« Posts by Dean

Jessica Hope-Hill provides 8 tips on preparing for hair styling on a shoot

8 things you should do prior to a shoot:

  1. Shampoo and condition hair night before shoot.
  2. If wearing extensions, shampoo and condition night before.
  3. If wearing extensions please be prepared that there may be heated appliances used on these (cannot use heat on synthetic hair extensions)
  4. Be aware that if wearing extensions, there may be back-combing, hairspray, gel etc.. used on these for the required style during the shoot.
  5. Remove extensions night before if you don’t want your extensions handled during styling.
  6. Inform the hair stylist of any skin conditions on your scalp prior to shoot.
  7. Also remember to inform the hair stylist of any allergies to products prior to shoot.
  8. Remember to ask if you want your style to be brushed out at the end of your shoot.

I hope that helps prepare better for a shoot. More from me next week – Jess xo

Me behind the scenes on a 1940s shoot for MODA


Useful make up advice from MODA make up artist, Lauren Eaton

As a Makeup artist I will always assess what colours will make the most of your facial features by using my knowledge on colour theory.

  1. Brown is the most flattering colour eye makeup despite eye colour.
  • By placing complementary colours next to each other, they can be used to help enhance certain features to make them more prominent.
  • Blue eyes = Gold/Orange will enhance
  • Green eyes= Browns/gold’s/coppers/purples
  • Brown eyes= Green/golds/bronzes/browns/blues. Brown eyed models are the luckiest as most colours will suit you!
    make up advice

    A 1940's theme with redhead model Jess

Eye Makeup Advice

  1. Blending is the key to a good makeup
  2. Avoid clumpy mascara – this takes attention away from the eyes
  3. Cheap eye colours lack in pigment, therefore the tone won’t be as vibrant as it appears in the pallet.

Useful tools

  1. Cotton Buds – great for neatening & correcting
  2. Angled Sponges – you can pick these up from places like Superdrug, boots.



Thanks for reading, more soon!

Lauren x

eye make up advice

Working on eye make up prior to the 1940's location shoot




What to expect from a photo shoot

This week we will look into what to expect from a photo shoot.

Everyone needs an outcome from a photo shoot, especially in the portfolio building phase. The outcome from a paid shoot is quite easy; cash for the model and styling team and a sell-able image for the photographer. An unpaid shoot is a slightly different matter, and more of a negotiation.

Some terms that you need to be aware of if you aren’t already is TFP (time for prints) or TFCD (time for CD). This is sometimes called ‘time for’ too.

With TFP shoots there are several issues that you need to cover as a model.

  1. Where is the venue? Is it a studio, or a dreary bedroom with a sheet hung up for a backdrop? Think about it, what is going to be safer and more professional. Are you really going to get a good shoot from the latter?
  2. What experience does the photographer have? Do they have experience in your chosen subject? A fashion photographer isn’t necessarily a good nude photographer.
  3. How long will the shoot be?
  4. Lights – we will cover this in a later post, but lights and correct creative lighting really make a shot, even outdoors on a sunny day – see the shot below. Will the photographer use them?Fashion shoot advice
  5. What will the outcome of the shoot be – will you get a CD with images on?
  6. Will there be any prints or something like a photobook?
  7. How many shots will I get?
  8. When will I get them?
An example of a how creative lighting can make a sunny day seem like a night shot. This shot was taken at midday on a sunny day on location. The light that you see on the wall is from an orange filter on the flashgun.







There are a couple of contentious areas that need to be covered. I don’t mind paying for travelling expenses if I feel that the shoot is adding value to my portfolio. I have also supplied photobooks for models. I do know a lot of photographers that get quite angry when asked if they will cover travel expenses.

Let me explain why and maybe this will help you to understand.

The photographer has invested in many £1000′s of kit. Also, after the shoot to produce top class shots there is a certain amount of post-editing or post-production. This can involve retouching, creating effects and saving the shots down into the relevant format. Most photographers actually put another 3-5 hours minimum work in after you have finished the shoot to get the final shots. This is one of the reasons you may get some negativity when asking the photographer to pay your expenses.

