Plus Size Photography: Jose Pagãn’s 5 Tips for a Great Photoshoot

Are you looking to get some great photos? Whether you’re a seasoned plus-size model or a gal who’s simply looking for a one-time photographic adventure, you’ve probably wondered just what it takes to get great photos. Here are Jose's top tips for getting the best plus size photography. Above: Jose Pagãn and Tay Lee De Castro. Photo by Jose Pagan.

Fear not. We’ve got you covered. We asked renowned plus size photographer Jose Pagãn to give us his top tips for a great photoshoot.

Here’s what he said.

#1 Plan Your Wardrobe Carefully

Plan your looks ahead of time. There’s nothing to gain if your garment selection is not fitting right, damaged or not looking the way you envisioned.

Think about the looks you’re going for. If you need ideas, take a look at influencer Instagram accounts. Are you going for a theme? Are you looking for photos to represent a certain season? Think about all of this in advance.

In addition, come equipped with multiple looks. Even if your photoshoot doesn’t allow for wardrobe changes, come equipped with extra options. It’s always better to be too prepared than not prepared enough. Be safe, not sorry.

#2 Practice Your Looks

Practice facial expressions in the weeks prior to your session. Having some basic knowledge of your own facial movements will make it easier for the photographer to direct you.

This helps you to avoid being what I call “a deer in the headlights poser.” You can try different expressions. Go through the vowels to see how the lips move, what the cheeks are doing and what the eyes are doing. There are over 200 muscles in the face! It’s good to have knowledge of your own facial movements before you go into any studio.

Use the mirror for practice. Also, try putting your phone on the dresser and take selfies. Try top to bottom, bottom to top and left to right angles. Try it all to see what’s flattering and what’s appealing to you.

#3 Bring a Model Bag

Model bags are for everyone. Gather up a bag to keep alongside your garments with items such as: skin tape (you can get it online and use it to tape garments that aren’t laying just right), bobby pins, extra shoes, etc.  This is important, especially if you don’t have a stylist on set.

#4 Be Timely

Arrive on time. Nothing else will start your session in a sour mood more than being late, even if you’re the one paying for the services.  But, if you’re the talent on a paid shoot, make it your mission to time everything right so you’re on set at least 15 minutes prior. It could make the difference between getting a callback for another job or not.

#5 Be Positive

Make sure you bring that same fun and exciting energy from planning to the day of your session. Taking photos is so much fun, and we should never forget that or it could turn into that boring job we all dread.

Think of taking pictures as an adventure. This will bring out the most authentic expressions and poses.

#6 Always Do Your Research

Research your photographer before booking. Every photographer has a different style. Find one that specializes in your genre and the looks you’re striving for. Look at their past work. (As in, don’t hire a landscape photographer if they don’t shoot fashion.)

For example, if you’re looking to try boudoir, find a photographer who specializes in this and has lots of experience. If you’re looking for a pinup experience, find a photographer who does this kind of work often.

And make sure your photographer has some experience working with plus-size models. You want someone who celebrates your curves and makes you feel confident and comfortable.

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