So you’ve decided to be an escort. Congratulations! For a lot of us, it can be an incredibly fun, liberating, and rewarding line of work, whether it’s a main occupation or a part-time bonus gig. You can travel  to beautiful places, meet really interesting and accomplished people, be gifted generously, gain deeper self-confidence, learn valuable people and business management skills, and set aside a nice bit of rainy day or retirement savings while you’re at it. It can be great!

But being an escort is a job

Media depictions of the industry tend to oscillate between presenting it as a horrible and horribly dangerous occupation that exists exclusively in the seedy underbelly of society, or presenting it as an overly glamorous, all-play-and-no-work lark through the park, with a side of Chanel purses and diamond necklaces.  Both depictions are largely unrealistic. For most of us, being an escort is a rewarding job, but one that involves real work - not the least of  which happens well before we are booked for a date.

Not only is a photoshoot one of the very first things a new escort has to do when entering the industry, it’s also in an escort’s best interest to update photos at least biannually, but ideally once or more per quarter. That’s a lot of photoshoots! Other businesses have advertising agencies, creative directors, stylists, hair and makeup teams, and models to help  them show their products in their best light, but when you are your own business, you have to be everything and do everything yourself.

Now that I’ve been in the industry for almost a year (how time flies!) and have several photoshoots under my belt, where I did a lot of learning  through trial and error, here’s a guide to the escort photoshoot process  and how to make it work for you:

Choosing a Photographer

Industry photographers are not cheap. The top photographers in the industry charge around $800+ per shoot, so when you factor in location costs, wardrobe, etc. you’re easily looking at dropping $1.5-2k per shoot.

Especially when you’re just starting out, that can be a lot to invest. My first three shoots as Natalie were with photographers from outside of the industry and while they were decent for getting me started as I was just dipping a toe in, they’re incomparable with my more recent shoots with industry photographers.

Industry photographers know their stuff in terms of posing and lighting, they know you’re a companion and won’t make you feel uncomfortable about being in the industry or using photos commercially, won’t ask you for your legal name, they won’t leer at you when you get down to your skivvies, and they deliver really attractive and professional looking photos that pop. If you’re aiming for high end, shoots with industry photographers are a must.

I’ve found industry photographers by seeing who was tagged in other  providers’ photos on twitter, but Slixa has recently made it even easier  to find industry photographers with their Service Professionals Directory. Released earlier this year, the Service Professionals Directory lists photographers, web designers, and more who are eager to work with providers and other adult industry workers.

The directory is free to everyone, including providers who don’t advertise with Slixa and any businesses who wish to list themselves in the directory. Though the directory wasn’t around when I first started  planning photoshoots, I wish it was! It’s really helpful to have a  resource that takes the guesswork and randomness out of finding photographers who are enthusiastic about and experienced with working with providers.

Once  you’ve chosen your photographer, be sure to communicate what you want. Are you hoping for help with posing during your shoot or do you prefer that they just let you do your thing? Do you have a moodboard of inspiration images that you can share with your photographer? Are there photo styles that you love or hate?

In love, work, and play, open communication helps you get the results you want.

Choosing a Theme

Creating tailored content that speaks directly to the audience you want beats taking generic photos that are generally pleasant for everyone. With targeted marketing, you get more of the sort of client that you want -  you make it easy for them to find you and choose you, as well as easy  for clients who wouldn’t jive as well with you to choose someone else.  This results in better experiences for everyone. Now you’re not just beautiful brunette #234, you’re a unique individual with unique, attractive qualities.

Choosing a Location

You  have your photographer and you have your theme - now you need a  location. Do you want to shoot inside, outside, or a mix of both? Deciding that helps you decide what time of day and what day of the week to schedule your shoot. How important is good natural light going to be  for achieving the look you’re going for? How comfortable are you going to be shooting in the given location? For example, NYPL is gorgeous and has bookish appeal, but you won’t want to spend hours posing in their stacks and you can’t wear just lingerie (or less) to shoot.

Indoor hotel shoots are an easy choice for comfort, but can start feeling stale once you’ve done a few solid ones. To mix things up, consider renting a tent at a glamping site, hiring a private plane or borrowing a  friend’s boat for a few hours, taking your shoot to the woods, or  looking into private rooftops. Twitter can be a great place to get location ideas, as well as see if anyone has any interesting locations they’d be willing to share.

