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Your first photoshoot and how getting ready can make a huge difference

I remember my first photoshoot with Andrew and Vicky the MUA @victoriagarciamua I had never done this before, I was stressed. It is great to have a mentor but it can be stressful because, in my case, Tony sometimes pushes me faster, farther and harder than I want.

I need to process things and on occasions I just didn't have the time. Great strategy to avoid procrastinating. Tony had a plan for me and I had to be up to it. He can be hard on the people he mentors, not hard in a mean way, hard in setting the challenges. Once you have overcome one, he sets a new one and it can be daunting. I do thrive under pressure but I had moments when I thought I wasn't good enough; but I love a challenge so I kept going.

Shooting for the first time with Andrew and Vicky gave me all the confidence I needed to want to do more. They really made me feel at ease. It was fun and I got some really nice shots. It was very emotional for me and it is still emotional when I see photos of myself and expressions that I thought I would never be able to show. I have had many photoshoots since and when I think back and feel at ease, I know it is thanks to Andrew and Vicky.

Now, let's be practical and tell you how it goes. You have the photographer, you are going to the studio or at a location outdoors. You set a date and time and you talk about the mood of the shoot. If the photographer has an idea of what he wants he will send you a mood board (it is a collage of inspiration to be used as a reference point before and during your photoshoot. It helps clarify the vision so everybody involved is on the same page)

Now that you have the mood board, select the clothes you want to wear, either you have them or you borrow them from your family and friends. Don't go out shopping as you might never wear them again and if you buy clothes for every shoot it is going to cost you. I have this habit of brainstorming with Tony and my friend and model Joel @joeladamagueye as they often come up with great styling ideas that you, as a shy model, would not dare try. I force myself out of my comfort zone when preparing a photoshoot as I do not want to look like my everyday self, I always go crazy, when I shoot I dare.

The night before, pack your bag and make sure that you either have ironed everything and pack it so it does not end creased or get yourself a steamer that you bring on set. Don't forget your accessories and shoes and try to have a good night sleep. If there is a make up artist, and I like when there is one, I don't pack any make up and I go make up free.

Be on time, eat and drink so you don't have to during the shoot and you can avoid stains especially if you have borrowed the clothes. Be polite and pleasant, it seems obvious but apparently not to everyone, the photographer is the first person who is going to introduce you to the industry. They are artists, respect their art. Same with the MUA, she/he is going to make you look great, be polite and cooperative, they know what they are doing.

During the shoot, just follow the directions, be communicative and exchange ideas if any come up, you are in the middle of creating something so last minute ideas can make a great shot. Just relax, have some music playing in the background, and if you are shy like me, tell yourself you are not going to die, nobody is here to judge you and it is going to be great. I always have a little apprehension before a shoot especially if I don't know the photographer, normal reaction of a very shy person but once I get there, I gradually relax and all my shoots always went very well. True, I am lucky because all the photographers I have shot with were introduced by Tony, so I felt safe and wanted, I just had to go and give the best of myself and it always worked so far. The photographer will show you some photos during the shoot on his camera/computer so you can see how well you are doing or change direction; it is a 2 people creation so be active.

Important advice is when you decide to build your portfolio, use several photographers, don't just go with the one, you want to be seen from different angles in different outfits by different eyes. Don't fall for the scammers that will promise you a portfolio package. Check out several photographers and if you like their work contact them. Ask around to others models, check their website, read the reviews, engage on social media, respond to TFPs (time for photos so no money is exchanged but you get photos for your portfolio) Build your portfolio keeping in mind where you want to get and what you want and need to show.

Here are the names of all the photographers I had the pleasure to work with so far, they are all great, check them out if you want to shoot with them. They are the masters of my portfolio.

Andrew Clifton Brown

Ivan Weiss

Jeff Marano @jeffmaranofilm

Mondi Dauti @35mmondi

Henry Gorse @henrygorse

Temitope Ifekoya @ifeth90

Please show me photos if you shoot with one of them, they are all great.

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