How To Style a Fashion Photoshoot

Published on 17 March 2021
by ASI Team
Category: Industry Insights

Editorial and commercial styling is one of the most sought after roles in fashion, and we get it! Working with teams of creatives on dream photoshoots sounds like a pretty great job. Of course, as our ASI stylists know it takes months of education and practice to get there but we all have to start somewhere. 

Here’s your beginner’s guide on what to expect when learning how to style a fashion photoshoot, including insider tips from experienced ASI Fashion Stylists themselves.

Importance of Fashion Photography

As the old adage goes, if a tree falls in a forest but no one is there to hear it – did it make a sound? Similarly, if a look is styled to perfection, but no one is there to photograph it – did it even happen? While there are plenty of exceptions to this in the styling world (red carpet and personal styling, for example) in the world of editorial styling, the end goal is for the looks to be captured, shared and ultimately tell a story. This means that quite a lot of responsibility falls on the fashion photographer and their skillset to work with different locations and lighting conditions. But with research and preparation, you as the Stylist can pull together a great team who can achieve a successful photoshoot and nail those final shots.

Fashion Photography Trends

Fashion trends come and go, but having a good understanding of current and upcoming photography trends will be useful in the industry. Whether it be fashion photography, commercial photography, product or stock photography, your client will require or be drawn to a certain style or trend so, knowing these trends will help you stand out from your competitors. Here are just two of the most popular fashion photography trends right now.

Urban Fashion Photoshoots

Urban fashion photography is also known as street photography or street style photography. This photoshoot style takes place in built-up areas and usually contrasts with the fashion in focus. Think haute couture styled in the graffiti-filled laneways of Melbourne. Below is a perfect example of this. ASI Stylist Bianca Rose shares insight into a recent shoot with New York model, Mary V for Zian Couture. The contrast of high-end couture in a street style setting draws attention and ultimately stands out amongst traditional fashion photography styles.

Fashion Editorial Photoshoots

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have fashion editorial photoshoots which find their home in the glossy pages of Vogue. The markers of these types of shoots are generally a curated set and an overall theme or story that is being conveyed. It’s the important role of the stylist to create looks to match this vision. During our 3 day in-person Advanced Certificate of Creative Styling, student stylists have the opportunity to do just that. They’re tasked with styling a denim themed editorial photoshoot to capture the garments in creative ways for commercial or editorial use.

Perfect Photoshoot Locations

Okay, so you’ve brainstormed creative photoshoot ideas and perhaps picked out a photoshoot style or trend to focus on. Now it’s time to choose a location! The process of scouting for your perfect photoshoot location can be an integral part of finding inspiration, especially if you’ve chosen an outdoor photoshoot. Let’s explore the considerations for both indoor and outdoor photoshoot locations.

Outdoor Photoshoot Location

Decided on a street style fashion photoshoot? With the right planning and preparation, these can be incredibly creative and fun for the stylist, photographer and models – and you’ll achieve some stand out content. Here’s what to consider when finding the perfect outdoor photoshoot location.

  1. Scout the area prior to the shoot to ensure it won’t be crowded during your timeframe.
  2. Pick the right time of day to ensure the best lighting outcome for you and the photographer.
  3. Find a private area for changing outfits. Your models need to feel confident and comfortable when on location.

Indoor Photoshoot Locations

If you’re looking for less variables and more control, an indoor photoshoot is definitely the way to go. Having an indoor location to shoot means not having to rely on changing light conditions, or god forbid a sudden thunderstorm coming to put a damper on your shoot – and ruining that vintage silk blouse. Many editorial fashion photo shoots are shot indoors for these very reasons. Don’t forget – you can spruce up an indoor space for more interest, for example adding props, backdrops or even utilising unique locations themselves.

Australian Style Institute’s Melbourne HQ, Highline, is perfect as an indoor photoshoot location. Light-filled with high ceilings, the beautiful space has already hosted many photoshoots as part of our Advanced Certificate of Creative Styling, including our denim-themed editorial shoots!

