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Model Search & Photoshoot Tips

Scroll down past the thumbnails to read "MODELING 101" for basic tips on how to prepare for a photoshoot. To submit yourself for consideration to either be a model, or shoot for any of the other projects, send an email with the following background info and recent photos*.
1) Name:
2) Phone:
3) City:
4) Age:
5) When the photos were shot*:
6) Brief bio (background, current work, accomplishments, hobbies, fitness interests):
7) Do you have Facebook, Instagram, and/or other online reference(s):
8) List if you have been published in anything either print, online, or video, or if you're pending to be submitted, published or photographed.
9) What is your interest in modeling? (Anything in particular you would like to do, achieve, or not do.)

*PHOTO SUBMISSION: Submit at least 3 core photos that are full length front and back, plus upper body front. One image should include a smile. The images should be well light and large size clearly showing how you currently look (see examples below). Wear shorts that show your legs (i.e. running shorts, Speedo, posing trunks, underwear, or similar). Stand naturally facing the camera hands at your sides without being creative (no posing, flexing, etc). If you use natural light outside, then face the sun in early morning or evening, or during the day stand in the shade against a simple background or wall. If indoors then stand near an open window, or do the typical mirror selfie. Don't submit images more than 4 weeks old, no exception. It's ok and beneficial to include additional supplemental diverse creative photos that show off your potential. These can be from any source and shot anytime within the last 18 months, even if you want to simply include flexing selfies.

Or, send a short cell phone video of you standing naturally facing the camera, then simply turn to the side and back, and smile once. (Follow the same standards for lighting and cloths shown above.)

NOTE: Do not send an email that only refers to a weblink. You must submit the photos & background information direct. It's not appropriate for us to retrieve or download information for your submission. It's ok to reference a weblink to supplement your submission, but only if you initially provided the above required bio & photos in your original submission.

Send to: photo@sergstudios.com

Serg Studios offers the following services for both Fine Art and Portrait portfolios:

  • You are paid to pose for commercial work or artwork.
  • You pay/hire to have your own set of great images.
  • Limited opportunities for TFP/TFD (trade/test "Time for digital image") where neither party pays the other but both benefit, such as contributing to the photographer's artwork, or getting experience with modeling, or getting images for your portfolio.
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MODELING 101 (updated 9/25/13)
Click here for the easy-to-read detailed PDF. Below is a summary of the PDF, but the PDF is more current and accurate. Creating a great image is a collaboration. Whether you're new or experienced, what each of us contributes will definitely show through in the images. Knowing what you can do will give you a creative edge. Here are a few key tips:

"G.A.P." = G-Gratitude, A-Attitude, P-Preparation. "Mind the Gap"

  1. G- Gratitude goes a long way. Beyond saying "thank you," actions like when you post your images give recognition. When you're promoting yourself remember to recognize the people who helped you along the way. Recognize the good things, stay away from the bad things.
  2. A- Your attitude & professionalism will determine your success. Ask what you can do to contribute to a successful shoot. Be approachable. Show interest and willingness. Be prepared for the shoot (see details below). Be on time. It will show in the photographer's commitment and interest to create great images with you and promote you.
  3. P- Preparation is really the 1st key step. Ask what you can do to be prepared for the shoot. Preparation of yourself (taking care of body) and knowing both the photographer and what you are shooting is a key first step. Do something to verify the photographer's credibility and reputation.
  4. Personality is also a key. LET YOURSELF OUT. LET GO OF YOUR EGO IF YOU'RE GOING TO CREATE GREAT IMAGES. If these images are for you, then it's essential to show yourself by communicating with the photographer who you are so it can be captured. But if you're modeling to create images, then you must separate yourself from the creation. Who you are is NOT important. What you can create by knowing how to pay attention to the camera & take direction is essential.
  5. If you're a fitness model, gaining exposure through competitions is great. While you're focusing on winning the competition, go with the intention of exposure & networking. It ultimately doesn't matter how you place or if you win. Photographers, publishers and producers are looking for the right people. When you're not on stage be out in the audience or public areas and make yourself approachable. But don't sign a model release at competitions until you are certain with whom you're shooting. When you're not sure, be polite to request a later time and obtain the business card. Then, ask someone you trust, such as another model or photographer, and look online. It's even ok to contact the Publisher to confirm a photographer's credentials.

