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A Helpful Guide to Successful Fashion Photoshoots (Simple & Easy Tips)

by Boris Hodakel  • February 16, 2019 • 4 min read

fashion photoshoot

Creating a photoshoot for the fashion industry is an exciting day for any professional or brand owner. However, it can also be hard work and challenging to pull everything together, especially if time is limited. The last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself by looking like an amateur running around panicked and unsure while everyone else seems calm and collected.

Naturally, you don’t want to appear flappable, and you may not want to ask for help from more experienced colleagues. Thankfully we are on hand to work through the basics with you, so you will no longer feel daunted but be able to stroll in on the day with your head held high and confidently take control, and most importantly leave with a set of images that showcase the brand in the best light.

Do your research

First of all, you want to ensure that the brief is comprehensive, you have every right, and are encouraged to dig for more details if things are not clear.

camera adjusted for fashion photoshoot

What are the images going to be used for?

Companies will need quality fashion images for a range of purposes from catalogues to websites, social media to marketing. Be clear on what you are expected to deliver at the end of the day, the number of images needed and what the budget is.

Create a shot list

This is a document you will create that will also help with budget and planning.

Document the following:

  • the shots you are expecting to create
  • how many outfits are involved
  • what props you might need
  • where you might get them
  • every other detail you can think of

This also includes things as detailed as facial expressions, lighting angles, and more.

Starting with proper planning gives you a much higher chance of success. This is also a document that you can share with your team, the photographer, the hair and makeup team, the models and anyone else that will be part of the day.

Who Will Be There?

fashion photoshoot models

A fashion shoot is more likely to be a success if everyone understands their role, and sometimes due to budget constraints, this will mean people wearing more than one hat, yourself included. Your team should be built from reliable, hardworking people, so don’t be afraid to question reputation and experience.

Working with fashion photographers

A professional photographer will have a range of portfolio work so you can see what their style is, the same applies to the hair and makeup team. Looking for professional fashion photography experience will save you a lot of stress on the day.

The more trust you can build within the group the better the day will go. Perhaps you will appoint yourself the creative director, and that would be a natural step as you are ideally placed to understand and be able to keep the day on target to achieve the aims.

Contracts and documents

Be sure you have contracts in place with your team, whether you have worked with them before or not. This is a standard part of the business that should be accepted by everyone. You will need model release forms completed, and a template for this can be found online. In the contract with your photographer make sure you clearly define expectation, include a timescale for delivery of the selects and what format these will be delivered in.

Once you have finalised the images, discuss when they will provide them, and again in what format. Confirm in all contracts the remuneration for each team member. Plus, you will need to define the rights on the images and remuneration for cancellation or delay issues.

Location, Location, Location

fashion photoshoot location

While this is not something that can always happen, it pays dividends to do a little site visit, preferably with the photographer so you can bottom out issues and ensure you have all the equipment needed. Make sure you consider lighting and confirm that the photographer has the gear needed because if not you will need to arrange to hire various pieces.

If this is a public area consider issues such as noise, passing traffic from both people and vehicles, and confirm that access is available on the day you need. Road closures happen and would potentially ruin the day. Ensure the location is defined, so all members of the team know how to get there.

Call sheets

Another important document that you need to source is a call sheet, and this is where you do not need to reinvent the wheel. Online templates are plentiful and will help you as they will require information that might otherwise have been overlooked.

The final version will be sent to each person and will include shoot times, arrival time, parking, facilities and a schedule for the day, detailing outfits for the fashion brand and models for each scene.

Even with the best intentions things can get behind or held up, but call everyone half an hour before they are needed to ensure that delays are minimal.

When you send the finished document, get confirmation from each party that it has been received and understood. Lost copies sitting in spam folders are worthless, so if they don’t reply to your email call them.

Photoshoot day

So, while you may be the creative director, you are also the runner. For everyone to do their jobs well, you need to facilitate. Plan to arrive first and bring water and snacks. Happy teams are more productive than grumpy ones! If you have tea and coffee facilities great, if the location doesn’t allow then water is fine. Have spare copies of every document including the call sheet, etc.

fashion models on photoshoot day

Keep your cool and stay focused. Your attitude will determine the overall mood of the shoot, so be positive and encouraging, so people feel that their efforts are appreciated. Build a rapport with the photographer and sneak a peek at the shots as they happen so you can tweak a little if needed. Overall, your prior planning efforts should ensure a good day, so go ahead and enjoy it.

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About the author:

Boris Hodakel is the founder and CEO of Sewport - an online marketplace connecting brands and manufacturers, former founder of various clothing manufacturing services. He is passionate about e-commerce, marketing and production digitisation. Connect with Boris on LinkedIn.