Hand in hand with internal hydration: external hydration. Do NOT skip your skin care routine. Cleanse and moisturize (as needed for your skin type) DAILY for at least a week prior to your shoot.
Any good makeup artist will tell you that they can do anything… IF they have a smooth blank canvas. That what they need more than anything else is healthy happy skin for a base to work from.
I have somewhat dry skin, and depending on the season, I often had to lotion and moisturize any skin that would be visible at least twice a day to really rock a photo session. I’m going to be honest with you as both a model that has dry skin and a photo editor: it is quite time consuming to correct dry skin and then color correct every little off-color pale or reddish patch to get an even skin tone. It’s much easier to just take care of it yourself and be proactive as much as you can.
If the photo retoucher charges by the hour (and a lot of them do), it can result in your final price going up, depending on the studio and how they build their packages. It can also mean that it was so much trouble a studio never hires you again as a model, because this is really basic self-care common sense.
(Also, do it for yourself. Hydrated skin feels silky and comfortable, less tight, and once you have experienced healthy skin, you don’t want to go back to putting up with dryness at all! Another tip, for those conscious of signs of age: DRY skin causes wrinkles. Well-hydrated skin tends to withstand showing signs of age. It is one of my own personal secrets.)
Before anyone gets self conscious about skin breakouts: every model has them. EVERY. MODEL. In fact, anyone who works in the industry will flat out tell you that models tend to have terrible skin. We wear a lot of thick heavy makeup, every day. We may do our best to cleanse as we ought to, but that’s a lot of pore-clogging particles, dirt, oils, grease, and debris (depending on the manufacturer as well as the location you shot in).
We admittedly can have 18 hour days. We maybe had to be up at 2am to be on time for a sunrise shoot somewhere, or got home well after midnight from a long drive back from a location shot in the evening. We all tend to eat like crap if we don’t plan meals and snacks in advance because we pretty much live in our cars or on the road. LIFE HAPPENS. (Don’t believe me? Look up makeup free photos of famous supermodels who have come out about this in recent years with bare face campaigns.)
Here’s the thing: acne and redness correction common with your average breakout is often very easy to correct between the magic of the makeup artist and the photo retoucher. Reds can be minimized. Bluish or greenish under eye tints can be minimized. It can be worked with (and is, all the way up to runway and high fashion print models who are household names).
A decent photographer will automatically touch these areas up for you without being asked to. We know that no one wants that to be in a photo we want to keep forever or give to someone we care about–or share on social media!
However, we may NOT be aware that you want scars removed. That is a pretty personal decision. Some people don’t think they look the same without them. Some people don’t want evidence of them.
Some photographers will not alter how you look because they feel it is unethical or against their integrity. Ask them, and talk to them about it if it’s a serious issue with self-confidence.
Most often, the person who gets the most upset (and in our faces as photographers) about removing scars or wrinkles or other distinguishing marks isn’t the portrait client or model–it’s their spouse, partner, or family and loved ones. Talk to them too when considering such a request. You may be surprised to find that it’s one of the features they find most attractive and defining about you.
Let the photographer (and makeup artist if there is one present) know immediately if you have bruises or scratches to cover up or edit out and where they are. It’s easier to be proactive about such things than suddenly discover them late in the editing process and have to possibly go back and re-edit an entire batch of photos. It’s especially frustrating it if was something simple that could have been covered up with makeup affect or a change of clothing or the angle of the camera.
A lot of the time scratches come from pets or hiking outdoors. Bruises can come from thwacking an elbow or knee against something or falling down on ice. I’ve certainly had all those happen the night before a shoot. Marks from hickeys or rough sex the night before also have a tendency to get overlooked before the images are already in production and can often be minimized before the shoot begins. Curling iron burns are also a pretty common thing that can be worked with if known about in advance.