Men's Photo Shoot Prep & Model Kit

Some of this may seem like common sense, but a bit of grooming is in order before a photo shoot.  
Be sure you look your best by following the tips below!

2 Months Before the Shoot:

You will almost never have this much time to prepare so consider this your "always" list.  
Models must be in top shape at all times in terms of physique and grooming.  
These are things you should always be doing to be ready for the next opportunity.

  • Diet and exercise are a MUST!  I couldn't possibly list all the advice on how to get a killer six pack and awesome arms on this page so check out Men's Health for endless amounts of information and diet/fitness plans.  It may be also be worthwhile to visit Six Pack Now for a personalize diet and fitness plan.
  • Spend 5 minutes every day in front of the mirror.  Practice smiling, practice intense looks, practice every face you see in magazines.  Do it until you know what your face feels like in each expression so you can do it without the mirror and still nail the right expression.  Then, get naked (totally naked) and practice full body posing.  Clothes are a crutch and to really master the art of posing you must be able to do it without them.  Close the curtains!  Copy the models in magazines and find your most flattering poses, the ones that show off your assets and minimize your "flaws."  Do it until it looks natural.  You may also want to spend time modeling with props such as towels, sports equipment, etc.
  • Alcohol leads to weight gain, a tired and dull complexion, and spotty skin.  Cut back or quit.
  • Drink water!  You've heard it a hundred times but that's because it's so true.  A hydrated body has less food cravings, glowing and clear skin, faster metabolism, detoxed organs, and much, much more.  
  • If you have trouble with your skin start clearing it up now.  Everyone's skin is different so see a dermatologist or do an honest assessment of your skin and use reputable products to correct those problems.  
  • Make sure your pearly whites are white.   Rinsing your mouth with hydrogen peroxide is still one of the cheapest and most reliable ways of obtaining beautiful white teeth.

1-2 Weeks Before the Shoot:
  • If you haven't seen the Model Release form that you'll likely have to sign after the shoot, ask the photographer to send it to you so you can look it over.  If necessary, have it reviewed by an attorney.
  • Don't start using any new skincare products, it could lead to a breakout.
  • Keep out of the sun, it dries your skin and leaves tan-lines.  
  • If you want a tan, try out any self-tanning products at least two to three weeks before the shoot and make sure you know how to maintain it.  I recommend "Mystic Tan," <<click here for locations>> .  
  • Consider your wardrobe.  Remember that the focus should be on YOU, not the clothes, so don't select wild prints, bright colors, or anything too baggy or too tight.  For headshots, dark colors and textures show up best. Tips
  • Arrange to have a close friend or relative come to the shoot with you.
  • Make sure you're getting lots of sleep to avoid bags under your eyes.

2-3 Days Before the Shoot:
  • Call your photographer; confirm time, location, wardrobe, and ask any last-minute questions.  
  • Avoid greasy, spicy, and salty food.
  • Get your hair trimmed by your regular stylist if you need it.  This is not the time to try a new style! 
  • If you dye your hair, make sure your color is good and roots are not visible.  Get a touch-up done if necessary.
  • Fingernails and toenails should be trimmed square and cleaned up.  Trim any ragged cuticles but BE GENTLE!
  • Eliminate any unibrow situation and if you need additional eyebrow grooming go ahead and do it now.  Here is a good guide. 
  • "Manscaping" is critical for male models.  Browse photos and you'll notice something very consistent about male models: they don't have much hair on their bodies.  The reason?  Hair hides those gorgeous muscles you've worked SO HARD to carve out.  Makes sense, right?  Here's my advice, plus a few links to other sites that go further into detail on this issue:
    • Areas that should be hairless or nearly hairless: chest, abs, and back.  Thick hair on arms and legs should be thinned out if possible.
    • A good tool at a reasonable price is the Philips Norelco Bodygroom Shaver.  It has multiple attachments and makes manscaping a breeze.
    • If you are going to wax, do it early; at least a week prior to a shoot.  This is extremely painful and can give you a rash so consider other options as well.
    • I don't recommend shaving your body with a razor because it leads to bumps and ingrown hairs on men.
    • THIS LINK discusses the body hair issue further.  Opinions vary on this and what matters in the end is your opinion, but if you are serious about modeling then you may choose to compromise on this to meet industry standards. 
  • If you are having close-ups done or doing a makeup job, get a light facial to close the pores.  Try one of these at-home recipes.  Test-run this step several weeks prior to make sure you don't have any adverse reactions.
  • Exfoliate your face and body three or four days prior to the shoot (you'll do it again the day before the shoot).
  • Give your hair a deep-moisturizing treatment, or whip one up in the kitchen with one of these recipes.
  • Ensure you have everything you need in your model kit (see below).