PHOTO SHOOT PREPARATION (Printer-Friendly) (updated 9/17/13) The PDF is more current than the information shown below.


Some of these tips are general photo tips. Others are specific to showing your body.

1) Rest - Get enough rest for several days prior to the shoot.

2) Schedule - Show up on time and maintain a consistent personal structured schedule that ensures proper rest which will show up in your eyes.

3) Puffy eyes - Ice! ....tea bags dipped in ice water and placed on your eyes for 10 minutes. Some people say that cucumber slices also work, and so does Preparation H (no kidding).

4) Water - Drinking water before a shoot reduces vascularity. There are a variety of ways to shed water from not drinking it to sweating it out by running the morning of a shoot. But, then you risk dehydration. Only you can know your body. Control your water intake within 24 - 36 hours prior to a shoot. Do not drink any alcohol within 24 to 48 hours, it affects your skin and how you'll show up in images.

5) Avoid Sodium - anything high in sodium will make you retain water and make you puffy and/or loose your definition. Read the labels on all your food products! Beyond table salt, foods such as fish, some rice cakes, and even liquid eggs can have high sodium content. Some models and bodybuilders before a shoot or a competition will drink appx 6 oz of red wine to enhance vascularity.

6) Tan - Do not tan within 48 hours regardless if it's natural, electric, or spray. Tans can be beautiful and enhance the look in images, but not all images. For fitness photoshoots it's essential. Any other shoot you should first check with the photographer. If it's for your own shoot then you'll decide. When you tan, ensure that it's consistent and even. Tan lines and red marks do not enhance the look. If you use the electric beach, then move and shift throughout the tanning by lifting your arms and bending your legs to avoid the half moons. Always use a moisturizer after tanning and on a regular basis to protect your skin.

There are very good self tanning products available. Experiment to become familiar with the ultimate final look. Don't try an unknown product just before a photoshoot. Several can leave spotty or inconsistent color if not evenly applied, or ultimately look too orange. Most require several hours for the tan to develop, or need a day to settle so you can wash the next day for better consistency, particularly with the joints, fingers, ears and eyes.

Many local tanning salons have Mystic Tan either in the automated spray booth, or where someone manually sprays you. I've seen good and bad results, which is why you shouldn't do anything within 48 hours of a photoshoot. You will need at least 1 to 2 days for it to wash off enough to look good.

Click here for some skin care products Newer tanning products are regularly being released such as from Neutrogena and Loreal that are not shown on the link with micro-mists that can apply a good color. But have someone help you spray it on to ensure consistency.

Options: 1) electric tan; 2) moisturizes with self tanners; 3) spray tan in a can from the drug store; 4) professional tanning products (sprays and/or wipe-on); 5) spray tan from a professional at either a tanning salon or makeup artist.
Stage competitors use dark products like ProTan which is bad for a photoshoot, but good for competitions. Models and bodybuilders also use JanTana products which can be good for stage competitions and/or photoshoots, depending which product you use. There is a difference between "color" versus "tan" products. There are numerous products to avoid because they produce inconsistent or awkward color, especially around the eyes, face and joints when inconsistently applied, which is why sprays tend to be better than rub-ons. I've recently seen some of the spray-on tans produce very good results. Conversely I've seen horrible results. And, what some people think looks good, can be horrible on camera. Everyone you ask will give you a different opinion. If you're unsure, ask the photographer. If you have a tattoo that needs to be covered, then use this tattoo cover-up product from JanTana before getting spray tanned.

If you show up for the shoot with reddish skin, or odd color, or in a condition that isn't ideal for shooting then we'll have to reschedule.

7) Body Hair - Is all dependent on if you're doing a fitness, artistic or personal shoot. Please do not cut the hair on your head within the week prior to a shoot. For body hair, please ask the photographer before you decide to shave. Each look is different. In some cases, body hair is preferred. Other times, it's better shaved to show muscularity. Fitness shoots generally require a shaved body. Do not shave your pubic hair! For underarms trim slightly, never shaved. Facial hair should be shaved or trimmed for your normal everyday look. Ultimately remember that shaving or removing hair can cause redness or bumps. So, know your body to ensure a clean shave.

