Your first photo shoot is the beginning of your modeling portfolio. Your portfolio is your everything in the modeling industry - it's your resume, your credit, your references, your co-signer, and your ticket to your next gig. 

Don't let this scare you. Your first photo shoot can set the tone for the rest of your modeling career, if you're prepared and ready to learn. 

Shave it Off

You would think this is common sense, but you wouldn't believe how many women have shown up to their first photo shoot with hairy armpits and legs. Not to mention, sweating with nervousness.

This is all a big NO and says that either you aren't taking your modeling career seriously, or you simply are not ready to step into the modeling career yet. I have sent girls back home for this reason alone.

Shave everything. I mean everything, bikini area, arms, knuckles, armpits, legs, everything. 

Never depend on the photographer's use of Photoshop. There are so many other details the photographer will have to correct, enhance, and remove that having to click-by-click remove the tiny hairs you neglected to shave means they will have to take precious time away from using the program to enhance your beauty and produce professional photos for your portfolio. 

Get Rid of Bloating

It would be wise to try to minimize the bloating for the photo shoot - after all, the camera already adds 10 pounds. The best way to reduce bloat, clear up and soften your skin, reduce cravings, and give your body a glow is to soak in Epsom Salt and drink lots of water. This is my personal tip, but it works! [Note: You should not perform the soak without drinking plenty of water].

The best time to soak in an Epsom Salt bath is 72 hours prior to your photo shoot, followed by two days of hitting the gym to give your body a more toned appearance for the camera. Believe me, it will make a difference, so long as you drink water as well (half of your body weight). 


  • chew gum (this causes gas, leading to bloating)
  • drink alcohol (extra calories you could do without, plus it takes away from your natural glow by giving you the appearance of being tired)


What to Wear

A model's job is typically to draw attention to what they are promoting. Forget all about that. In order for people to trust you to draw attention to their product, they have to see you can draw attention to yourself. This photo shoot is all about you. You are selling yourself, your look, and your ability. 

Don't choose any outfits that are too busy. Keep it simple. Keep it tasteful. Your portfolio should clearly display your persona, with a subtle hint of versatility. 

Call the Photographer


Usually, first time photo shoots for a model are one of the three: 

  • Upfront Payment Most photographers want payment up front. Be cautious with this, as they may take the money, take pictures, and you never receive the pictures after. Ask the photographer if they will do half of payment prior to the shoot, and half after receiving the pictures. If not, get a receipt of the transaction, and bring a paper with you stating that money is refundable upon non-delivery
  • TFCD Trade for CD, in which the photographer takes pictures of you, and gives you a CD of images for your use. These pictures should at least have a basic edit to clear up minute details. After all, this is photo shoot is to benefit both portfolios. If a photographer is not willing to do any editing on the photos, be sure to take a second look at their work - make special note of angles and lighting of the photos. You will have to pay to get your photos retouched elsewhere
  • TFP This form of trade is diminishing quickly. Photographers will trade with you, and provide you copies of your photos in print. 


More than likely, you will have to sign a model release form before you begin shooting. Ask the photographer to explain the content, and email or fax over a copy of the document for you to read for yourself as well. 


Be sure to confirm date, time, and location for the shoot 

Store the photographer's phone number in your phone, and always give a courtesy call at least 2 hours prior to the shoot for extra confirmation. Do not show up late, do not show up on time, show up EARLY. This gives you a chance to do last minute touch ups, scour the location, and see what can be used for props 


The night before your shoot, get online and look up images that match your shoot. 

For example, if you will be getting headshots, take a look at the way other models hold their head, their mouth, and practice these different postures. Think about which poses seem to accentuate your best features. 

Go in front of the mirror, play some music, and try different positions. Your body can do more than you may give it credit for. If you have a friend, do a mock session with make up, and let them take a few pictures of you. This will give you confidence, and a realistic sense of what you look like in photos

Relax. Enjoy the Experience

A photo shoot is a beautiful experience; both for the model and the photographer. Always remain professional, but it's okay to relax and enjoy the experience. Connect with the photographer because this industry is all about networking.

It would be great if you have a business card to hand over, with your professional details (website, email, phone number, etc.) 

At the end of the shoot, verify the turnaround time - length of time it will take to receive your images. Thank the photographer for their time, and let them know you are open to future business as well. 


Note: It is courtesy to link the photographer (website, facebook, etc.) when posting and promoting your images. 

Good luck!