What is a modeling GO bag?
A modeling GO bag is a small suitcase or duffel bag that you keep packed with the supplies that you should have available each and every time you attend a photo shoot.
Being prepared is an essential habit if you hope to be successful as a model. The best photographs are the result of planning, collaboration and attention to detail.
I recently had a young model who has been modeling for about two years tell me that she never takes makeup or even a hair brush to a photo shoot and that she has never been asked to. She has also never had a makeup artist do her makeup. She came to see me because after all of these photo shoots that she scheduled using Facebook and several web modeling sites, she doesn’t have any quality images and she couldn’t understand why.
If you are working with a seasoned professional photographer, he/she will likely give you a detailed list of the things that you should bring to your photo shoot. If you are working with a new or amateur photographer, it is possible that they have not yet had a shoot ruined by an unprepared model, so they may not give you a detailed prep list. Either way, there is a standard list of items that you should keep in your modeling GO bag so that you are properly prepared anytime you have the opportunity to shoot.
Keep the modeling GO bag stocked at all times so that it is ready to go. There is nothing worse than getting to a shoot and realizing that you don’t have something that would have helped to make yourself look great!
Your modeling GO bag should include:
• Headband, rubber bands, bobby pins
• Brushes, combs
• Hair appliances (Curling iron, rollers, straighteners)
• Hair spray (Tip: Get the cheap stuff like Aqua Net. You can use a ton of it – it will hold for 10 or 15 minutes and then it comes right out so you can easily restyle your hair. If you use salon quality hair spray, the more you use, the more it changes the texture of your hair and the harder it is to restyle it for a different look)
• Moisturizer (Always arrive bare-faced for shoots with makeup artists unless you have been instructed otherwise)
• Dermablend (Used to cover tattoos, scars or stretch marks)
• Cotton swabs (Q-Tips) and Cotton Balls
• Makeup Mirror (Don’t assume there will be one available)
• Body lotion for dry skin
• Travel size nail kit (Including cuticle cream, hand lotion, nail buffer, base and top coat, cuticle clippers, orange stick emery board, three neutral nail colors, a clear, a nude, a red and an off-white for French tipping)
• Nail polish remover
• Glue-on Fingernails (You can get two or three sets of glue-on nails for around $5.00. Purchase a separate tube of nail glue because you will loose the tube that comes in the box. NEVER use stick-on nails – the first tie you change outfits, the nails will start popping off and will not stick properly from that point forward)
• Skin cleanser
In addition to the clothing that the photographer has asked you to bring, be sure to have:
• Shoes in neutral colors (Basic pumps and flats – black is a must)
• Different colors of sandal foot nylons (Black, nude, tan and include toeless if you can find a pair)
• Black, white and flesh toned undies (One should be a thong)
• Assortment of bras (Black, white, nude, and strapless)
• Plain black and white socks
• Light dressing robe (Don’t assume the photographer will have one)
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE – Don’t be the model who just disrobes in front of everyone and walks around because you think that’s what all models do. I can’t tell you how many young men and women I have met shortly after they started modeling via websites like ModelMayhem and OneModelPlace and when I asked them why they did that, they explained that they thought it was expected because other photographers told them that they shouldn’t need to use a changing room. REALLY? You are NOT there for the photographer’s entertainment – you have a job to do and even if you are shooting nudes, there is no reason that you should need to walk around naked the entire time.
• Scarf, shower cap or makeup mask to prevent makeup transfer
• Safety pins, small sewing kit, clothes pins, clear nail polish (For runs in panty hose and stockings)
• Dress shields or clear, non-scented deodorant
• Emergency items (Tylenol, antacid, tampons, razor, bandages, etc)
• Make sure your phone is loaded with some music and reading material to keep you entertained during downtime. (Do NOT sit in the makeup chair texting or posting on social media – you should be considering the shot you are about to do and thinking about the personality it requires).
• It is also a good idea to take snacks. Many photographers, myself included, do not take meal breaks on shoot days. Don’t assume they will have food available.
• Bring your portfolio and/or any recent photographs that you have had taken. You don’t need to carry a physical book, but at a minimum, download a portfolio app for your smartphone or tablet and take that along so that you can show off your images if someone asks.
Click here to download a printable copy of the Modeling Go Bag list.
You may not have the money to go out and buy all of these things and just let them sit in a bag until you are ready to shoot. If that is the case, there is no need to stress over it. Print a copy of the list and just be sure to check off every item before you leave the house for your next shoot.