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Step 1 - Practice!

Spend a lot of time in front of the mirror. Try different poses; different facial expressions. Flip through magazines to see which poses you like and try them. Memorize successful poses and facial expressions; make sure you can quickly "recall" them without thinking. Your muscles should memorize it, not only your brain! It is like walking, you don't think how to move your legs, it just happens. It is in your muscle memory. Make sure you know how to make an attractive smile; no gums, no squinting. You should know how to make several common facial expressions and back it up with your body language. Do it when you are alone, turn off your TV or music. Yes, turn it off! Do not try all poses in one day; one at the time is much better. Repeat previous achievements at the end of every mirror practice. Practice with different outfits, not all poses can be used in every situation.

Skin

  • Remove hair from under arms, legs, and bikini line (if needed) prior to photo session.
  • Stay out of the sun. Do not suntan two weeks before the shoot. Your skin may dry out, turn red, become uneven or irritated. If you absolutely cannot live without a beach, use as much sun screen as possible.
  • Do not experiment with new skin products before the shoot. It can cause skin irritation, discoloration or allergic reaction, effectively ruining the photo shoot.

Nails

  • Fingernails should be moderate length and well manicured.
  • Avoid vibrant or dark colors. Use light neutral color manicure for fingernails and toenails.

Hair

  • Make sure your hair is healthy, no discolored roots and the style and color are flattering to your face. Show up with your hair clean and camera ready (no damaged ends/hair.) Avoid making pony tail when going to a photo shoot. It leaves a mark on your hair.
  • Do not experiment with new hair styles and colors before the shoot; it may not work as expected.
  • Do not trim your hair within a week before the photo shoot. Freshly trimmed hair need at least a few days to accommodate and have tendency to stick in all directions.

Eyes

  • Use a lash groomer to smooth brows into place for a defined shape and to prepare before tweezing, trimming or applying makeup. Tweeze brows. Trim brows if needed.
  • Get plenty of sleep to avoid puffy eyes. No amount of makeup can fix this.
  • Use Visine if necessary to minimize the appearance of blood vessels. Consult with your family doctor before using it!

Packing up - Model's kit

Here are some items you may want to add to your model's bag. Not all items are required, but it is useful to have a reference. You may think of other items not listed here. Bring anything you find useful.

  • Hair brush
  • Hair bands, pins, clips
  • Eye liner
  • Matt finish/powder
  • Makeup remover
  • Small mirror
  • Concealer in flesh tones
  • Loose transparent face powder
  • Lip pencil (nude or skin color)
  • Lipsticks and lip pencils
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Travel size nail kit
  • Cotton balls and cotton swabs
  • Tweezers
  • Hair spray
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Moisturizer
  • Hair dryer

Outfits

  • Your outfits must have a perfect fit. Outfits that are too small or too big are equally bad. All outfits should be clean, ironed, and look new.
  • Too tight outfits will show everything you may want to hide; too baggy outfits will add size and make you look heavier.
  • I always recommend women to look like women and men look like men. Avoid "unisex" style. Jeans is probably the worst item you can pack on a photo shoot.
  • How one can tell if the outfit is good? It is easy. If people see you and say "you look great", it is a good candidate for a shoot. If people say "this dress is cool", leave it at home.
  • Avoid outfits with busy patterns, stripes, flowers, signs, logos, etc. No trendy or fashion oriented outfits. It is better to use 2-3 matching solid colors. Neutral colors, such as black, grey and white can compliment any other color. If you are uncertain about the style, stay classic, it always works. That being said, ALWAYS bring whatever outfits were agreed upon for the shoot.

Wardrobe

Always bring strapless bra in skin/nude color with you!

  • Blouses
  • Dresses
  • Business suit
  • Skirts
  • T-shirts / Tank tops
  • Tights in various colors

Accessories

Along with each outfit, try to bring accessories which will accent or match the outfit. I will typically have accessories available also. Keep accessories simple.

