A Designer’s Tips for Planning the Perfect Look Book Photo Shoot

In Fashion Design, Photography & Video by Jessica Faith Marshall

Creating a collection is not just about designing garments, selecting fabric, and pattern-making. A collection also has steps after the samples are created; from advertising, runway shows, and photo shoots if you want to successfully sell your line. The photo shoot-also known as a campaign or look book shoot in the fashion industry-is the primary tool to marketing your collection to buyers, editors, and press.

The ideal time to shoot your campaign is before your runway show, so your photographer will have time to edit and finalize proofs so you can launch the collection on your website and social media to the public the day after your show.

A Designer’s tip for planning a fashion photo shoot:

Select a Reputable Photographer: I have learned in past photo shoots that photographers can make or break the photos. Not only in their photography quality, but their aesthetic and how well they work as a part of them team will affect the end result. Find a photographer that is professional and willing to sign a contract to prevent copyright confusion, inappropriate behavior, unprofessionalism, and pricing miscommunication.

Host a Model Casting: Finding the right model can be a difficult task due; from having too many options or not enough depending on where your company is based. Hosting a model casting will also narrow down your city’s selection of models to the models who are prompt, efficient, passionate, and make the effort, because they made the effort to attend the fitting. You do not want to book a model that does not reflect your personal work ethic or does not fit in with your team.

Plan, Test, Fit: From personal experience as a designer that has shot many collection campaigns, it may seem obvious to plan the hair and makeup, but testing the full look on the specific model with the same hair and makeup artist will prevent the scenario where the model does not look like what you predicted, but you have to live with it because of the lack of time. Planning, testing, and fitting everything before a photo shoot is essential to the process because the photographer, hair and makeup artist, and the stylist all cost money that will add up if you do not manage deadlines before the shoot.

Hire Helping Hands: Some designers may assume all you need is a photographer, model, and a rack of clothing for a successful shoot. Other designers may assume all you need is a stylist, photographer, hair and makeup artist, and a model. Because of every garment, accessory, prop, angle, fitting, and look, your team will be stretched thin if you do not hire additional assistants to steam clothing, organize looks, and keep it all going. Even if you are on a budget, reaching out to community colleges and finding help that will work just for the experience is a great way to use your resources.

Simplify: If you go into the shoot expecting to photograph in an editorial location, with five models, distracting lighting, and props, the shoot will not only distract from the clothing, it will be a messy photo shoot and messy end product. Simplify with one model, a simplified background, and refined looks, so you can focus the vision on the poses and the clothing.

The photo shoot has many elements to prepare on top of preparing for your runway show. However, with the right team, the deadlines are possible. As the designer driving this upcoming shoot as well as organizing the collection of the runway show, follow my tips to preparing a photo shoot for your New York Fashion Week runway show.


About Jessica Faith Marshall

Jessica Faith Marshall is the founder and designer of her namesake brand, Jessica Faith Marshall. Since the beginning of her career, her brand has received press coverage in The Austin American Statesman, InFluential Magazine, The CW Austin, and other publications. She was recently selected as the winner of the Susan G. Komen Project Pink design competition against twenty other adult designers. Now, her business is currently based out of New York City where she continues to contribute as an intern for FashionMingle.net, and release seasonal collections in fashion weeks around the country.

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