How to Plan a Fashion Photoshoot - SIREN MEDIA
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How to Plan a Fashion Photoshoot

Planning a fashion photo shoot might seem overwhelming at first.  You may have a lot of questions.  “How much is it going to cost? How do I find the right photographer and models?  Will we be able to shoot an entire collection?”


Eye-catching photos that highlight your business, your products, and your brand are one of the most essential elements that you can use to tell the world about what you offer.  The photos you create during a one-day photo shoot will be the marketing materials you will use over multiple months, so it’s important to get it right.


As a freelance fashion model, I have put together numerous photo shoots that I have proudly been a part of planning.  Oftentimes, I am the creative director, though occasionally, the photographer and I will develop an idea together.  Through my years of experience, I have learned a lot about what it takes to put together a flawless photo shoot and I’d like to share those tips with you so you will feel confident and prepared like the professional you are.  Here are 6 easy steps to organize a perfect fashion photo shoot.


  1. Create a Concept & Mood Board


The first step is to create a well-thought out idea of how you want your photos to look.  It’s important to take into consideration what you will be using them for.  Are you creating a printed lookbook?  Are you listing products in an e-commerce store?  Do you need photos for Instagram or the front page of your website?  While a lot photos can be used across many of these platforms, sometimes you will need a certain look to get your point across the right way.  For example, let’s say you have a new collection you want to unveil.   You will need product images to use in your online store that will show the color and cut of the garments.  You will also want to capture your audience’s attention, so you may consider creating striking, bold, and seductive editorial images for the home page that introduces your collection and entices visitors to browse through the rest of your website.  The concept of the photoshoot will determine the rest of the planning process.


Your concept will come across most easily if you are able to find other photos that hint towards what you want.  Can you describe the look in 1-2 words or sentences?  Maybe you don’t have a clear concept yet.  That’s okay!  I’ve found that using Pinterest is a really great way to find inspirational photos.   You can search for an idea you may have or for general fashion photos to get a sense of what you like.  Create a new board, pin the photos that inspire you, and look over it again to pull out the photos that really call to you.  Go over the board with the photographer.  Ask them if they have any ideas they’d like to add or photos that they are inspired by.  This can be strict process or you can leave it a little loose.  Maybe there’s a really gorgeous pose that you fell in love with.  Maybe it’s a setting or a location that you find interesting.  Maybe you want a model that looks just like Kate Moss to wear your latest line.  Do you want to tell a story or make a bold statement?  Of course, it’s also important to leave space for imagination and creativity while on set.


Here’s an example of a board I’ve put together for a boudoir photo shoot that I did with one of my favorite photographers, Ginny Silver of Retrospect Images.  She is one of my favorite wedding, engagement, and boudoir photographers in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  • boudoir_04
While putting this board together, I was able to recognize that I love black and white images that are sophisticated and very sexy.  When Ginny and I got together, it was so much easier to shoot with a clear vision.  It’s a good idea to always check with your photographer about any other creative suggestions they may have.  Ginny is very experienced shooting boudoir and had some really unique concepts she wanted to try which is how we created these beautiful photos.



  1.  Hire Your Team


Now that you have your vision, it’s time to find the team to make it come to life.   Finding a great photographer should be a top priority.  A good photographer will have tons of experience and should also be able to connect you to other industry contacts.  Together you can move through the moodboard discussing each look.  This will be helpful to determine the look you will need for models, location, hair and makeup and you can set the pace of the day’s schedule.


An important part of assembling your team is to trying to find people who will be a good fit for the project. Sometimes it can be tricky to look at an artists portfolio and figure out if they are right for your project.


Here are a few tips:
Does their style of work look like what you want to create?  This may seem obvious, but every artist has their own style.  Some are adaptable and some are not as much.  Does the portfolio of the makeup artist you are considering have a lot of black eyeliner, but your vision for the shoot is a soft, natural look?  Do you want to shoot outdoors but the photographer’s experience is mostly in studio?  What is the editing style of the photographer’s work?  Does it look like an Instagram filter or does it look like a fashion magazine?


     Here is a list of basic team members you will need to hire:
  • Creative Director
  • Photographer
  • Models
  • Set Stylist
  • Wardrobe Stylists
  • Hair Artist
  • Makeup Artist
  1. Know your budget and be upfront about it.


A high quality photo shoot can easily add up.  Discuss rates and budget with your team.  If you don’t have much money to offer, try offering products, but of course, this only works if they want what you have.  Guarantee that their photos will be published in a magazine by getting confirmation from a publisher or editor.  This has weight to artists who are building their portfolio.


