fashion photoshoot stylist

What is a Fashion Photoshoot Stylist? (And How Do I Become One?)

If you’ve ever flipped through magazine pages or scrolled through online catalogs and found yourself in awe of the styled models and well produced flat lays – that’s the work of a fashion photoshoot stylist. 

The job entails styling garments for photoshoots. This may be styling on models, mannequins, or flat lays.

In this article, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive insight to working as a fashion photoshoot stylist – from their day-to-day responsibilities, skills required for the job, and a guide on how you can become one. 

We’ll also explore the potential earnings of a fashion photoshoot stylist and the possibility of working freelance (spoiler alert: it’s TOTALLY possible).

Let’s begin!

Why am I qualified to write about this stuff? In my 15 years of experience in the fashion industry, I’ve journeyed from being an in-house designer, starting my own brand (yep!), to growing my freelance career to $100,000+. Now, with all the knowledge I’ve learned along the way, I want to help fashion designers (and PDs, TDs, etc.) like you make it in the industry.

Table Of Contents

What Does a Fashion Photoshoot Stylist Do?

In a nutshell – fashion photoshoot stylists are in charge of the aesthetic of a photo shoot. They curate outfits, select accessories, and choose props to create visually appealing and on brand looks for these shoots. 

But being a fashion photoshoot stylist requires more than simply having an eye for style – you also have to be a people person. To make sure that all the details align seamlessly with the photo shoot’s vision and objectives, fashion photoshoot stylists collaborate with other team members, including the fashion designers, art directors, photographers, wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, etc. So, communication skills are key.

A knack for problem-solving helps too because trust me – things don’t always go as planned on set! If a dress doesn’t fit right or the wind is blowing a blouse up, it’s up to you to fix it FAST.

Pro Tip: Fashion photoshoot stylists carry around extensive “kits” with various supplies like double sticky tape to weights (to weigh down that blowing blouse!).

To understand this position better, here’s a list of common responsibilities of fashion photoshoot stylists:

common responsibilities of a fashion photoshoot stylist
  • Conceptualizing looks: Collaborating with the creative team to understand the shoot’s theme, mood, and objectives. Developing a cohesive visual concept for the photo shoot.
  • Research and inspiration: Conducting research to gather ideas, themes, and styles. Creating mood boards and references to guide the overall look and feel of the photo shoot.
  • Sourcing outfits and props: Curating clothing, accessories, and props that align with the shoot’s concept. Sourcing garments from designers, brands, and stores.
  • Fitting and styling: Ensuring outfits fit models perfectly and are styled nicely. Making necessary adjustments to clothing and accessories during the shoot to maintain the desired look (prepare a bunch of safety pins!).
  • Collaborating with the team: Working closely with photographers, models, makeup artists, and hair stylists. Providing guidance on posing, expressions, and overall presentation.
  • Preparing the set: Organizing the photo shoot area, arranging props, and ensuring the set reflects the desired atmosphere. Collaborating with set designers if specific backgrounds or props are needed.
  • Problem-solving: Being ready for unexpected challenges, such as wardrobe malfunctions or changes in natural lighting. You have to be quick on your feet and come up with solutions on the spot.
  • Trend awareness: Keeping up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and incorporating these elements into the styling if needed.
  • Post-production support: Reviewing the images post-shoot and ensuring the desired style and aesthetic are captured. Providing feedback to the team and making necessary adjustments if required.
  • Networking: Building and maintaining relationships with fashion designers, fashion brands, photographers, suppliers, models, and other industry professionals.

Fashion Photoshoot Stylist vs Wardrobe Stylist

The roles of fashion photoshoot stylist and wardrobe stylist can sometimes be confused, especially by those working outside fashion photography industries. While both roles involve styling clothing and accessories, they have distinct differences in their scope and purpose.

Fashion Wardrobe Stylist

Wardrobe stylists typically focus on personal styling for individuals. They work with clients to create personalized looks for events, appearances, or daily wear. Wardrobe stylists might assist with selecting outfits for special occasions, fashion shows, or public appearances, ensuring their clients look their best. Wardrobe stylists may also work for the entertainment industry, dressing up actors and characters in movies or television shows.

Fashion photoshoot stylists specifically focus on styling for photography shoots. They curate outfits, accessories, and props to create visually appealing and cohesive looks for fashion campaigns, editorial spreads, advertisements, and other fashion photography projects. Photoshoot stylists collaborate closely with photographers, models, and other creatives to translate the concept or brand vision into compelling visuals.

