What to Expect From a Studio Photo Shoot

Whether you’re just starting out with modelling or you’re running a campaign, you may be faced with your first photo shoot ever. Understandably, there may be some nervous jitters. After all, you don’t want to do something that might delay the photo shoot from starting.

What can you expect? How can you make the process run smoothly? These are all excellent questions to consider in order to make the shoot run efficiently and make everyone involved in the shoot happy and relaxed. This article will discuss what you can expect when undergoing a studio photo shoot.

What to Expect From a Studio Photo Shoot - Shootfactory

Finding The Right Photography Studio

Obviously, the first step in any photo shoot is finding the right photography studio for your shoot. You want professionals. More than that, however, you want experienced professionals. They’re the ones who know exactly what they’re doing. They have the eye that can make your campaign or advertisement take a life of its own. Because they’re experienced, they’re also able to predict problems that may arise and coach you through them. It’s understandable that you’re going to be nervous. One way to help yourself relax is to put yourself in experienced hands.

Once you’ve found that studio, it’s time to book an appointment. Some studios are particular about what kind of clients that they shoot. Not all of them are invite-only, however. Essentially, you should choose the studio that speaks to you. That connection is going to be what makes the transition from a good photo to a fierce photo. A representative from the studio will contact you to confirm your appointment.

Before The Photo Shoot

Sometime before the photo shoot’s appointment, you’ll likely receive a call or email from the studio. During this conversation, you’ll discuss what you want to wear if the photo shoot requires you to wear certain clothes. Otherwise, the studio might suggest certain clothes. This is typically known as the Styling Call.

It’s in this conversation that you can tell the studio exactly what you’re hoping to get out of the photo shoot. It’s a chance to tell them what the goal or message that you’re trying to send is. You may be asked to send them a few reference pictures of yourself and the specific clothes item if there is one. This is because photographers have their own style and signature. By seeing what the clothing item is, what you look like, and what your goal for the photo shoot is, a photographer who best aligns with you creatively can be aligned.

Sometimes this isn’t perfect on the first choice. In the art world, it’s a lot like dating. You first have to dip your toes in before it can be determined whether the match is going to work or not. Having that connection is vital for any successful photo shoot. A photographer should be allowed their creativity since they can often enhance the message or goal that you have in mind. However, it is just as important that the creative decision is something that you enjoy and are comfortable with.

Other times, the theme of the photo shoot may determine what photographer is used. There may be a photographer who is particularly experienced shooting that theme and has a lot of creativity. However, if they’re not available, then you may be scheduled with another photographer. If you already have a particular photographer in mind, you should inform the studio. In that way, your appointment can be made for when that photographer is available to shoot you.

Typically, clients are requested that they bring a set of clothes from home. In fact, the usual number of outfits range from 2-4. Though it’s certainly not a bad idea to bring more outfits just in case. If there’s more time, then those outfits can also be worn and shot. Studios typically have a wardrobe on hand as well. However, if the shoot is specifically for a piece of apparel, then obviously the shoot will be focused on those outfits that you are required to wear.

For those who aren’t shooting fashion, you shouldn’t let the decision of what to wear make you too nervous. Ultimately, what studios want is an outfit that reflects who you are. Sometimes this can be form-fitting and professional. Other times, it may be an entirely zany and bright outfit that reflects your personality. As long as you feel like yourself in the outfit and it allows you to show your best self, then bring it to the shoot.

What To Do The Day Before The Shoot

Obviously, those who have never been to a photo shoot before may wonder if there is anything that they need to do the day before in order to be best prepared for the shoot. There are a few tips that studios recommend. For one, it’s best that you don’t hit the tanning booth the day before. This is because the powerful rays from the booth can dry out your skin. This can make you look quite patchy on the photos. Not to mention there may be some discoloration in your photos.

You should also resist the urge to wax your eyebrows the day before. The skin might not heal in time. This could result in irritated eyebrows that are still red and splotchy for photo shoot day. If your eyebrows are a cause for concern, then you should have them taken care of a week before the shoot. Or, at the very least, three days before the shoot. While touch-ups can certainly help improve the appearance of your skin, a lot of work needs to be performed in order to fix discoloured skin and splotchy eyebrows. That work can often be read as fake in the final print. You want to appear as natural as possible.

Most studios actually suggest that you groom and wash as per your usual routine. Moisturise and cleanse as you typically would. Again, this just helps ensure that your skin doesn’t become irritated due to too much cleansing that it is unused to. Your hair, on the other hand, might need a little extra love.

For those who don’t have oily hair, you can come into the shoot having washed it the night before so long as it is clean and dry. For those with oily hair, however, it’s not a bad idea to wash it just before the photo shoot. Again, you want to make sure that it’s dry at the shoot, so try to blowdry and towel it into submission. If you suffer from frizzy and dry hair, then you should actually skip doing anything with your hair for a day. This is because frizzy and dry hair can sometimes appear too soft in photos. By allowing yourself a break, you can add a bit of oil to your hair then make it shine and look just a bit more lively and voluminous. Your hair is important because it requires the right kind of health and sheen in order for hair stylists to do their best work.

The Day Of the Photo Shoot

You should your best to get a good amount of sleep the night before your photo shoot. The last thing you want is to put more work on the makeup artist’s shoulders to fix those dark circles beneath your eyes. You should stay away from drinking anything that might stain your teeth, too. After all, you want that bright and white smile. At the studio, things are likely buzzing with activity as they prepare for your shoot. The photographer will likely be working on forging that connection with you and the theme that you want to be captured.

