Viewers and fans of America’s Next Top Model have seen thousands of photographs taken over the series’ nearly 20-year run. Each cycle of each season has its own unique set of photoshoots in which the models compete for a chance to take home the top prize by its end.
Some of the photoshoots have been fun and interesting, some, confusing or problematic, and still others, downright dangerous. The series showcased the models’ work ethic, patience, and ability to take a gorgeous shot despite being caked in paint, made up like a doll, or posing with hay bales in a country landscape.
10 Season 4 – The 7 Deadly Sins
In episode 8 of the fourth season, each of the seven remaining models was assigned to be one of the seven deadly sins: Wrath, Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth, and Pride. These are the seven vices that run contrary to the heavenly virtues that sprang from Christian and other religious teachings.
Kahlen’s depiction of Wrath was particularly stunning with her snarling mouth and red and black outfit. Her pose was also severe. Her arm is placed hard against the side of the coffin she is in, like she’s trying not to snap out of it and devour the object of her anger. Naima’s rendition of Envy was also memorable, as she takes a subversive approach by channeling longing and want towards what she covets, instead of conveying the usual bitter, demanding tones one would think of.
9 Season 10 – The Sound Of Music
Episode 6 of ANTM‘s binge-worthy season 10 saw the models participate in a photoshoot that brought out their inner musicians. Inspired by R&B, punk, grunge, pop, folk, and more, the girls combined their love of fashion and modeling with the universal language of music.
Contestant Whitney’s portrayal of grunge was particularly striking, with her heavily applied black eye makeup contrasting with her bright blonde, long, stick-straight hair. Her pose, with one hand clasping her other forearm, is instantly recognizable as one seen on many grunge artists’ album covers or in promotional material. Dominique’s imitation of the folk music genre was also a favorite, as her conservative, down-to-earth outfit and hair were reminiscent of this music type.
8 Season 5 – County Couture
The third episode of season 5 saw the models visit a beautiful countryside landscape for their photos. The geography includes mountainous terrain, age-old trees encased by fencing, natural green grass, hay, and native wildflowers, as well as a horse in two of the girls’ shots. Clear blue skies color the background and provide a contrast to the girls’ mostly dark apparel.
Nik’s photograph was especially beautiful. The fullness of her hair spilling out of her top hat, as well as the angles of her pose and clothing (especially her jacket and skirt) made for a gorgeous photo. Her face also sells the photograph, as she looks full of high-class attitude. Nicole, the deserving winner of the ANTM season, is also noteworthy: the softness of her face is a nice juxtaposition to the hard ground around her, and her natural-looking hair complements the authenticity of her natural environment.
7 Season 19 – Steampunk
Season 19, episode 6’s photoshoot involved the ever-popular steampunk genre. Steampunk utilizes a retro-futuristic-technological aesthetic that was inspired by the 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery of its day. It is equal parts historical and scientific, lending to its never-ending fame.
Brittany’s photo was magical, as she held the clock and looked off into the distance, and it made for an almost haunting image. Her all-black outfit, complete with the embellishments on her jacket, completed her look. Allyssa’s ensemble was also beautiful: the caramel highlights in her hair combined with the lacy white blouse and black leather corset dress were stunning and her makeup, the lace piece on her cheek, and the bug brooch made for a perfect outfit.
6 Season 16 – Bees In The Trap
The extreme photo shoot that included bees and heavy bronze/gold jewelry against a stark white background was one of the most notable of the 16th season (episode 2). The whole episode dealt with themes relating to extremes, so it was only fitting that the girls engaged in a shoot of this caliber.
Brittani’s shot was an extraordinary one. Her straight, pulled-back hair was perfect with the bronze/gold headband and a superb look. Her face and the way her eyes pierced and stung like the bees around her only added to its excellence. Monique’s was another great photo from the cycle. Her tall bronze/gold necklace, arched eyebrows, and brilliant blue lips were dazzling.
5 Season 14 – Shadows
Season 14, episode 9 followed the models as they took on a photo shoot in the shadows. Providing the stark contrast between light and dark made for an unforgettable viewing experience.
Krista’s photo, totally black and white against a barren white background, was the first call out, and for good reason. The white angular patterns of light on her dark face emphasized her facial features and collarbone. The delicate look she gives the distance is also a beautiful contrast to the rectangular light arrangements cast on her. Alexandra’s was also divine. The shadow pattern on her skin and nude outfit, in conjunction with the green, hilly background and her gaze into the lens made it remarkable.
4 Season 9 – The Garden Of Models
The flowers and plant life shoot from cycle 9, episode 4 was abundant and overflowing with gorgeous photographs from the contestants.
Jenah’s photo, which was the first call out of that episode, was of no surprise to anyone: her mossy/algae look, and with her posing intimately up against the tree (much like the plant itself twists and turns around one), as well as her hair and makeup, were amazingly well-done and enviable, proving why America’s Next Top Model is one of the best shows to watch for anyone into makeup or special effects. Janet’s photo, in which she was embellished with some exquisitely tiny blue and purple flowers, was also enticing. Her makeup and posing, combined with the flowers, made for a near-perfect photo.
3 Season 12 – Paint
The models in season 12, episode 6 were given the awe-inspiring task of evoking emotions through colors in this photo session. The contestant’s paint, makeup, and other accessories only added to the feeling they were attempting to convey.
Fo, the first call out, had red paint and a headpiece to channel her emotion. The color, often associated with love, passion, anger, and strength, comes through in her photo with her front-facing look with an arched-eyebrow and a penetrating look into the camera. Tahlia’s look was also superb. She was tasked with the color purple: a hue that represents royalty, luxury, power, and ambition, which is exactly what she emotes with her fierce sideways glance.
2 Season 15 – Fallen Angels
Episode 3 of season 15 had the girls on the beaches of Malibu as fallen angles with the help of male model counterparts. The tropical shoot was a beautiful pairing against the girls’ black outfits and wings.
Ann’s photo, the first call out from the panel of judges, was a lesson in gesture and emotion: her hands intertwined with his, linked with her pose and the look on her face, even the styling of her hair made for an alluring photo. Kayla’s was also popular, as her face and how she lifted up the chin of her male model looked incredibly regal and powerful.
1 Season 6 – Tears
The black-and-white photoshoot (season 6, episode 8), which asked the girls to cry, is one of ANTM’s most extraordinary. The color contrast here allowed the girls’ tears to really stand apart from anything else, and it added to the overall tone of the session.
Joanie’s was the best of the bunch: her eyes and heavy, smeared black eye makeup, her fingers in her hair and her far-off look was a meaningful moment for the judges when they beheld her photo. Nnenna’s was also momentous, as her look of anguish and pain made audiences want to cry right along with her.