Tips For A Better Shoot, Part II
The below article is part of a series written by Rocket partner studio and team member, Erica Dean Lamb. This article was also published in the Special Edition Viva Las Vegas issue!
Featured Model: Robby Vamps, photographed by Erica Dean Lamb and featured in the Radical July 2019 issue.
TIPS FOR A BETTER SHOOT
As a photographer who was once a model, I have experience on both sides of the camera. I’ve had successes, and I’ve learned from some mistakes as well. My goal is always to make sure that my clients get the most out of their shoots with me, and I’d love to help you get the most out of all of the shoots you have as well. There are 4 major phases to making sure you get the most bang for your buck. Last issue, we covered Planning the Shoot. This issue we’re discussing my 16 Tips for Preparing for Your Shoot, and in future issues I’ll touch on Making the Most of Your Time at the Shoot, and Post-Shoot Considerations.
PART 2 - 16 TIPS FOR PREPARING FOR YOUR SHOOT
All experienced models have their own personal week-of and day-of preparation rituals, but these are mine, developed over 7 years as a model. I hope some of these tips help you prepare for your next photography experience!
- Test new products at least a week before your shoot! Don’t find out the morning of that your new foundation or eyeliner will cause an allergic reaction! If you find out the day before, your reaction may not have calmed before the shoot.
- Shave the day before. Shaving on the morning of could leave you with razor burn or dry skin. If you’re showing your feet, check to see if you have hair on your toes and if you do, shave them as well. If you’re doing a sexier look, make sure your bikini line is shaved as well! If you wax instead of shaving, waxing should be done several days in advance before the shoot to give your skin time to calm.
- Put your entire outfit(s) together at least the day before the shoot, including all props and accessories, so that you aren’t rushing around and likely to forget something on the day of the shoot. If any of your outfits are wrinkly, iron! Don’t wait for the morning of the shoot to iron!
- When going barefoot or wearing sandals, take some time to pamper your feet, even if you plan to wear stockings. You don’t have to get a pedicure, but you should always either get a pedicure a day or two before the shoot, or spend some quality time on your feet with a pumice stone, nail clippers and a good moisturizer. I spend more time editing feet than you’d ever imagine.
- Take a shower or bath the morning of the shoot, and then moisturize! As soon as you step out of the shower or bath, moisturize well, before your skin dries out. Moisturized skin really does look better on camera. Bring your moisturizer/skin lotion with you so that you can reapply if your skin dries out. I recommend something without a scent, especially if you’ll be outdoors. You never know what scents may attract mosquitos, bees or other outdoor pests! Scented lotions also tend to be more likely to cause skin irritation.
- Get ready naked or in a dressing-gown/robe, unless you’re getting ready on location with a makeup artist and/or hair stylist. If you are getting ready on location, wear loose clothing with a button-up top. This ensures that any fallout from your makeup won’t ruin your look, and you can easily take the top off without taking some of the hair-do and makeup with it!
- If you’re shooting outdoors, be sure to apply sunscreen once the moisturizer has set/soaked in. Even if you aren’t a pale girl like me, it’s likely that you will get some sun, and once your clothing moves or you have a wardrobe change, those lines will show. For the pale girls, I highly recommend EltaMD UV Sport SPF 50. They aren’t paying me to say this, I swear. This sunscreen was recommended to me by my dermatologist after a rather horrific sunburn on my legs due to using inferior products. I have never gotten more than a light pink using this sunscreen, even after an entire day at the theme parks.
- In warmer weather, primer can mean the difference between having a photo-ready face, or having a slick mess on your face. Invest in a good primer that really works for you. I use a mattifying primer, and it does make a difference!
- Foundation should be applied not only on your face, but also down your neck, your chest and cleavage, even if your planned outfit covers these areas. If you hire a makeup artist, be sure that the fee covers having the makeup applied in this manner.
- Foundation for a shoot should be full coverage. Light coverage makeup means that you’ll look like you aren’t wearing any in the images, meaning it won’t be hiding any blemishes or discolorations you think it should.
- Your makeup should match your skin tone. Do not try to darken or lighten your skin with your makeup. It looks downright weird. I know all of the makeup tutorials by the drag queens involve massive skin tone changes and the finished look is absolutely fabulous, but I’m assuming you aren’t a drag queen. Trust me on this – it won’t work for you unless you’re trying to look like a drag queen.
- If you’re hiring a makeup artist, bring your own moisturizer, foundation and primer. Everyone’s skin is different, and what works for one lady may not work for another. I’m a pale girl in Florida, so I’m pretty familiar with makeup artists not having my particular shade of pale, and I’ve got really sensitive skin that may react to products that almost everyone else can use. It’s better to be prepared than have makeup that doesn’t match your skin tone, or to have a reaction to unfamiliar products that will ruin the shoot. And don’t assume the makeup artist is using the right color! Make sure she knows that you brought your foundation in your unique shade so that she doesn’t just use the “closest thing” that might not be close at all.
- If you’re working with a makeup artist and/or hair stylist, bring mints. Gum is generally difficult to work around and should NEVER be chewed during the shoot, but mints will make you far more comfortable when you have another person in your face. Also, you can share them with the person who’s in your face and breathing on you!
- Some ladies like to have their makeup match the colors of their outfits. If you are one of those ladies, be sure to have enough time that you can change your eyeshadow/lipstick for each outfit, or have your outfits incorporate the same colors. If you have 1 hour to shoot and spend 30 minutes changing your look, you’re definitely not making the most of your time!
- Do not wear your outfit in the car on the way to the shoot. Again, loose clothes with a button-up shirt are your best bet. You don’t want lines from your clothes, especially if you’re doing a nude, semi-nude or lingerie look. And you really don’t want to wrinkle your outfit on the way to the shoot. I can help a little in post to knock out some wrinkles, but after a certain point, there’s not much I can do.
- Some ladies don’t like to eat the day of the shoot. You should at least have a yogurt or protein bar, though. You don’t want to pass out from low blood sugar, or have hangry face in most of your pictures.
Oh, and one last tip, though it doesn’t apply to every shoot: if you’re going to be doing a strip-tease set, do it in reverse. That’s right - start off nude and put your clothes on. You and the photographer are the only ones who will know, and it ensures that you won’t have lines from your clothing and under-clothing in the nude shots. ;-)
If you have questions on 16 Tips for Preparing for Your Shoot, please email me at EricaDeanLamb@gmail.com. Your question and my answer may be included in the Rocket Magazine blog.
You can find the full article for the prior topic, Planning the Shoot, on the Rocket Magazine blog.