4 Tips for a Successful Photo Shoot

Photo Source: Shutterstock

Working on camera is exhilarating and glamorous, and it always pays off in the form of snazzy headshots, a new piece for your portfolio, or fresh footage for your reel. I’ve had the good fortune in my career to work both sides of the camera for magazines, national commercials, feature films, network TV, fitness videos, fashion shoots, movie musicals, and more headshot iterations than I care to admit (#old). Through all of my trial and error with such a wide variety of media, I’ve picked up several valuable tips that help the production team work with you easily (and therefore call you back for the next gig, and the next, and… you get the picture). And I shall share them with you now!

These four tips apply whether you’re shooting still photography or video. So dive in, take notes, and show up to your next shoot like the pro you are!

1. Stay out of the way, but always available.
This is by far the most important tip, especially if you are part of a larger shoot with lots of moving parts. Life moves fast because time is money, and the trick is to hang out on the outskirts of the action and pay attention to what’s happening, so when you’re called, you’re readily for your close-up.

2. Keep your nose out of the production team’s business.
Do not ask to see footage. Don’t even think of stepping off your mark unless you are told it’s okay to do so. More often than not, a photographer will invite you to take a look ifshe gets a fab shot of you and if you’ve demonstrated respect for the process. And speaking of respect...

READ: “How to Become a Model”

3. Respect the glam squad.
Wardrobe, hair, and makeup artists are heroes, leaping buildings and scenery in a single bound to make you look fabulous. Learn their names. Keep still in the chair so they can work. If they approach you on set to touch you up before the next shot, try not to move when they walk away—yes, it’s about you, but it’s also about lighting, stray hairs and more! Get their cards or follow them on social media- it’s always good to have an arsenal of great hair and makeup artists on deck for future projects.

4. Come prepared.
Usually you’ll be told to show up barefaced and unstyled, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a backup plan. Bring all appropriate undergarments (nude thong/dance belt, breast cups, white V neck tee, strapless bra, shapewear, socks) and an emergency kit (double stick tape, hairspray, lip balm, oil absorbing sheets, moist towelettes, bobby pins, safety pins, mini-steamer, etc.) And if you’re wearing your own shoes, make sure they’re scuff-free. It’s all HD now, darling.

So that’s it! Trust me, if you implement these four tips at your next shoot, you will absolutely make an amazing impression, and it won’t go unnoticed. Good luck!

Got those new shots? Put 'em to work and check out our television audition listings!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Erika Shannon
Erika Shannon is a choreographer, teacher, and movement coach, working with dancers of all levels, singers, models, and fitness enthusiasts to help them move their bodies with confidence and connect to movement so it makes sense. Her signature online dance program, Don’t Dodge the Dance Call, has been featured in several theatrical publications, including Backstage!
See full bio and articles here!