To get the very best out of your shoot, talk in depth with the photographer.
Sit down with them either prior to the shoot or the day of, before shooting begins, and bring up any concerns. Tell them about any areas of your body you feel insecure about. Also inform them of any areas you have pain, stiffness, injuries, or difficulties. This will help them decide what poses will not only help you look great but help you feel physically comfortable. It will also help them coach you in which items of clothing you brought will look flattering and achieve the look you want.
Let the photographer know immediately if you have difficulty with any poses suggested.
We don’t want you in pain or injuring yourself anymore than you do. Some poses are difficult to get into and out of even in optimal fitness. Others are very tiring because a pose is held for a few seconds to get the best shot, whereas in real life, we are often moving around a lot more than that. What looks good in print and seems simple and clean in lines is often achieved with angles we don’t normally utilize in daily life. Let the photographer know if you need a break or to move a body part and rest for a moment.
Tell the photographer which you think are your best features.
Interestingly enough, we all have different views of beauty, and we all see the beauty in others in different ways. (Have you ever really not liked a part of your body, only to find out a partner finds it the most sexy, attractive feature you have?) We may see you in a very different way than you do.
If you help us highlight your favorite features, two things happen. First, your confidence and self-esteem soar throughout the shoot, because you know you will look your best. Second, a clever photographer can find ways to maximize the features you love about yourself, and use them to draw attention away from any areas you are less secure about. Combined, they can make some stellar images you fall in love with.
TELL THE PHOTOGRAPHER IMMEDIATELY ABOUT ANY DISCOMFORT YOU FEEL REGARDING ANY OF THE STAFF.
Do not hesitate to tell the photographer that someone is making you feel uncomfortable or harassed. There is no reason to feel that way under any circumstances. The last time you want to feel like that is when you are trying to look and feel your best for a photo shoot.
Personally, I have a zero tolerance policy for anyone I work with when it comes to racism, sexism, ageism, classism, ethnic slurs, sexual harassment, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance, disrespect to veterans or disabled individuals, or any other form of hatred or threats. Come to me immediately should any issue arise and I’ll handle it personally.
Tell the photographer what you do NOT want to do in a shoot.
This is very important. If you do not feel comfortable, you will not get the results you want. Nothing in the world can draw a great photo out of someone who’s uncomfortable. Discomfort (whether physical or emotional), stress, exhaustion, fear, or distrust all show in a person’s face. You can smile for all you are worth, but there will be a slight tightness around the eyes and the corners of your mouth that makes it look tense and fake. There also is often a tension that’s subliminally visible in a person’s cheeks, jawline, neck, and shoulders.
Telling the photographer if a pose is uncomfortable or a person is bothering you is only part of the key. Don’t ever let a photographer talk you into something you do not want to do. Don’t let someone insist you need to do nudes, semi-nudes, or implied nudes if you do not want to do them. Don’t let someone insist that you need to do lingerie or swimsuit pieces if you don’t feel comfortable.
If they suggest you act out of character and it feels unnatural to you, this will show in your body language and expression. If they suggest, for example, that you act “sexier” and you are by nature a very modest or conservative person, this not only shows in the images, it also is violating your rights and boundaries as a person. Don’t let anyone push you in a photo shoot to do anything at all you don’t want to do. It will not make you famous or popular, get you more work or get you more likes on your social media.
Someone pushing you around on a set is a bully, has abusive tendencies, and is showing signs of narcissism and toxicity. Leave. Find another photographer who respects you.
The key to good art is to be as authentically yourself as possible. You cannot create good images on either side of the lens without authenticity, integrity, and respect. There needs to be a mutual rapport and relationship of trust built.
Don’t ever let anyone violate that.