Originally Written March 11, 2014; Revised December 3, 2016
This gift is what I offer to participants of My Photo Soirees to prepare and create an excellent experience and for the benefit of more usable photos from photo shoots.
I designed My Photo Soirees to counter the annoyance of dealing with the many aggravations of taking photos which, in My experience, have included dealing with the egos of photographers who believe that they are far more talented than they will probably ever be; improper setup for what was discussed for the shoot; and the commercial use of My photos without My permission or signed model releases (one creep attempted to forge My signature on a release form when I sued him in court and won).
I screen and choose the photographers for My Photo Soirees so that models, who are often non-professionals, have no worries. I also ensure that models and photographers are legally protected by a carefully constructed, Model & Photographer’s Release that outlines the rules and conditions for the use of photographs and which everyone who participates signs in agreement.
Mistress Didi*s Photo Shoot Preparation Techniques
1) When choosing a photographer, make sure that her/his portfolio includes people who look like you. Photographers put their best work in their portfolios and online so if you don’t see anyone who looks like you, that photographer may have no idea how to shoot you. Considerations to include are the races, ages, shapes, and the models’ expressions that you see presented. (If most of the models in the portfolio have that vacant-duh-look, that is probably not what you want for your holiday card photos!) If you see that the photographer’s specialty is children and weddings, engaging their services for a Boudoir shoot may not be the right move.
2) Determine the details of the shoot with the photographer in advance. Be specific about what the shoot will involve including price, number of wardrobe changes, make-up and stylist options, type of shoot (e.g., glamour, artistic, boudoir, etc.), session duration; etc.
a) Don’t take anything for granted: it is always best to ask specific questions and have the details agreed to in writing by all parties involved.
i) Determine the conditions for your receipt of your photos. I insist on receiving ALL of My photos in digital format (but I have special deals with photographers with whom I shoot). I recommend that you do not use photographers who offer x amount of “free photos” and a contact sheet and who hold the rest of your shots “hostage for ransom.” Especially if you are new to modeling, find photographers who are willing to shoot in a Time For Prints capacity. Many amateur photographers are building their portfolios and testing techniques. Use these opportunities to get to know how you look best in photos.
ii) I strongly suggest you familiarize yourself with the terms of a standard model’s release (notice that most releases are written completely for the benefit of the photographer to own your images in whole or in part) to determine if and/or what may be changed.
iii) This is an excellent article about model releases for the model’s protection: Model releases: When you should sign one and what it should include.
iv) See Model Releases: What You Need to Know (With Samples) for more detailed information and options to consider.
v) I also suggest searching online (or, even better, ask an attorney friend) for specific clauses that may be included in a model’s release to suit your needs (e.g., duration of use; nature of use; likeness; consent of use; rights of publicity; etc.). See Model Citizens: Protecting Images with a Model Release; All About Model Releases; and Adding restrictive clauses in model release forms: as a model, what rights do I have in doing so?
NOTE: For all of the above reasons and more, I created My Photo Soirees so that models can enjoy a “preview” of a photographer’s work before paying for photos. Many people would like to have some professional and/or good amateur shots without being put through the ringer of legalities, paying high fees, and without having the fear of being exploited by “shutter-trolls.”
b) I recommend bringing your own music to the shoot for comfort and flow. Ask the photographer about the studio’s sound system to ensure that your device can be accommodated.
i) Make sure to discuss the type of music you’re bringing in case it is something that the photographer can’t stand – which will affect the vibe and, quite probably, your photos.. For example, not everyone finds offensive lyrics necessary or enjoyable in what’s being called music these days…
ii) I have a small speaker with great sound just in case the location is not set up with a sound system (e.g., outdoor shoots). I also recommend playing the music at comfortable (not blaring) levels so that you and the photographer can easily hear each other.
iii) Personally, I will NOT participate with a photographer who has issues with music playing while I model – unless I am being paid well for the shoot.
3) Determine what type(s) of photos you want. Looking for ideas in magazines may be helpful, but it’s very important to be realistic about your strong points and not get caught up in fantasies portrayed by professional models. For example, a pose with a model arching back on horseback may not look good on you, arching back in a chair.