Choosing Styling

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to styling. Are you wearing lingerie or evening wear, cute workout gear or subtly sexy business casual? How many looks do you realistically have time to shoot in your session time? Which looks are high priority and which are okay to skip if you run out of time? What is your budget for wardrobe? What do you own and what do you still  need to get? Do you want to buy wardrobe, so you can be freer with it,  or are you okay with being careful with the garments and renting through Rent the Runway or similar services? Do you want to layer any looks and  take off pieces as you shoot, or get some peekaboo action in outdoor  shoot locations? How are you going to accessorize with shoes, jewelry, bags, and other props?

If  you’re face-out, what sort of makeup do you want, will you do it  yourself or hire someone, and will you change your makeup for different looks? Is it easier for you to start natural and build up to glam, or to  start glam and take the makeup down as you go?

Practicing Poses

I’d  been modeling for years before I became a companion, so I naively  assumed the actual photoshoot would be a breeze. I was so wrong! Unless you have a background in modeling specifically for lad’s mags, or possibly swimsuit modeling, general comfort in front of a camera does  not translate directly into being able to pose well for escort photos.

Shortly before my third or so photoshoot as Natalie, a more established  provider who seemed to have new photos every month, with each photoset more gorgeous than the last, gave me the best posing advice I’ve received to date: practice in front of a mirror. Don’t just run possibilities through your mind, practice physically doing them in front of a mirror so you can see how doing it right should feel. Sometimes the poses that feel the sexiest don’t translate at all on film and those that feel kind of goofy and awkward look absolutely stunning. If you’d like to go one better, practice poses with a tripod and your camera or  smartphone.

Leading up to the Shoot

If you’re a face-out companion, skin care in the weeks leading up to your photoshoot is incredibly important. This is not the time to try new products or routines. Everyone’s skin reacts to  things differently, so even if a particular cream or scrub works great for your friend, that’s no guarantee that it won’t make you break out. Instead, hone in on the things that work for you - and be sure not to slip up when it comes to taking your makeup completely off before bed, moisturizing day and night, and drinking enough water for an inside-out  glow that’s better than anything highlighter can give you.

For everyone, face-out or not, focusing on good health leading up to your photoshoot is a good idea. That means regular exercise and eating  healthy balanced meals. That doesn’t mean over-exercising or going on a starvation diet to be as lean as physically possible on your shoot day.  Not only is that really bad for you long term (and your health is more important than any photoshoot) but you also want to look your realistic best at your photoshoot. You don’t want to be fifteen pounds lighter in your photos than you’re going to be when you show up to a date, because potential clients use your photos to see what they can expect if they book you. Misleading photos don’t do anyone any favors.

Lastly,  you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of energy for your shoot.  Quick shoots can be as short as one or two hours, but most shoots are three or more hours, especially if you’re shooting at multiple locations. You need to be able to hold physically challenging poses for longer than comfortable (even pointing your toes gets tiring!) and you’ll need the stamina to make it through the whole shoot without lagging energy levels. Having fun at your shoot reads in your photos and you won’t be having fun if you’re exhausted. If you can, take the day before  your shoot completely off, or make it a light day, so you have plenty of energy on your photoshoot day.

Day-Of Preparations

Finally, it’s the day of the shoot. You’ve invested a lot of time, money, and effort into planning already and now is the time to finish strong and make sure you get the photos that are going to get you the bookings you want.

If  you have a morning shoot, set multiple alarms on multiple devices to make sure you don’t oversleep. Plan to arrive at your photoshoot location at least thirty minutes early, so you can settle in and also so you have a built-in buffer in case you run into traffic or get stuck on a stalled train on your way to the location. Eat a healthy meal that won’t bloat you before your shoot, to give you the energy you need without making you feel uncomfortably full. Don’t skip eating for flatter abs - you need the energy. Hydrate well, put together a playlist of music that makes you feel sexy and comfortable, and do some breathing exercises or yoga poses to relax. Make sure to wear flowing, loose clothing to set, so tight waistbands and bodices don’t leave imprints on your skin, and make sure not to have any hairbands on your wrists.

Now go kill it!

I  hope these tips are helpful for you as you plan your next photoshoot!