Best Modeling Agencies in Portland, Oregon
As a prominent and well connected photographer in Portland Oregon, I have worked with many models over the years. Some signed and well established and some just starting out. For those just starting out I'm often asked for any advice on finding a local modeling agency and who I'd recommend. I'll go into detail on how to get into modeling and what to expect in a future article but for now this article will focus on the 5 talent agencies in Portland, Oregon that I recommend.
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My recommendations are strictly based off opinions from models, designers, and stylists I've worked with in the past that I trust, testimonials, and personal interaction with these agencies. I am not a photographer for any of these agencies nor am I affiliated with them in any way.
Questions to Ask Before Signing with a Modeling Agency
Before I get into my 5 recommendations let's identify what you should look for in an agency and red flags to avoid on your quest to becoming the next Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid.
Once you've selected an agency and schedule an interview be prepared to answer questions like, "Why are you interested in becoming a model?" What type of modeling are you interested in?" "What made you choose their agency?" and "What value do you bring to their agency?"
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Just as important as the questions they have for you are the questions you have for them. If you want to stand out among the countless other beautiful faces you need to show the agency you’re professional, engaged, dedicated, and take your modeling career seriously. Keeping in mind you can find the answer to some of these questions yourself online here are some important things to discuss during your interview with the modeling agency to make sure they are the right fit for you:
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On your quest to find a reputable modeling agency It’s imperative that you do your homework first. If you're looking for a reputable modeling agency in Portland this article is where your research will begin but not where it will end.
Red Flags I tell new models to lookout for include:
Truth is, most modeling agencies are legitimate and safe, but you can never be too careful. I suggest when you find a modeling agency that looks like a good fit go through their Instagram feed and contact some models they have featured and ask them about their experience with the agency. You'd be shocked at how open people can be to sharing. Now, let's get into my recommendations.
1. The Option Agency
The Option Agency is searching for a whole range of shapes, sizes, and colors to help fuel the narrative that being active is a lifestyle, not a look. Option is an elite collective of veteran agents that has honed its sights and skills on the freshest, most focused talent. Option seeks a balance between offering boutique, white-glove service and bold, gloves-off representation. I appreciate the variety in their portfolio.
The Option Agency represents influencers such as: Hailee Lautenbach, Angelina Yasmeen, Chad White, Nic Palladino, and Nick Kent.
Who they are Accepting :
What you will submit:
• 1 smile headshot
• 1 no-smile shoulder up
• 1 full-length body shot
• 2 two-piece swimwear full-length body shots, one with hair up, one with hair down (teen/adult females only)
• 1 shorts-only full-length body shot (teen/adult males only)
@theoptionagency on Instagram
2. Muse Model Management
MUSE Model Management is a fashion and athletic modeling agency based in Portland, Oregon that represents models to clients in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Some of these clients include: Nordstrom, Hollister, Abercrombie, Macy’s, Nike, Adidas, Jordan, Fred Meyer, Columbia Sportswear, Reebok, Converse, Microsoft, Apple, Boeing, Starbucks, Hewlett Packard, Nintendo, Levi’s, Eddie Bauer, Norm Thompson, Pendleton, Sahalie, Hanna Andersson, Dakine, Portland Monthly, Oregon Bride, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, Nautilus, Sony, Footlocker, New Balance, Brooks Running, Saucony, Precor and REI. Just to name a few.
In addition to regional bookings, MUSE places and manages international careers and has sent dozens of models around the world collaborating with top international agencies such as IMG, The Society, Next, DNA, Elite, Ford, VNY, Soul, NY Models. As a result, their models have worked for Vogue, Bazaar, W, GQ, Details, Elle, Glamour, Marie Claire, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs, Abercrombie, Hollister, American Eagle, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Bulgari, Chanel, Versace, and L’Uomo Vogue.
Some MUSE discoveries include: Kerry Degman, Julia Dunstall, Terron Wood, Nick Clark, Brandi Brechbiel, Kate Nauta, Amanda Jensen, Darla Baker, Aaron Bernards, Noa Thomas, Mariah Morrison, Samantha Bondurant, Alesha Cubitt, Wellington Grant, Mercedes Hurzeler, Cristal Chavez and Phil Blank.
If you want to model for MUSE they have 2 options
They will require two photos of yourself. (One head shot clearly showing your face and one body shot in a swimsuit or athletic wear) They will want something current that shows them what you look like right now. Quick snapshots are fine.
Come in and see them. Even if you send them a photo, they're going to need to see you in person anyways. They have an open call every Thursday @ 5pm, and the first Saturday of every month @ 12pm (Noon), at their office in downtown Portland. They request you do not come in at any other time without an appointment.
For their market, a specific height range is generally required. For girls, this is 5’7” to 6’. For guys it’s 5’11” to 6’3”. There are exceptions, but please keep this in mind.
@musemanagement on Instagram
3. Q6 Model and Artist Management
Q6 Model Management is more than just an agency, they're a home base. Helping talent develop their skills in an ever evolving industry. Q6 strives for people to feel welcome and seen for their unique identities. For over 3 decades, they've been a leader in the Model and Acting industry of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Jonny Shultz: Co-Owner
Jonny prides himself on building relationships with the Models of Q6. Starting his career as a junior booker almost 20 years ago, Jonny rose the ranks of the industry becoming a Scout for one of the world’s top agency networks, Ford Models. He’s an expert in model development and seeks out talent whose personality shines.
Dorianne Palmer: Co-Owner
With over 25 years’ experience at all levels of agency life, Dori helps keep the culture of Q6's history alive and thriving.
