Ask Ashley – How to Build Confidence Before a Photo Shoot

“Ask Ashley” is an advice column by Ashley Salazar, who is a veteran both in front of the camera (OMP Model #371407) as well as behind it (OMP Member #231727). OMP models and members are welcome to leave her questions regarding any aspects of or the industry in general, either here in the comments section or via email at

Question: What is the best way to build your confidence before a photo shoot?

Ashley: Whether you are in front of or behind the camera, the number one essential thing that will carry you through any photo shoot is confidence. Now the golden question is — how do you get it?

When I was in the Air Force, confidence was gained through successful promotions and achievements gained by practice, patience and drills. In the modeling/photography world, the situation is quite similar. However, some of my favorite work has been achieved on shoots where no or little planning was done at all. In other words, we just “winged it.” Planned shoots can yield amazing results as well, as we have all  experienced on shoots where we put in extra planning and effort.

With that being said, here are some quick helpful suggestions to help make sure your next shoot is your best!

As a model, here are a few things you can do to build your confidence:

– Discuss the details with the photographer beforehand, and make sure you’re both in tune with the themes styles, and shooting goals before each shoot.

– Practice new poses in the mirror. Pick up any magazine and do EVERY pose. Study your body from all angles. Whether you are a man or woman, learn to be a muse.

– Go over the items needed for the shoot. Plan well when packing to make sure you bring everything you need to complete the assignment.

– Get plenty of rest the night before your shoot, and arrive a little early so you can collect yourself before the session starts.

– Once at your shoot, you can help build your confidence up even more by talking with your fashion stylist and makeup/hair team. Generally these people are great at helping give you energy right before you shoot! If you are by yourself, relax and have fun. Be confident in the fact that you have come this far and already have the job.

As a photographer, here are some helpful suggestions:

– Talk things over with your models before each shoot. Make sure they understand what you are thinking and be aware to their feelings.

– Have a good team — makeup artists, hair stylists, wardrobe stylists, and technical  assistants. Be sure to hire whoever you need to help you be successful.

– Give yourself plenty of time to set up shots at your shooting location. Test out the lighting before your model arrives. Also, have your camera set to the ideal exposure — it will make things smoother once you start shooting.

My final advice is for models and photographers alike — believe in your art, believe in yourself, and remember to always have fun.

About Ashley:

Ashley Salazar is a professional Latina model/actress. She is a United States Air Force veteran who currently resides in St. Louis area. Ashley has been featured in television and internet commercials, music videos, magazines, runway shows, billboards, movies, and promotional events. Check out her Fan Page here.

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