Tips + Techniques

10 Tips to Know Before You Start Shooting Fashion Photos For Big-Time Magazines [RF Video of the Week]

April 29, 2016

By RF Staff

Are you interested in getting some fashion photography published, but wonder how a photo shoot actually goes, from start to finish? Prolific fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski walks us through the entire process, from coming up with an idea, to getting a model, finding a location, working with a team, editing—all in quick, digestible tips. It's worth watching the entire video, but we've boiled it down to 10 essential pointers:

  1. Pitch original ideas to magazines. If you're having a tough time thinking of something, look at what's been going up and down the runway. That said, with original ideas, most magazines will be able to adapt what you have in mind to an idea or trend they're already eyeing.
  2. Meet and greet your model before the shoot. If you're in New York, you'll more than likely go to a modeling agency, and depending on what you have in mind for the shoot itself, you'll need to ensure your chosen model has a personality that fits well with what you want to do.
  3. Get crafty and conscientious when it comes to gear you don't have on hand. Borrow a piece of gear from a photographer friend, or if you rent something instead, unpack it and make absolutely sure you have everything you need before you take it to the shoot.
  4. Ask friends to assist you. This is especially helpful if you haven't established a full team with first assistants, a studio manager, etc.—and you can offer to assist your photographer friends with a shoot when the time comes.
  5. Write a detailed call sheet with everybody's contact information. If something comes up (the model oversleeps on the day of the shoot, say), you'll know who to call for help rather than feeling lost.
  6. Make sure you have food on set. It doesn't have to be fancy—Lubomirski suggests something simple, like water and nuts, just to keep everyone's energy up.
  7. Work out a playlist of songs that matches the mood of the shoot. This will help the model get in the right head space, and it will relieve any general nerves.
  8. Show the creative team your visual references before you start shooting. As soon as the model arrives on set, gather the hair and makeup artist, stylist, assistants, etc. and have a pow-wow to make sure you're on the same page before everyone disbands and gets wrapped up in their own role.
  9. Have backup plans for each shot you have in mind. If you're on location, it isn't unusual for something unexpected to come up (a downpour, clothes suddenly aren't working out, etc). Plan ahead of time and keep your eyes peeled for alternative solutions once you're there.
  10. Make sure you like every single photo you send a magazine. If you don't like one and send it as part of your edit anyway, the editors may very well pick it—and your name is on it.

Check out more Videos of the Week, and email Libby Peterson with submissions.

Related Links

The Why and How of Test Shooting with Models: Ben Sasso's Complete Guide

Lara Jade's "Dog Days" Journal: Breaking Down a High-End Fashion Shoot

From Weddings to Fashion Photography: The Nuances of Broadening a Brand