Hey everyone! 

My shoot last Tuesday was great! For those of you who might be wondering, the shoot was collaboration between a photographer friend and me, for ourselves, without a client--though we may end up sending some of the shots to some magazines. Time will tell. :) 

The great thing about not having a client involved is that we get to choose the shots that we like, and the editing gets done much more quickly. In fact, I already have some images back! I've put one right on the website's front page, in fact, I like it so much. 

So, what are some of the things that go into a professional photo shoot? Well, I can't tell you from the photographer's side, as it's all a bit too technical for me, but some of the more fashionable (and obvious) aspects are theme, hair, makeup, wardrobe, and, of course, "model care." 

The first thing that should be decided upon when doing a photo shoot is the theme--what do you want the photos to look like? Now, usually this is decided by the client--that is, if you're doing a shoot for Victoria's Secret, you know that the theme is going to probably be either quite boudoir—and pink, or on some tropical beach in paradise. If it's for Vogue, it's going to be high fashion, and from there, you need to decide if it's going to be Twiggy-style coats and tights in the city, bohemian, flowy gowns in the desert, classic film noir, etc. Virtually anything can be used as a theme, and themes are how stories are told through film (or, these days, digital). 

Hair and makeup are a little more straightforward. When there's no client (the person who hired all the models, photographers, etc., who is asking for the photos to be taken, and who is PAYING everyone), I can do whatever I want with my makeup--and since I trained to be a professional makeup artist, there's no need to hire one. Normally, there will be a professional makeup artist on set, as well as a professional hairstylist. There is also almost always a professional "stylist," which is the person who is responsible for putting together all those fabulous outfits! For this week's shoot, I decided to do pale lips and a smoky eye, since that's a classic high fashion editorial look. It went along nicely with our THEME, which was sexy high fashion. For hair, I did a deep side part and used a flat iron all over. Later in the shoot, I put it into a messy ballet bun. I chose these two hair styles for this week's photo shoot because messy-yet-still-presentable buns and sleek hair are being sported in every 2013 Spring/Summer fashion week around the world. (This week is Paris Fashion Week!) Remember that a professional modeling photo shoot should always have a very cutting-edge look in fashion, so it's important to keep up with styles and trends! 

The thing to remember about styling in a shoot is that, depending on where the photos are to be used, the clothing can be 100% on-trend, or completely classic and timeless, or a mixture of the two. Typically in a high fashion photo shoot, such as for Vogue, all clothing and accessories will be very on-trend. For a catalogue shoot, such as for Victoria's Secret, the clothing will obviously also be on-trend, as the photos are being taken to sell current trends and fashion! For our shoot this past Tuesday, we used a lot of different clothing, some of which is on-trend, some of which is timeless, and some of which was actually thrown together to look very "now," though, in reality, the pieces are quite old! That's the beauty of high fashion photos: Done well, they can make even a burlap sack look like it belongs at a white-tie event! (Spoiler: I haven't taken any photos in a burlap sack... at least not yet.) 

For my photos, we did have quite a few different tops, accessories, and so on, many of which weren't even mine. However, a few mainstays of the shoot were my skinny "jeggings" (leggings that look like jeans and zip and button in the front, like jeans) from United Colors of Benetton, and my nude-colored, 5.5-inch peep-toe pumps by Steve Madden. Yes, extremely tight pants and extremely high heels (especially nude-colored pumps) are quite on-trend, but they have been on-trend for a few years now, so they aren't immediately classifiable as cutting-edge fashion, which means they blend in well enough to be used with several different looks. 

"Model Care" is what I call what happens before the shoot. Whatever the shoot is for, it is extremely important for a model to take extra care of herself. It's a large part of what makes a great shoot. A model needs to make sure she looks perfect--if she dyes her hair, her roots must not show, or she should get them done a few days to a week before the shoot. Manicure and pedicure should be perfect. It's also a great time to indulge in a body exfoliating treatment at the spa, and this is a necessary procedure for bikini and lingerie models! Facials should be done about a half a week before the shoot (any sooner and the model runs the risk of having a breakout on-set, which just means more prep-work for the makeup artist and post-work for the photographer). If the model uses a fake tan, she should do so at least 24 hours before the shoot, to give it time to fully develop, and to fix any mistakes. If the model is responsible for bringing anything (and she almost always is, even for high-end productions), bags should be packed the night before. Extra time should be allotted for traveling to the set. Arriving early means arriving on time, and arriving on time means arriving late. If a model arrives late, she may be sent home, as the client may have given up on her and phoned in a replacement. It happens ALL the time, and is the fastest way for a model to ruin her reputation. All in all, it is the model’s responsibility to keep a professional look and demeanor; this is what separates a great model from all the rest. 

This is how great photos are taken! Yes, it's a lot of work--much more work than it may appear! It's fun work, though, however time-intensive. 

I'll be posting my new photos throughout the next week or two, both on Facebook and on Twitter. I'm looking into a better way to host large amounts of photos on my website, but for now, if you want to see photos as I release them, follow me on Twitter @Rachel_Elise, or "Like" me on Facebook, where I will be accumulating the entire album: http://www.facebook.com/rachelelisecotter . 

See you there! Thanks for reading!