How does one model?
June 2, 2014 8:52 AM   Subscribe

I will be modeling for a clothing boutique's website tomorrow afternoon. I've never done this before and haven't received very detailed instructions. What should I be thinking about to make this the best experience possible?

A clothing boutique that I love and shop at regularly asked me if I'd like to model some clothes for their website, and I agreed right away, but now that it's scheduled my lack of experience is making me nervous.

This is a small operation; they only work with a few models and it's all done in-house. These will be regular posed photos in front of a white background, nothing fancy. The only instructions I've received are to do my own makeup and to wear nude-colored underwear. Although they are aware that I'm in no way a professional, I am not sure how much instruction I'll get when the photos are being taken and how much I'll just be expected to know/improvise. (Looking at the other photos on their website there's definitely some variation in poses, whether the model is serious or smiling, etc -- so I'm guessing I'll have some choice in how I pose and that they want some personality to come through.)

I've done some cursory googling, but if anyone here has personal experience I'd love advice on:

- any prep I should do between now and then to look my best (it's tomorrow afternoon so I don't have tons of time, but I can exfoliate or drink lots of water or whatever if it will make a difference)
- things to keep in mind when posing
- makeup that will photograph well
- general logistical tips -- things to bring with me, how to take shirts on and off without messing up my makeup and hair, etc.

I am a 28-year-old woman and pretty comfortable in my body, though I don't consider myself naturally photogenic. I already know, like, and trust the people there, and I'm in no way trying to pursue modeling past this, so the stakes are low, but I hope to have it go well enough that they'll ask me back! Thanks, mefi.
posted by in a dark glassly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just off the top of my head...

I would look at a bunch of catalog sites and study the models posing without props. Since they've done it before and you haven't, someone might be instructing you on poses but if you can pull off some basic ones, then all they have to do is say, tilt your head up. Stay engaged.

Are they supplying shoes? hopefully in your size. Otherwise, bring a very new, neutral, comfortable pair. Shave your legs... leg makeup to conceal scars, bruises?

Simple hair, bring a brush and hairspray. Bring your makeup for touchups. Blotting papers? A lightweight scarf to wrap around your head so you don't smear makeup pulling off clothes over your head. A lint brush, clothes brush--they will hopefully supply that, along with safety pins, clothes pins.

I think a lot of it depends on the client and how fussy they are. It's web resolution, yeah, which covers a lot of mistakes (unless you have a retina display) but how much does the photographer/studio correct afterwards in Photoshop?

Get a lot of sleep the night before. Water/snacks will probably be supplied. Dental floss.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:41 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

If doing your makeup yourself bear in mind that you need more for photos than you do for real life. Plenty of powder and more blusher than you think you need. Bring pressed powder/blotting papers for shine. Wear a softish lip colour but bring a stronger one with you in case they want to change it up. Make sure your eyebrows are groomed and your nails are neat. Exfoliating face and body followed by a good moisturiser means your skin will reflect the light better.

For underwear try and wear a strapless bra so you don't have strap marks, bring a normal one with you in case it's needed. Same for socks - don't wear them if possible so no ankle marks.

Modelling is like acting - you're conveying a mood. So if they tell you to smile don't just smile, think of something that actually makes you smile. Likewise moody, sexy etc. Keep your shoulders back and stand tall. If you feel nervous channel someone who you think would nail it. Have fun!
posted by billiebee at 10:13 AM on June 2, 2014

*If there is any shaving that you/the client would like to have done, now's the time!

*It's best if your nude undies are a thong and the least obtrusive bra possible, because you don't know what types of clothing you'll be put in.

* Keep your nails unpainted or in a neutral color. Or maybe a classic red. Nothing crazy.

*Be 15 minutes early.

*Bring a really good book or two and a bathrobe. There's a good chance you'll be hanging out a lot.

*Bring: hair stuff including flat iron or curling iron, eyedrops because your eyes will tire from staring down the camera, a playlist that makes you want to dance around the house. If not, they might make you listen to horrible gym music.

