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