7 step guide – preparing for your photoshoot (Part 1)

The Pinup Academy

7 step guide – preparing for your photoshoot

This guide is as relevant to the professional model, as it is to the lady venturing out on her first makeover & photoshoot. Professional models tend to keep themselves shoot ready, as they’re regularly in and out of photoshoots and this is where this guide serves as a go to checklist/planner.

For the purposes of this guide; we’re going to assume that your makeup and hair will be done once you arrive at the photoshoot by a qualified makeup artist and hairstylist (MUAH) however, it still serves as a pre-shoot preparation checklist for models doing their own MUAH.

makeover and photoshoot preparation

The week(s) leading up to your photoshoot is the time for planning and preparation: what clothing levels do you plan on working to? What outfits will work well with your chosen levels and concepts? What beauty routines are you planning on taking and when and how will you fit them in?

Think of the following guide as a step by step checklist; you won’t need to follow all the steps all of the time, but it’s good to know you’ve got them in check.

How to prepare for a photoshoot!

The 7 steps

  1. Face
  2. Hair
  3. Skin
  4. Hands
  5. Clothing
  6. Communication
  7. Travel


Facials… if you already have a beauty regime that includes a facial then you’ll know what works best for you. Generally it’s worth planning a facial around 7 days before your photoshoot, this allows sufficient time for any redness to subside leaving your skin feeling soft and refreshed.  If you have enough time before your photoshoot, then consider a trial run and pamper yourself; a night in with a good book or movie allowing time to relax, focussing on nothing but you and that book.

Sleep… it may sound obvious but a night out on the town is not a good recipe for you looking your best the following morning. Wherever possible, try to get at least 3 or 4 good nights sleep leading up to your photoshoot day. A healthy 8 hours sleep will leave you feeling and looking amazing.

Pimples… we all get them and it’s usually when we’re run down, tired or stressed. The golden rule is “Don’t pick or squeeze!” it’s relatively easy for makeup artists to cover pimples, but swollen blemishes, flaky skin and scabs, are a little trickier.  Most of all don’t worry, as it will only make things worse!  Good photographers are a dab hand at removing blemishes during their image editing, so relax, we’ve got it covered!

Eye area… our eyes tell a story. They’re like a window to your soul. If you’re burning the candle at both ends it will show in or around your eyes first, so if necessary you may want to re-read the paragraph above about sleep!

preparing for a makeover photoshoot

Eyebrows… do you regularly have your eyebrows waxed or threaded? If so, plan your next appointment to fall a few days before your photoshoot date (you’ll know whether you need a couple of days or more) If you’ve never had your eyebrows waxed or threaded before (and you plan on having it done) then we would recommend a trial session well before your photoshoot OR if you prefer the good old pluck and trim method; we would again recommend you schedule this in a few days before your photoshoot.

Lips… use lip balms regularly to avoid dry and chapped lips.

2. Hair

Colour… if you dye your hair; ask yourself will it need dyeing again prior to your photoshoot? Will your roots need re-doing? As a word of caution: don’t plan on dyeing your hair within 3 days of your photoshoot, treat it like you would your wedding day hair! Don’t make any drastic changes without planning in sufficient time for a trial and possible recovery period.

manic panic multi coloured pinup hair

Cut & Style… same rule applies. If you’re thinking of a change, give yourself plenty of time before your photoshoot OR If you’re planning on getting a trim, make an appointment for 2 to 3 days prior to your photoshoot.

Conditioning… Whether you choose to visit your favourite hair salon or indulge in a deep conditioning treatment at home; conditioning your hair will leave it looking and feeling amazing!

Washing… pre-shoot preparation. As a rule, we usually suggest that you wash your hair the night before your photoshoot unless you would consider your hair as “oily” in which case we’d recommend the morning of your photoshoot.

3. Skin

Exfoliate… your regular beauty regime may already include exfoliation, so stick to what you know! If not we suggest that you exfoliate your skin 2 or 3 times prior to your shoot; leaving 3 or 4 days in between each exfoliation session and 3 or 4 days before your photoshoot day.

There’s nothing better than a soothing pamper session in the tub armed with an exfoliating scrub or washcloth to reinvigorate the skin on your face and body.

Hair removal… if you prefer waxing give yourself sufficient time to heal before your photoshoot. Shaving can be done the night before if you don’t suffer from redness afterwards. REMEMBER to shave your legs and underarms and if you plan on shooting in lingerie or swimwear your bikini line.

Tanning… don’t feel you must, but if you prefer yourself with a bit of colour give yourself 2 – 3 days before your photoshoot (be careful not to over do it!)

No Marks… if possible, avoid wearing tight fitting clothing on the day of your shoot. We ask this as no-one wants that elastic sock line on their beautiful picture. This is completely dependent upon the level of clothing that you will be shooting during your photoshoot.  Whilst we’re on the subject of marks, we recommend wearing a “clear” antiperspirant on the day of your photoshoot. This will prevent any white marks on the outside of your clothing as you’re getting in and out of dresses etc.

Hydration… it’s vital that you keep yourself hydrated before and during a photoshoot. Dehydration can affect the skin so drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol prior to your photoshoot as this can cause you to become dehydrated.

Food… it is important that you make sure you eat something before your photoshoot. You’ll need to keep your energy levels up, feeling hungry depletes your energy as well as your attention span.

4. Hands

Nails… if you’re looking to push the boat out then why not book yourself in somewhere for a full manicure and pedicure a few days before your photoshoot.  You could then continue your pampering by spending the night before paying attention to your finger nails and toe nails. Remember your hands will be visible and possibly featured in a lot of your photos, so don’t forget the attention is in the detail!

Nail Polish… this is down to personal preference as you may want to re-visit your photoshoot brief, and wardrobe selection to choose a colour that works for you. If colour is not for you or the wardrobe you have selected, then consider going with a nude or clear varnish.

This concludes part 1 of our 7 step guide – preparing for a photoshoot. In part 2 we’re going to be covering Clothing, Communication, Travel and more… you won’t want to miss this!

Part 2. can be found @ www.pinupmakeover.co.uk/7-step-guide-preparing-photoshoot-part-2/

Let us know your thoughts: have we missed anything?

  • Do you do anything different when preparing for photoshoots?
  • Do you prepare for paid photoshoots differently to TF photoshoots?
  • Do you have any special makeup tips?
  • Did you find this guide useful?

Please follow this link and tell us about you and your thoughts https://thepinupacademy.typeform.com/to/FCaBo1


  1. Gemma AdairReply
    07/02/2017 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Si I found this very helpful , lots of the preparation I do on a daily basis

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:29 pm

      Thank you Gemma we hope you like part 2 which we’ve just added.

  2. NastassiaReply
    08/02/2017 at 6:36 am

    Thank you? all is clear, and helpful !

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:30 pm

      Thank you Nastassia, be sure to check out part 2

  3. Samantha JayneReply
    08/02/2017 at 4:20 pm

    I found this very helpful thank you Si, a lot of it I do already.. but it’s a great guide

  4. CristinaReply
    08/02/2017 at 5:57 pm

    Hi Si! 🙂 …thank you for the useful ‘7 Step Guide’ – Step 1, Preparing for the Photo Shoot, above 🙂 There are some really useful tips, …when I go on a ‘model workshop’ / ‘body confidence workshop’ or a ‘make-over’ I usually have my hair coloured, washed & blow dried the day before. I try to keep a good body moisturizing skin care routine in place & I ALWAYS cleanse my face properly, removing all the make-up at night & I moisturize daily, morning & evening with a lovely cream that my Mum has introduced me to, ‘Weleda’ Calendua Face Cream, 🙂 which is so natural, (in the daytime, I always put a foundation on top of the cream when I go out, as I think the foundation contains barriers to fight off pollution etc, & then when I do my make-up nicely, I use Bare Minerals, which nourish the skin as well as being make-up). I apologize if this is sounding a bit girly! :O
    I went to a play recently, where Barbara Cartland was one of the characters! – and she said that when a woman reaches 40 she must / should chose between her face or her figure!? :O) …I would rather have a good face and an alright body, – that is why I take care of my skin, and I am now exercising to slim & to be healthy 🙂
    I must admit, I have been a little slack on exfoliation, so I’ll have to do that regularly. Also, conditioning my hair, …I try and get to the swimming pool as often as possible, so I do shampoo & condition then.

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:30 pm

      Part 2 is now up Christina x

  5. amyReply
    08/02/2017 at 11:23 pm

    I found this helpful theres alot of information I didnt no about that you covered and it all helped cant wait to se the rest uploaded

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:31 pm

      Thank you Amy, we’ve just uploaded the rest 🙂

  6. lisaReply
    09/02/2017 at 8:23 pm

    Excellent information guide. Spot on from novices to reasoned pros. Happy shooting guys
    Love lisa

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:32 pm

      Thank you for your kind word Lisa, we do our best 😉 part 2 is now live!

  7. 10/02/2017 at 2:48 pm

    This is great! All of the things I normally do before a shoot

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:32 pm

      Glad you like it Misty, we’ve just finished to 2nd part!

  8. Renate PalmerReply
    10/02/2017 at 4:10 pm

    Really good information there, like a step inside the world of a model.

    Keep up the create shots!

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks Renate x

  9. TaylorReply
    10/02/2017 at 5:06 pm

    Found this really helpful! Step one and how to keep your skin looking at its best is very helpful, especially when you suffer with pesky pimples! No more stressing on the morning of a shoot!
    Great job guys

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:33 pm

      Thank you Taylor, although you have nothing to stress about!

      We’ve just uploaded part 2, hope you like!

  10. Laura MooreReply
    10/02/2017 at 7:38 pm

    A lot more to think about than I would have realised at first! Very informative and would make me more confident that I’d know what I’m getting ready for. Thank you!

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:34 pm

      Hi Laura, glad you like, we’ve just uploaded part 2 some more for you to think about! 😉

  11. MARC WITTENReply
    11/02/2017 at 7:18 am

    Hi Si as a bloke i found this amazing and really helpful for one’s wife,partner or girlfriend well done,and sorry for delay.Thank you.

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:35 pm

      Hi Marc, thank you comments from men are also welcome 🙂

  12. LydiaReply
    15/02/2017 at 2:46 pm

    I found this so helpful! Definitely agree with every point you made in regards to my own pre-shoot regime! Very well written! 🙂

    • The Pinup AcademyReply
      15/02/2017 at 10:36 pm

      Thank you Lydia that’s very kind of you to say… we’ve just uploaded part 2 hope you like!

  13. Delta TopazReply
    16/02/2017 at 8:04 pm

    Excellent advice.. looking forward to reading part 2 🙂

  14. romy pam florReply
    19/02/2017 at 11:12 pm


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