My First Model Photo Shoot

Shooting a model is considered a staple for many, if not most, photographers. Models are photographed for portraits, advertising, stock, etc. Most of us, especially when starting out, use family and friends as our models. It’s a great way to gain experience and practice. But, at some point, you may want to shoot someone with modeling experience. I decided to have my first model photo shoot because I wanted to add more people photos to my portfolio. After having my first model photo shoot, I’ve learned a lot that I can share with you guys. Here are some tips on finding and shooting a model.

Finding a Model

Finding a model for your first model photo shoot is easier than you might think. You can hire one, obviously. But, when you’re just starting out, you may not have a lot of resources to hire a model. But, there’s a solution to that, and it works well for both you and the model.

Look for models that are just starting out. For them, there is something that they need more than money. Photos.

In order for models to get paying work, they have to be able to show work they’ve done in the past. In other words, they need a strong portfolio. Sound familiar? It should. Because you, as a photographer, also need a strong portfolio to show if you plan on getting paying jobs. So, by finding a model that is building their portfolio, you can offer a trade-for-prints deal, or TFP for short. Even though it’s called trade-for-prints, you don’t actually have to provide prints, unless that’s part of the deal you make. Many just provide the photos to the model on a DVD.

For my first model photo shoot, this worked out perfectly. I went on Craigslist and checked under the “talent” section. I was actually looking for models I could offer a TFP deal to, but I didn’t have to. There was an ad posted by a model that was looking for a photographer to do a TFP deal! I answered the ad, and after a few emails discussing specifics, we had a date and time set up for the shoot.

Directing the Model

It’s a little awkward if you think about it. You get to the location and you’re about to start shooting photos of a person that you don’t know. You, as the photographer, are responsible for directing the model and getting the best shots you can, both for you and your model. There will be lots of things racing through your head, hoping you’re getting the job done right. But remember, if you appear nervous or tense, it will make your model nervous and tense. If that happens, the photos are going to suffer.

The best thing to do is just take a little time at first to talk. My model (Chrissy) brought a friend with her (Ben), which helped a lot. By being there, he helped her with any nerves she may have had. (He also helped me with my equipment. He carried my camera bag and tripod. Ben, if you’re reading this, you rock! LOL!)

Take a few test shots just to get some shots in the bag, so to speak. This does wonders for helping everyone relax and really get loosened up. Once your model feels comfortable, they’re able to do what they do. Chrissy made things so easy. That’s one of the biggest differences between shooting friends and family and shooting someone with modeling experience. Models know how to pose and give you a range of emotion. But, they also know how to take direction. Don’t rely on them alone. The model is posing, but they are relying on you, as the photographer, to be their eyes. They can’t see what the shot looks like. Check your viewfinder. Look for ways to improve. After your model has given you several poses, give them some direction on a few more.

Also, don’t be afraid to try things. If you’re shooting digital, shots don’t cost you anything but memory space. There were several shots I took where I said out loud, “I’m not sure if this will work, but let’s try it.” Sometimes it didn’t work. But, there were a few times it worked great! So, don’t be afraid to try things. Especially if it’s your first model photo shoot.

Know Your Camera

When working with a model, you don’t want to waste time. That doesn’t mean you need to rush. Take your time and do a good job. But, you don’t want to be playing with your camera, trying to get it to do something you aren’t sure how to do. Have an idea in your head of how you want to shoot the model. Are the shots going to be portraits? Plan on shooting with a big aperture to get soft backgrounds. Are the shots going to be more action oriented, like sports or dance? Plan on shooting with a high enough shutter speed to catch the action. You need to have in mind the kind of shots you’re going to take so you aren’t wasting time trying different settings. This doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with different shots and settings. Just have those ideas in mind so you can quickly set up and shoot.

By knowing the kind of shots you’re going to take, you’ll know what you need to have with you. For this photo shoot, I knew it would be bright, especially knowing the time of day we would start shooting. So, I made sure I had my lens shade with me. As it turns out, I didn’t need it. But, it’s better to have something you don’t need, than to need something you don’t have.

