Professional models get a lot of criticism and for lazing around and looking gorgeous for a photo shoot.
“Oh, gosh, lying around in expensive furs all day long while people drizzle champagne into your mouth and snap your photo! Gimme a break! How is THAT a job?”
But… you know what? YOU try it.
Holding a difficult pose for long, muscle-aching minutes… keeping your eyes wide open when the sun is beaming down… remembering not to scowl or blink… hitting all the right angles to flatter your figure… looking “sexy” and “inviting” without going overboard and looking like a street-walker…during a photo shoot for a magazine or online portal.
It’s NOT easy.
And if YOU have ever attempted to do a professional photo shoot for your website, your blog, your book jacket cover, or for a media appearance, you know EXACTLY how difficult it can be!
While getting ultra-comfortable in front of the camera DOES take practice, you can ensure that you’ll wind up with dramatically better photos during your website photo shoot or press kit photo shoot, just by keeping a few pointers in mind:
1. Gaze like you mean it.
Karen Kingston, a Feng Shui and style expert, has the following advice for a photo shoot:
Visualize someone in your audience. One client. One customer. One reader or fan. Imagine that you’re looking directly into their eyes. Imagine gazing at them. Decide how you want them to feel when they meet you. Gaze at the camera… like that.
THIS WORKS! I used this gazing technique when I got a set of headshots several years ago for my photo shoot.
I had multiple people say to me, “I honestly didn’t even think I needed to work with a media trainer. But there was just something about your eyes, your face… after seeing your photo, I knew I could trust you. I needed to meet you.”
Practice your gaze before your photo shoot, so that it’s easier to shift into that mode when it’s time to get in front of the camera.
During the photo shoot, look directly into the lens of the camera, as if you’re gazing into the eyes of your dream customer. Be inviting. Be encouraging. Show the love.
Draw them in.
2. Decide how your photos will be used — in advance.
Do you need a vertical, full-body shot for the homepage of your website?
A set of headshots or full or half-body shots for your media kit?
Lifestyle photos and vignettes of you in your workspace, with your products?
Photos for your speaker’s (meeting planners) packet?
Photos that will appeal to TV producers? (Think: you, onstage, with a sharp blazer and a tailored appearance).
Or photos that will appeal to yoga studio owners? (Think: you, seated in a lotus position, with crystals and an organic cotton tunic top).
All / some / none of the above?
Think carefully about where your photos are going to be used — your website, your blog, your social media profiles, other people’s websites, books, magazines — and plan out your photos accordingly BEFORE the photo shoot.
Communicate with your photographer so that they understand exactly where and how the finished photos are going to be used.
This will ensure that both of you are walking into the photo shoot with a clear plan — not just snapping willy-nilly and then “seeing what you get.”
3. Get glam — but keep it real.
You want to look gorgeous (or handsome) in your photos, of course.
You want to present the best possible image of yourself.
But don’t use your photo shoot as an opportunity to get dolled up in a way that’s completely unrealistic.
If you’re a down to earth, granola-baking mama who wears yoga pants six days out of seven — and you want to promote your organic skincare line — don’t get trussed up in a skimpy black mini dress with six-inch stiletto heels.
You might look smoking hot… but you won’t look like “you.”
Be a gorgeous version of you, not a gorgeous version of somebody else.
If a client or customer meets you in “real life,” you want them to say… “WOW. You look EXACTLY like your photo, online… except, you’re even more stunning in real life!”
Last but not least?
Reduce pre-photo shoot stress with this handy checklist:
Make sure to get / pack / have…
[ ] A good bra. (Don’t skip it! It will dramatically alter your silhouette.)
[ ] At least three outfits that make you feel like the most beautiful version of you. Avoid busy patterns and small prints for media, unless that’s your signature “look.”
[ ] A small bag of different jewelry pieces and accessories to play with. Unless you’re a zero-accessory kinda gal. Stay true to you.
[ ] A bag full of your products / books / any other items that convey what your work is all about.
[ ] Professional hair. Hint: to save some money at the salon — and still get totally pampered — head to a blow-out bar where the stylists don’t do cuts and coloring. Just styling.
[ ] Professional makeup. Tell your stylist: “I’m doing a photo shoot, and I want to look like me — not somebody else.” Make sure they use matte, zero-shine products that are especially designed for photography. This is not the time for glimmery, shimmery products. They can make your skin look unpleasantly shiny on camera!
[ ] A make-up bag for touch ups, mid-shoot.
[ ] Water and snacks. Most photo shoots last two to four hours or more. Pack healthy snacks so you don’t start to droop!
[ ] A pre-photo shoot pep talk. Get a good friend to call you a few minutes before it starts for a BIG burst of encouragement.
[ ] At least three outfits that make you feel totally handsome.
[ ] A small bag of different accessories to play with. Think: ties in different colors, watches, eye glasses.
[ ] Rice paper tissues. These little squares of paper can be used to blot your face if you have a tendency to get sweaty and shiny.
[ ] A professional shave and hair styling. Go to the barbershop and indulge yourself. Why not?
[ ] Professional makeup. Wait. Breathe. Don’t freak out. You can tell your stylist: “I’m doing a photo shoot and I want to keep the make up EXTREMELY minimal and masculine.” But don’t automatically exclude mascara or beard dye (test this before the shoot for any allergic reaction)….
Your stylist can apply a tiny bit of concealer under your eyes to diminish dark circles. That might be all you need! Or, possibly a BB cream — which is basically a moisturizer with SPF and a tiny hint of coloration. It won’t look like “make up.” It will just even out your skin tone.
Every professional male model, TV personality and film actor wears a bit of makeup. It’s doesn’t have to be “feminine,” if that’s not your thing.
Just think of it as adding a healthy “tint” to your skin so that you don’t look pale, washed out or blotchy in your photos.
And if you’re really dubious about make up… just do it. Have your photographer snap a few photos. Then wash it off. Take a few more. See which ones you wind up liking better! It can’t hurt to give it a try.
[ ] Water and snacks. Definitely. Photo shoot often drag on for longer than you’d expect! Some of my favs are NuGO Slim bars, RX bars, Elyte (electrolytes) and coconut water so you can keep your energy even throughout the day.
[ ] A pre-photo shoot pep talk. Get a good friend to call you a few minutes before your photo shoot. Have them remind you, “You’re drop-dead handsome, smart and awesome. Have fun!”
Here’s to looking fantastic… attracting the best possible clients… and doing great work in the world.