What is a reasonable amount of shots?

I am quite strict with what goes into my shortlist. I never count, but on a 4-hour shoot I will end up with about 30 shots in my shortlist.

As a minimum on a TFP or TFCD I would say that 15-30 shots is a good amount. Any more than that probably won’t be post processed to a very good level. We will cover retouching in another post.

This is from a recent shoot. Abi had 19 shortlisted images in a 4 hour City location shoot.


Outfit changes/hair changes

Remember that you may have other stakeholders in the shoot other than the photographer and the model. You might have a hair stylist, make up artist and also using clothes from a shop or agency. Everyone will want their own piece of the action so make sure that this is discussed pre-shoot.

In a 4 hour shoot you can do 4 outfits easily. Any more starts to eat into your shooting time and also changes in hair and make up have the same effect. Try and plan your changes beforehand.

A 2 hour shoot with a hair stylist and 4 outfits is not really possible to create something special for you.





The creative shoot

This shot was over an hour in hair and make up and I had a single frame where the smoke was just enough not to cover Jess, but not too early where there was not enough. 1 hour set up for a 1/500th of a second shot!

The shots above are pretty standard fashion shots. For a more creative set up you will need more planning and in turn you will end up with less shooting time and less shortlisted shots. An extravagant theme like the shot on the right can take some time to put together.


In the next post from me we will cover lighting and the importance of good lighting. On my next shoot I will show a before and after of normal lights and then using studio lights.


I am meeting with Jess, Moda’s hair stylist, tomorrow and hopefully our new make up artist. One of the subjects we are discussing is hair and make up advice. Watch our for their first post soon!!



Tips on studio shoots

Following on from our last post on pre-shoot communication with photographers, we will now cover the actual shoot itself. One thing that I often see is lack of preparation. Some models come with not enough outfits, no make up and their hair in a mess. Its then down to the photographer to heavily edit the images, which can take several hours. In the end neither of you are happy with the shots.

There are some shoots that the model will turn up at and my initial thought is “you are kidding me!”. You wouldn’t go for a job interview in your pyjamas so don’t turn up at a shoot unprepared.

During the pre-shoot communication, outfits. make up and hair should be discussed. You are not going to be lucky enough to have a hair and make up artist on each shoot you do so there is going to have to be some work from you on these areas. We will discuss post shoot editing and airbrushing by the photographer later on a future post. Ensure that you bring more outfits than you need and don’t forget matching shoes!

If you are shooting lingerie and supplying your own, bring a matching set!

So, you turn up prepared with your outfits and hair and make up in a decent state. The next step is for both to look at the outfits and ensure that you are both happy and discuss a plan. This can be done pre-shoot, but you can overload yourself with lots of thoughts, which in turn may kill the creativity of the shoot.

Once you have a plan then the shoot can begin.

Posing guide:

Make sure that you practice on posing naturally. There is nothing worse for either of you to struggle with posing and the shoot becomes very mechanical. I shot a model recently who was discussing last night’s TV whilst hitting different poses while I was firing at a shot per second. Ideal, but that does come with experience. 

Don’t pre-plan posing in the pre-shoot communication. This is a waste of time; you are better off posing naturally and creating ideas between you and the photographer during the shoot. Most of the time the spur of the moment posing looks better.

Before I work with a model I spend quite a bit of time looking through their existing shots. Most models fall into bad habits, generally one comfort pose like a pout, or always angling the face in certain direction. You can’t help this and you won’t really notice yourself, but a good photographer can help with breaking you out of any habits that you are getting into.

In future posts we will discuss areas such as:

  1. Making the most of your good and bad features.
  2. Understanding photography lighting and using it to your advantage, even with photographers who don’t understand it themselves!
  3. Outdoor and location shoots.
  4. High key and low key photography

How long should you take in the studio?