Crystal Walen: Agency Director of TV / Film
For 15 years Crystal has been embedded in the TV / Film community. With experience in casting as a Casting Associate (Portlandia, Green Room, Restless), and in production and contract management Crystal brings clear communication to each project she works on.
Adam Rosko: Junior Booking Agent
Began his career in 2009 as artistic director of Atomic Arts (which produced the wildly popular, Trek in the Park), before moving on becoming a Casting Associate and Background Casting Director for dozens of tv/film projects.
Q6 Talent is Not currently hosting open calls.
Thier Code of Conduct goes as follows:
"Q6 is committed to maintaining ethical and social values in the workplace. We have and will continue to uphold the highest standards of integrity and respect for others and expect that same from those with whom we work.
All Models and Actors must be treated with respect and professionalism and we will continue to communicate that requirement to all parties with whom our Talent interact with. We require that all Models and Actors should be provided with a safe, drug and alcohol free work environment, sufficient privacy while dressing, and be provided with all breaks and meals as required by State Law. Should we learn of any violation of these requirements or discover that any of our Talent have been subject to inappropriate conduct or conditions of any kind including, sexual advances or propositions, inappropriate physical contact, emotional or sexual coercion, offensive or derogatory comments or language, or invasion of privacy we will ensure that all necessary steps are taken to remove the Talent from harm’s way and to remedy the situation.
We will work with our clients to ensure that the physical and mental health, safety, wellbeing and dignity of our Talent are protected and maintained while they are on assignment. We will advise clients they may not insist or request that a model perform any activity that may be degrading, unprofessional or demeaning, or to request that a talent perform any activity that may be dangerous, without having first raised the risk with Q6 and with the model, and having obtained the talents' written consent. Any nudity, semi-nudity or sexualized content or situations must be pre-approved in writing by the talent.
We believe in transparency, Models and Actors are provided with rate, usages, and client expectations at the time of casting, and again during the booking process."
@q6models on Instagram
4. Sports & Lifestyle Unlimited
Slu agency represents a leading roster of professional fitting/fit models. Their fit models span the major size sets and are engaged by a wide range of major athletic and lifestyle apparel brands to independent designers and pattern makers. Today's consumers are increasingly making active healthy lifestyle choices towards products and services related to sports, fitness, health, and wellness. These consumers are more educated and savvier than ever. So, it's crucial that brands and their creative/production partners hiring talent as part of their efforts to reach this audience, select talent that are authentic and credible to these consumers.
Slu is proud to represent the strongest roster of professional models and talent that support the varied production and branding needs of these brands and their creative partners from across the advertising, marketing and entertainment industries. An industry leader for almost 30 years, Slu takes great pride in their commitment to the core company values of integrity, honesty, respect and professional service that drives their company culture. They place high value in their relationships with their industry partners and the models and talent that have trusted Slu to represent them.
What Slu Agency is Looking for:
Prior industry experience is not required but can be an advantage. For thier sports/fitness division, they represent talent with advanced level athletic skills and experience that would support the credibility and authenticity sought by advertisers. For their lifestyle division, they are primarily interested in representing women (5'7" to 5'11"), men (5'11" to 6'3"), and teens/kids who represent a healthy active lifestyle with strong potential marketability as commercial models. Slu is open to all sizes and ages but sign only a limited number of kids each year.
A recruitmint warning from Slu: We consider the safety and well-being of aspiring models to be a top priority. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and authenticity and want to advise models about unscrupulous people who prey on their ambitions.
Please be aware there are individuals on the internet falsely claiming to be representatives or scouts of SLU or other organizations. If you are contacted by anyone claiming to be a representative of SLU, do not respond without first verifying their identity by promptly calling us directly at (503) 227-3449 and we’ll be happy to assist you. Please note that SLU never requests photos in the nude or in lingerie and never requires monetary payment to review your materials or consider you for representation. If you are under 18 years of age and are contacted by someone claiming to represent an agency, always alert your parents or a responsible adult.
@sluagency on Instagram
5. Reaction Models and Talent
Reaction Model Management is a Pacific Northwest modeling agency focused on developing and helping talent in Portland, Oregon. They act both as a booking and mother agency, finding interesting people, and providing the tools for them to develop into dependable and compelling models. They are inclusive and represent a wide variety of talent.
As a husband and wife team, Jeff and Brittney McChristy Shanes are fully invested in the service they supply to their clients and models. They pride themselves on their availability, dependability, and ethical standards. Their personal goal is to help their models and actors achieve their goals, and to be a resource for projects to run smoothly and efficiently for their clients.
Some Clients of Reaction Model Management are - Columbia Sportswear / Nike / Adidas / Intel / Google / Microsoft / Unilever / Reebok / Starbucks / Kroger / Sony
Currently they are looking for people who meet the following requirements:
We are especially interested in beautiful ethnic women! We strive to be very inclusive. Pacific Northwest types with individual style/tattoos are welcome to apply.
@reactionmodels on Instagram
Do you have a personal experince with one of the agencies I mentioned? Or have one to add to the list? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. If you're in need of a photographer in Portland to help build your portfolio contact me for a quote today!
Preparing for a Photoshoot 101
As much as photo shoots can be exhilarating and fun, they also require preparations in advance for the perfect outcome. I don't suggest nonchalantly heading to a studio or location with your photographer you paid good money for, to have your pictures taken, and expect them to be perfect, as there is only so much that can be done in post-production. When you hire a personal branding photographer, having these tips on preparation in your back pocket will help assure you feel ready to go and fabulous on the day of your shoot. All these tips apply to the men also!
