How to Have a Great Photoshoot

Five Methods:A Self-PicFor A Modeling or Acting AgencyFor Your Significant OtherWith Your Significant OtherA Special Occasion Photo With Your Family

Whether you want to impress a modeling agency, take an incredible picture for your significant other, or snap some family photos for a special occasion, you need a game plan to have an amazing photoshoot. Whatever your reason, these tips will lead to unforgettable results.

Method 1
A Self-Pic

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    Practice holding the camera at arm's length. This takes a lot of work, but it will help you avoid that awkward picture where your forearm is blocking half your face. If you try this enough times, people will be shocked to hear that what they see is a self-pic and not a professional photo.
    • If your arms get tired, you can alternate between holding the camera at arm's length, and changing into different outfits or looking for a new background.
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    Take pictures in front of the mirror. This can add a new perspective, and will show that you're proud to be taking a selfie. It will also show that you don't take yourself too seriously--you're just having fun.
    • Remember that the mirror will also reflect whatever is behind you, so make sure that you're in front of something that is fun but not too distracting.
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    Experiment with different angles. The wrong angle can ruin a perfectly good picture, so it's important to try as many looks as possible to learn what works.
    • Remember that the angles that work when others take the photo may not be best for a self-pic. While you may look flattering from the left side when your friend takes your photo, you may find that a different angle works best when you're the boss.
    • Avoid taking photos from below--you'll look longer and more flattering if the camera is posed slightly above you.
    • Avoid taking photos head-on. This will keep you from looking boxy, and will add a more interesting look to your photo.
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    Take as many pictures as possible to get the perfect shot. Since you're the photographer, you have nothing to lose!
    • Pose in as many different outfits as you can to see what looks best.
    • Take photos with different backgrounds, whether you're in different locations of a city or different parts of your house.
    • If you found a location you love, try taking photos at different times of day to see how the lighting changes your look.
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    Use a timer to add variety. You may look more composed if you're not worrying about operating the camera, and will be able to hit just the right expression.
    • Set the timer to give yourself enough time to get settled in your pose--you want to avoid running back and forth between the camera and your location, which will make you look frazzled.
    • If you really love the timer method, you can invest in a camera remote so you don't have to run back and forth at all.
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    Find a happy place while you're taking the picture. If you're feeling happy and surrounded by your favorite things, it will show in your photo! Since you're already taking pictures of yourself, you might as well indulge in some of your favorite things.
    • Bake cookies while you're taking the picture. The delicious smell--and the sugar high from the occasional snack--will make you glow in the photo.
    • Listen to your favorite "pump up" music. This will put you in a more energetic, playful mood, and may lead you to try new poses you wouldn't have considered otherwise.

Method 2
For A Modeling or Acting Agency

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    Pick a photographer you trust. Your photographer can make or break your chances of making a name for yourself, so it's important that the photographer you've chosen is talented, reliable, and professional.
    • Do your research; ask other friends in the modeling community if they have any recommendations.
    • If you can't afford a professional, find a trusty friend with a great camera.
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    Be healthy the night before. It's important to take it easy on the day before the photo shoot so you look your best when the time comes. If you look tired or indisposed, your photo shoot will fail, no matter how much you've paid your photographer.
    • You should drink lots of water and avoid alcohol the night before so your face looks healthy and doesn't have that tired, hung-over look.
    • Avoid salty or greasy foods so your skin doesn't look greasy.
    • Get plenty of rest the night before so you don't have bags under your eyes. You don't want to look like you had a hard night of partying just because you only got four hours of sleep.
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    No experimenting on the day of the photo shoot. Avoid dramatic changes in makeup, hair, or clothing. It's important to emphasize what already works for you--so you can work it for the shoot!
    • Show up with a garment bag of trusted outfits you've worn before--which you're confident make you look your best.
    • Bring a few props you've worked with--a phone, a bouquet, but nothing too distracting.
    • Keep your makeup natural. Even if you've been dying to experiment with your new pink eyeliner, it's best to save your project for another night. Current trends in modeling and fashion lean toward more natural looks. Wear the minimum amount of makeup to make yourself look good, hide blemishes, and accent features. You're selling yourself, not your brand of eyeliner or lipstick!
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    Choose a background that makes you stand out. The background should emphasize your best attributes.
    • If you're indoors, find a white wall--or a brightly colored one.
    • If you're outside, pick a place without distractions and color. It's important to make sure you stand out--not the weird lamp lurking in the background.
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    Use soft natural lighting. This will make your features and figure look their best, and will add a gentleness to your expressions.
    • If you're indoors, try to position yourself by a window.
    • If you're outside, shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon so that the sunlight isn't stealing your show.
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    Be versatile. Agencies want to see that you're capable of trying on many different roles. You should show that you can adapt to any situation or environment to avoid getting typecast.
    • Show off a range of expressions, from playful to sultry. Avoid having the same goofy high-school-yearbook smile in every photo.
    • Wear a range of outfits. These can also show off different aspects of your personality.
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    Be professional. Though you should have fun during your photo shoot, this is ultimately a career move, just like typing up your resume. Remember that your goal is to get hired, not to get asked out for a drink.
    • Don't show too much cleavage or expose your bra-straps or underwear. While you can look cute when you show a little skin, you may give the wrong impression if you look too hot to handle.

