How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot

Malibu Beach Zuma Photo Shoot

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Building your Fashion Brand in 2023: Here’s how to prepare for a photo shoot

Starting a fashion brand can be an exciting and fun, yet overwhelming experience. One of the most important aspects of launching a successful fashion brand is having high-quality photos that showcase your products in the best light. This blog post will guide you on how to prepare for a photo shoot for best results.

I learned this the hard way with my own clothing brand startup. I was a finalist at the Women Founders Network pitch competition with my fashion brand Winnie & Kat. We made beautiful, high-quality clothing using the same fabrics and vendors of similar mid-range brands. When people tried the clothing on in person, they loved it. So I was surprised when one potential investor, and well-known fashionista, told me that she didn’t like the quality of my product. The reason I was surprised is that she’d never actually seen the clothing in person, but only in photos. I followed up by sending her a box of clothes and she loved them. My conclusion was that I was way over my head as far as branding.

Because photo shoots weren’t in my comfort zone, I approached them haphazardly and I got haphazard results. Since then I’ve learned a lot and that photo shoot preparation makes a huge difference in the results you’ll get in your final images and therefore knowing how to prepare for a photo shoot will greatly improve your brand image.

Whether you’re a branding dynamo or a new fashion founder doing their first photo shoot, it’s essential to have a comprehensive preparation checklist to ensure that everything runs smoothly for your photo shoots for your website, social media, or other marketing materials.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with the ultimate photoshoot preparation checklist to help you prepare for your photo sessions and get the best pictures.

1. Determine Your Goals

Before you start planning your photo shoot, you need to establish your goals so that you’ll get the best photos for you. What do you want to achieve with your photos? Are you looking to showcase your products in a specific way, or do you want to capture a specific mood or theme?

Creating a mood board is a great way to get started with your photoshoot preparation. A mood board is essentially a collage of images, colors, and textures that reflect the overall vibe of your brand and the look and feel that you want to convey. By creating a mood board, you can effectively communicate your vision to your photographer, stylist, and the rest of your creative team. You can gather inspiration from magazines, Pinterest boards, Instagram feeds, and other online resources and save them on your mood board. This will help you stay focused and organized throughout the photoshoot preparation process. Mood boards can also serve as a reference point for your creative team, ensuring that everyone is on the same page for the shoot.

Once you’ve determined your goals, you can start planning the details of your shoot so that everyone involved will be on the same page.

2. Choose Your Shooting Location

The location of your shoot will have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your photos. Choose a location that aligns with your brand and your goals. Consider if shooting in a studio or shooting outdoors in a natural setting will be best for you. Whatever you choose, make sure that it reflects your brand’s aesthetic and supports your goals.


3. Hire A Professional Photographer

The photographer you choose will play a critical role in the success of your photo shoot. Do your research and find a photographer who specializes in fashion photography and has experience shooting product photos. Most photographers will take extra time to provide you with their portfolio to ensure that their style aligns with your brand’s aesthetic.


4. Choose Your Models

If you’re planning on using models in your photo shoot, you need to choose them carefully. Look for models who align with your brand’s aesthetic and who will help you achieve your goals. Consider hiring professional models or reaching out to friends or family members who fit the bill.

You may want to choose models with various body types so that your images will help people of different sizes feel confident when buying your clothes.

5. Plan Your Outfits

Your outfits are the stars of the show, so it’s essential to plan them carefully. Choose outfits that most showcase your brand’s aesthetic and that will look good on camera. Make sure that you have backup outfits in case of wardrobe malfunctions or unforeseen issues during the shoot.


6. Gather Your Accessories

Accessories are an essential part of any outfit, so make sure that you have all the accessories you need for your shoot. This includes shoes, jewelry, hats, and any other accessories that will help complete your looks. If this sounds too expensive, it doesn’t need to be. I found that local brands and boutique owners were more than happy to lend us accessories in exchange for mentions on social.

And if you want to know one of the industry’s secret tips, and you may be appalled by this idea, but it’s what many stylists do when there isn’t a huge budget or you have limited contacts in order to pull shoes from a designer – it’s pretty standard practice in the industry to purchase some shoes and accessories from high-end places where you can return them, like ShopBop and Neiman Marcus. If you do this, make sure to handle the items with care. Another insider tip is to layer painter’s tape (the blue tape) on the bottom of the shoes. It stays on well and comes off even easier…with no residue.

7. Plan Your Hair and Makeup

Hair and makeup can make or break a photo shoot, so it’s crucial to plan them carefully. Hire a professional hair and makeup artist who specializes in fashion photography. Make sure that your hair and makeup align with your brand’s aesthetic and that they complement your outfits. Do not skimp on this.

You may need your models to make preparations before the shoot, like getting a spray tan and do they need to manicure their bikini area? There will be other details like should the models arrive with a bare face. Make sure that you communicate these things far enough in advance.

8. Create A Shot List

A shot list is an essential tool for any photo shoot. It’s a list of all the shots you want to capture during your shoot. Creating a shot list will help you stay organized and ensure that you capture all the shots you need.

This especially helped me for when I got tired towards the end of the shoot and wanted to call it a day! Because I had the shot list, I knew the photo session wasn’t complete until we got everything we needed.

9. Schedule Your Shoot

Once you’ve planned all the details of your shoot, it’s time to schedule it. Work with your photographer to find a date and time that works for everyone involved. Make sure that you have enough time to prepare for your shoot and that you’re not rushing to get everything done. Try to get enough sleep the night before the shoot!

10. Review Your Checklist

Before your shoot, review your checklist to make sure that you haven’t missed anything. Double-check that you have all the outfits, accessories, and props you need. Make sure that you’ve communicated all the details of your shoot to your photographer, models, and hair and makeup artist.

Make a packing list of the things that you’ll need to bring on the day of the shoot.

11. Prepare Yourself Physically for the Shoot

Finally, get a good night’s rest the night before and pack plenty of water and healthy snacks. Photo sessions are physically demanding for everyone involved. They are not only mentally and creatively demanding but they’re also physically demanding. For example, models may spend hours posing and standing still in uncomfortable positions while holding a smile. Photographers may need to constantly adjust their equipment, move around to get the best shot and hold heavy cameras for an extended period of time. Even the hair and makeup artists and stylists may have to be on their feet for hours, continuously touching up the models’ hair and applying touch-ups to their makeup.

To prepare for a photo session, it’s important to take care of yourself physically. Make sure to get a good night’s rest before the shoot, drink lots of water and pack healthy snacks and water to keep everyone’s energy levels up and not feel bloated. Consider wearing comfortable shoes and clothing that will allow you to move around easily and comfortably. If you’re standing for long periods, consider investing in cushioned mats or insoles designed to reduce foot fatigue and provide support.


In conclusion, photoshoot preparation can be a daunting task, but with these tips and the right preparation checklist, even a fashion newbie can ensure that everything runs smoothly. By following these ten steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating stunning photos that showcase your brand in the best light. Remember to stay organized, communicate with your team, and have fun!

Need funding for your fashion startup? Read How to Fundraise for Your Fashion Startup, How to Create Your First Clothing Line Business Plan, Advantages and Disadvantages of Venture Capital, 8 Essential Fashion Pitch Deck Examples from Successful Startups, and Top 7 Fashion Incubators and Accelerators for Fashion Tech Startups

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