Prepping your models before the shoot

In order to maximise the time spent with your model and the garments you are shooting, ASI graduate Sara De La Cruz says that it comes down to creating a trusting relationship between stylist and model. “Making the model super comfortable in your presence is part of the art of styling, to create a trust between you and create comfort for her to work her magic.”
Imagine asking your model to strike an awkward or unusual pose before making them feel comfortable first? It would show up in the photos, trust us! And speaking of poses…

Editorial Styling with Sara De La Cruz

Fashion Model Photography Poses

A Stylist’s job isn’t over once you’ve sourced and steamed the outfits. During the shoot, making sure that the pieces aren’t restricting and are flattering with each pose the model takes is important to keep an eye on as well. This may require adjustments, so BYO bulldog clips!

Fashion Editorial Poses

As we’ve mentioned, when creating a fashion editorial the aim is to convey a story. This means that all facets of the shoot need to come together to capture the theme harmoniously, including the model’s poses. Generally speaking, fashion editorial themes are a little more daring or extravagant, so therefore the model can be more expressive. It is particularly important to be clear when briefing in the team (hello trusty moodboards!) to ensure everyone is working with the same creative vision in mind.

High Fashion Photoshoot Poses

High fashion photoshoots are also known as commercial fashion photography, meaning they need to encapsulate an aspirational energy, but ultimately are all about the clothes. The clothes must be the key feature of the shoot and the model’s poses need to align with this. At these types of photoshoots, you might likely be working with multiple models so coordinating their interactions with each other is an important consideration too.

Street Fashion Photography Poses

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have street fashion photography. As we mentioned with urban fashion photoshoots, these can be staged to highlight a contrast between location and fashion. But commonly without this contrast, the photoshoot will be aiming for a casual and candid vibe. Think relaxed poses, like walking shots, checking your phone and going about everyday tasks – just in an amazing outfit. When in doubt, trawl through #streetstyle on Instagram for some inspo.


High Fashion Photography Lighting

While your job as a Stylist means you may not have control over photoshoot lighting, you do need to know how certain lighting techniques will affect the final shots and the overall theme you want to achieve. Tristan Judd, one of Perth’s leading fashion photographers, has pointed to a resurgence of film in fashion photography alongside digital. This is something that would need to be taken into consideration when thinking about lighting, and therefore the final outcome of the photoshoot.


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Lighting is integral for any photoshoot but even more so for high fashion photography. With the focus on the detail of the pieces, ensure you work with experienced high fashion photographers who understand the importance of quality equipment and lighting.

Photo Shoot Production Checklist

Overwhelmed yet? Not to worry. We’ve compiled a mini checklist of the top considerations when planning a photoshoot.

  • Scout your location so there are no surprises! You will be looking for different things as a Stylist as opposed to a photographer (such as where to set up a change tent) so it’s best to do in person if you can.
  • Prepping and packing. All clothes need to be steamed and packed in advance, alongside shoes and any accessories needed. On top of this, backup pieces should also be included in your kit next to bulldog clips/safety pins/tape for on-set adjustments.
  • Run sheet. Confirm time (including allowances for hair and makeup), location, equipment, and circulate with the entire team. Make sure to check the weather forecast closer to the shoot date if preparing for an outdoor shoot.
  • Compile a shot/outfit list. Pre-shooting assembled outfits is a technique borrowed from backstage at a runway, but it is a super handy way to keep track of which pieces go with which look. There’s no need for it to be fancy, a lookbook of quick snaps in an album on your phone will do the job.

Things will always change on the day, but if you can prepare for as much as possible it will save time and give you more flexibility to freestyle in the case of a look just not working.

Fashion Photography Jobs

As they say, it takes a village, and a fashion photoshoot is no exception. This means there are many opportunities for you to get involved and be a part of the excitement. Australian Style Institute’s Advanced Certificate of Creative Styling is your pathway to editorial and commercial styling, becoming a creative director or even a runway or celebrity stylist.

Interested in learning more about the many creative career pathways in fashion styling? Download your free Course Guide here.


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