If you are providing your own wardrobe for a photoshoot… Know that something that looks good in person, may not translate as well in photos. As a rule of thumb, simpler is better.
Test shoots are easiest to provide wardrobe for. This is just a simple portfolio shoot with not specific concept. There may be some play on lighting/androgyny and some basic conceptual ideas, but if you stray too far out of this area, the shoot becomes more complicated and the wardrobe will need to be styled. It is best to either have a designer on board, a wardrobe stylist, or, if you need, you can “shop and return.”
For the simpler shoots, you’ll want a variety of clothing from your own wardrobe. Generally, it is a good idea to provide wardrobe similar to the clothes you’d wear for Polaroids. Here are some lists to help you choose what clothes to bring and get some ideas flowing!
Each category includes some items you can bring if you’re going to play up on that specific theme/look. Some may work better for you than others. Knowing your assets and how you photograph is key.
- Any cute lingerie you have is a must
- Black, white, nude, and colored bras and underwear
- High waisted pieces and boy shorts
- Bodysuits (lacey, interesting pieces with cool cuts)
- Sheer pieces
- Think American Apparel
- Heels and/or cute/sexy socks
- Pasties (as needed)
*Tip: know your boundaries. If you’re not comfortable with a certain style or showing more than you want, say so beforehand. Also, consider if this is the route you want to go.
- Button up shirts
- Collared shirts/tops
- Men’s baggy pants/boyfriend jeans
- Oversized t-shirts
- Gender-ambiguous clothing items (non form-fitting)
- Jean jackets
- Muscle shirts/tanktops
- Oxford shoes
- Men’s shoes
*Tip: the key here is to hide your feminine side and make people wonder. Lighting plays a role here.
- Everyday wear
- Cute outfits
- Go with the seasons if you’re outside (cute scarves and jacket or light summery pieces)
*Tip: This area has a ton of options. Go with whatever you have. Go light and airy, or slightly darker and dense.
- Go for rocker/out of the norm pieces
- Look for black dresses, cool cuts, hard silhouettes
- Bring your toughest/coolest jackets
- Interesting tops
- Jeans/ripped jeans
- Pieces with spikes/leather/plastic
- Sheer pieces
- Shorts/high waisted
- Form fitting tanks
- Crop tops
- T-shirts (form fitting or baggy but it must show off your body somehow)
This is just a general outline to help guide you in the right direction for your shoot. You are most likely pulling from your own wardrobe, so use your best style judgement! Questions/additons/comments? Please write me below! I’d like for all of my blog posts to one day become an open dialogue!
Briauna Mariah (:
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your first photoshoot. However, let’s avoid the “deer-in-the-headlights” look (I’ve seen it a million times) to get something really great for your portfolio!
Many new models don’t realize what it takes to get a good image until after their first shoot. It isn’t too hard once you get the hang of it, but until you do, here are some tips to remember to get you started on the right track!
- So long as we’re talking about preparedness…. Always make sure to bring essentials! The bare minimum? Nude undergarments… and whatever they ask you to bring. Or, if you know the clothing you’ll be shooting, wear nice undergarments that will blend well. Black, white, nude are the basics. Pasties are good to have on hand, as well as a pair of heels. If you really want to impress, paint your nails a clean, neutral color, and bring some supplemental wardrobe.
- Look at magazines. Find inspiration here. What do you connect to? Look for poses, and then do them. See what works and what doesn’t. Later, you can reference what you see during your shoot and try the poses out. If it’s not working, the photographer will tell you so. Also, watch fashion shoots on youtube.
- Pose/practice in front of the mirror. Find what angles you think look best. And then take lots of selfies. This is silly-sounding, yes, but it can help. What you see in the mirror doesn’t look exactly like a photo would. Find attractive angles, poses, and faces. Make a silly face in the mirror and see what you like and don’t like. I like to make silly faces. Sometimes the shot turns out great. I’ve had photographers refuse to take a picture of my silly face. They know what’s best for that shot. They are essentially your eyes.
- Practice your pretty model hands! Hands can make a shot or break a shot. If your hand looks like the claw of no return…. it’s going to look a little awkward. If it feels awkward, it may just look awkward, too.
- Know your assets. Maybe you won’t know what your assets are until after your first shoot. That’s ok. Figure out what your most unique and wonderful features are and how to utilize them. Example: lips. Don’t do the same expression with your face/lips for every shot. Try to change it up and see what looks best. Some assets are hard to work with, because they are so unique. But when you harness their power…. POW.