Method 3
For Your Significant Other

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    Be classy. Though you want to remind him of what he's missing when he's away, remember that this photo may be something he wants to hang up--without having his friends snicker every time they pass his office or school locker.
    • If you're a girl, avoid showing too much cleavage, or exposing your bra straps.
    • If you're a guy, keep your shirt on.
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    Remind your significant other of what makes you so amazing. Use this as an opportunity to show off what he loves most about you--not to try a new look. Save your experimenting for another day.
    • You should wear that dress he's always complimented, or the skinny jeans he's crazy about.
    • If he thinks you have cute teeth, show those off in your photo--accentuate the features he loves most.
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    If your special someone has given you a photo-friendly gift, show it off. This will show your loved one that you're always thinking of him or her--not to mention how much you love his or her presents.
    • If your boyfriend gave you a nice gold bracelet for your birthday, or that pair of boots you always wanted, you can wear those in the picture to remind him of his love for you.
    • If your girlfriend gave you a nice sweater for Christmas but you haven't had much of a chance to show it off yet, this may be the time.
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    Add a personal touch to the photo before you give it to your loved one. This will remind him or her of what they love about you other than the way you look--and will be something else your loved one can treasure while you're away.
    • If you're female, you can leave your sweetie a note on the back of the photo, or add a touch of your favorite perfume, to make sure he's thinking about how much he misses your smell and cute handwriting.
    • If you're a guy, spraying the photo with the cologne she loves will make your girlfriend miss you even more.

Method 4
With Your Significant Other

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    Pick a location that is meaningful to both of you. If you put a lot of thought into where the photo will be taken, everyone will see how special your relationship really is.
    • Take photos at the place where you fell in love. If you went head-over-heels for your man during your summer jobs at an amusement park, have fun taking a silly photo on a carousel. If the beach is where you began your courtship, some photos by the waves can show what you love about each other.
    • Pick a location that shows how you've developed as a couple. If you recently bought your first home, your backyard may be a special, but simple background. If he proposed to you during a ski vacation, then some snow-covered mountains may make more a great background.
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    Wear the right outfits. You should look well-groomed, but still leave some room to let loose and have some fun with your clothes. Your clothing should be tasteful, but not completely bland.
    • Don't wear clothing that is too distracting. If you've wanted to show off your new pink heels, this may not be the time. You want people to see how much you love each other--not how much you love your new shoes.
    • Wear what you would normally wear--even if it's a nicer version. Remember that you still want to be recognized in the photo. You don't want everyone to think that you've changed completely for the sake of your relationship.
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    Avoid using cheesy props. Having the wrong prop can really ruin your photo. If you're bent on using a prop, practice taking pictures with it before the shoot so you'll know if you can pull it off.
    • Minimize the gag-factor. Holding a string of heart balloons or stuffed animals that say "soul mates" may make people laugh at you and will keep them from seeing how much you love each other.
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    Show how your relationship really works. You want your friends and family to see your natural ease with each other and should avoid looking too sentimental or just not like your real selves. Before you take the photos, take some time to consider what makes your love so unique.
    • Remember to be yourselves as individuals. If you're known for your goofy smile while your boyfriend is more stoic, you don't have to both be grinning ear-to-ear in all of the pictures.
    • Show off your dynamic. Be natural and have a light conversation to have the photographer take some candid shots. That way, you won't be so focused on putting on a show for the cameras and your true relationship will shine through.
    • If you're taking an engagement photo, make sure that it passes the "laugh test": if your friends see a fridge magnet with your couple photo on it, will they smile because it reminds them of what makes your love so special, or will they laugh because you just look so cheesy, sentimental, or worse--nothing like yourselves?
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    Know when to quit. If your significant other really doesn't want to take the photo, don't force him. If your man hates being there, it will show in the photo, and it'll be a waste of time. Remember that taking couple shots--just like marriage--isn't for everyone.

