Career Comments

What I Learned During My First Major Photoshoot

Written by: Brittany Grace

Several weeks ago Zanita and the team had a photoshoot with Lord & Taylor. To Zanita this is the norm. To anyone else… not so much. Why I’m just talking about it now I don’t know but here we are!

It was an exhilarating and nerve wracking experience to say the least. You’re excited because you’re hanging with the crew of Lord & Taylor, hello! But you’re also a nervous mess because you don’t want to blow it! At least that was how I felt…

Despite my discomfort, I pushed through and gave it my all even though I had no idea what to expect. I spoke to every crew member and exchanged Instagram names and phone numbers with most of them because I wasn’t going to not network. I try to use every social event as a networking experience because you just never know! I also learned a lot in terms of modeling/the fashion biz which is what I want to talk about today.

There’s a lot you don’t see

When you’re working with a brand, in a case like this, you’re not likely to have as much creative direction as you are with your own content. So because we were working for Lord & Taylor, creating content for their campaign, they say jump and we say how high, which is pretty standard for any client regardless if it’s fashion or otherwise.

photoshootOf course, you implement your own unique talent which is why they hired you in the first place, but you’re not sitting there directing the director if that makes sense. It’s basically like any other job in that you’re working for them so whatever needs to happen you make it happen!

One thing to remember when working on campaigns is that it isn’t your blog. Any modeling gig is a legitimate freelance job and should be treated as such.

Something that took me by surprise was that we didn’t get to choose what we were going to wear. Thinking back, it makes total sense. Campaigns = promotion of specific products, duh Britt. So the wardrobe was handpicked by Lord & Taylor and there was a stylist on set who nipped and tucked me in all the right places.

There was also a hairstylist, makeup artist, assistant stylist, videographer, project manager, and… I’m forgetting people but it was definitely a full house. And with every gust of wind or smeared lipstick, someone was on set to the rescue (not the luxury you have when you’re shooting for your own blog).

Because there was an entire staff on set, there was also an entire buffet of delicious food. So guys, hate to break it to you but all those model memes you see on Instagram aren’t true, brands actually do “feed the models”.

You have to work your angles

For me, because I was such a newb, the photographer was telling me “Look at me, look at me!” But in my head, I was thinking, ‘Ugh that’s a mistake – I don’t do great head on without sunglasses’. Yes, it’s true. It sounds so silly but everyone has their “good side” and everyone can take unflattering pictures. Mine happens to be when I look head on at the camera without sunglasses. My eyes never cooperate. I don’t have “bedroom eyes” if you will, so it’s very hard for me to achieve any sort of sultry model look.

So after being photographed for 6 years now, I have my go-to poses: “ponder into the distance”, “look back at it”, and “watch your step” just to name a few.

Since this was my first official shoot, I didn’t want to be too high maintenance or demanding so I would suggest my own poses here and there while trying to achieve what they wanted and they seemed to really like it. Overall, the “ponder into the distance” was the winner winner chicken dinner. So if you see me in a Lord & Taylor campaign, just know I wasn’t looking at anything and I was thinking ‘Don’t eff it up Britt!’ the whole time.

Photography is your “frienemy”

As I’ve mentioned before, Zanita is just a super sweet, goofy, down-to-earth girl. And she put my mind at ease by giving me little helpful hints for posing.

photoshootShe mentioned looking at shiny objects such as a car or glass on a building because it reflects in your eyes thus making them appear brighter. Who knew?!

Zanita also said when you’re posing you want to think intelligent thoughts. So you want to think about how you’re going to kick a$$ in the world or dominate a big meeting. Basically, you want to think like a boss, and when you do it’ll show in your face. I don’t know what I was doing wrong but I just looked angry. Zanita however, looked stunning as usual.

Before the shoot, the only thing I knew about modeling was what I’d seen on America’s Next Top Model which wasn’t much. But after the shoot, what I learned was that it’s important to remember photography is your friend when your thoughts are; meaning if you’re thinking crappy thoughts you’re going to look crappy. You have to get in the right mindset for whatever it is you’re trying to portray. And honestly, this goes beyond modeling… this is something to keep in mind for anything in life!

Attitude is everything.

Overall it was an amazing opportunity and I’m extremely grateful to have been a part of it. I realize every collaboration is going to be different but this was my experience and my experience only. As with any of my posts, take what you want and leave the rest. 🙂

What questions do you have about brand collaborations? Share in the comments below! 

xx Britt

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Image Source Credits – Vogue


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