What to Bring to a Photo Shoot – An Ultimate Guide for Models

Whether you’re getting organised for your first-ever photoshoot or you’re a seasoned pro, participating in a photography session is an exciting experience. However, it’s not as simple as just turning up at the studio on the day and figuring it out as you go along. Some important preparation is involved in the lead-up to the day of the session that needs to be considered before you can get in front of the camera. Whether you’re the model, the photographer, hair and make up artist, each person is responsible for bringing in their own items for the photography session to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible. This can come down to bringing the right wardrobe items, essential makeup products and many more. Bring a bag and settle in, we’ve compiled a list of everything you should need to bring for your next booking as a model. 

Clothing Options

One of the most important things to pack for a photo shoot is your wardrobe. What you wear will have a big impact on the overall look and feel of the photos. Depending on the structure of the day, either the client or the model themselves will be in charge of what they wear throughout the session. This means you need to think about what kind of message you want to communicate with the images. You want to be prepared for possibly a few different backdrop and lens changes, so once you know what kind of message you want, start putting together a few outfit options prior to the day.

Consider bringing more than one outfit to your next shoot for yourself. This is in case the photographer decides whether they want to take the shoot in a different direction, which might include an outfit change. When it comes to clothing options, don’t overdo it by wearing distracting patterns, logos or bright colours. This will distract a person’s eye from the final product and will potentially hone in on an area you wished to be invisible. Consider choosing garments that will flatter your figure and slim fitting. You might be responsible for providing your own wardrobe if you’re a model. Or, in some cases, the client might provide you with specific items to wear. Either way, knowing what kind of clothing will work best for the session is important. 


Image by Kateryna Hliznitsova from Unsplash.
Image by Kateryna Hliznitsova from Unsplash.

In addition to the right wardrobe, it is also important to have the right makeup to bring to a photography session for models. This doesn’t mean you need to wear a full face of makeup. It just means that you should use makeup to help you look your best in each image. You should consider the overall look and feel of the session when trying to choose the right makeup. This includes what kind of lighting will be used by the photographer. Will it be natural lighting, or will it be inside with light softboxes and bright camera flashes? Your make up can stand out more and show more imperfections depending on the type of lighting you will be in.

Whether you’re doing your make-up prior to the session or at the photo studio space, make sure you have practised the look you are trying to achieve prior to the day. You shouldn’t be spending your shoot day looking up tutorials on how to tastefully complete a make-up look. This will slow down the whole day and could be an issue for everyone involved in the session.

When it comes to applying makeup in the best way possible, analyse your face before you begin. Makeup is about concealing blemishes, minimising areas you dislike and highlighting areas of focus. Makeup is there to help you show up as your best self during a photoshoot and post-production. Our faces are naturally expressive and it’s important to choose colours and hues that suit the face, compliment the clothing choices, and the overall look and feel of the photography session. You should always bring nude lipstick or lip gloss as well. This can go well for many photo looks that require a more natural or muted look.

The bottom line is that you should use whatever makeup makes you feel most confident on the day of the booking. Just remember to bring any tools or products you might need in the space to touch up your makeup throughout the day.


Accessories are there to enhance your already established outfit. This is not to say that you should go crazy on the jewels. Sometimes less is more. Depending on the look you’re going for, you may want a few statement pieces of jewellery, like a necklace, for a fashion editorial photoshoot. Otherwise, you should avoid wearing accessories that will take away from the main focal point of the session. This will provide more of a distraction rather than being helpful. If the session is in a casual setting, you might want to bring something like a pair of sunglasses or a hat. If you are bringing an accessory item that is valuable into the space, make sure you keep it in a safe place if you’re not using it. You definitely don’t want to lose something of value to you during a shoot day.

If you’re planning on bringing accessories on the day, consider beforehand if your chosen items are well thought out and may help give off more of a tasteful image.


Image by Kelsey Wilkerson from Pexels.
Image by Kelsey Wilkerson from Pexels.