If you’re on a really tight budget, you can find freelance artists that are willing to work for trade, meaning everyone is practicing and building their portfolio and will receive a selection of photos to use for their portfolio.  This may seem like the best option because it is the least costly, but always remember that you get what you pay for.  When you are not paying artists, they are more likely to cancel at the last minute, want to leave early, or not provide the results you are looking for.  This is not the case with every trade opportunity, but can be expected occasionally.


It is always best to offer your team something rather than nothing.  Buy everyone lunch or dinner.  Make sure everything is planned and runs smoothly.  Ensure everyone is comfortable.  Offer to cover travel expenses.  Most importantly, make sure that everyone is happy and knows what you are offering and what is expected of them before the shoot day.



Of course, booking through a modeling agency will provide you with a high quality team.  Professional talent will arrive on time, be well groomed, behave mannerly, and will perform impeccably well on set to provide high quality photos.
You get what you pay for.

Booking models through an agency is simpler than you might imagine.  Contact a modeling agency in your area and speak with an agent.  They will provide portfolios of the models that match the look you need, are in your price range, and their schedule of availability.  You can then select your first and second choice and the agency will help you book the perfect model for your shoot.  Going this route will provide a much higher quality photoshoot and will afford you peace of mind.

  1. Find a Location & Set the Date


Now that you have some or all of your team lined up you can start looking at schedules.  Whether you plan the shoot for a weekday or weekend, or next week or next season, will be entirely up to you and your team’s availability.  Have a potential date in mind that will work for you and then check with everyone as you begin the booking process.


Finding a proper location for a photo shoot is essential in matching the style of your overall concept or moodboard.  If you are planning a studio shoot, check with the photographer to see if they have any recommendations.  They will likely have a few options they have used before.



If you are planning an outside shoot, this is a good place to get creative, but also use discretion and proper planning.  You can find a brick wall that might emulate a NYC street.  You could find a wall covered in ivy that might be reminiscent of a Parisian garden.  Get out and look around.  Snap a few sample shots so you can see how a scene might come together in a photo.


Planning a shoot on location may occasionally require a permit or permission to use an area.  Especially if the photographer plans to use a high-end lighting set up.  Be considerate of the area, and if you’re unsure, always check with the venue or local council.


  1. Prepare a call sheet to Organize It All


A call sheet is a document that includes all of the essential information needed to make sure your shoot runs flawlessly.  It should include every team members’ contact information, the address of the location, the call time for models, photographers, stylists and all other artists.  It should also include the itinerary for the day; including when hair and makeup should start, you would like to begin shooting, the outline of each look and how long you would like to shoot each one, corresponding hair and makeup looks, lunch breaks, set and wardrobe changes, and finally, when everyone can expect to call it a wrap!


Prepare the call sheet a few days before the shoot and pass it around to key team members to review for errors or any last minute changes.  24-48 hours before the shoot is scheduled to begin, email a copy to each member of the team so everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what to expect.


To help make this part of the process a bit easier for you, we have created a call sheet that you can download to use for your fashion photoshoot. Click the image below to DOWNLOAD OUR FREE CALL SHEET and organize the details of your flawless fashion photoshoot.

  1. The Shoot


It’s finally here!  After all of the planning and organizing, it’s time to make it happen!  Make sure you have everything ready to go the night before.  Check and double check.  You don’t want to forget anything, though you will survive if you do happen to leave something behind.  Make sure you get plenty of rest.  You want to be on your game so that you can make decisions on the fly if needed.



Have an easily accessible version of the moodboard readily available.  Leave it out for everyone to review as needed.  This can be on a large board or a computer monitor if possible.  In a pinch, a cell phone will work too.  It’s best if these images are rooted in everyone’s mind to set the tone.


Keep an eye on details like the fabric of the clothes and stray hairs.  I often hear people on set make remarks like “Oh, we can Photoshop that.”  But trust me – not everything can be photoshopped nor does your photographer want to try.  Often they will be looking through the lens at the image and will spot things that are a little off, but they also have a lot of other pieces of the image that they are considering with every click of the shutter.  Hair and Makeup Artists will often stay on set to watch for these things and may step in to make adjustments at any time.


Try to stay on track as much as possible, but also expect the unexpected.  Keep spirits high, keep people fed, and create gorgeous photos that you will be proud to share with the world!
You got this, boss!

Jasmine Simone is a fashion model, photographer, and designer.

Jasmine Simone


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Would you like to hire me as a Consultant or Creative Director to help you find the perfect team or develop a grand vision for your brand?  I would be happy to help!  Feel free to reach out anytime. Feel free to contact us at or head over to our Services page to learn more about what we can do to make your brand shine!

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Jasmine Simone

An artist, entrepreneur, designer, and a genuine dreamer dedicated to helping women build brands they are proud of.

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