Have a healthy skincare routine
You’re beautiful. You’re perfect. You’re fabulous. Don’t feel pressured to stray too far (or at all) from your typical beauty/grooming routine. A gentle exfoliation for your face and lips the night before your shoot, followed by your favorite moisturizer will go a long way in helping your skin look it’s best.
Check that your hair, skin, brows, and nails are all clean, tidy, and groomed to your liking, and Voilá! You’re photo shoot ready!
Book ALL the Things (with a buffer)
Giving yourself that buffer allows your skin time to normalize and recuperate. It also provides a ‘woopsie’ window in case one of said services doesn’t quite turn out how you expected. More on this HERE
Don’t forget your teeth
If you have teeth staining do not worry, it's perfectly normal. Most people do. I suggest using white strips to
whiten teeth in a week. This will give them that little boost just before the shoot but if you can't afford them all is not lost. Any professional photographer can whiten your teeth in post per your request :)
Pay special attention to your hair
Don't neglect those beautiful locks. Preparing your hair for a photoshoot is just as important as your skin. Plan your next haircut for the week leading up to the shoot, even if just a trim to keep your hair looking fresh and on point. Opting for hair colouring is also a great idea if you have roots showing. Talk to your hairdresser about what hair style will best suit your face for your upcoming photoshoot.
I always recommend the week before your photo shoot use a nourishing, deep conditioning treatment on your hair. This will ensure it is healthy, strong and fabulous for your shoot.
If a hair stylist was booked with your photo shoot make sure to arrive with clean, dry hair. If a stylist is provided, simply ensure your hair is clean and dry when you arrive and they will style it for you upon arrival.
Take care of your hands and legs
Remember, photoshoots are not only about faces. Go for a manicure and a pedicure a day before your shoot, so that you can flaunt your legs and hands in your sleeveless/side slit dress. And if you wear a wedding ring, make sure to clean it to enhance the beauty of your hands.
Most of my clients like to show up with a fresh tan, if you want to get a spray tan rather than use a tanning bed before your photo shoot, I recommended you do this 2-3 days beforehand. This will allow time for the spray tan to settle and look natural on camera.
A spray tan or gradual self-tanner is certainly not necessary, but I find my clients love that warm and glowy skin tone in photos. But again you don’t need to do this – I totally advocate and encourage you to rock the skin you are in! If you do choose to tan, just be super careful that it is even – otherwise it can look underwhelming on camera.
Lastly, if you choose to, you can also go the waxing route for a cleaner smoother look but only if you've waxed before. If you haven't there is always a chance you could breakout and no one wants that right before a shoot.
Plan what to wear, bring options
Clothes are another essential element to pay heed to. Strategically putting complementary
pieces of clothes together will enhance your looks, resulting in a good looking photo. It's also a good idea to bring along 5-6 outfits that you love. You can even select those dresses which you might not wear because of their impracticality. More on what to wear HERE
Just relax and seize your day
Most importantly remember to stay hydrated and get a good night’s sleep to look fresh in your pictures. A photo shoot should be like a reward for yourself so go all out and pamper yourself the whole week leading up to the shoot. Not required but you deserve it. Finally, take on as little stress as you can the week leading up to the shoot. That means a week long news and media detox. Acknowledge everything in your life that brings you stress and negative feelings and avoid them at all cost. I always want my clients showing up to our shoot feeling fabulous, strong and sexy. Have fun!
Any photographer you might work with will have an Instagram account and there is a lot you can learn just from their page. Look at this like a background check for potential photographers or really anyone you'll be meeting in person for the first time. These 5 tips are even more important if you were contacted randomly by a local photographer on Instagram. This happens all the time and isn't necessarily a bad thing unless the photographer is unprofessional. It's crucial to identify their motive. Below I will address 5 questions you should ask yourself when using Instagram to identify a predator.
1. Is their page new?
If a local photographer slides into your DM it's a huge red flag if their account is new. Not a deal breaker but something to look into. It’s common for predators to use fake accounts just long enough to take advantage of someone and then delete that account and start a new one under a new name as to not get caught. So make sure to check the dates on their posts to see how long they've had an account.
2. Whats their engagement like?
If the account is new, poor engagement is to be expected but if the account has been around for a while and they have a larger following you can expect to see higher engagement. An account with a large following but very little engagement (likes & comments) is a huge red flag.
One of the most common tricks predators like to use to deceive an aspiring model is purchasing followers so they appear to be popular. It’s cheaper than you might think. Luckily it’s easy to spot. If the account has 20k, 30k, 60k, or even 100k with Little engagement that means their followers were purchased. Remember purchased followers do not engage. They are fake accounts. That being said likes and comments can also be purchased from fake accounts so it’s best to take a look at the accounts those comments are coming from and make your best judgment.
3. Do they tag their models?
Every professional photographer who uses Instagram knows it’s correct etiquette to tag your model. If you notice there aren’t any models tagged in the photos that’s a huge red flag. It’s common for predators to use other photographers photos so they appear like a real photographer obviously in this case they won’t be tagging the model as to not get caught.
4. What's their content like?
This one should be obvious but what is their content like? Is it classy? Does it look professional or amateur? Is it high-quality or subpar? Are they all nudes? If so are they artistic or grotesque? Are they in good taste or explicit? More often than not if an account is full of amateur low quality nudes you can assume it’s a GWC - Guy with a camera. The GWC has no interest in becoming a real photographer, all they are interested in is acquiring as many nudes as they can. They are easy to spot.