*Bring all of the makeup you own. I know they say they want you to do your own, but yeah. In my experience, they're not going to like what you show up with. Arrive for call with foundation and mascara on, then do the rest when you're there.

* Speaking of makeup, you can't beat bronzer and highlighter to contour/sharpen your facial features. Or MAC. If you'd like to cover scars/bruises/tattoos/etc, go for Dermablend.

* If they're paying you, do the contract stuff up front. I was once "promised" $800 bucks only to take a day off of work, show up, and be handed a form saying the pay was $50. Ugh.

* You probably will be directed for posing, but get creative! It's awkward, sure, but it's more fun and you'll get better shots if you try stuff. Laugh. Play with your hands. Turn your feet in and then out. Try some ballet moves. Be the clown. I know they'd much rather have to reel you in than push you for some emotion.

* While the above is true, also remember that you're there to sell clothes. Don't obscure what the customer wants to see. The crew will LOVE you if you show off what you're wearing.

* If you hate what you're wearing, try not to let your face show it. Harder than it seems.

* Look straight at the camera unless directed otherwise.

* Once in a while, let your eyes have a breather. Close them, and when the photographer counts you down, pop them back open at the last second. It'll help you look "fresh."

That's all I can remember, for now. Good luck and have fun!
posted by functionequalsform at 10:26 AM on June 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Some of these won't be applicable, but you could always take a quick look at Tyra's tips for aspiring models. It lists a few things that help with how you pose your body.
posted by MsMolly at 10:41 AM on June 2, 2014

The hardest thing to do is the most important for a successful photograph.


Think of some happy place in your mind and go there.

You don't want to start thinking about the way you're holding your arm while you are being photographed because it will immediately feel strange and foreign and you will start stiffening it trying to hold it in awkward positions. Your arm and the rest of your body will naturally fall into it's most natural position while you are thinking about what you're going to have for dinner or what's on tv tonight or that relaxing evening at the beach resort.

If something needs to change the photographer will tell you and you can make the adjustment from your starting 'natural' pose. Make the adjustment, breathe, relax, think about anything that isn't what you should be doing with your hands.

Same thing goes for smiling. Don't think about smiling. Think about something that makes you smiel. Smile like you do when your best friend says something funny at dinner over a glass of wine.
posted by j03 at 11:42 AM on June 2, 2014

Spend some time looking at yourself in the mirror, seeing how it feels and looks when you do different movements with your body and face, holding different angles, etc. Have fun with it and remember to breathe. Be confident. When you're modeling, try to let yourself feel relaxed while also holding slight tension in your facial muscles and your body. Think about making small subtle changes to your face and body, change your gaze, searching for what feels interesting to you and what the photog responds well to (but make sure you give them time to capture shots). Mostly, pay attention and listen to the photog (or stylist or whoever is there helping direct) and you'll probably be able to build a rhythm of holding a pose, hearing the shutter click a few times and then changing it slightly, and making changes as they direct you ("tilt your face toward me" "relax your arm" etc.) Let yourself warm up to the process, loosen up and don't worry if it feels weird right at first. This sounds like a fun casual, shoot so you don't need to try anything outlandish or super dramatic, but play with it if you want! It's always fun to play at being Tyra-"fierce" just don't do ONLY that.

The tip about relaxing your face/eyes once in a while is a smart one, don't be afraid to ask for a quick break or if you want to shift or shake it out if you're feeling awkward or uncomfortable.
posted by dahliachewswell at 12:52 PM on June 2, 2014

Take a tip from Tyra Banks and Smize.
posted by vespabelle at 2:40 PM on June 2, 2014

Try to lengthen your neck by sticking your chin out. It feels weird and you might think it looks strange too, but it doesn't come across in the pictures. Before every shot say to yourself 'chin forward!' Otherwise you'll end up looking squished with chins you didn't know you had!
posted by Youremyworld at 5:32 PM on June 2, 2014

Thanks so much, everyone! your advice helped me feel more confident and relaxed, and I ended up really enjoying the experience. It went great!
posted by in a dark glassly at 6:45 AM on June 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

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