Tips to be Prepared for a Photoshoot

Glamorous, fun and exciting! Having a photoshoot is a great way to spoil yourself or celebrate a milestone. In this blog entry, I'll be focusing mostly on fitness related shoots, but some of the Tips to be Prepared for a Photoshoot could be used for other types of shoots like corporate headshots, or  maternity. So let's get started with some things to do leading up to the shoot and also things to take with you on set.

Things to do before:

Remove Body Hair

This includes obvious areas of the body, like a ladies legs, but also other areas that aren't so obvious. If you have dark or longer arm hair, that can sometimes show up under the lights on set. This would depend on the types of photos you are taking, but is something to consider shaving when preparing the day before your shoot.

Don't forget to groom facial hair. Have eyebrows freshly shaped and remove upper lip hair if needed. This includes the gentlemen! Any scruff should be groomed and hair styled appropriately for the shoot. Cameras capture incredible detail these days, and we want to be our best. As well, tidying up areas like eyebrows and facial hair helps accentuate positive fascial features.


Nails are such a small detail, but not to be forgotten. This doesn't mean you need to get something fancy done, but they should look clean and well shaped. Think about the photos you will be taking. What is the vibe of shoot? Generally speaking, fitness photos will focus on your physique and therefore, it's important to not distract with crazy or colourful nails. Having a neutral colour is usually best and don't forget about your feet! If they might be showing, it's important to trim, file and apply fresh polish.

Skin Care

Having healthy vibrant skin is very important for a physique photoshoot. Leading up to the shoot, you'll want to ensure you exfoliate thoroughly all over, focusing on dry areas like the knees and elbows. Moisturizing every day will also help skin look youthful. After each shower and exfoliation, apply a quality lotion all over. It's important to treat the face similarly but with the appropriate products. 

Spray Tan

Once the skin has been well prepared as already mentioned, it's recommended to get a spray tan. Tanned skin will photograph better, look healthier and also show more definition. Spray tans take time to develop, so booking the day before should give plenty of time for the solution to set. In the case where you've received already received a competition tan, it's very important to baby your skin. Be conscious of all areas of your body while showering. A competition tan can sometimes become blotchy, rinsing or wearing off from different areas at different times. Don't scrub too hard to help maintain colour, and moisturize all over. Sometimes a tinted lotion can help even out any colour differences.

Be Well Rested

Nothing gives an unprofessional impression like being cranky and tired. Often times shoots begin early in the  morning to maximize natural light and/or time. If you are away competing and have a shoot the next day, resist the temptation to party with friends and stay up late. Not only will it give a better impression to the photographer, it will also be more fun for yourself. The only way to capture great images is to feel great and be having fun!

Things to take:

Wardrobe Options

Always take plenty of wardrobe options for a photoshoot. Usually you'll have some idea of what type of clothes are needed, but it's better to be extra prepared. Gym shoot - bring several bottoms (shorts and pants) and a variety of tops (sports bras, tank tops, sweaters) along with several sneakers. Boudoir shoot - bring sexier pieces that can suit any type of backdrop. Beach shoot - have a variety of   bikinis, mix and match is often the best. Lifestyle shoot - think jeans, leggings, t-shirts, jackets. Don't forget footwear for each possible outfit!

Undergarments can't be forgotten on a shoot day! Consider all the outfits you have, and what will best suit those options. Some photographers have a small selection of clothing that can be used. Let's be real though, you never know who has worn the pieces previously. It's important to check that the garments have been washed and for hygienic reasons, still always wear small seamless thongs under what you choose.


It can sometimes be the small things that make a photograph extra special. Once you have all your outfits collected, set aside some accessories for each. Using the ideas above, a gym shoot will usually not have any jewelry worn but maybe a ball cap would be useful. For boudoir shots, you can get away with larger earrings and necklaces and even stockings. On the beach, cute towels and cover-ups are useful while the lifestyle shoots might benefit from scarfs, bags, and hats. Bringing too much and not using something is better than wishing you didn't leave it at home!

Make-up and Hair Products

Always bring your own make-up and hair products! This goes for whether you have a professional MUH artist or not. You never know what can happen, so bring your own set products to the set with you. Touch ups are always needed during longer shoots, even if simply to use powder to reduce shine. Also consider how many looks you'll be shooting during the day and plan the hair and make-up around this. A natural look with hair back is more appropriate for athletic shots, while hair down and make-up accentuating the eyes or lips works better for a sultry look. Also bring and or apply a natural looking artificial eyelash. If using a professional, they don't always supply the lashes so be prepared just in case. 


You want to have vibrant healthy looking skin during a shoot. Any dry patches or uneven spray tan will not be a good look. Using a tinted moisturizer will help even out colour and give a light glow to the skin. Be sure not to get crazy and apply a heavy oil that will just look greasy and well, to be honest, tacky.

Food and Water

Depending on what type of shoot you are doing, it can possibly be a long day. If gathering any amount of content you can expect a half day to a full day shoot. You always want to keep the day flowing as the photographer sees fit, so be prepared with food and water. If doing a fitness shoot, you likely have been following a set nutrition plan. In this case, just follow the same nutrition plan so you don't fall off track and maintain a tight physique. Sometimes introducing new foods can cause bloating and water retention, so best to stick to what you can trust. In addition, have enough water on hand to make it through the shoot. Grabbing some sips during a set change will help you stay hydrated.

I hope these tips were useful in helping you prepare for a photoshoot. Some of the tips are basic but sometimes overlooked. If I forgot anything important, or if you have anything to add, please leave it in the comments. I'd love to know your thoughts! It helps me know what content you are interested in reading. 

Both black and white images are by Photographer Dave Laus



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