Method 5
A Special Occasion Photo With Your Family

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    Coordinate your outfits. The photo will really shine if everyone in your family is dressed appropriately so that your picture isn't distracting--or just corny. Your clothes are one of the first things people will notice, so it's important that your look is just right.
    • Avoid clashing. You may love your teal pants, but they could clash with your mother's yellow sweater and ruin your family photo.
    • Your clothes should match. Wearing clothes in the same palette, such as greens and browns, or blacks, reds, and silvers, will look great together. Having the parents were one color scheme and the siblings wear another, or having the boys in the family wear one shade and the girls wear another, is a great technique to spice up your look.
    • Your clothes should match--but only to a point. If everyone is wearing the exact same sweater in your family's holiday photo, you may not be able to emphasize your unique personalities and may just look silly in the process.
    • Pick the right outfits well before the photo session. It could help to take a mock-photo wearing the outfits you have in mind a few days before, so you can see if the outfits look good together.
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    Pick an appropriate background. The background should emphasize your family's strengths and should add unity and fun to your photo. You should think about it well in advance to avoid any last-minute location changes.
    • If you're taking an outdoor Christmas photo in the fall, make sure you find a patch of woods where the leaves haven't changed colors.
    • If you're taking your photo in front of the fireplace, make sure there aren't any goofy photos on the mantle that may distract your audience.
    • The background could reveal something about your family. If you all love spending your summers at the beach or at a ski resort, having the right background can emphasize what you love most as a family.
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    Make sure that everyone is equally enthusiastic. If some members of your family are more excited than others, this may make people laugh or could just look strange. Check in to see that everyone is feeling positive before the shoot.
    • Showcase all members of the family equally. Even if your little brother is feeling lukewarm about the photo, you should avoid having him sulking behind the Christmas tree while everyone else is showing their million-dollar smiles.
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    Have a sense of humor. Everyone will know if you had fun taking photos with your family, or if you saw the occasion as a chore. Know that a family photo may be inherently a little cheesy, so it's okay to roll with it and make it your own.
    • Remember to laugh during the photo shoot, which will keep you from looking formal or stilted.
    • Tell some jokes during the photo shoot. Even if your dad's jokes are as corny as can be, they may still lighten the mood, and will make everyone look more fun in the photo.
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    Show off your family dynamic. Use the photo as an opportunity to show what makes your family unique. Millions of families have had their photos taken before--what makes yours different?
    • Brainstorm some ideas for how to approach your dynamic in the photo. This can make your family grow even closer--and laugh in the process.
    • Show off your family's love for your pet. If everyone knows your sister is a bit obsessed with the family dog, she should be the one holding him in the photo.
    • Show off your family members' love for each other. If your two brothers are inseparable, they should be standing next to each other.


  • Consider finding a fashion/glamor photographer who will do a TFP/TFCD session. In a TFP/TFCD session, the photographer takes pictures of the model for free so that the photographer and model can add pictures to their portfolios.
  • Be yourself and enjoy yourself!
  • Be loose, be comfortable.
  • When getting your picture taken smile naturally, make it look like you're having a good time. Show emotion.


  • Make sure the makeup/clothing suits your coloring and doesn't wash you out.
  • Avoid sending your significant other any nude or inappropriate photo. If this photo gets into the wrong hands, it may haunt you for the rest of your life--and jeopardize your professional future.

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Categories: Models and Modeling