5. What do their models have to say about them?
As I said above, any professional photographer will tag their models which makes it really easy for you to DM the model and ask about their experience. Of all five tips this one is the best and most important way to vet a photographer as there are no reviews on Instagram. Just to be safe I suggest reaching out to multiple models they have worked with.
Along with these tips keep in mind that a Predator can still be a legit, popular, & talented photographer so use your best judgement and always trust your gut. I have more tips on model safety HERE. If you have any tips to add to this list please leave them in the comments below and connect with me on Instagram HERE
Whether you're a seasoned model or you're interested in your very first photo shoot I've put together these 6 tips that you need to know to keep you safe. It's no secret, photography is a saturated market. No matter where you live there are probably countless photographers in your area to choose from and although this diversity is great it makes it easy for a few bad apples to blend right in. In this article you will find all the red flags you should look out for when choosing a photographer.
1. Vet them with Instagram.
Any photographer you might work with will have an Instagram account and there is a lot you can learn just from their page. Look at this like a background check for potential photographers or really anyone you'll be meeting in person for the first time. This tip is the most important and lesser known of the group, so to keep this article short and sweet I address 5 questions you should ask yourself when using Instagram to identify a potential predator in another article - Vetting with Instagram.
2. Bring an escort.
Whether you’re a man, woman, boy, or girl, if you feel more comfortable bringing an escort to a shoot the answer should ALWAYS be yes. If the photographer gives you an excuse why you need to come alone that is a huge red flag. Other photographers will argue with me all day about this but there is no excuse. If you feel uneasy don’t hesitate to bring someone with you, just make sure it’s not someone who will distract you.
3. Google them.
Any professional photographer will not only have Instagram but a website. You won’t find reviews on Instagram but you will find reviews on Google or yelp if they are legit. If you can't find any reviews by googling them that's a huge red flag.
4. Ask for references.
As I mentioned above I suggest contacting models they have worked with on Instagram but if they don’t have an Instagram ask them for references, people they’ve worked with that you can contact. Preferably multiple.
5. Know what's to be expected.
What you both expect should always be discussed before the photo shoot that way there is no surprises in the moment. If shooting nudes or in your underwear was never discussed before the shoot it is extremely unprofessional for the photographer to try to persuade you to do so.
If your photographer is pushing you to do some thing you don’t want to do and you feel uncomfortable you have every right to leave immediately. And if you didn’t drive you can always pretend you’re texting your Dad but really hail a Lyft and then pretend you need to take an important call from your Dad and walk out. Say some thing loudly like “Dad hold on I have to get somewhere quiet what’s going on!?” and wait for your driver to show up.
6. Check the local black list.
Most big cities like Portland will have a list of photographers who’ve been blacklisted for being inappropriate with their models. The photographers on these lists have had multiple complaints and should be avoided. These can usually be found in your local modeling safety group on facebook.
7. Drive separately.
Many photo shoot’s will require a drive, sometimes over an hour each way so unless you know and trust the photographer drive separately and if they persistently insist that you drive together this is a huge red flag. A predator will always suggest you drive with them.
8. Tell someone where you're going.
Always tell someone where you’re going and who you're shooting with. Send the address and time frame to a friend or family member so they know where you’re going what you’re doing and when. In a future post I'll discuss how you can send your current GPS to anyone. It's not a bad idea to send them the year, make, and model of the photographers car either.
9. Notice their Demeanor
What's their demeanor like? Do they communicate in a professional manner? Notice how they communicate with you. Are they rude? Are they Pushy? How many times have they complimented your looks? Have they asked you to send them risqué photos for any reason? It's common for predators to ask for photos "so they know what they are working with".
10. Don't* fly to meet a photographer
I hesitate to say “don’t” because I am sure there are rare occasions where models are flown out to other cities legitimately for photo shoots but more often than not those are signed models and the flight is setup through their agency. If a photographer not working with an agency offers to fly you somewhere he is expecting more than photos. so if someone throws out this offer ask what company they work for and verify everything with that company and use the tips mentioned above to vet the company as well. And for the love of God don’t travel alone.
I hope this article helped, if you have anything to add to this list please comment below. I don't mean to scare you, as a whole I love the Portland photography community and we look out for each other but like with most things there is a dark side. Always use your best judgment and go with your gut.
Bring Protection: It's never a bad idea to bring some kind of protection. Taser, pepper spray, knife, etc.
Be aware of Fraudulent Modeling Agencies with these Tips
Some of the most common questions asked by my clients before a shoot are: How do you prepare your makeup for pictures? Should I wear makeup to a photo shoot? How do you prepare for a photo shoot the night before? How should I do my makeup for an outdoor photo shoot? What makeup looks best on camera? How do you prepare your skin for a photo shoot? What foundation is best for photo shoots? How do I style my hair for a photo shoot?
So I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to bring in my talented friend and Makeup artist Renee Jacobson for some insight on the topic of pre shoot makeup and skin care. Renee and I have worked together on multiple projects and she is one of the most popular makeup artists in Portland. I'm honored she took the time to be my guest author for today's blog. We hope these tips help. Make sure to connect with Renee on Instagram HERE
Let's keep it simple
You’re beautiful. You’re perfect. You’re fabulous. Don’t feel pressured to stray too far (or at all) from your typical beauty/grooming routine. A gentle exfoliation for your face and lips the night before your shoot, followed by your favorite moisturizer will go a long way in helping your skin look it’s best.
Check that your hair, skin, brows, and nails are all clean, tidy, and groomed to your liking, and Voilá! You’re photo shoot ready!
