How To Become a Photoshoot Stylist

The aspiration of studying clothes, transforming personalities, and creating trending breaking visuals leads a fashion lover to take fashion styling as a full-time job.

Do you aspire to become an Editorial Stylist too? In this blog, I am going clear your burning doubts about editorial fashion stylists, how much they earn, how can you get started with fashion styling, and how editorials work in general! Refer to our current post on “How to Become a Fashion Stylist” if you wish to become one.

The primary qualifications for becoming a photo stylist are work experience and natural creativity. Many photo stylists start as amateur photographers to gain a personal understanding of cameras, then transition into a photo stylist role before moving on to independent work as a professional photographer.


What does a photoshoot stylist do?

A photoshoot stylist determines what they need for a photoshoot. They also plan the presentation for the photographed models and object. Here are some of a photoshoot stylists duties:

Choosing models

Stylists understand the goal of a photoshoot and pick models or props to help them accomplish this goal. For example, if the company wants to sell womens shoes, the photoshoot stylist needs to hire a woman model with the correct shoe size for the photoshoot.

Writing creative briefs

Photoshoot stylists write creative briefs to guide the look of a photoshoot. This collection of information may include the following:

Staying within budget

When creating a brief and styling a photoshoot, a photoshoot stylist needs to make decisions that follow the budget given by their client. Photoshoots have many necessary costs regarding locations, models and props. Maintaining the budget for these items can create good networking relationships with clients.

Managing visual representation at the photoshoot

While at a photoshoot, a stylist directs the visual representation of the product. In fashion, this means pinning the clothes so they fit the model in the most flattering way for photographs, or determining what style of hairdo, makeup or accessories best display the clothing. For room styling or food styling, this means ensuring the best position for props to display the product. The stylist also ensures all clothing or props dont have any damage so they can return them to the client or use them in another photoshoot.

What is a photoshoot stylist?

A photoshoot stylist works with a brand and a photographer to plan what props, clothes, backgrounds or overall mood a photoshoot needs to best represent a product. They supply additional props or accessories and help put together the visual scene at a shoot, including deciding what models wear, what props to use and how to best to position products for the camera. Photoshoot stylists can style outfits for the fashion industry, arrange furniture for the home goods industry and even style food.

How to become a photoshoot stylist

Here are some steps to follow to become a photoshoot stylist:

1. Consider getting a degree or certificate

While you dont need a degree in styling or fashion to be a photoshoot stylist, consider pursuing a university certificate in fashion styling or a fashion design degree to help you earn a relevant education. The latter teaches you how to make clothes when styling. It may help to know how to make clothes when styling since it makes you familiar with the fabric, therefore, making it easier to alter the garments appearance without creating wrinkles or unflattering lines.

It may also help to have a familiarity with the technical aspects of a photoshoot, such as how to work a camera or how to position lighting. If you dont pursue a degree or certificate, consider taking specialized classes. You can also learn these skills while gaining experience on photoshoots.

2. Gain experience

Gain relevant experience to give you an understanding of how to use visual elements and to help you understand the importance of each persons role on the shoot. Having this experience lets you see what tools successful stylists use to make a photoshoot run smoothly and what they do to best represent the product in photos. Gaining experience also gives you the opportunity to network with potential employers, clients and photographers to help build your career.

Gain experience by reaching out to stylists and photographers in your area and asking to work as an assistant or offering to run errands. You can also apply to relevant internships in your area. Regardless of the type of products you want to style, you might find inspiration through the approach of a stylist that works in a different industry than you.

In addition, you can gain experience and portfolio samples by conducting test shoots. A test shoot is a photoshoot that a stylist pays for instead of a brand. During the shoot, the stylist and the photographer have total control over the images, allowing you to practice and get creative with styling. You can also be your own photographer during the shoot, however, make sure to create professional photos for greater success. Test photoshoots can introduce you to photographers and help build relationships with brands. Ultimately, the images you style can showcase your talents as a stylist.

3. Create a portfolio

Put together a portfolio to present to potential clients that features images from your previous photoshoots or test shots youve styled. A website or digital portfolio helps show clients that youre capable of styling photoshoots for a variety of brands with a range of visual themes.

4. Apply for entry-level positions

Once you have some experience with photoshoots and have a portfolio to showcase your skills, consider applying for entry-level positions such as the role of an assistant stylist. Though most stylists freelance, others have steady long-term positions at magazines, large retail brands or any company that constantly needs visual updates.

5. Get an agent

Consider getting an agent to help market your services and abilities. An agent manages the logistics of your photoshoots and can help you find work. Hiring an agent ultimately helps if you want to work steadily without the pressure of scheduling jobs. Keep in mind, however, that many stylists dont have agents since theyre required to pay them a percentage of your fee. Despite this, you may want to show your portfolio to stylist agencies if you think it may help begin your career.

Skills needed to become a photoshoot stylist

Here are some skills photoshoot stylists use to perform their tasks effectively:

Design expertise

Design expertise refers to your ability to create aesthetically appealing designs. This skill helps photoshoot stylists show off the clients product. Being able to put outfits or scenes together in creative and visually appealing ways and knowing how to best represent products ensures your success in this career.

Networking skills

Networking refers to your ability to maintain professional or social contacts in your industry. Not only does it help you build your reputation, but it also helps you get work. Having this skill ultimately helps you grow in your career. In addition, if you have strong networking skills and were easy to work with in the past, photographers, brands and assistants may recommend you for their future projects.


As a photoshoot stylist, you need to communicate clearly and lead a team of people to achieve their goals. In addition, you also need to feel prepared enough to help with any aspect of the photoshoot as needed. Your leadership abilities help you direct the space of a photoshoot and help you communicate your ideas to everyone else on the shoot.


Because of a stylists range of responsibilities on a photoshoot, its important to have strong multitasking skills. This skill helps you plan for multiple photoshoots at once and helps you keep track of multiple briefs and plans. As a stylist, you need to stay calm under pressure and be ready to handle multiple things at once.


What does a stylist do at a photoshoot?

While at a photoshoot, a stylist directs the visual representation of the product. In fashion, this means pinning the clothes so they fit the model in the most flattering way for photographs, or determining what style of hairdo, makeup or accessories best display the clothing.

What should a stylist Bring to a photoshoot?

What do you need to become a fashion stylist?
  1. Land an internship. …
  2. Create a lookbook. …
  3. Build your network. …
  4. Do your research. …
  5. Hone your distinctive point of view. …
  6. Complete a relevant degree or qualification.

How do I start my own photoshoot?

Having the right toolkit is essential to a smooth styling process in any photo studio, whether you are styling flat lay or on a mannequin.
  • Pins. Pins are used mostly to help fit clothes around a mannequin or hanger. …
  • Clips. …
  • White tack. …
  • Scissors. …
  • Fishing line. …
  • Stiff brush. …
  • Tape. …
  • Lint roller.

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