Some photographers even create a mood board to inspire them and help them understand your personality and desires for your shoot. It can set the mood for the shoot and keep everyone focused.

Instead of just throwing you right into the shoot, a Meet and Greet typically occur. You’ll meet with your photographer, the makeup artist, the creative director, and perhaps a few other individuals who will play key roles in your shoot. During this meeting, you’ll discuss the business side of the shoot like pricing and when you can view your photos. However, you’ll also be able to let your creativity expound. This is the moment to really let the studio know what you’re after and any ideas that you have.

Understandably, the creative director and photographer might have a few of their own. This is the time to discuss those ideas and determine what works and what might not work. Meet and Greets are the perfect time to forge that connection with those you’ll be working with. It can also be a great opportunity to become excited about your shoot rather than nervous.

The photographer might even show you their mood board or idea tree for possibilities of your shoot. You may even become inspired by some of the ideas that they display.

It’s the creative producer who is the one that keeps everyone needs and desires aligned. They’re likely your biggest ally. Their goal, specifically, is to ensure that your needs and desires are met from the studio. This can obviously vary from client to client. In some cases, it may simply be the beginning of a modelling career. You want to show the versatility and skill that you have as a model. The creative producer will help direct the creative design in a direction that achieves that desire. Sometimes you just want to take photos that help to build your confidence. Again, the creative producer will suggest ideas and touch base with you during the shoot to ensure that you feel that confidence. Finally, for those who are using the shoot to sell their items, the creative producer can ensure that the ad campaign is running strong and effectively.

Time For Makeup!

Once you’ve met with your team, you’ll be whisked away to the makeup chair. In this regard, it’s best that you come in without makeup. At most, you may want to freshen up and wash your face before the artists start their work. Fresh is always best. If you have any allergies to particular makeups, you should also inform the artists. The last thing you need is to have an allergic reaction during the middle of taking photos.

As for the actual makeup that is used, how heavy or light the makeup becomes largely depends on what your theme and desire for the shoot are. For those who want to keep their appearance natural, then clearly light makeup is going to be used. Nudes and colours that enhance your face rather than obscure it. Yet in the cases when you want to make a statement, then editorial makeup may be used.

Typically, clients want to look like the best versions of themselves. The artists make that happen. Other times, if the theme calls for it, you may have some bright or dark colors applied to your skin to make a bold statement. Perhaps it goes with the background, theme, or even your wardrobe.

When it comes to men, there is typically little makeup used. Again, nudes and other enhancers are applied to define their bone structure and boost their appearance. The only exception is when the men are being used in a shoot that requires something editorial. Or if the client, in particular, wants to go bold.

Essentially, depending on what you want from your shoot, you’ll be given a natural makeup experience or one that is creative. This can take the team from a few minutes to several minutes depending on the needs of the shoot.

Hair Styling

Once your makeup is finished, the hair stylist moves into play. In some cases, the hair stylist may work in tandem with the makeup artist to help cut down on the time that you spend in the chair. All extensions should be removed from your hair if you’re wearing any when you walk into the studio.

Like your makeup, the hairstyle that your stylist goes with will largely reflect the theme of the shoot. In most cases, your hair will be styled in such a way that enhances your natural beauty. This may be a simple straightening or it may require waves or curls to be formed in your hair. Since the stylists typically see photos of you before you walk into the door, they usually have an idea of what they want to do from the start.

For more creative shoots, the hair may take longer than the makeup. It all depends on the requirements for the shoot. Either way, you can be sure that both your makeup artist and your hair stylist will be readily at hand during the shoot to keep you looking fresh.

Wardrobe Styling

One of the most important aspects of a photo shoot is the wardrobe. You already brought in the clothes that you want to be shot wearing. Hopefully, you brought along some extra pieces and some accessories, too. It’s the wardrobe styling where the creative team all gets together to figure out what you’re going to wear. It can go quite a few different ways. Your outfit may be even broken up and switched with other pieces to create an entirely new outfit. In other cases, an accessory may be the focal point of the shoot and an outfit designed around it.

An important aspect of wardrobe styling should be considered for first-time models. Your initial shots should be done wearing simple and plain clothes. This is to ensure that the model is noticed wearing the clothes rather than the focus being on the clothes, themselves. As you start to build a portfolio, then you can start wearing more colourful and exciting pieces of clothing.

The Shoot

With the final pieces chosen, like the backdrop, it’s time for the actual shoot to begin. It’s not a bad idea to do a bit of jumping or stretching before a shoot. This can help you feel relaxed and comfortable on the set. No doubt that you’re going to feel slightly vulnerable. By running around, you can release some pent-up energy and nerves and just settle in for the shoot.

When it comes to the actual shoot, you can expect your creative team there to help you through every shot. How the shoot runs typically depends on the photographer and creative director. Some like to shoot you while you remain still and others prefer to shoot you while you move around. It all depends on the theme and what you’re going for.

Essentially, everyone is there to support you and help you through the shoot. They’re all working together to offer you that perfect photo.


Once the shoot is over, it takes some time to go through all of the photos. Once a few have been selected, you’ll be shown them. From there, you’ll select those you love for print.


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