As I often get asked (especially by newcomer-models) how a model should prepare for a shooting, what the „dos and don'ts" are, etc. when shooting with me, and because every photographer is a little bit different on his approach and what he likes and doesn't like, I want to write it down and sum up a little bit, what is important for me. This way I won't have to write the same stuff every time a model asks, and maybe this text helps some models (especially new ones) to prepare for a shooting.
To make this text a little bit more interesting for more people I'll go a longer way around and write it in more general terms. Maybe it is beneficial for more Models than just the ones who want to work with me.
Choice of the photographer, preliminary clarifications
It may sound a little bit weird, but there are some questions you should be asking yourself before you're actually gonna shoot with a photographer: does the photographer/his style fits you/your looks? Does his picture quality/Post-processing quality match your demands? Are you feeling comfortable shooting with him? Are you satisfied with the conversation, does he answer your questions, is he happy to hear your ideas? (depends on the shooting, I know - if the shooting-concept fixed and he's just looking for a model, your ideas will maybe not be interesting for him); Does the photographer offers to send you a model release or is he sending it if you ask? Do you know a model who has already worked with him? Do you want to bring a friend with you and is that OK for the photographer?
The point I want to make is: not every model can work with every photographer and the other way round ... and with the increasing number of photographers, the number of bad photographers increases as well (including the dubious ones ...). Many bad experiences for both sides could be avoided if the models would be checking the photographers in advance ... ;-)
Additionaly I think checking the works of the photographer (and for the photographer to check the models works) should be the least you can do.
If there is a make-up artist on set you should check with her how to prepare yourself. Most times this will be (my experiences) without any make-up, hair washed the day before the shooting and with well cared skin.
If your responsible for your own make-up, it should be fitting the shooting-idea. If there are no special requirements just apply the make-up a little bit stronger than usual (as the flash will reduce the effect a little bit), but please don't exaggerate (unless of course you want to look like the joker ...). The make-up should be the same tone as your skin (definitly not darker) and be applied evenly. Another important point is, that the eyelashes don't stick together.
Basically you should remove all hairs you don't want to see all body-parts that will be seen on the photos (legs, arms, face, ...) ... and that applies to all hair, even the fluff on the cheeks and arms which can't really be seen under normal circumstances ... (under flashlight or other special lighting you'll see them) ... and retouching hairs (especially if the hair or fluff is „dense") is lots of work...
The skinparts which will be seen on the photos should be free of pressure marks, which means you shouldn't wear clothes that cut in (skinny jeans, bras with straps that cut in, ...) or jewelery ... if needed during the shooting please put it on directly before shooting.
If you have permanent „body modifications" like tattoos, piercings, etc. which the photographer may not know about, you should let him know, so he can prepare himself.
Eating before the shooting
I know, this topic is a little bit controversial as most models think they look „fat" on photos (as the saying goes „it adds 10kg"), BUT: you shouldn't come to a shooting hungry undr no circumstances!!! If you haven't eaten in a while you can see that on the skin ... and you can't really be motivated and feeling great when you're hungry. Another problem is, that you'll be cold faster when you're hungry ... and goose-bumbs are really a pain-in-the-ass thing to retouch ... ;-).
I haven't said you should eat two Mc-menues right before the shooting, but some small snack isn't a bad idea (maybe even bring some snack with you to the shooting ... you'll never know how long it takes).
How should you arrive at the shooting?
First things first: motivated and on time!! Best thing would be with comfortable clothes that don't cut in (pressure marks!!) and no matter what weather and temperature some loose-fit thing you can put on between shootings (bathrobe, coat, kimono, etc.) – not only to get warm, but it can be helpful to change clothes if the shooting is on location too.
Clothes for the shooting, accessories
... should be compatible with the shooting-idea (I'll discuss that topic usualy before the shooting) and should fit you. Basically: better bring too much clothes than too little ... but what is even more important: all clothes and accessories should be clean and without creases. You don't have to bring 3 suitcases full off stuff, but a little more than one outfit can't hurt ... ;-) And it gives us the chances to try some things after the „official" shooting (the part which was agreed on) is over ... ;-)
What should always be part of your outfits: high heels ... no matter what we are shooting (portrait, fashion, dessous, ... ) you'll have a much better posing with high-heels ... ;-)
Please come to the shooting well rested, with a positive „mind-set" and top-motivated. Be prepared that sometime it can get a little boring for you (during make-up, if sets have to be changed, discussions or other times of waiting), don't let that spoil your mood. Don't come to the shooting with a bad mood just do „pull it through". If you're not a pro-model with Oscar-worthy acting skills this won't work. Bad mood, an uncomfortable or not motivated model, etc. can be seen on the photos.