Book ALL the Things (with a buffer)
Giving yourself that buffer allows your skin time to normalize and recuperate. It also provides a ‘woopsie’ window in case one of said services doesn’t quite turn out how you expected.
Any of the above mentioned services can be done at home. If you’re a DIYer and/or on a budget, I see you. You’re a champion.
Two bits of advice:
1. Give yourself a buffer. Plan your self care and grooming into your schedule at least a couple days before your shoot. Procrastination can lead to a late night pre-shoot, and the power of beauty sleep should not be underestimated.
2. Stick to what you know. If you’ve never waxed your own eyebrows, the night before your photo shoot is not the time to try.
And remember- it’ll be tempting...you’ll find little things that beckon for it... but RESIST the urge to pick. Leave it alone.
Leave it be.
Practice in the mirror
If the very thought stresses you out, skip it. You’ve booked a photographer who will direct your movements and help you feel comfortable and look fabulous in front of the camera.
However, bringing your own poses to the table can be a great way to ensure that your photos capture your authenticity and most flattering form. If you want to get some practice in, spend some time with yourself in the mirror. Find the poses and shapes that flatter your form and take note of how they feel in your body, and how you moved into them, so you can recreate that sensation when the mirror is a camera. But again, don’t stress! Your photographer will guide you.
No, really. Being in front of the camera can be surprisingly physical. You may be asked to bend, stretch, twist, lift, sit, stand, climb, leap... This will not be a passive experience so do your body the favor of a few down dogs the night before and/or morning of.
Cameras see differently than our eyes do. The inconsistencies in skin tone and texture become more exaggerated and apparent through a lens. Basic cosmetics can brighten dark under eye areas and smooth away tonal inconsistencies, saving your photographer hours of editing.
Anyone and everyone who professionally exists in front of a camera wears makeup. In the world of photography, it’s a must. Even if makeup isn’t a part of your daily life, it should be included in the schedule and budget for shoot day.
Hire a professional! Hair and makeup artists exist to help you look and feel your best for your big day. Freelance hair and makeup artists will meet you at the photo studio, or even at your home, with all of the tools, products, and expertise to create the look you want, that the camera understands, and that will keep your photographer behind the lens (their happy place) instead of stuck editing in front of the computer (significantly less happy place).
If you’re confident with your own cosmetic skills, you may still want to consider hiring a pro as the products and techniques for photography makeup do differ from day to day makeup. But if you’re going to DIY, here are some things to keep in mind:
The goal is to create an even “canvas” and accentuate the features that you’d like to be seen- typically brows, eyes, cheeks/contours, lips.
There are thousands of tips and tricks to consider when planning out your makeup look. Here are a few:
-Foundation doesn’t need to be a mask. Well-chosen and well-blended concealers are often enough. Allowing your natural skin to show through keeps you looking like you, and also helps prevent the dreaded mismatched jaw “line.”
-Which brings us to blending. Use less product and build slowly. Buff, blend, blend, and blend some more. Harsh lines, mismatched tones, and uneven application can lead to even more hours of editing than no makeup at all. Blend it out, boo.
Don’t be scared.
Choose a color that’s just a couple of shades deeper than your skin.
Start at the top of your ear and bring it down no lower than the bottom of your nose, following your cheek bone. Not in the hollows of your cheeks, but juuuust above that, and still below the crest of your cheek bone.
Add a kiss to both temples, a dusting to your hairline and under your jaw line, and to the sides of your nose. Blend it out. Boom. Now the camera can see the natural contours of your face, and they won’t get lost or “blown out” in bright light.
Go a bit bolder with your blush than you would on the daily. Much of the color gets lost in light and editing so make sure to include it in your look.
But above all, remember that you are art. You are beautiful and worthy of existing in photos.
For more information on
"I've booked my session and I'm excited for the shoot but have no idea what to wear." I hear this all the time. Whether this is your first shoot or your 5th, what you choose to wear to your photo session is just as important as the lighting, posing and location. Wardrobe may seem like a no brainer but If you show up under dressed or completely avoid the guidelines below you could take away from what could have been a great photo. The last thing you want is your clothing to be a distraction.
27 Posing Ideas for Women Who Aren't Models
The tips below are specifically for portraits, lifestyle and head shots. If you’re doing a fashion shoot these won’t apply to you as fashion is more about wardrobe and less about the model. Just remember there is an exception to every rule. If you decide not to read on just make sure to read this: The most important tip I can give you is wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Let me know in the comments below if this article helped you or if there is anything I should add to this list. All photos below were taken by me except for the memes. Make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE
1. Wear what makes you feel Awesome.
As I mentioned above I will start with the most important tip of all. Wear what makes you feel confident because if you don’t feel confident it will always show on camera. Try your best to follow the rules below but at the end of the day what makes you feel comfortable and confident is the most important. I would rather you break the rules with an outfit that makes you feel amazing than the other way around.
2. Avoid bright colors.
Keep in mind that bright colors like orange, yellow, and red tend to make you look larger than you actually are and bright and fluorescent colors can be reflective and don’t photograph well. If you would like to wear lighter colors I would stick with pastels. Below is an example of great pastel colors to look for. These are great for dark locations like a forest. If the background will be dark than dark clothing should be avoided. This is why you should always discuss location with your photographer before choosing your outfit.
3. Avoid prints, patterns, and graphics.
Again, unless you’re modeling for a brand or making a statement, patterns, prints, and graphics are to be avoided. We don’t want anything that’s going to distract from your beautiful face.
