By Jenni Sellan

As a fashion model your role is fundamental in the process of bringing creative vision to life and you have been intentionally selected to do so. This is true in every aspect of the career path you have chosen and of course the photo shoot is no exception.

I am a firm believer in building great relationships with your industry peers as it makes the work all the more rewarding, and as a fashion model, bringing your genuine best will contribute to more bookings, career longevity and a reputation gained for all the right reasons.
As a model there is also a sense of having to be ‘on’ all the time, so to help you bring your best without exhausting yourself, I have teamed up with one of the first friends I made in the industry, Australian based fashion and Beauty photographer Dave Blake, who has generously shared his top industry tips on photo shoot preparation, bringing your best performance on the day and creating an amazing lasting impression.

Before the shoot   – ‘you’re on before you’re on’

1. Find a grounding routine. 

Think sleep, hydration, movement and meditation

Dedicating yourself to a full time career in the creative industry can be physically and emotionally exhausting so maintaining great energy levels is an important and critical part of creating amazing content.  
When you are in it for the long haul, finding what works to keep you charged is essential.
Drink lots of water, create space and time to relax, meditate or pray, whatever works for you; stay grateful and keep yourself moving; go for a walk, use the gym in your hotel or create a routine you can do in the smallest of spaces (Yoga or Pilates are great when you are constantly on the move).
Regardless of the ‘how’, movement is important, even if it looks like dancing on your own, or a dip in the ocean when on location at the beach, and whenever you can eat clean! Lots of raw fruit and vegies will give you glowing skin and boundless energy and the odd dose of (good) caffeine wont’ go astray!

2. The Food Factor

Increase energy. Eliminate bloating.

Free food and drinks might seem like you’re living the dream, but being on set can be hit and miss in terms of what food is supplied and there’s nothing worse than eating something that causes you to bloat or makes you sleepy. It just throws you off your game.
Bring plenty of water and pack some snacks that you know work for your mind and body. Essentially, bring the food you can trust. A good selection of nuts and low sugar fruit is a great place to start

3. Familiarise yourself with the call sheet

Get personal. Build rapport. Create relationships

The ‘(casting) call sheet’ is the industry term for the piece of paper that provides you with all the important detail; the location, individual members of the team including the client, photographer, art director, stylist, and hair and make up artists etc.
It’s good practice to do a little research prior to the shoot. If you have not worked with them before, take the time to learn something about them. Look at their previous work, try and remember people’s names and use them when you are working together as it helps to build rapport.
These are the people who are invested into making you look and feel great, so paying attention to the details and offering genuine compliments will go a long way toward creating solid professional relationships. It can be as simple as “ I love this piece of work” or I felt amazing today’. Being genuine is key, nothing less.

4. Cleansed On Arrival

Face Clean & Hair ‘One Day’ Washed

Arriving shoot ready makes everyone happy!
Start with ‘Face Clean’; the industry term for no makeup. When you have a long day of shooting and hair and makeup, you want to minimize the amount of time spent on prepping and prodding and maximize the amount of time that the hair and make up artists have to do the ‘real’ work.
Practically speaking, if you come all ‘done up’, the makeup artist will only have to undo you and your hair is more easily styled when it’s been washed 24 hours before the shoot.
You’ve been cast and you’ve landed the job. Just roll on in as fresh as a daisy and let the team do what they do best. Create magic.

5. Wear Loose Clothing

Spray tan and photoshoot outfit…same thing

Five words that will make any photographer (and other creative professionals) cringe “We can just Photoshop it”.

The photographer’s work is not done after everyone else has packed up and gone home. there is a significant amount of postproduction work still to be done, and wherever you can help minimize unnecessary editing the better and you will be remembered for it.

Avoid wearing a bra to shoots if you can to prevent strap marks on your skin and another pet hate, hair band marks on writs.  Simple Truths.

6. Be On Time (Or even better…early)

It’s not all about you (#sorrynotsorry)

When the team is running at a cost of literally thousands of dollars per hour (and in some cases tens of thousands), and photo-shoots often depend on available light, you don’t want to be the individual that plays a part in (avoidable) photo-shoot stress.

Be on time. Leave earlier than you need to avoid any unforeseen incidents on the way.
Pet hates for most photographers will include a general lack of respect for time which points to a real lack of professionalism.

7. Master Your Craft

Know your angles, learn to walk, learn to move, find your mentors.

We could dedicate a whole blog to this topic, but to share some advice given to Dave by a top working model, “Teach a model how to move, and you can change her life”.
Being 175cm+ tall, in shape and objectively pretty are still some of the inevitable physical prerequisites, but the best fashion models are versatile. They can work all kinds of angles, and tell a story. They are a Chameleon of sorts and can pull of every kind of style genre imaginable.
Remember you are a professional and honing your craft takes study, practice, mentoring, and self-reflection.
Seek out mentors including other top models and photographers who you trust and whose work you admire. There is nothing wrong with being vulnerable, and saying, “This is where I’m at… This is where I want to be”
Work hard at finding your best face and body angles and learn to walk the runway.

Stay tuned for part 2 // Bringing your best to the shoot & creating a lasting impression, and while you take 5, find Dave on Instagram @daveblakephoto or check out his website at daveblake