Know Your Location

For my first model photo shoot, we went to the beach. Dauphin Island, Alabama has a great beach with several locations to take advantage of. I really like the dock there. It’s kind of weird because it doesn’t go out far enough to reach the water. I’m not sure what the dock was meant for if it doesn’t reach the water, but I know it’s great for taking photos! You can shoot on the top of the dock. On top, there are several places in wide open sun, as well as covered areas for shade. There are steps you can shoot on that take you to the bottom of the dock. At the bottom, you can go under the dock and get some great shots using the shade and the pillars.

The point is, I knew my location. I had been there before, and I already had shots in my mind that I wanted to get. Nothing wastes more time than endlessly walking around a location, trying to find a good place to shoot. So, have your location in mind. I recommend getting there 30 minutes early so you can look around and get some more ideas of the shots you can take.

Some other important things to keep in mind about location are the conditions. You probably won’t be able to plan for this until the day of the shoot. Check the weather to have an idea of what you’ll be shooting in. You can only plan this so much. My first model photo shoot was in bright sun, and we started shooting at 2:00 pm. Not the best time to shoot. The lighting is very harsh. But, you can’t always control when you shoot. You’ll have to shoot when your model can. So, you need to have in mind ways to shoot around the weather and lighting conditions.

One thing that did catch me off guard was the wind. It was incredibly windy during the shoot. There were some shots that the wind worked to our advantage though.

Take Lots of Shots

You want to take lots of shots. Especially if it’s your first model photo shoot. This gives you a lot of photos to pick through when done. You never know when you might snap a photo that captures the perfect expression or glance. When going through the photos later, you’ll have to decide which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of. By shooting many photos, you’ll have several that are very similar that you can select the best from. For example, the model would give me a certain pose, and I would snap 3 or 4 photos in a quick burst. Each of the photos would be slightly different. These subtle changes make a huge difference in selecting the best photos.

Very Rewarding

My first model photo shoot was a very positive and rewarding experience. It helped me get a feel for what shooting a model on location is like. It helped me understand how important communication between the photographer and model is. It gave me an idea of what kind of work is involved after the shoot. Shooting photos is only part of it. You have to go through the hundreds of shots and try to narrow them down to the ones you want to keep.

On this particular shoot, I shot around 350 photos in a 2-hour span. I narrowed them down to what I felt were the top 50 shots. I made sure there was a variety of photos that both the model and I could use in our portfolios. Another reason to narrow them down is because you don’t want to have to post process 350 photos in Photoshop! Don’t waste time editing photos you aren’t going to keep. Select the best ones and go from there. Dump the rest. Remember, the model will be showing your work in their portfolio. Don’t give them subpar images. It reflects on you! Only give them your best work to show.

On the DVD I gave to the model, I had a folder with my top 50 shots in high res. These are the files Chrissy can use to make prints from if she chooses to. I also included a “Copyright Release Form” that gives her the right to print the photos for personal, non-commercial use. This is required because some places won’t allow the model to print the shots without signed approval from the photographer. I also included a folder of the 50 photos in low res form. These are optimized for online use on places like Facebook. On the low res photos, I also included a small watermark in the bottom right-hand corner of each photo. This watermark has my website address. So, when the model posts the photos online, I get a little free advertising. If you do this, make sure the watermark is readable, but not intrusive.

One of the greatest rewards was seeing Chrissy light up when she saw the photos for the first time. I met her and Ben at a bookstore and we looked at the photos on her laptop. She was smiling ear to ear and kept saying how happy she was with the photos. It’s a great feeling when you collaborate with a model on a photo shoot, deliver the photos, and walk away knowing that the model was beyond satisfied with your work. It builds your confidence as a photographer.

So I can say that my first model photo shoot was a very positive experience. Follow these tips, and yours can be too!

Model Photo Shoot – Tips for Beginners

Start Your Modeling Career with Pictures

Because the world of modeling has opened up and more American women are finding their way into the world of glamour and fashion, it is important to understand how to get your start.

Getting a Photo Session

A few steps are needed for the first model photo shoot and to begin the new career. As a beginner, your focus needs to be on practice and getting the first shoot under your belt. Once this is done, the next steps will fall into place.

