It’s a cliché for a reason, because it’s true. “The best defense is a good offense.”

In other words, it’s always a good idea to be as prepared as possible for a photo shoot, especially if it’s a beauty campaign.

You’ve been hired, you know the basic information. The following questions are usually explained by the photographer, but  “just in case” here’s the info you need to be fully prepared before the shoot date:


How many hours will the shoot be? How many models? How many different looks per model are you expected to produce?

Who is or are the model(s)?

Ask to see images from casting, if one took place. If not, have a look at the model’s book and her digitals. Study her lines, the space on her face and have a look at how she transforms through different looks in her portfolio. Make a mental note of any quirks she may have, i.e thin upper lip…


Make a mood board for the shoot.

A good mood board will demonstrate the type of lighting the photographer will use, high-key or low-key, which will set the overall tone and mood of the images. [Not sure what high-key and low-key lighting is? It’s important! Check out the Lighting & Makeup Cheat Sheet to learn this in seconds.]

Lastly, it should include examples of the style of makeup you’ll be applying on set, along with color references.

Some brands only allow you to use their products, while with others you can mix and match to achieve the required overall effect.


Make sure you’re familiar with their makeup line.

If not, ask for a package of products before the photo shoot so you can test them out. Different products will have a different texture, feel, saturation and density and will also apply differently.

The above is especially important. While on a recent campaign, the makeup and hair stylist never confirmed (or miscommunicated) with my client and used other products during the shoot. When I met my clients at the next meeting to discuss another upcoming campaign I was asked to replace the entire glam team.

Sometimes it’s hard to get access to information. People are busy or the shoot is last minute.

Make the effort to get informed so you can do a great job, maintain your relationship with the photographer, and (hopefully) be invited back to work with them next time.

Want more tips on how to succeed at your next beauty makeup job?

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