NO! Absolutely not!
Do NOT tan for a photo shoot.
Tan lines do NOT look good in a photograph.
If you look at the major fashion magazines or visit the top modeling agencies in the world, you will see that most of the models in the fashion world are somewhat pale or even very pale in skin tone. These men and women are not walking around with golden toned suntans.
If you show up at a photo shoot with tan lines, you can potentially cost your client thousands of dollars in additional expenses to have the tan lines retouched from the images. Think about it . . . when is the last time you saw a model in an ad with tan lines, unless it was a tanning lotion ad?
Also keep in mind that for most people, when you tan, your skin actually becomes an unnatural color, which then makes it a lot harder for the photographer to make you look like you have a natural skin tone, without having the colors of your clothing and the backgrounds look weird.
This also means that it is a REALLY bad idea to tan right before a photo shoot, to try and “get some color” or even out the tan lines, because you run the risk of over tanning and getting a sunburn – then you will show up at your shoot looking like a bright red stop sign.
If you are serious about modeling, you will need to make some sacrifices. Models should not tan for photo shoots. If you happen to be one of those people who loves to tan to the point where their skin is 10 shades darker than it’s natural color, you either need to pick a different career, or give up the excessive tanning.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t go outside, or spend time at the beach; it simply means you have to use some common sense. If you are spending any amount of time outside or at a pool, or the beach – use lots of SUNSCREEN and take different t-shirts and bathing suits with different necklines and cuts and change them frequently.
If you insist on going to a tanning salon, be sure to use the sunscreen that is designed for indoor tanning and be sure to tan in the nude (no lines) and in a standup booth, so that you don’t get those weird little white patches above your butt.