Ep 149: Snapshot: How to plan a model folio shoot

Inspired by a listener question (Hi, Danni!) this minisode is about how to plan a model folio shoot. If you need to do this – or you are building your portfolio through test shots – discover what you need to know in terms of what you need to do in order to plan your shoot, the “go to” looks that should be in most model portfolios, how to use the props and location around you and much more.

In this episode, Gina and Valerie talk about how to shoot darker skin and feature muscle definition.

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Show notes

Listener question 

From Danni:

Ok guys, I have my first photo shoots coming up at the end of July. One is paid and the other two are TFP. The one I’m most worried about is of a young black male model with muscle definition. He wants some “tropical” shots done, besides some moody ones I want done. The tropical ones I was thinking of doing in the morning near our pool in blazing hot and sunny Texas. What would be the best way to get the definition in his muscles and get his face in the bright sun. Would reflector and a scrim work well? I think we have white pool umbrellas that might help as a scrim. Here are some photos of the pool area.

Planning: Make a list of all the shots you need to achieve

  • Head shot
  • ¾ shot
  • Body shot
  • Casual shot

Include columns for type of shot, location, outfit and any props needed


Walk around to each location at the same time you are doing each shot

Keep shots simple. A suggestion of water or sky or sand is often enough to say “tropical”

Blow out or blur backgrounds

Work with sun and fill light to control contrast, scrim is great as are reflectors or fill flash

Flow poses

Open shade



Something to lean on

In water

Exposure for dark skin tones

Use silver reflector

Use down lighting for muscle definition. The sun between 11-2 is perfect for this look.

Softbox or Gary fong style diffuser for flash + fill to control contrast



How to direct and pose like a pro

About Gina

About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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