You’ve got a kit bag, right? It’s a bag of clothes and other assorted items that you take with you to a shoot, just in case you need it. It’s full of helpful things that will prevent you from getting in trouble on set. You see, not every photoshoot is created equal. Some of them have stylists and make up artists and assistants. Some of them just have you and the photographer. When you arrive at a shoot, it is your responsibility to be prepared - and your kit bag should have these essential items in it.
1. A white, dark, and neutral coloured vest or t shirt
You never know when you are going to need a simple, plain vest or t shirt. For beauty shoots especially, they can come in very handy. They provide a simple canvas, something that covers you up without being too distracting. They are also great for situations when the photographer hasn’t pre-warned you of what they are after. If you need to have bare shoulders, you can roll the top of a vest to just under your armpits while still preserving your modesty. This goes for male models too - especially if you have been working hard on your arms, a vest will look flattering without distracting from the rest of the image.
Dry skin is a killer for studio lights. It will flare up underneath them, looking scaly and unpleasant. With that in mind, a tub of your favourite moisturiser is a must have on set. It will prevent anything from happening to your skin at the last minute, especially if you are having make up put on while you are there. It also gives your skin a nice sheen. If you have bare legs or arms, get them moisturised right before you shoot for a glow that makes your skin look fantastic. Lip balm is also a good idea.
3. Basic make up kit
Even for male models, having foundation and powder in your skin tone can save you a lot of hassle. Mascara, eyeliner, blusher, a red lipstick and a neutral one, and a few shades of eyeshadow will also save the day if the make up artist doesn’t show up (or wasn’t booked). You may be surprised at the difference it makes when you have the ability to get your make up done yourself. Practice using it too - make sure you know what combination looks best under studio lights.
4. Fully charged smartphone
Why is this essential? Well, let’s see. You can save directions to the location, as well as being able to check Google maps and train timetables. You can call or text the other shoot team members to let them know of your arrival, lateness, or getting lost. You can network and add numbers or social media connections with it in hand. You can take Instagram behind the scenes shots. You can even play music through it if the set feels a bit dead. Make sure the charge is done overnight and you aren’t going to be losing battery on set.
5. Headshots or business cards
Something to hand out is essential. Even if you have already exchanged details with the photographer or casting agent, this will give them something to remember you by. Have enough for the whole team and more, and hand them out generously. Make connections. Take a note of other peoples’ details if they do not have cards.
6. Neutral and form fitting underwear
Take a selection! Female models should have skin toned bras, preferably strapless and backless varieties. Knickers which pull you in as well as something discreet like a thong are advisable - and NOT in black or a bright colour. Skin toned tights may be a good idea too, just in case. Male models need boxer briefs or tighty whities. You might get away with black, but have white and skin toned just in case.
7. Bottle of water and snacks
Refreshments may not be provided, but you still need to be able to keep going all day. If you are dehydrated or hungry, this goes out of the window. Don’t take a fizzy or caffeinated drink, or something hot like coffee. Smelly snacks aren’t a good idea. Fresh fruit, small sandwiches, or something like nuts that you can snack on intermittently are perfect.
A book, tablet, gaming device, or mp3 player can save you from long periods of downtime, especially if everyone else is too busy to chat. Entertain yourself. If you are studying, you can use this time to look over some textbooks as well.
What else do you put in your kit bags? Let’s hear from you in the comments! If you need more advice on modelling, check out my tuition packages.