten minutes aside at the start (or at the casting) to explain their concepts and ideas.

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Posted by Freya Hill

Freya is been writing for many years on fashion and modelling. Her hands are a bit too wrinkly for a 23 year old and she has worked with MTV, New Look and Vauxhall Fashion Scout.