While the core skill of both roles is understanding fashion and styling, the context in which they operate and their objectives are totally different.

How Do I Get a Job as a Fashion Photoshoot Stylist?

While a formal degree can be helpful in starting out as a fashion photoshoot stylist, nothing beats practical experience when it comes to being one.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you pursue a career as a fashion photoshoot stylist:

  • Develop your skills: Practice creating mood boards and conceptualizing themes for photo shoots. Study fashion magazines, blogs, and social media platforms to stay updated on trends and styles. You can also create personal projects and experiment with different concepts, helping you refine your skills and develop your unique aesthetic.
  • Gain hands-on experience: Assist established fashion stylists or work as an intern to gain hands-on experience. This could involve helping with photo shoots, organizing outfits, etc. If you’re not sure where to start, you can reach out to local designers or stylists who need help on shoots – they’d appreciate the extra hands, and you’d get priceless insight into how things run behind-the-scenes. Pro Tip: You don’t have to be in a big fashion hub to do this! See if local boutiques or malls put on fashion events or shows, and connect with indie designers in your hometown. It might not be big name exposure, but it’s a great way to get started when you don’t have any experience. 
  • Build your portfolio: Create a professional portfolio showcasing your work. Collaborate with photographers, makeup artists, and models to create test shoots for your portfolio. (Here’s my Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Fashion Portfolio to help you get started.)
  • Network in the industry: Photo shoots often involve a team of professionals. Networking helps you build relationships with photographers, makeup artists, hairstylists, suppliers, and other professionals needed for a successful photo shoot.

Fashion Photoshoot Stylist Job Description

Here’s what a typical fashion photoshoot stylist job description would look like:

Job Overview:

We are seeking a creative and talented Fashion Photoshoot Stylist to join our team. As a Fashion Photoshoot Stylist, you will play a crucial role in curating visually appealing and cohesive looks for our photography shoots. Your keen eye for fashion, attention to detail, and ability to translate concepts into compelling visual narratives will contribute significantly to the success of our projects.


  • Collaborate with the creative team to understand the vision and objectives of each photo shoot.
  • Develop and present creative concepts, themes, and mood boards for the shoot.
  • Research and stay updated on current fashion trends, styles, and designers relevant to the project.
  • Curate and source clothing, accessories, props, and other items required based on the shoot’s concept.
  • Style outfits on models, providing guidance on poses, expressions, and overall presentation.
  • Ensure all clothing items are properly fitted, steamed, and maintained for a polished appearance.
  • Work closely with photographers, models, makeup artists, and other team members during photo shoots.
  • Review final images and provide feedback to ensure the desired style and aesthetic have been achieved. 
  • Participate in post-production meetings to discuss the final results and suggest improvements if needed.


  • Proven experience as a fashion photoshoot stylist or similar role, with a strong portfolio showcasing your work.
  • In-depth knowledge of fashion trends, designers, and styles.
  • Creative mindset with the ability to conceptualize unique and visually appealing looks.
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Strong communication and collaboration abilities.
  • Flexibility and adaptability, especially in fast-paced environments.
  • Knowledge of various body types and how to style different shapes and sizes.
  • Proficiency in using styling tools and accessories.
  • Degree in Fashion Design, Styling, or related field is a plus.

How Much Money Does a Fashion Photoshoot Stylist Make?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a fashion photoshoot stylist in the USA is around $60k annually. Of course, this always depends on factors such as location, the company you’re working for, experience, etc. 

Established stylists with a strong portfolio and extensive experience may earn higher salaries, while entry-level stylists or those working on smaller projects might earn less. (You know the drill.)

But if you’re willing to step into freelance territory, a successful freelance fashion photoshoot stylist can make much more $$$ and you’ll get to choose specific projects that you LOVE.

How to be a Freelance Fashion Photoshoot Stylist

Becoming a freelance fashion photoshoot stylist offers incredible opportunities while you work at your own time. Fashion photoshoot styling is a common freelance role, with the option of being paid per gig or hourly. 

While I’ve given you an overview on how to become a fashion photoshoot stylist here, if you’re looking for a detailed roadmap to being a freelancer, you can get started using my free step-by-step guide to freelancing in fashion


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