4. Bring options. Lots of options.
It’s never a bad idea to bring more outfits than you need on the day of a shoot. Men: Bring different ties, different shirts, different suit jackets. For casual headshot sessions or actor headshot sessions, bring a basic soft tee and long sleeve shirt. Variety is king and hopefully your photographer offers multiple wardrobe changes. Your photographer should let you know how many outfits are included in your price and if they don’t make sure to ask.
5. Wear flattering clothes that fit well.
I know this one seems obvious but you would be surprised. Wear clothes that fit you well and flatter your figure. If you’re going to shop for an outfit for the shoot don’t wait till the day of to try them on. Ladies: make sure to bring at least one dress to your session. I recommend dresses with a thicker material that will fight off wrinkles better than thin material.
6. Choose clothes that cover your skin.
Arms and legs have a larger surface area than your face which means when they are showing they can take away from the face, to avoid this I suggest long sleeve shirts, long pants, or a skirt that goes below the knee. If your self conscious about your arms and or legs this is the best way to help draw attention away from them and onto your face. obviously this one won’t apply to you if do you want to show off your arms or legs.
7. Go with a narrow neck line.
It’s been said that a wide neckline can thicken the neck in a photograph. I'm not sure this is true but to avoid this I suggest wearing clothes that come close to your neck such as a turtle neck or V-neck top because they slim you down and frame your face and tend to be the most flattering neck lines. However if you have really nice collarbones I would suggest a wide neckline.
8. Wear muted, Jewel, or Earth tones.
I always suggest going with muted, jewel, or earth tones to my clients because they don’t draw attention. The more subtle the better however if wearing something really loud fits your personality better that’s okay too. Below are some examples of muted, jewel, and earth tones I'd look for when putting an outfit together.
9. Keep to solid colors.
As you can probably tell, our main objective when choosing what to wear is to pick clothes that don’t draw attention to itself. Choosing an outfit with solid colors is always a great choice because they’re not overbearing or distracting. I hate to beat a dead horse but I really want this to sink in. Yes black is okay as long as the location isn't dark. Keep in mind darker colors are more slimming than lighter colors.
10. Choose your outfit first.
This is specifically for family portraits so mom and dad it can be extremely helpful to choose what you want to wear first and then build the rest of the family’s wardrobe off of that. Make sure your outfits coordinate but don’t match.
11. Dress for location and season.
When choosing an outfit keep in mind where you will be shooting and what the weather will be like as I said before it’s extremely important that you are comfortable so you wouldn’t want to wear a sleeveless in the dead of winter and you probably wouldn’t want to wear a turtleneck in the middle of summer. Dress for the season. If it’s cool and crisp out make sure to layer up. Pinterest is a great place to look for examples.
12. Have a clothing option with movement.
This one’s really for the ladies. I recommend flowy dresses, skirts, or scarves. These are great for movement shots like dancing on the beach.
13. Jewelry is fine.
A beautiful necklace, set of earrings, bracelet or hat can go a long way as long as they aren't too distracting. And for the men a watch is always recommended. A nice hat works as well for an old 50's vibe.
Hair, makeup, and so much more.
It is perfectly normal to want a haircut right before a shoot you’re paying good money for. But try your best to have it done 2 weeks before the shoot. A fresh cut or fade generally looks better after a week or 2 has passed and you’ll know how to style it just right in case you changed your hairstyle. The day of your shoot is not the time to try a new hairstyle. Stick with a look that you know you like.
Try to cover up any blemishes the best you can but keep your make up simple and minimalistic. You don’t want your photos to look like 90s glamour shots. A small amount of eyeliner, mascara, foundation, powder, concealer, blush, little eye shadow and subtle lip color goes along way. If you'd rather leave hair and makeup to a professional I work with an amazing Hair and Makeup Artist Renée J. Beauty who you can contact HERE
27 Posing Ideas for Men Who Aren't Models
The last thing you want are dry chapped lips so bring lip gloss, lipstick or lip balm to keep those lips nice and soft.
Typically I have my clients remove glasses for photos but if no one will recognize you without your glasses I recommend wearing them. However a little trick I like to do is having my clients remove the lenses from the frame because reflections in a lens can ruin a photo. This is an old Hollywood trick ;)
Gentlemen, if you are going to show up freshly shaven make sure to use aftershave moisturizer to limit bumps and redness. If you have a beard make sure it’s trimmed and tight.
Keep your nails clean and tidy, this will make a huge difference in photos if your hands are showing. Go with a neutral color that won’t clash with your outfit.
If you take anything away from this article just remember to keep it simple, stick to solid colors so your outfit isn’t the first thing that’s noticed. Flatter your shape, wear something that fits and shows your figure well. Keep it relaxed and natural, your clothing, make up, and hair should be natural and have your hair frame your features. If shooting with a group make sure to coordinate not match, plan your color palette and the vibe you’re going for. It’s best to view the outfits together before hand.
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Don’t wear graphics or distracting patterns. Don’t dress too casual unless the session calls for it, typically a photo session is a special occasion, so wear your Sunday’s best. Coordinate your outfits a day or two before the shoot. It’s easy to think that wardrobe is a no brainer but you’ll be scrambling on the day of your shoot if you don’t coordinate your outfit and decide to wing it. certainly don’t wait until the day of your shoot to try a new outfit for the first time or style your hair and make up a new way for the first time.
