The Total Package – ‘Dinner Party’ Photos

Posted by Amy - 09 Apr 2019
Here at Uni-versal Extras we often get praised on how great our extras look. In this post

Here at Uni-versal Extras we often get praised by our Productions on how great our Extras and Supporting Artists look. When casting our Booking Team will look for people who match a brief given to them by production. This can be quite broad so how do you make sure you stand out?

In this Blog post, Amy from our Admin Team is taking the ‘Total Package Challenge’ on the photo type ‘Dinner Party Tux, Ball/Cocktail Dress’

The Total Package

When we look at your pictures we are looking for a complete story, who are you and where are you going? For the ‘Dinner Party’ photo type we are looking for you in your finest special occasion wear, you should look like you could be a guest at a wedding or strutting your stuff on the red carpet. Having one of your pictures that tells this story, means production can easily single out your pictures as someone who will suit the scene they are casting. We call these pictures “the Total Package”

Meet Amy

I work as part of the Admin Team and most of the time my office style is rather boring, trousers or a skirt with my Uni extras polo shirt, it’s not very glam. So if you were to look at me in my work clothes you would never imagine me rubbing shoulders with the stars at a film premiere or dancing the night away at my best friend’s wedding.

So I raided my wardrobe, found my hairbrush and took on the challenge to make a boring office worker into a sophisticated lady for the day.

Step 1 – The Outfit


When selecting the outfit consider the role you want to be considered for, the most common uses for this photo type are Hollywood style award ceremonies, high powered political embassy parties, charity galas, high rolling casinos and, of course, the high school prom.

Select an outfit that is age and event appropriate, the key to this challenge is blending into the scene flawlessly, a sparkling princess gown may not be worn to a party at the white house but would look great a prom. You must own your outfit, don’t rent or buy any items, we don’t want you to be out of pocket.

Shoes and Accessories 

One of the biggest downfalls of this look is shoes or lack of them. Remember, you would not go to a red carpet event in trainers or bare feet, some rockstars may get away with it, but for the rest of us, it’s definitely a high heel or polished shoes event.

With accessories, keep it simple. Jewelry is fine in moderation, choose one or two items that add to your outfit without overshadowing it. Select your best cuff links and watch or earrings and necklace set, but we don’t need tiaras or sceptres it will take away the natural feel to your costume.

Makeup and Hair Styling

Ladies, keep your look natural. A base layer to enhance your skin is fine. If you are a skilled artist with a makeup brush, a classic smokey eye or pop of lipstick is more than enough. Keep it simple, the Production’s Makeup team will want to see what they can do with your look.

Gents, Shave or style your facial hair dependant on your style. Beards and moustaches should be trimmed and brushed.

Hair. It should go without saying, make sure you have given it a comb but what if you’d wear an updo to this sort of event? As long as we have a clear head shot showing your hair length, style, and colour, we would accept your glamorous look with a bit of fancy hair styling.


Avoid props, we know its tempting to grab a glass of wine but all it will do is distract from your look.

Step 2 – Execution

Now we are all dressed up so let’s find somewhere to go. I found a lovely white wall around the office and although I received a few curious looks from other offices, the whole thing only took about 20 minutes.


Yes, we are still looking for that clear background. A plain painted wall or simple wallpaper with no distracting patterns are perfect or if you are outside, look for a plain brick or smooth concrete wall. Always avoid anything that will take the viewer’s eyes away from you.

Always look for a well-lit area, natural light is best.

Strike a Pose

Remember this is a total package look, so your body language should be saying that you are a confident and beautiful person. Stand up straight, relax your shoulders and hold your head high. Don’t hunch up or lean, the people who get invited to this sort of event are poised.

With poses, keep your movement natural and minimal, a hand on your hip or the gently straightening your cuff links is plenty.

Step 3 – Upload

When you upload images to your profile you should be choosing the correct photo type from our drop down menu, our Casting Team will narrow a search by selecting this photo type. If your outfit is not what you have specified, your photo will be rejected.

Let’s see those Final Images. Ready for your close up?

Amys Ballgown Challenge.jpg

We hope this has helped you gain a clearer understanding of why these photos are so important and how they help you secure more work. We will keep challenging our team in the office to different photo types to discover the issues you may face and how we can overcome them. Good Luck and happy snapping.