Basic Photo Kit

A Basic Photo Kit

You should assemble a large bag which you bring to every photo session and which you keep well stocked. This basic Photo Kit will help you be instantly ready to go out on any job (you just grab the bag and it has everything you need in it). The items in this photo kit should ONLY be used for photo shoots, so that you know that you will have plenty on hand, and that items of clothing will be in "like new" condition for the photos. Also this is important because if you plan on deducting these expenses on your taxes, these items can ONLY be used for modeling work.

Skin Care:

  • Moisturizing Cream
  • Facial Toner
  • Skin Conditioner
  • Sun Screen/Lotion
  • Facial Cleanser and Facial Tissues
  • Mascara Remover
  • Nail Clippers & Nail File
  • Scissors and Tweezers
  • Towel
  • Vitamin E Stick (for sunburn & wounds)
  • Wash Cloth


  • SKIN: Foundation, Blushes, Blush Brush, Concealer, Cosmetic Sponges, Cotton Balls, Cotton Swabs (e.g., Q-tips), Cover Sticks, Translucent Powder, Powder Brush, Powder Puffs
  • EYES: Mascara (water proof), Eye Liners, Eye Shadow, Eyebrow Brush, Eyebrow Pencil, Eyelash Curler, False Eye Lashes,
  • LIPS: Lip Balm, Lip Brushes, Lip Gloss, Lip Pencils, Lipsticks, Pencil Sharpener
  • NAILS: Nail Polish, Nail Polish Remover

Hair care:

  • Bobby Pins
  • Brush
  • Comb
  • Curlers
  • Curling Iron
  • Duck-bill Clips
  • Hair (blow) Dryer
  • Hair Pins
  • Hair Spray
  • Scrungees or hair bands
  • Styling Gel

Marketing/Photo Supplies:

  • Appointment Book
  • Comp-cards
  • Business Cards
  • Lupe (photo magnifying eyepiece)
  • Portfolio
  • Voucher Book (always bring to every job)


  • Bath Robe (to wear in between photos, especially for lingerie or nude shoots)
  • Panty Hose (several pair in variety of colors)
  • Shoes & Shoe Polish (get a "bring list" to find out type and style)
  • Underwear (toned to match skin, thong-type preferred)
  • Sneakers (for comfort while getting ready or waiting between photo sets)
  • Assorted Inexpensive Jewelry (especially earrings, bracelets, necklaces)
  • Round Band-Aids (to cover nipples)
  • Clothes Pins (to tighten loose clothing)
  • Small Mirror
  • Mosquito/bug Spray (for location work)
  • Safety Pins

What Do I Need to Know About Makeup?

You should learn as much as you can about makeup and makeup products. Makeup is designed to enhance positive features, minimize negative features, and draw attention to specific features.

On many shoots, there will be no make-up artist, and you will be responsible for applying your own make-up. Even on shoots where there is a make-up artist, you may need to supply your own make-up, and you should learn the best colors and products for your particular skin type.

One important lesson you will find is that you "get what you pay for" when it comes to make-up. For photo shoots, you will not want to use any "street brand" type of make-up, but rather you will want to use professional "stage and screen" or "photography" make-up products. These cosmetics are much thicker than traditional make-up so that in one application they will smooth out the skin and fill in the pores. Often these are referred to as "grease paints" because that is what they were called in theater usage.

It is in your very best interest to spend some money on a professional consultation from a make-up artist who does stage and screen work (the persons at most retail cosmetic counters have little training and often give advice which is damaging rather than helpful).

One of the keys you will learn is to use "light colored" base/foundation. It looks very odd in photos when the face is several shades darker than the rest of the model's skin. Also, make-up has to be blended so that there are no "seams" or "ledges" where the make-up abruptly stops. Many times (for lingerie, swim wear, and nude photos) the entire body is covered with make-up. This is very time consuming and must be done carefully so as to appear natural.

Another lesson you will quickly learn is about "contouring" or sculpting. On a flat photograph, you can "trick" the viewer by being clever in makeup application. Our eyes think that areas which are "lighter/brighter" are closer to us, and areas which are "darker/dimmer" are farther away. What contouring does is to use darker make-up on areas which you want to appear smaller (or farther away) and to use lighter make-up on areas that you want to appear larger (or closer). If a nose is too broad, you use a lighter color running right down the bridge of the nose, and use darker shades on both sides. In a photograph, this makes the nose appear "slimmer" than it naturally would. If you don't have good cheekbones, you can literally "draw them on" with make-up. Again, a light color is placed on the cheek where the top of the cheekbone would be, and a darker color is placed down the rest of the cheek. This makes the cheekbone "pop out" of the skin, even if there is not cheekbone at all!



One thing to be cautious of is the types of make-up you use. Since photographic film picks up ultraviolet light as well as visible light, your make-up may appear completely different colors once photographed. Most professional stage and screen make-up is formulated so that "what you see is what you get."

The more you learn about make-up the better. Make-up is the one area of your appearance which is easy and inexpensive to change, and still highly effective when done correctly. Purchase several books on professional make-up techniques as well as request catalogs from a variety of suppliers of professional stage and screen make-up.