Preparing for your first shoot can either be a super fun part of the process or an anxiety inducing, nerve-racking panic. Either way, there’s a load of things you can be getting on with planning in the time between booking and actually modelling for your shoot. Whilst this series is mostly to answer things I’m frequently asked about Suicide Girls, this blog will provide a helpful list for pretty much any photoshoot, especially one where you’re going to be shooting in the nude! Assuming you’ve already booked your photographer and sorted somewhere to shoot, this is a list of my top suggestions to get on your check list for a stress-free run up to finally getting your kit off on the big day:
- Plan your journey. Don’t give yourself the drama of getting lost on the tube for hours only to end up in the wrong part of London. Plan your trip, plan your route and make sure you have more than enough time to get to your location to meet your photographer. It might even be worth getting there early and finding a near-by cafe you can wind down in and take a bit of time to yourself. There’s going to be nothing worse than arriving stressed, in a bad mood and probably sweating only to be late. Your photographer will likely have allocated you a ‘slot’ for your shoot, so being late is only going to shorten that. The other benefit of planning your trip in advance is often cheaper travel!
- Get inspired. Take some time to browse some ideas of what you’re hoping/realistically likely to get from your shoot – check out your photographers portfolio for a good start! Get to know their style, hopefully their work is fairly consistent and you’re able to imagine what you’re likely to achieve with them on shoot day. If you’re shooting for Suicide Girls, make sure you look at some other SG sets on the website or their Instagram page to get a feel for the overall style they tend to go for. You can check out my portfolio, my SG portfolio or my Instagram via these links.
- Consider a theme. This can vary from a full Cosplay set to playing out a scene in your favourite book that no one will even recognise – your set idea may even just be ‘drinking a cup of tea’! Having a specific idea is not necessary, though (and, in fact, the majority of sets I do have no theme at all) but if you are new to modelling, it can really help to have a ‘storyline’ style structure as well as some props to use so you don’t feel awkward trying to make up poses! At the same time, if this is your first set for Suicide Girls it’s always good to let yourself shine so cosplay for the sake of it isn’t going to be the best explanation of who your are to those that don’t know you.
- Practice modelling. Practice shoots would be ideal but that’s not always possible. You could set your phone to timer and produce some self-shot mini sets or even just practicing your posing in the mirror will benefit you and your confidence. Get used to how your body looks in different poses and what you find most flattering – this includes your facial expressions! I always help direct my models on shoot but a little practice will stop you feeling stiff and amateur on the day. Even something as small as pointing your toes or arching your back a little can make a huge difference.
- Styling. SG love comfortable, natural looking sets, especially if this is your first. Cute dresses, lingerie and a cardigan…cosy jumpers, long socks etc are all good staple pieces! You can bring as much as you like to the shoot and most photographers will be more than happy to help you chose. When I’m planning to shoot with someone, sometimes we even discuss outfits in advance via photos of different options and make a decision together. Where you can, cut out tags so they aren’t going to stick out at any point during the shoot. Try a few things on and pay attention to how you feel, which pieces make you feel the most confident? Which flatter your body? It’s best to have a few options.
- Plan your beauty regime. If you want to have your hair, make-up, nails, waxing, anything like that done – get it booked in.
– Hair. Clean hair is always a good start. If you dye your hair, try and shoot with it at it’s best but remember to avoid staining your hands and skin before your shoot. When it comes to styling, avoid using a tonne of hairspray and I recommend you shoot without extensions so you can be your natural self! However, I always say it’s best to shoot how you feel most comfortable and confident so these are not rules.
– Make-up. This is going to depend on what you’re shooting but in regards to SG, the more natural the better! Think day-time-date make-up and don’t go too crazy with a bold lip or brow. Where possible, steer clear of fake lashes that weigh your lids down or stick-on nails as they often end up hanging off. Fake tan is generally not the best idea either – no one wants to be streaky, orange or have hands the colour of pennies in an otherwise beautiful nude shot.
– Body Hair. Put simply – anything that you want to look hairless…should be hairless. Photographers can’t easily photoshop your stubbly legs so it’s a lot easier if it’s sorted out in ‘real life’. I would recommend waxing to avoid shaving rash and speedy regrowth. However – if you want to keep it natural then that’s great. SG love all variations of what you can create ‘down there’ with or without hair.
– Nails. Do your best to keep your nails and toenails in good condition, plus your feet in general. No need to paint your nails if you don’t want to but a little bit of attention won’t go a miss – pamper yourself!
- Look after yourself. This is common sense really but in the run up to your shoot, look after yourself and your body. Try to eat well and drink plenty of water in the days running up to the shoot and do whatever you usually do to keep breakouts away. If you spend a week boozing and eating pizza and turn up to your shoot feeling knackered, bloated and moody, you’re unlikely to get your best images. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve shot plenty of hungover girls and it’s often been fine but it’s something you should plan to avoid just so you can be in tip-top condition! Most importantly…Get yourself a gigantic pizza or burger straight after the shoot!
- Relax. Try and take the day off if you can – if you’re someone that worries, you’ll appreciate the spare time to wind down and, especially if you’ve travelled for your shoot, it’s always nice to make the best of a day out!
Other posts in this series:
Some useful links: