Every model should have a “kit” she brings with her on a shoot. Basic supplies, “emergency” items, and other staples that will help result in a great shoot, even if something goes wrong or someone (other than the photographer) doesn’t show.
While wardrobe should be discussed ahead of time, there are some things that should always come with on a shoot. Fail-safe items that look good no matter what, just in case nothing else works out. There are also some basic undergarments that should come with on a shoot, which will help clothes look their best. Make sure all your clothes and undergarments fit properly and are not too big or too tight. Improperly fitting clothes can cause gaps or bulges that can be unsightly in photos. Here’s an idea of what should always be in your bag:
– Black bra and thong
– Nude bra and thong
– White tank top
– Black T-shirt
– White T-shirt
– Your best-fitting pair of jeans
– Black high heels (pumps or knee-high boots… or both!)
– Sheer-to-waist, sandalfoot nylons
– Something control-top, like Spanx, in case you need help suckin’ it in and smoothing things out
– Nude strapless or stick-on bra
– Nice black or grey slacks
– A properly fitting, solid color top
It helps to occasionally switch up the basics you bring, so you don’t always have to fall back on the same stuff. Bring skinny jeans to one shoot, flares to another. Alter the style and color of the solid top you bring. If you have multiple pairs of black boots or pumps, switch it up. You get the idea though.
It’s also important to bring comfortable, closed toe walking shoes if you’re shooting on location. You never know where you’ll need to climb, and flip flops don’t always offer the best support and protection.
Cosmetic & Hair Basics
Even if there is supposed to be a makeup artist and hair stylist on set, you never know. Someone might not show up. It’s best to always bring a basic makeup kit and some basic hair styling products with you. Here is a list of suggested basic makeup items to bring:
– Liquid foundation
– Powder foundation
– Black mascara
– Black liquid eye liner
– Black and brown eye pencils
– 3 to 4 neutral eye shadows (shades of black or brown, including a nude and a pale shade)
– Concealer (neutral, green or yellow, and white are best)
– Neutral lip pencil
– 2-3 shades of lipstick
– Clear lipgloss
– Basic brush set (eyeshadow, powder, blush, concealer)
– Face moisturizer
– Makeup remover
If you’re the kind of model who has the ability to pull of a more dramatic look on her own, don’t be afraid to bring your entire makeup kit even if there’s supposed to be a makeup artist on set. Bringing it doesn’t mean you have to open it up and use it, but you can also suggest using your own foundation if you have a hard-to-match skintone, or your own mascara if you have sensitive eyes. It does also help to have your own moisturizer, makeup remover and toner, because sometimes your skin can get extra-sensitive, and using a new product on it can cause irritation and breakouts.
Hair products vary greatly from person to person. Women with curly hair won’t use the same products that women with straight hair use, and shot-haired girls often use less styling tools than girls with long hair. So, here’s a list of the styling products I bring with me on a shoot, for managing my short hair:
– Texturizing paste
– Slick-look pomade
– Big Sexy Hair brand “Backtease in a Bottle”
– Flexible hold hair spray
– Round brush
– Small travel hair dryer
– Bobby pins
– Clear plastic hair ties
Even this list varies for me based on what I’m going to be shooting. I don’t always bring the hair dryer and round brush, but I have found it to come in handy. A headband comes in handy for keeping your hair out of your face when getting makeup done (or doing it yourself). Girls with long hair might bring a curling iron or straightener (or both) as well as whatever kinds of hair brushes they use. Basically, bring whatever you will need to create varying looks.
Other Random Stuff
You never know what you’ll need on a shoot. Clothes can tear, nylons can run, things don’t fit right… and it’s best to be well-prepared for almost anything. Here’s a list of great “in case of emergency” items to always have on hand at a shoot:
– Lint roller
– Clear nail polish
– Double-sided garment tape
– Small scissors
– Nail clipper
– Nail file
– Tampons and panty-liners
– Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
– Clear deodorant
– Permanent marker
– Bottle of “drugs” (I bring a bottle of Aleve, Tums, Tylenol, and Benadryl)
– Emergency stash of cash ($20 should do)
– Small pack of baby wipes
– Extra razor
– Plastic baggies
– Small sewing kit
– Spray bottle of water
– Benadryl anti-itch cream
– Slipper socks
– Zip up sweatshirt
– Band aids or a basic first aid kit
– Safety pins
Most of the above stuff is, I have found, stuff that most women carry with them on a regular basis. However, that kind of stuff is also the easy-to-overlook stuff. Having it all in a bag, ready to go, for shoots makes it easy to not forget anything, and will make a shoot go smoothly even if something should go wrong. Bringing slipper socks and a sweatshirt is useful for between sets if you’re the type who’s always cold (or if the photographer is the type to keep the studio freezing). Some models also bring some kind of tape: duct tape, electrical tape, or clear packing tape. All 3 kinds have their uses, though usually a photographer will have some sort of tape at his studio. I personally always have a roll of electrical tape in the car, so worse case scenario, I run out and grab it.
Some models take for granted the fact that they need energy during a shoot, or expect the photographer to provide food and drink on set. This isn’t always the case, so it’s best to come prepared with your own food and drink. Not a full meal, just some snacks and other things. Here are some suggestions:
– Bendy straws
– Bottle of water (or 2, depending on shoot length)
– Easy-to-eat snacks
– Toothbrush and toothpaste
– Dental floss
Granola bars, carrot sticks, cheese cubes, dried fruit and bananas are great sources of energy that are easy to carry and easy to eat with makeup on. Make sure the food you bring isn’t anything that will make you retain water (so nothing salty) or get stuck in your teeth. If you drink something other than water, make sure it’s not something that will stain your teeth and mouth. It always helps to have a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss on shoots for this exact reason, or at the very least, mints. Fresh breath is a must if you’re working closely with someone, like a makeup artist, and a clean mouth makes less work for a photographer in post-production. Bendy straws come in handy for drinking while doing minimal damage to your makeup.
Last But Not Least
Always bring a state-issued photo ID that has your date of birth on it. Always. And, if you have another form of photo ID, bring that as well (like a school ID). Many photographers require proof of legal age to shoot, and they should, because a minor isn’t legally able to sign anything (like a release) without a legal guardian present.
And don’t forget to bring a positive attitude. It sounds corny, but being ready to shoot and feeling good about it reflects on camera. Being worn out, uncomfortable or upset often shows on camera, whether we mean for it to or not. So get a good night’s sleep before a shoot and show up ready to rock, and knowing you’re going to!
Edit: If you liked this list, check out Bring It Ver 2.0!