First Time Beginners

For a girl brand new to modeling, getting through the first shoot can be more difficult than it seems. Typically, beginners are much more nervous than necessary. One main reason is not being prepared or knowing what to expect during the time in front of the photographers camera.

How to Prepare

When preparing for the model photo shoot, you will want to practice poses with various outfits to give you the ability to stand, sit or lie in various positions without feeling uncomfortable. Look through fashion or glamour magazines to see how the professionals look natural and fluid in their posing and expressions.


The idea is that a stationary pose often needs to look as if it were in motion. Many shots are taken as you move from one dramatic position to the next, often over exaggerating the pose positions for effect. After you practice for a while in the mirror (not just an hour or two), schedule a shoot with a photographer you are comfortable with and start getting your portfolio together.

The Must-have Picture

Along with the portfolio, you will want to be able to pick an excellent head shot. This photo is preferred by many agencies as clear, shot outdoors, with little or no makeup, and good lighting. A professional photographer should easily be able to accomplish this look for you and guide you to the right expression. Work on other pose ideas also to round out your portfolio with a variety of pictures from your model photo shoot to put in your book.

Selecting the Best Pictures and Comp Cards

Once your model photo shoot is complete, you will want to select the photos you are going to use for the portfolio. First, as stated above, find the best head shot so you can put together a comp or composite card.

The main photo will be the full size of one side of the card. On the front (with the head shot), you display your name in bold letters. On the back, you may want to have additional information including your physical statistics (including bust, waist and hip measurements) and other smaller photographs in poses ranging from full length to 3/4 to close up images as examples of your work. This will be your professional business card.

Turning Your Dream Into a Working Model

Having gone from aspiring to be a model to this point, you have stepped into the world of professional modeling. As you become more comfortable and develop your talent, you will find that confidence goes a long ways to growing your career.

So, don’t take your first model photo shoot for granted. Get it right and you’ll be ahead of 80% of the females getting started. Yes, it’s work but, when you walk past the billboard with your photo on it, you’ll find it’s well worth the trouble.

Preparing For Your First Glamour Photo Shoot

The Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot Is a Must

The very feel of finding that one for whom you are made and deciding to tie the knot with them is a big decision. This decision is indeed thrilling, stirring and extra special for every couple. This feel is to be celebrated in all the possible ways it can be. Capturing these moments of the pre-wedding days in a shoot and registering them in an album is the most beautiful way to capture these memories for a lifetime. There are a number of professionals that offer this. If you have ever seen a wedding photo, then you must have seen the elegance and the poise. This is because of the very charm of the couple and the photographer’s skills. So if you are a Couple, then here are the ways in which you can make your pre-wedding shoot memorable.

1. Finding the right person for the shoot:

Hiring the right individual or the right professional is a must as this makes the amount that you have invested in the project a success. Ensuring that the photographer is capable of taking excellent pictures will make sure that the moments will be captured with all the right focus and light considerations. Go through the catalogs and the websites of the recommended professionals before zeroing in on one.

2. Finding the right places:

A list of all those places where the shoot has to be done should be made. This list should be the guiding itinerary of the shoot. A perfect photo shoot will involve all the places where the couple met, they proposed and other picturesque places in the city or abroad.

3. Finding the right weather:

The weather must be dealt with in the proper way. A proper timing for conducting the shoot should be decided so that the background that is naturally nature should be at its best. Even the environment of indoor shoot should be arranged well before time to avoid problems.

4. Finding the right clothes:

The right type of clothing is what should be the focus of the couple. Pre-wedding photo shoots look best when the attire of the boy and girl is delicate and simple. An elegant photo shoot is what suits the couples. They like such photo shoots. Photo shoots need proper dress up and shopping for the same should be done in advance in consultation with the photographer.

5. Finding the compatibility:

In the end, it is not the technical things or the things like a dress or the places; it is the magic between the two of the persons that count. The love should be seen from the very beginning of the poses that the couple gives to each other. Being natural and not trying to be posing is the key to a photo shoot that can increase the bond sharing between the couples and leave them even more trustworthy and lovable at the end of the photo shoot. The poses will flow out naturally if the compatibility between the two is well-maintained. It is a reason to celebrate.