What You Need to Know For A Successful Fashion Shoot

This is a complete guide on how to plan an editorial shoot, from creating mood boards to sourcing models.

Fashion Photography is a niche that is not defined and is largely free of creative restrictions. You can take any kind of photo you like. You can shoot whatever you want as long as it tells a story. Clothing, accessories, and makeup are all important parts of the story. But in the end, it’s your perspective that gives the reader a unique view of an imagined world.

The most important aspect of Fashion Photography is how you apply your creative style and translate a certain story visually.

You will learn what you enjoy shooting, as well as your favorite lighting situations and subjects. Your photos will begin to have a life all their own.

Fashion photography is all about exploration and experimentation.

This is not a book but a guide that I have created based on personal experience. Use what I have learned to get things organized with a bit more clarity. Get a team working together with ease and better communication. And save yourself future stress and anxiety from easily avoidable mistakes.

You can create a brief for your editorial photoshoot

A shoot for editorial purposes is a way to present stories and ideas visually. Fashion editorials are often published in magazines and online publications with text or a theme to inspire or educate readers.

What story do you wish to tell with your fashion photographs? What world is your character situated in? This is the stage where you can be as crazy as you want. You can imagine anything you want at this stage. It’s important to put pen to paper and write down everything that comes into your mind.

Always start with an idea. Try to express your concept differently once you’ve got a general idea. You may feel like you are letting your imagination run wild, but you are actually generating ideas you will later refine. This initial brainstorm will never be seen by anyone, so go wild!

After you have written down some decent descriptions of the images you see in your mind, look for common threads between them. These threads can be woven into a brief snippet to summarize the story, characters, scenario and world of your story.

You may ask, “Why should I go through so much effort to start?”

Stay with me for just a little while. It is important to define and brainstorm a story that will bring cohesion to your project. This will be beneficial for you and the team you are bringing on.

A well-defined idea will help you to find references for your mood board (hint: this is our next step). This will allow you to answer all the questions that your stylist, makeup artist, models, and hairdresser will have. It will also help guide the overall look of your photoshoot.

You might want to include the following details about your shoot:

Keep your description (from now on called your brief) simple and as layman-friendly as you can. Your brief should be both simple and descriptive. This will help you to communicate your idea clearly to those with whom you plan to collaborate.

Choose The Purpose of Your Fashion Photoshoot

It is also important to determine the purpose of your photo shoot. This will help you with your logistics, and it will let your team know what they should be working on.

By defining the purpose of the shoot, you can come up with fashion shooting ideas which are more creative and exciting.

Do you plan to submit these photos for publication or to expand your portfolio? You may be trying to produce images that appeal to clients you want to attract in the future. Or is this a creative shoot without any career goals?

Your goals should always be clearly stated.

Many relationships have been damaged by photographers who want to sell their photos as stock images or shoot for commercial purposes without telling their team members.

A mood board sample for a Kaltblut Magazine editorial.

How to Plan a Photoshoot with a Mood Board

Once you’ve written your ideas down in concrete form, find visual references that will complement your carefully crafted words.

You can hear me screaming in my head, “More Research?! If I knew I’d be spending the day at a computer, I wouldn’t have taken photos of my turtle!

You can trust me. You will get there. Fashion photography is done at all levels. You’ll see that the top fashion houses use mood boards when they search for “fashion photoshoots inspiration” on Pinterest.

Guess what they sent me when I agreed to join a photo shoot for Elle Italia? You guessed it right—a mood board.

The mood board is integral to any photography project that considers story and concept. Today, mood boards are used in live events and reportage. The mood board helps guide a team visually toward a shared goal. This is essential in any creative collaboration.

You do not need to match the shots exactly to your mood board. The mood board summarizes your goals so that everyone involved in the shoot can see them.

Start by choosing a few words from your description and then browse online to find images (photographs or other types of images) that will help you translate your vision into a product you can share.

Pinterest, DeviantArt, Tumblr, Trend Hunter, and Google Images are some of the best sites to visit. Whether online or in print, fashion magazines can be an excellent source of inspiration. You can also find inspiration in online magazines like

It’s time to assemble your team now that your idea is in a tangible, shareable format!

Find the right team for your editorial shoot.

You will need at least one subject in your team unless you want to begin with a self-portrait.

You’re likely to want to begin by shooting someone else. You can find more collaborators online than ever, thanks to the internet. Local Facebook groups for collaboration shoots and websites like Model Mayhem are great places to start.

You can start by shooting your friends.

Sending over your mood board, shoot brief, and any previous work you’ve done is the best way to reach out to people who you would like to work. You can approach modeling agencies for professional models when you have a solid portfolio. However, when you are just starting, it is easier to find models who are emerging professionals.

A clear, concise plan and vision for what you want to achieve will let people know you have put serious thought into it and are working to create something worthwhile. You must be happy you spent thirty minutes on Pinterest searching for a “modern Victorian” style. Later, you can thank me.

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