To complete a dramatic or unique image, props are great to use for pictures. Using decorative elements can help set up and capture the tone and atmosphere within the photograph. It can also be used to create interesting and unique looks for a photography session. If you’re interested in bringing decorations or furnishings to your portrait session, make sure they are portable and hassle-free for you to transport and use. Popular items that can be used include an umbrella, fan, fake plants and flowers. 

Water and Food

To help you stay hydrated and energised throughout the day, bring water and food with you. This is especially important if you’re doing an outdoor shoot in hot weather. Though, even if you’re doing an indoor shoot in a studio, having water on hand is still a good idea. And, if you get hungry during the session, it is always better to have something to eat than go without food for too long. When it comes to organising food, there may not always be a cafe nearby that you can duck down to. Forward thinking and planning will help you stay on top of your game and you will save time on the day by bringing your own snacks and water. We suggest you choose food items that won’t sit too heavy in your tummy which could make you bloated or uncomfortable in your clothes. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable and unnatural in your clothes. 

Notebook, Pen and Charger or Battery Pack

This will come in handy if you need to take notes or communicate with the photographer. Having a notebook also allows you to jot down any ideas for poses or props to get the perfect image. That way, you won’t forget anything important. In moments where you will be using your phone a lot, make sure you’ve either brought yourself a phone charger or a battery pack for when you’re taking the session outside. In this day and age, our entire lives are on our phones so it’s important to make sure they are charged sufficiently.

Hair Care Products and Hair Accessories

Image by Michelle Leman from Pexels.
Image by Michelle Leman from Pexels.

You should always be prepared for any hair mishaps or fixes that need to be done during the day of the shoot. For example, the necessary hair care items you should bring along as a model if you’re doing your own hair include a hairbrush, comb, bobby pins, hair ties, and possibly headbands. It’s also a good idea to have some hair products, such as hairspray, mousse, gel, or oil, for styling. This way, you can keep your hair looking its best throughout the day.

If you’re unable to achieve the look you’re after or would just feel better having it done professionally, consider getting your hair done properly just before the shoot. That way, you can guarantee you will be having a great hair day when it counts. Some photographers use their own hair stylist during a studio session, so be sure to ask ahead of time.

Comfortable Shoes

Wearing a pair of shoes that are comfortable can help you feel more relaxed and at ease during a photo session. You will likely be doing a lot of walking and standing, so you should factor in bringing shoes that won’t hurt your feet. If you are unable to find shoes that are super comfortable to wear during the whole session, you can also bring comfortable shoes nearby. This will allow you to change shoes in between studio set changes, location changes and in other moments you may need to. 

If you have to wear high heels for a session, make sure you can walk and stand in them comfortably. If they are too painful to wear, you will be able to see the discomfort all over your face within the shot look.

Mask, Sanitiser and Tissues

Masks and sanitisers have become necessary items to bring with you everywhere you go. Make sure to bring a few masks if you need to change them throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to have your own personal hand sanitiser with you to prevent passing germs on. Shoot days can be unpredictable, especially if it is taking place outdoors. Tissues are always a good idea to have on hand for this. You never know when you might need to wipe your nose or eyes or blot your makeup. No one wants their makeup to run during a modelling gig.

A Positive Attitude

Image by Force Majeure from Unsplash.
Image by Force Majeure from Unsplash.

Be sure to bring a positive attitude with you to the day. A positive attitude will help you build a good rapport with the photographer, client’s and other model’s. It will also make you feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera. As a result of bringing your positive attitude to the job, you’ll be more likely to get great photographs.

Also, don’t forget to have fun. A photography session is a great opportunity to create beautiful images – but it’s also an opportunity to enjoy yourself and create lasting memories.

The Essential Checklist for Photo Shoots 

What you bring to a shoot day is imperative to the success of the day. It’s better to overpack items than to underpack. The more options you can play with, the better. If you have any questions about what to bring to a photo session, be sure to ask your professional photographer ahead of time. They will be able to give you guidance that takes into account the type of shoot you’re doing, the location, and the overall aesthetic they are going for. In the meantime, use this guide as a starting point for what to pack for your next studio photo session. From this, you can build up your own checklist of items that will suit your needs.