Most importantly be yourself. The guidelines above are just that, guidelines. Ultimately wearing what makes you feel comfortable and confident is the most important guideline of all. If all of this is too overwhelming and you would rather just let someone else take care of wardrobe for you I always suggest a stylist. And my go to stylist in the area is The Luggage Cart. Alix is the best Wardrobe Stylist I know. Contact her for a free consultation HERE
Lets face it, professional models can take a lot of the burden off us as photographers by bringing their posing expertise to the table. But unfortunately we don't always have the benefit of shooting with a professional model. As a high caliber photographer it is important to have the ability to pose normal people with little to no experience in front of the camera. Below I have put together a list of 27 posing ideas for men who are not models along with photos for reference. Every photo below was taken by me.
While certain genres of photography get to work with models, most genres involve shooting normal people who will have varying degrees of comfort in front of the camera and natural posing ability. Posing was the hardest thing to learn for me personally and it is something I still work on every day. While I am jealous of photographers who have a natural ability to pose people on the fly, I unfortunately have found that I work best by having a list of go-to poses that I know work well for me and can fall back on if I need to. Until now I have kept that list to myself. If you are a model or photographer who struggles with posing I hope this list helps. Make sure to bookmark this page so you can bring it up at any shoot and go down the list and nail every pose. You do that and you will be guaranteed to leave the shoot with tons of variety. Connect with me on Instagram HERE and let me know if this article helped in the comments below.
1. Both hands in pockets
This pose works just as well with both hands in your subjects pants pockets but if they are wearing a jacket have them place both hands in their jacket pockets. Try full hands in or just thumbs showing.
2. The profile Pose/Side View
Have your subject stand to the side so you can only see one side of their face. Ask your subject if they have a favorite side. Most people do. Make sure to try different angles and perspectives.
3. Side Lean While Looking Away
Have your subject lean against a wall with one shoulder against the wall. Have them look at the camera, up at the sky, turn their head and look down or off into the distance. Make sure they have good posture. Stand tall and straight. Add a prop like coffee for more of a lifestyle feel.
4. The Laugh
Any time you can get your subject to genuinely smile or laugh take the shot. These candid moments are gold. Something I like to do for a laugh is ask my subject their favorite comedian and play that comedian on Spotify for a few minutes until they laugh. Or dad jokes, Really bad dad jokes often do the trick.
5. Hand on Wrist
This one only works if your subject is wearing a watch or bracelet. I usually tell my male subjects to wear a watch before hand. This gives them just one more thing to do with their hands. They will appreciate it.
6. Hand to Face
Have your subject turn to the side, slightly turn their torso/head and rest their head into their hand. Loose fingers and not to much bend in the neck.
7. The Scowl
If your subject hasn't done a photo shoot before they most likely assume they should be smiling for every photo. But depending on how they plan on using the photos and what mood and message they are trying to achieve smiling may not be the right choice. Try a slight scowl to change things up.
8. Over the Shoulder
Have your subject stand or sit to the side and look over their shoulder either at the camera or slightly looking back over their shoulder. A more serious look works best for this pose.
9. The Sleeve Pull
This pose works great if your subject has on a long sleeve shirt or button up. Have them play with their sleeve by pulling it up.
10. The Inside Pocket
If your subject is wearing a blazer or jacket with an inside pocket have them go through the act of putting something in the inside pocket.
11. Play with Buttons
If your subject is wearing a button up have then go through the act of buttoning and unbuttoning their shirt. Have them place one hand over the other as if they are about to unbutton their shirt.
12. Fist in Hand
This is a great pose for a more muscular subject who wants to show off those arms. Have them face the camera, stand tall and place a fist in one hand and flex.
13. Hand to Chest Side View
This is another great one for a subject who wants to show those arms. Have your subject stand tall, to the side, slightly turning their torso to the camera with one hand up by their chest, flexing the bicep, and looking into the camera or into the distance.
14. Jacket Over One Shoulder
If your subject has a jacket or blazer have them throw it over one shoulder.
15. Hands on Waist
Have your subject stand tall and place both hands on their hips or waist and flex those arms. Shoot from slightly below at an upward angle for a stronger look.
16. Sit and Lean
Have your subject sit and lean placing an elbow on the knee and hand to face.
17. Hand to Neck
Have your subject bring a hand to their neck just below the chin. Keep the hand loose. They aren't choking themselves.
18. One Hand in Pocket
Have your subject place just one hand in a pant pocket.
Depending on the mood and message your subject wants to convey a book is an easy prop to bring with you that can be used in multiple ways shown below. Again your subject will appreciate you giving them something to do with their hands.
20. Back to the Wall
Have your subject put his back to the wall looking into the camera or off into the distance. Try different perspectives.
21. Hand behind the Head
Have your subject place one hand behind his head. Not too much bend in the neck.
22. Cover half the Face
Have your model cover half his face with one or both hands. This brings all the focus to one eye.
23. Sit one leg Under
Have your subject sit on the ground with one leg under the other. Resting one elbow on the knee and the forearm on the thigh.
24. Hands Behind the Back
Have your subject place both hands behind their back, hands in butt pockets.
25. Sitting Pose
When having your subject sit on steps try different perspectives and have one foot higher than the other rather than both feet on the same step.
26. Candid Walking Pose
Have your subject walk a straight line down the side walk. Make sure he is walking casually, naturally and not looking into the camera. Try shooting from the side and slightly up from a lower angle.
27. One hand on Shoulder.
Have your subject look into the camera while placing one hand on his shoulder.
For more tips on posing men click HERE for Smart Posing Tips to Capture Perfect Male Portraits
Lets face it, professional models can take a lot of the burden off us as photographers by bringing their posing expertise to the table. But unfortunately we don't always have the benefit of shooting with a professional model. As a high caliber photographer it is important to have the ability to pose normal people with little to no experience in front of the camera. Below I have put together a list of 27 posing ideas for women who are not models along with photos for reference. Every photo below was taken by me.