Day/Night Before the Shoot:
  • For a rugged look, shave today (not tomorrow).  This also gives you the option to bring your razor and shave mid-shoot to get both clean-shaved and rugged photos.  Tell the photographer if this is your plan!
  • Exfoliate and moisturize your whole body.
  • If you are using self-tanner, do it after you exfoliate or you'll just scrub it off.  Try to do this in the morning so that any mistakes are visible by evening.  This should not be your first time using a product, only use self-tanner the day before a shoot if you are experienced with it and know it will look natural.
  • Avoid drinking any alcohol, it leaves the face puffy.
  • Remove any watches, rings, or other jewelry that could leave an impression on your skin.
  • Unless you have very oily hair, wash your hair the day before the shoot, not the day of.  Second-day hair is more manageable.  
  • Lay out your wardrobe, with shoes and accessories.  Make sure it is all clean and ironed.
  • Charge your phone and make sure the contact info for the photographer is saved in it.  Ensure you have a map and/or directions to the shoot location.  
  • Try not to schedule any activities today, just relax and rest your nerves if you are anxious about the shoot.
  • Pack your model kit
  • Confirm a meeting time and go over the plan with your friend or relative who is accompanying you.
  • Get plenty of sleep!

Day of the Shoot:
  • If the shoot is very early (sunrise), go for a light jog prior to the shoot to wake up your face.  This eliminates the tired look we see on most people first thing in the a.m.
  • Shower and apply antiperspirant.  Do not wear cologne, it attracts insects and can stain clothes.  Deodorant also stains clothing so do not apply it if you are modeling clothes that don't belong to you.
  • Don't eat very much for 2-3 hours before the shoot, you may get bloated.  Sip water and eat light.
  • Make sure you are relaxed.  I recommend doing yoga or meditation on the day of the shoot to get rid of jitters.  If you practice this routinely it can be extremely effective.
  • Don't have too much caffeine.
  • Pack all of your wardrobe (with shoes, accessories, and props) and your model kit and arrive on time.  It's so important to be punctual, especially for outdoor shoots.  Make this a priority.
  • Have fun!

Men's Model Kit

It is not necessary to bring everything listed but there will come a time when you will be glad if you did!  
This is a fairly comprehensive list, tailor it to suit your needs.  
Always bring more than you think you'll need!

  • Wardrobe
  • Shoes
  • Accessories and props (sunglasses, hats, neckties, sports equipment, etc.)
  • Undergarments appropriate for each outfit
  • Towel (bring two if you'll be getting wet at all)
  • Robe (to wear between wardrobe changes)
  • Clear mascara (to highlight the eyelashes)
  • Translucent powder
  • Baby oil (highlights muscle tone)
  • Tweezers
  • Mirror
  • Lint brush
  • Small sewing kit with scissors
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Hair brush, comb
  • Hairstyling products (spray, gel, smoothing serum)
  • Eye drops (especially for beach locations)
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Shaving kit 
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen  (especially for beach locations)
  • Insect repellent
  • Tissues, Cotton balls & Q-tips
  • Bottled water
  • Light snack (for longer shoots)
  • Pen and small notepad
  • Phone & datebook