  • Earrings
  • Bracelets
  • Gloves
  • Necklaces
  • Bags
  • Hats
  • Veils
  • Scarves
  • Any cool accessories you may have

Shoes

There is a saying: "every model should own a pair of black stilettos", always have them on a shoot, they will match most outfits.Make sure the soles of your shoes are clean or you will leave foot prints on the photographic background. Remove stickers / price tags from the soles of your shoes.

Shoes must match or accent the outfit.

  • High heels
  • Dress shoes
  • Stilettos
  • Boots or high heeled boots
  • Open toed
  • Closed toed

Remove stickers from the soles of your shoes. You can use nail polish remover to remove stubborn stickers (use it on the soles only!).

Clogs, uggs, flip-flops, jelly flats, slinky flats hold the title of the ugliest footwear, leave them at home.

Photo shoot (timeline)

72 hours before the shoot

  • Confirm the shoot! Call, SMS or e-mail me! Whether we agreed on everything long ago or just a day before, let me know your plans have not changed and you are feeling well.
  • Make sure all your questions are answered. Verify where you need to be, at what time and how to get there on time. Make a check list of items you are planning to bring to the shoot. 
  • If possible, e-mail me some images or a brief description of outfits and accessories you are planning to bring in.
  • If you haven't done so already, send me with your mobile phone number. I may need to contact you in case of unexpected changes.

48 hours before the shoot

  • Use light neutral color manicure. No red or black nails, please, they don't work with most outfits and make-ups and draw too much attention to hands and/or feet.
  • It is the right moment to make your nails done. Make sure your nails are good for close-up images.
  • Avoid greasy, spicy and salty food. Avoid alcohol. Drink plenty of water and have a good night's sleep.

24 hours before the shoot

  • Wash your hair
  • Make sure all outfits and accessories are ironed and properly packed. Pack outfits carefully to avoid wrinkles on clothes.
  • Tweeze eyebrows and the area between eyebrows. Be careful not to over tweeze.
  • Use oil and toothbrush on lips to exfoliate and top with Vaseline the night before the shoot. Put Vaseline on hands, feet, knees and elbows (put cotton socks/gloves on feet/hands overnight to soak in) to soften the skin and minimize wrinkles.
  • Avoid greasy, spicy and salty food. Avoid alcohol. Drink plenty of water and have a good night's sleep.
  • Charge your mobile phone and make sure you have my phone number recorded.

The day of the shoot

  • No alcohol, if I notice alcohol or other "stimulants" use, I will cancel the photo shoot without the possibility to re-schedule.
  • Relax. Take more time than usual to get ready. Moisturize your skin.
  • Eat a light meal before you leave. Take a bottle of water and some light snacks to the photo shoot, especially if the shoot is outdoors or on location. I will have light snacks available.
  • Arrive on time. If late, contact me and let me know your estimated time of arrival. If you arrive with significant delay, the shoot may be shortened as well and the number of final images may be reduced.

Photo shoot (during the session)

Ideas

  • Models are encouraged to share their ideas any time before or during the photo shoot. However, do not send me images you found elsewhere and asking to do "just like that". Although tear sheets can be used to explain your ideas, please, do not ask to copy somebody else's work. I find it practical if a model describes his/her idea in words, rather than images.
  • My shooting style:
  • - I tend to "go with the flow". I usually give a suggestion and follow model's performance. I love trying new things, experimenting with different angles. If something doesn't work, it can be deleted right on the spot. I do not have a predefined recipe for all shoots. With every shoot I change my style slightly; I even interact differently with different models, based on my personal observation of the model as a person.
  • - I never demand models to do something they are not comfortable with. I never touch models. I explain or show my ideas on myself. Occasionally I may need to give a model some help fixing his/her pose or hair, if model's own attempts fail. In this case I ask the model for permission first.

Posing

  • Relax and flow naturally. I give suggestions during a photo shoot and correct obvious mistakes. However, do not expect me to pose you, like a mannequin in a shop window. Practice before the shoot, be natural, and keep moving. Photo shoot is a collaborative process and if I don't get any help from the model, I can only do so much.

Photo shoot duration

  • On average, a photo shoot with me takes anywhere from 1-3 hours. I do not look at the clock during photo sessions. I tend to shoot until I feel I have enough material for processing and as long as the model and I have ideas