- Understand who will be on the shoot. Escort or no, it’s good to require a collaborator on board (such as hair, MUA, stylist, etc.), especially when working with someone you’ve never met before. Always be cautious with who you meet and where and never be completely alone with a stranger in an uncomfortable situation. Trust your gut.
- Relax. There is a good chance you will be nervous. It happens to all of us at one point or another. It may help to meet the photographer for coffee before the day of the shoot and discuss the type of images you’re each looking for. Hopefully you will have discussed them before! Good communication helps the shoot roll along smoothly and makes everyone happy.
- Be organic. Don’t hold a pose/awkward pose for long. You want to be constantly moving, so the images look more natural and fluid. Thinking of a pose and then executing it may look more stiff than you imagined.
- Don’t think too much. This goes back to organic movement. If you think too much, it will show in your face and your body.
- How to not look like a newbie? It’s hard to say, since the experience is different for everyone. A good photographer will know how to give you proper direction. Though, with time, they shouldn’t need to. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the photos during a quick break between frames, so you know how your movement and facial expressions are translating on camera.
When in doubt… simpler is definitely better! Look at agency websites and the models there. Many of their portfolios are made up of raw, organic black and white photos. Give some attitude, show the world what you’ve got. Don’t hold back. And be you!
Briauna Mariah (:
NOTE: This post is informational for photographers nearly as much as it is for young models.
It is universal knowledge that a model needs photos of herself in her portfolio; the only way to go about this is to collaborate with different photographers. How she goes about building a model portfolio depends on a few different factors and is up to her (and her agency) to decide.
A model will mainly begin building her portfolio either by hiring a photographer or collaborating on a (free) trade shoot or test shoot. As she begins shooting and building up her reputation, she has the position to be more choosy with who she shoots with. Only then, when she has a reputable portfolio, may she ask the photographers for compensation when she is requested for a shoot. However, there are some collaborations even an experienced model won’t want to pass up.
You can automatically assume any work with a designer needs to be paid, since they are advertising an actual product. With photographers, however, it gets tricky.
Here are 10 qualities an experienced model looks for in a photographer when testing for free Continue reading “10 Qualities a Model Looks For in Photographers”
How to start your career as a fashion model…(REVISITED!)
There are several things to consider when you begin modeling. Every young girl grows up thinking she wants to be a model (well, not ALL). The fashion industry is put upon a pedestal by many and it is one TOUGH industry to break. Modeling is extremely rewarding if you are passionate, but you won’t get anywhere unless you ARE passionate and give your all (*see disclaimer below).
Girls start in the fashion industry very young, which is a very popular topic for discussion these days. Many models I know and know of, however, are very smart and not only make sure to finish high school, but they go above and beyond and attend college. I myself have completed my Associates degree. I recommend a lot of thought to be put into the decision of pursuing a start in modeling.
So. How passionate are you? Continue reading “How to Become a Fashion Model”
Previously, I discussed the first few important steps to building a stunning, top-notch modeling fashion portfolio in part one of this 3-part blog post. Now, I will continue on to telling you about building a stellar team for your portfolio test shoots and give tips on how to go about getting everything moving forward.
The key to a stop-in-your-tracks portfolio is being extremely selective. As you gain more experience, build your portfolio, and create a professional, skilled reputation, you will have more say with this. I strongly believe that you are only as good as your worst photo, so build it up!
In my opinion, your team should include at least a photographer you believe will deliver amazing photos for your portfolio, a makeup artist (MUA), and wardrobe stylist.
You want to make sure you love the people on board for a shoot to make it as successful as possible. Do they match the quality that you wish to attain? You may just have to build up from ground zero, but you’ll slowly gain the attention of more experienced individuals. It helps if everyone is going to mutually benefit from the shoot, especially if it is a free shoot (no one is monetarily benefiting). If everyone is excited for the shoot, everyone should be at their best for stunning photos. Continue reading “Building a Top-Notch Modeling Portfolio: Team Selection”
I had a friend ask me the other day for advice on building a well-rounded modeling portfolio. To share my knowledge with the World Wide Web, I have decided to blog an answer in a detailed three-part blog post. (Congrats to my gorgeous friend for getting represented with Wunder Model Management LA!!).
Before you go about building up your fashion model portfolio, or, as agencies call it, your book, you need to keep a few things in mind.
- Modeling and agency goals
- Research your ideal fashion industry, modeling agency, niche, etc.
- Inspiration. Become inspired!
- Selecting a top-notch fashion team
- Ordering, presentation, and selection for your Portfolio Continue reading “Building a Top-Notch Modeling Portfolio: Goals, Research, Inspiration”