My Model’s Guide to Shooting in the Heat

Today was fun: I had to model around central London on the hottest August on record, wearing layers of winter wear.

imageThis is ultra cropped in as I can’t show you the outfit, but gives you an idea: scratchy thick knitwear in 30 degree heat!

Only I’m not being sarky there. I really did have fun! And that’s because a) it was for a huge client, Liberty’s, one of the biggest destination shops in London, b) I loved my natural makeup look and c) I’m pretty good at posing in extreme temperatures.

(Oh and d) I was finished by 2pm…)

It’s one of the toughest parts of modelling: the fact that we wear winter clothing in the summer and bikinis in the winter, and are expected to look comfortable, confident and not on the verge of heatstroke/hypothermia.

Modelling in the cold is different to heat and, as today is so fresh in my memory, I’m gonna talk you through how to survive a boiling hot shoot…

1) It’s all in the mind

If you think about how hot you are, moan about how hot you are and focus on your rising body temperature, you’ll get increasingly aggy and, as a result increasingly hot.

Imagine a cool, refreshing glass of icy cucumber water. Picture yourself climbing inside a snowman. Or just turn your mind off. The less you think about it, the less it’ll worry you.

2) Breathe deep

You need to take long, cooling breaths of air. In through the nose, out through the mouth, nice and slow and relaxing. This helps slow your heart rate and get you through that stressed feeling.

imageThis shoot for People Tree was one of the absolute worst in terms of heat. At one point I had to stand, in the midday Sun of Bangladesh, next to a cauldron of boiling dye! Breathing in those chemicals, being stared at constantly, working since 3am, sweating and swelling and sticky. And then I had to try and fit into skinny jeans! I wanted to cry to be honest but it’s just about breathing, remembering that the discomfort won’t be for too long and that it’ll all pass.

3) Keep as still as possible

When you’re not shooting, seek out the shade if you can. Don’t fidget and don’t expend energy when you don’t need to. You’re Erin, not Cara.

4) Keep hydrated

It might seem obvious to anyone who’s never been on a shoot but we often don’t get time to sit and drink, eat or pee. If we’re not shooting we’re changing, if we’re not changing or shooting we’re having our hair done and if the photographer’s checking his or her screen we’re getting powdered by the make up artist. Make sure you’re constantly sipping water – take your own bottle if you have to – and make sure you have some between every shot.

5) Avoid foods that bloat you, and heavy stuff in general

Believe me here. If you feel bad, then eating heavily isn’t going to help matters.

You know your own body and if a fried breakfast and big lunch works for you, go ahead. But for everyone else, sticking to fruit, protein and crunchy veg throughout the day is a good plan of action. Any cake/ice cream/croissants/sandwiches are going to make you feel sleepy and worst of all, fat. Your body might swell a bit due to the heat and clothes feel a little tighter than usual. That or fitted clothes will feel awful anyway. It’s best to avoid the feeling of garments feeling too snug, or your belly/face/legs/feet swelling in the heat and making you feel gross.

It probably doesn’t even show, but it will make you feel rubbish and you won’t pose as freely and confidently, so save the slap up meal for after if you can.

imageThis was in the extraordinarily intense heat of Mexico, with my boyfriend Theo for First Choice Holidays. I seem to remember ordering something like fishcakes for lunch, which I wasn’t hungry for, and helping myself to some of Theo’s chips. I felt so utterly horrible from that hot, fried food and would have been better with a smoothie and a little salad perhaps, and waited til dinner to eat something hearty.

6) Don’t Moan

Obviously you need to say when you are feeling faint, ill, thirsty or extremely uncomfortable. But if your gripe is just that you’re really hot then I’m afraid that you’ll get no sympathy from anyone on the shoot. The photographer and their assistant are running around constantly and make up, hair and styling are lugging around heavy kit. They’re every bit as boiling.

It’s best to come across friendly and chilled (no pun intended), as you’re more likely to be treated sympathetically and if you are feeling particularly bad, you’ll be given more of a break.

I hope these help. The main thing to remember is that this is a huge part of our job and it’s kind of what we sign up for – no one loves it – but every time you survive you can feel that bit tougher!

Rebecca x



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