4) At least 7 days in advance, begin thinking about your shoot wardrobe. What look(s) do you wish to portray? For example, if you’re doing a Boudoir shoot, do you want a long, flowing negligee or a short and sassy baby doll? Both? Neither?
a) It’s smart to discuss your wardrobe color choices with the photographer in advance so that lighting and backdrop considerations can be made.
5) Play Dress Up and try on your shoot wardrobe with full make-up and accessories. Unless you are engaging a professional make-up artist and a stylist who will provide wardrobe for you, organize your looks to ensure that you have everything you need way before your shoot date. Consider make-up, color choices; jewelry; shoes; underwear; hosiery; and other accessories to give you the look you want.
a) I suggest you take selfies in your outfits and make-up to see how you look “on camera” – even though your cell phone’s camera is not going to give the same effect as the professional’s. Quite often, We don’t really know what We look like (We’re on the inside looking out, after all) and seeing your poses on camera will help you to make adjustments for better poses and empowering “Key Word triggers” (see below).
i) Cool Tip: Invest in a small tripod to take full-length photos. (Hint: check the discount stores – you never know what you’ll find on sale! I purchased a tabletop tripod for $10 that works wonderfully!)
b) If you don’t engage a professional, make-up artist, remember to wear extra translucent powder and use smoothing techniques to apply a little extra foundation – especially for glamour shots. Be sure to apply foundation to neck and ears for an all-over, even tone. And it is imperative that you use a foundation that is actually your color and a primer (if necessary) for your skin tone(s). If not sure, I recommend a visit to a MAC counter for a consultation because MAC generally employs professional, makeup artists to represent their brand.
6) Practice Poses in The Mirror and “Key Word.” What fun! Put on some good music, dance/move and pose in front of a full-length, mirror. Knowing what you look like in your shoot wardrobe will make you infinitely more comfortable for the shoot. For best results:
a) Choose music you know well and tunes that are your favorite jams! The movements you feel to the music that moves you will help you to ease into some of your best poses and let your personality come through in your photos. And you know those key moments in the music where you emphasize your groove? Use those to “Key Word.” Use this music for your shoot.
i) Imagine any dancer and/or drag queen in the world grooving to “Vogue” by Madonna for a good example of how well this technique works.
b) As you pose, “Key Word,” which is to use a specific word to set a trigger to recall the feeling of the pose in your body. A trigger allows you to control your automatic response system via your awareness and conscious choice by conditioning a physical action to achieve the desired state. See also The Tapping Solution to assist with “anchoring” desired states – and especially if you find yourself with a case of pre-shoot jitters!
i) Key Word Technique 1: When striking a specific pose that you like, recall an experience that reminds you of how you feel. One of My most, joyous experiences – just thinking about it gives Me a warm-fuzzy-thrill-smile – was My first, weekend trip to Cancun that turned into a 6 week adventure… Whenever I think of lying topless on the peer in the glorious sun and having admirers send champagne and lunch to Me daily, I feel beautiful, appreciated, and like the Goddess that I am! I feel the same electricity in My body now as I recall what I felt while I was actually lying on the peer, just by thinking of it! I have “anchored” this feeling into My body and consciousness to be triggered at will. So, whenever I want to recall that feeling, I Key Word, “Cancun” – see Key Word Technique 2.
ii) Key Word Technique 2: “Flow” your expressions as you think of specific words that you have very, particular associations to. For example, I love chocolate and I am fully aware that I Key Word, “chocolate” to conjure the feeling of intense sensuality because of Ann Margret and the chocolate-and-baked-beans scene in Tommy that I saw when I was a Little Diva! Watch and you’ll totally understand! (Note: I strongly suggest you lower your volume to watch this video. You may also need to disable ad-blocking.)