8) Razon Burn - if your skin gets red after shaving it can be immediately resolved by using the product Tend Skin or use Witch Hazel from the local drug store. A combination of the 2 is even better.

9) Skin Care - Keep your skin clean and clear. When drying always pat dry, don't rub. Patting is gentle on the skin and minimizes stretching. Always apply moisturizer within a few minutes of stepping out of the shower.

There are two products that I found to be nothing short of amazing for clean pores and clear skin:
1) Purpose soap. It's in a sky blue box if you have acne. Otherwise, the alternative is Caress' "Nature Silk" bar soap in a light pink box which helps to ensure you don't clog skin pores.
2) Phisoderm Clear Confidence skin care body wash. It's in a clear bottle with mint green cap that you apply in the shower AFTER washing with soap. Let it sit for one minute before rinsing off.
3) Afterwards apply a moisturizer such as Aveeno's 24-hour moisturizer which doesn't leave a shine or oil residue, plus it lasts all day, which is a a rare combination of 3 ideal characteristics.
Most can be found at the local drug store. Target and Wal-Mart are cheapest. Costco has the absolute best price for Aveeno. The alternative is at DrugStore.com.

10) Itchy eyes - Don’t rub. It stretches the skin and leads to wrinkles while grinds whatever is irritating your eye in the first place. Use artificial tears.

11) Food - Do not eat within one to two hours of the shoot. Some models choose to keep a very lean diet on the day of, or several days prior to a shoot. If you normally tend to be fitness conscious, then additional diet information is not necessary. Pay attention to your body. Carb depleting can certainly do things to prepare you for a shoot or competition, but it can also make you tired and grumpy, both of which will negatively impact your success. There are a few times that I've seen fitness pros like Luke Guldan actually eat on the day of his shoot and we put him on the cover!

12) Exercise - Stick to your regular workout. It's ok to workout on the morning of a shoot. But, don't go direct from the gym to the shoot, since working out increases blood flow, thus engorging the muscles and reducing vascularity. Conversely, doing cardio before a shoot can be bad. Although the cardio makes you more vascular, It reduces size and shape. Tyler and John S can verify it.

13) Tight Clothing - On the day of your shoot, don't wear tight clothing or elastic, such as socks or underwear, which can leave indented lines in your skin that take hours to disappear. Also, wear sandals, not shoes. Do not wear sun glasses the day of the shoot! Glasses leave marks on your nose.

14) What to Bring to the Shoot - Bring a valid government-issued photo ID. Also bring a variety of clothes, hair brush, skin products, snack. Avoid clothes with logos. If you have a particular hobby, bring your gear and/or clothes associated with it.

Also see the difference that learning how to use makeup can make by clicking here.

Print "Photo Shoot Preparation"

TRADE (aka: Time for Prints "TFP" or Time for Digital "TFD" images)
If you like my work and you’re willing to contribute to artistic expression, want to enhance your portfolio, or are new to modeling, then you could qualify for a free set of amazingly beautiful digital portfolio images. I’m always on the lookout for amazing people with unique characteristics, hobbies or adventurous spirit for contributing to creative images. Thus, Trade/Test or Time for Print (“TFP”) services are available where you contribute to my artwork portfolio with time and talent and I provide you with the same contribution of time and talent, plus a set of amazingly beautiful digital portfolio images for your use all for free.

Ifyou would like to model for my photography, please e-mail me at photo@sergstudios.com and include:

  • a note describing why you’d like to be photographed
  • any unique qualities are characteristics (style, hobbies, etc)
  • a few gif/jpgs of yourself.
  • if you don’t live in San Diego, indicate the dates you plan to visit

Successful candidates have a down-to-earth confidence and a certain level of exhibitionism. Frontal nudity is not required. Creative images are better than bad nudes. You must be over 18. We'll talk on the phone to discuss the possibilities. If we meet in person, please bring any other portfolio images that I might not have previously seen.


Questions? Contact Ken at 619-600-0110 or photo@sergstudios.com


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