Publication Photoshoots

For a model, seeing your images published in a magazine never gets old. It’s a goal you strive to for when you’re first starting out, and once you achieve your first publication it just fuels the fire to get more. As exciting as getting booked for a publication may be, there are often many rules associated with it that many models aren’t aware of, especially if it’s their first time shooting for a magazine.

In this post, I’ll go over the main thing to be aware of when it comes to shooting for a publication to help models avoid making mistakes that could potentially cause issues with the client or agency.

When shooting for a magazine, it is often shot months in advance of when it will actually be released so that the publication has time to select and edit the photos, set the storylines and layout, and then send it all to print and distribution. Because of this, there are very detailed guidelines for models, photographers and other crew members to follow when on-set shooting for that publication.

Before taking and especially before posting any images from set, make sure you ask and have a very clear understanding of what’s acceptable! With social media being pretty much second nature, many models will take BTS (behind the scenes) images and post without a second thought. On most publication sets, this is a huge no-no. A BTS shot or two may not seem like a big deal, but once posted on socials, you've pretty much exposed the whole concept of the shoot, even if you didn’t share images from the full set. It can also be a bit disruptive to the crew if you're taking photos or videos of yourself when you're supposed to be on set, changing, or in hair/makeup. Shoots get behind schedule very easily, so the last thing you want is for you to be the reason it goes over time.

I've made it a habbit to not have my phone out at all until I know what is and isn't ok to share, and even if it's been explained to me I'll still ask before posting anything to my social media just to be sure. If no one explains the guidelines or if it wasn't listed in your call sheet, ask! Some publications will be ok with you sharing anything and everything while it's happenening. Others are ok with you posting your outfits or little sneak peeks from set, and some will encourage you to take a lot of BTS content but only share after the publication has been released to the public. It's also not uncommon for some sets to have a very strict no-phone period policy, and they won't want you having your phone out at all.

The same guidelines apply for instances where the photographer or producer sends you sneak peeks of the images from the actual shoot. There have been several times where a digital version of the publication has been shared with me ahead of time just so I could see it, but they made it very clear that I wasn't so share any of it with anyone. While it's always really exciting to see the final images, do not share them to your socials or send them to your agents to add them to your portfolio until after the publication is released. This may mean waiting 6 or more months before you can let any of those images see the light of day, but that’s just how the publication process works.

Failing to comply with these guidelines could result in consequences as minimal as an annoyed email to your agent or as severe as getting your spread in that publication dropped entirely. Not only would having your feature dropped be a huge bummer for you, but it would be a big hit for the publication to take. Their storylines are curated far in advance, and spreads for the entire year are set well before they ever start shooting and creating the content for them. If they have to drop one simply because you couldn’t help but share a selfie, you can guarantee that your agent will be calling you and you will never be asked to work for that publication again.

Not all magazines are super strict about their guidelines, but when you get booked for a publication photoshoot, just make it a habit of asking what you can and cannot take photos of and post online before you even get your phone out of your bag!


For even more information on publication photoshoots, check out this post from Dania Denise on Modeling 101- A Model's Diary!


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