While certain genres of photography get to work with models, most genres involve shooting normal people who will have varying degrees of comfort in front of the camera and natural posing ability. Posing was the hardest thing to learn for me personally and it is something I still work on every day. While I am jealous of photographers who have a natural ability to pose people on the fly, I unfortunately have found that I work best by having a list of go-to poses that I know work well for me and can fall back on if I need to. Until now I have kept that list to myself. If you are a model or photographer who struggles with posing I hope this list helps. Make sure to bookmark this page so you can bring it up at any shoot and go down the list and nail every pose. You do that and you will be guaranteed to leave the shoot with tons of variety. Connect with me on Instagram HERE
1. The Profile Pose/Side View
If your model isn't blessed with perfect bone structure try different lighting, angles, chin movements, and hair placement to hide a double chin. Models: Don't worry, we all have one.
2. Movement Pose/Action Pose
Have the model do some kind of movement or action. This could be walking, running, jumping, or spinning. For action shots make sure your shutter speed is 1/250 and up so it's not blurry.
3. Seated Pose
Seated poses are great just keep an eye on posture and the tummy. Last thing you want is the tummy getting squished. If it's not flattering your model wont like it. Make sure your model engages her core at all times.
4. Chin in hand pose
If your model is seated this is a great go to. Try a variety of hand placements on the chin. Have your model look into the camera and off into the distance.
5. Look to the sky pose
Here's a tip to make your models eyes pop and lose those shadows when you're using natural light only. Have her look up. The light from the sky will make those babies pop and eliminate any unflattering shadows! This is very useful when shooting in a dark forest and your models face is super shaded.
6. Over the shoulder pose
To change things up try an over the shoulder pose where your model plays with her hair with the hand furthest from the camera. Have her open up and get some space between the elbow and her body making a triangle.
7. Hands on hips pose.
Play around with hands on both hips or just one hand on one hip. Try having your model slighting turn her body and popping that hip to show some side booty.
8. Lean on wall pose
Try photographing at different angles and have your model lean with her side to the wall and her back to the wall for variety.
9. Play with hair pose
This is what I meant above when I said have your model play with her hair with the hand furthest from the camera. Have her open up and get some space between the elbow and her body making a triangle. Models will always ask what to do with their hands so letting them play with their hair is natural, fun, and gives them something to do with their hands.
10. Legs crossed pose
Crossing the legs can give great shape to the body.
11. Surprised Expression
I call this the Macaulay Culkin pose. I find adding the hands is just a bit over the top but a surprised expression really open up the eyes and makes for a fun photo every time.
12. Hand in pocket pose
Try both hands or try just one. The choice is yours. Live a little. Also try a thumb in the belt loop instead of pocket or a thumb in the waist band.
13. Look into the distance
I call this the day dreaming pose. Have you model look into the distance like she's day dreaming about something she loves or like she's longing for something.
14. Funny Faces
Funny faces although not the most flattering are always the most popular in any photo set I post where there is a funny face. Catch those silly moments that happen between shots because people love seeing personality and it shows your model is more than just a pretty face. Have every model you work with give you at least one good ridiculous face.
Much like the photo above you should be having fun during a photo shoot so catch those candid moments. Everyone loves a genuine smile and the best smiles happen right before or right after a laugh.
16. Pouting Expression
Posing goes beyond just changing up body movements. Make sure to get a variety of expressions from your model as well. A good pout is a great start and almost always leads to a genuine smile.
17. Sitting laid back pose
Let your model lay back and relax. She's been working hard she deserves it.
18. Laying on the ground
Change up perspective. Have your model lay on the ground and shoot from above. Just make sure she leans her head back so we don't get double chins.
19. One leg down one knee up pose
If you want the booty poppin a great way to achieve this is keeping one leg down and bring a knee up on something like steps or a bench. Have your model pop the booty with the foot that's on the ground.
20. Arms crossed pose
This can be a great power pose or vulnerable pose depending on expression and posture. Have your model just slightly turn her torso away from the camera.
21. Back bend Pose
This is more of a high fashion type pose and not the easiest to do so leave this for your experienced models.
22. Seated one leg under one leg over pose
I just love this pose. Feels elegant but sexy to me. This is a great pose for any model with really nice legs. Try pointing the toes and lifting the heel off the ground of the front foot for a good flex.
23. The hair flip
Have your model stand still and move her head side to side getting some movement in just the hair. Turn your camera to rapid fire hope you get lucky. haha I have done this plenty of times where nothing turned out but when it does it's so fun!
24. The looking down pose
Remember the model does not have to be looking into the camera for every shot. Too often I'll look at a photographers portfolio and see nothing but photos of the model looking straight into camera. Change it up for a different mood.
25. Half profile pose
So this one isn't a full on profile/side view because you still see both eyes but I absolutely love this pose. Do not forget to get close up shots and shots from far away. Change up perspective.
26. Hand on elbow hand on shoulder pose
This is a great high fashion pose. Again make sure to have the model turn her body just slightly so you aren't photographing straight on.
27. Revealing eyes pose
You will see this one a lot in ads. Have your model reveal her eyes behind a nice pair of sunglasses. Pro tip: This is a great opportunity to tag the brand of sunglasses on Instagram and even send them the photo. They just might share it and you'll get free exposure. If you're considering modeling, you can explore the different areas of the fashion industry. Some models experiment with one specialized category, while others try out multiple types of modelling. Here is another great resource to read on types of models.
Author Lance A Reis
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