You need an hour per outfit change really. You may want to use a couple of different sets with the same outfit or different props. For a quality shoot you will need 3 hours minimum and possibly 4 hours. Of course, there will be photographers that read this and think its rubbish! I am talking about great quality shots that you would be proud of in your portfolio, not just snaps.

Jessica Hope Hill - Model and MODA Hair Stylist

Lot’s more advice on the way and MODA hair stylist, Jessica Hope Hill, will be offering hair tips over the next couple of weeks. We are hoping to officially welcome a make up artist too to MODA and of course she will be blogging too offering advice in this area.

If you have enjoyed the first 2 posts, please tell your model friends and anyone interested in starting. Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and the main website to view our work is here. We are about to shoot some more hair and make up projects and updates will come through via Facebook and Twitter so make sure you are following! ;-)

Feel free to add a comment on the link at the beginning of the post, or any other tips that you may have regarding this subject.

Thanks for reading

Dean – MODA photographer


Pre-shoot communication with photographers

As a photographer I get to see a lot of pre-shoot communication. This is generally quite poor; and in fact only around 5% of models know exactly or roughly what they want from the shoot. A typical exchange of communication would be something like:

Photographer – “yes I’m happy to shoot with you, what subjects would you like to shoot? Do you have a particular genre or style you prefer?

Model – “no, not really, I’m just happy to go with what you want to do”

I’m so tempted at this point to make a point by asking the model to stand on one leg on top of a donkey with a lampshade on the head. It sounds ridiculous, but seriously, as a model you need to be to control your own destiny. Photographers need you as much as you need them, so it’s a partnership.

Before you do that you need to figure out what you want out of modelling, and we are about to release some courses to help models with this pre-shoot, during shoot and post-shoot communication.

First of all, be clear on what you want to do in your modelling career. You may only want to do for fun, which is fine, or you might be more serious and want to become a glamour or a fashion model. As soon as you know this it will help you control the whole experience of working with photographers much easier.

If you choose a certain style, then look for photographers who are good at that style. Just because they are a photographer doesn’t mean that they are a good photographer, and a good photographer can make an image looks so much better. A beautiful model can look poor with a poor photographer. On the flip-side, an average model can look beautiful with a great photographer.  

There are model forums out there where photographers and models join and get together. I would say around 80% of the photographers on most of these forums are not of the required standard, and subsequently your portfolio starts to become a weak one whether it’s a fun or a career. Don’t think that because you are a young, inexperienced, or not that confident that you should be grateful for anybody taking your photograph. Use it as a negotiation between you and the photographer to get what you want and what the photographer wants from the shoot.

My key advice:

  • Join somewhere like your Purestorm.com for free as a model
  • Look for photographers you want to work with
  • Set your sights high
  • A good way to start communication is by telling them how much you like their work, even photographers need their egos massaged!
  • Ask them their availability for shoots.
  • In the same e-mail tell them what you would like to do and asked them what they would like to do. An example would be, “hi John, I really like your work especially shot number seven on your portfolio. I am looking for a photographer to shoot with but don’t really have an experience, but I do appreciate I want to work with a top photographer, hence my e-mail! I would really love to shoot fashion, mainly High Street, and maybe some lingerie too. Would you consider shooting with me? I would also be happy to look at anything that you would want to shoot for your portfolio.”
  • If the response comes back negative, then ask for feedback on your potential as a model.

Once you get more confident, and get a couple of good shoots and your belt, you can start being a little bit more pushy without being rude. For example, you can ask to do specific themes with hair and make up artists.

The better quality your portfolio, the better quality photographers you will attract and eventually they will start coming to you rather than you going to them. That’s a very good feeling. I have around 10 requests per week from models to shoot them, I had to beg when I first started. I make sure that my photos are the best they can be. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time so have to turn many down, but I do try and give feedback on their portfolio and any bad habits that they may be getting into.

In the next post, I will discuss what to expect during the shoot, how to maximise your time and how to create a team with the photographer in the studio or location.

Please feel free to post any questions regarding this or any other subject.