7) Prep your wardrobe with all items for each outfit packed together, and make a list of all “ingredients.” This is an invaluable technique that saves time, diminishes stress, and adds a sense of calm with intelligent flow. Having complete outfits organized with everything together and a written back-up list allows for seamless transitions and ease.
a) I list everything that makes an “outfit” on index cards. This way, when I change from one outfit to another, I don’t have to think about what goes with what, or waste time looking for anything.
b) Even if you do have travel sets, make it easy on yourself and pack items in clear, zip-locking, plastic bags so that things are easy to see, pack, and keep together.
c) Pack the components of complete outfits in large bags (preferably of different colors) so that you can select the whole bag with everything for an outfit in it and easily place everything back to stay organized. Then, at the end of your shoot, you can quickly review your index cards to ensure that you have re-packed everything you brought with you.
d) I advise you to carry the majority of items you bring in a bag on wheels because lugging bags drains energy and you can look a little tired on camera (the camera shows everything).
8) Have a “dress rehearsal” a day before the shoot. The idea is to anchor your vision of how you look and feel with your Key Words as close to your shoot as possible. Make your dress rehearsal fun and part of Love-You-Time so that you feel good and prepared.
9) Get plenty of rest and make sure you eat before your photo shoot. Not enough rest and low blood sugar will make you look tired and/or cranky – even if you’re smiling. You need fuel to perform at your best, so eat a healthy meal before your shoot to maintain your energy throughout its duration. Of course, don’t stuff your face with high sugar and/or salt edibles because they are “puffy foods” that can cause swelling around the eyes and cheeks. And while it may be a myth that “the camera adds 10 pounds,” it’s true that you can look heavier on camera depending upon your poses, make-up, and wardrobe.
a) Be sure to bring a bottle of water to your shoot. It’s always best to have your own supplies.
10) Be certain to contact the photographer the day before to confirm your appointment and request a reply. I believe that an email AND text (or phone call) work best.
11) Be on time for your shoot. A hurried and harried model is a nightmare for all involved. The point is to take the best photos and have a good time while shooting. So, check traffic, map your route and an alternate, and have back-up-travel plans ready the day before your shoot.
a) If you are doing your own make-up, add an additional 20-30 minutes to your prep time. Sometimes, nerves can make the straight line that you draw every day go crooked and across your face for no reason at all! A little extra time will allow you to ease through your process and have time for corrections, if needed.
i) Consider what you actually need for touch-ups so that you don’t carry the entire make-up bag. You’ll have enough stuff to carry, so don’t bring the giant, suitcase of lipsticks when you’re only wearing Red No. 1.
12) When you arrive for your shoot, take a deep breath, say hi to the photographer (don’t just rush into the space in a frenzy), and share a good-clean-joke. Laughter is the best way to ease tension, make a connection, and relax your facial muscles!
Professional results start with you. See you in the pictures!
Quick Online Photo Tips
2) NEVER put your photos online without watermarks. If I had a nickel for every time someone has attempted to steal My photos to use for promotional purposes and some have even put their heads on My body... Yes, that is true and one creature even had the nerve to send ME “a photo of her” which was an adulterated picture exactly like that.
3) NEVER put your best photos online for 2 reasons: (i) deter the theft of your images and (ii) always look better in person!
If you find that My techniques work for you, feel free to let Me know and send Me a few of your photos! I PROMISE not to use your photos in any way, shape, or form without your written permission.
Always MY Pleasure,
The Mistress Didi*
I’m a Domme, not your mom.
Being a Lifestyle Dominant for Her entire life, The Mistress Didi* has explored various aspects of the BDSM and D/s Scenes including 24/7 relationships, slave ownership, Professional Domination (before it became synonymous with “hoochies with whips“) and Fetish Event Planning. The Mistress Didi* has benefited from an extensive education in the functions of the human body and psyche, holds a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Therapy and is currently working on Her PhD. As well as being the Founder of The Fetish League, The Mistress Didi* is a Model, Speaker, Author, Fetish Facilitator, Certified Hypnotherapist, Certified Psychotherapist, Certified Nutritionist, Certified Aromatherapist, and a graduate of The Institute of Culinary Arts with a specialty in vegetarian cooking. In Her* quest to change the public’s negative view of Fetish to a positive understanding of Fetish as Therapeutic Art, The Mistress Didi* promotes Fetish Appreciation through Her workshops, performances, and ClassicFetish™ Events. She* believes that the goal of the Dominant-submissive relationship is self-evolution for both to grow towards becoming the best that W/we can be as individuals, to each other, and to The Whole.