Items You Need for Shoots Without a Fashion Stylist

Items You Need for Shoots Without a Fashion Stylist


By #Kafleek

IG: Mufashdia


The makings of a photoshoot utopia include diligent photographers and versatile models with stellar makeup teams, lighting experts, and poised stylists with racks of samples at their disposal.  But who lives in a utopia? ESPECIALLY in fashion? Nobody I know!


As a stylist, one of the recurring questions I get from clients is how to remain fashionable in my absence. So in the case of a shoot devoid of my expertise, I’ve crafted a general list of items, from styling tools to staple clothing pieces that should help a shoot run as smoothly as possible (and all fit in a medium-sized backpack or suitcase, as an added bonus!). With or without a stylist, the key is always to equip yourself with just enough things that will maximize each items’ versatility. For the sake of our hypothetical shoot, we’ll assume the subject is a female model.


With a quick run to the dollar store or local multi-purpose store (like a Target or Wal-Mart!), one can substitute an actual styling kit quite well. For less than 50 bucks, you can pick up a case of assorted pins and clips, scissors, double-sided tape, a mini-steamer, and a lint roller.


Pins are excellent for helping maintain silhouettes that don’t quite fit on models the way you might hope, and clips can be considered to be heavy-duty versions of pins. You can get an assortment of these all for under $4. Scissors are always good as far as being able to restructure garments on the fly. For example, a men’s t-shirt can become more feminine by cutting out the neckline, or turned into a tank top by lopping off the sleeves. The side of a scissor blade can help when distressing denim, or creating other edgy looks. A decent multi-purpose pair of scissors costs about $10. Double-sided fashion tape works similarly to pins and clips but comes more in handy for clothing or accessories that come in contact with skin and must be held snug (you can’t pin a blazer flat against your client’s skin, because ouch!). Your budget for tape shouldn’t go over $6. Mini-steamers come in handy for eliminating wrinkles in an iron/ironing board’s absence and cost around $20.  Mini Lint rollers cost around $5, and help keep your clothes lint free and clean.


With or without an actual stylist, there are several go-to clothing staples that can serve well during shoots for versatility purposes.


Solid basics are always good to have on hand. For example, black or white basic tees go a long way as far as setting a look that may involve busy prints, loud colors, fur, or leather. To create a more sporty look, one can lop off the sleeves or bottom half of the tee (with their makeshift set of scissors!) or create some edge by shredding different sections of it at will.  A pair of solid blue or black jeans can be used and customized similarly to the basic tops. It takes minutes to make a daytime jean look a nighttime one by cutting slits in the knee area or distressing the bottoms. It all depends what mood you’re going for in your photos.



Accessories are the fastest way to change the entire vibe of an outfit.  For example, with the addition of a basic choker, necklace, or chiffon scarf, a basic tee and jeans can change a model’s outfit from being an Old Navy, soccer-mom-esque one to an outfit suitable for a casual dinner date. A pair of leather, black, fingerless gloves have the ability to change a model in a suit from looking like a businesswoman to looking like a pop star, ready to make her entrance. A metallic belt can give a black dress a completely different silhouette and vibe, transforming a look from a conservative corporate one to a sultry party time one in seconds. Stores such as Mango, Primark, Forever 21, and River Island are excellent hubs to stock up on affordable and varied accessories without having a stylist’s knowledge of designers.


Lastly (but certainly not least), oversized outerwear is also good to have on hand. Large anoraks, sweatshirts, and sweaters can be paired with bottoms or worn alone depending on the vibe of the shoot. Or, think (again!) about a simple black dress. An oversized jean jacket can be worn normally or over the shoulders with a black dress and some heels for a chic vibe. Or, it can be wrapped around the model’s waist with some military boots for a more street vibe. A good rule of thumb when picking out a piece of outerwear pre-shoot is to make sure you can customize it at least 3 different ways to get completely different looks each time.


Well! The next time a civilian like yourself has a shoot to coordinate, remember, versatility is key. Bring clothing items that can each serve multipurpose uses, and also bring the tools to further their multipurpose capabilities. Much of a stylists’ success lies in the number of looks they can create on the fly, so keep this in mind when coordinating your shoot!

Banner Image :Talia White.




How To Build A Career As A Fashion Stylist


How To Build A Career As Fashion Stylist

Submitted by Gisela Viera @giselavierastyle

Your friends are always commenting on your fabulous wardrobe. You get stopped in the street by random people wanting to take your picture for their IG feed, and asking you where you got your shoes. You are obsessed with hunting down all of the little-hidden boutiques with the coolest selections of obscure designers and vintage finds. Friends text you pictures when they’re getting ready for a night out, seeking your style-savvy advice. And you’ve suddenly realized that maybe you can make some money with your talent! You might even be able to turn it into a career! But how to go about it? Where to begin?


As you start down the road of building your career as a Fashion Stylist, I’d like to share some insight from my time working as a stylist in Barcelona, Spain. I currently live in NYC, and my styling career has branched out into wardrobe consulting, professional dressing, and style writing. I’ve had the honor of being backstage, dressing for Victoria’s Secret, Chanel, Tom Ford, Valentino, Michael Kors, and Philipp Plein, proof that investing in your love of fashion can lead to a fun and fulfilling career.


At the beginning of your career, the most important thing is to begin building both your network and your portfolio, and the easiest way to do this is to test, test, test. Fashion photography is created as a team comprised of a photographer, stylist, makeup artist, hairstylist, and model. Often, the photographer and stylist work together to art direct the shoot, creating the inspiration and vision for the fashion story. They work together to choose the perfect backdrop for the looks, or to create a set that makes the looks pop. Every person on a fashion shoot is important to the success of the shoot. Being reliable is key; showing up organized, prepared, and ready to shoot. If you flake the day of the shoot, everyone will remember, and you will probably never work with these people again.


So, how do you build your looks? The images that you’re creating will tell a story with pictures. They have to have something in common to tie them all together. Elements you can use to create a cohesive fashion editorial story are color, texture, clothing category (denim, bathing suits, 1920s inspired, B-girl, etc.), a distinct hair/makeup look, or a memorable location. Keep the publication you’ll be submitting to in mind when you pull your looks. Each publication prefers certain brands, depending on the clients that are buying the magazine’s advertising space. If you can use brands that are advertising with the publication you’re submitting to, your submission will have a greater chance of being published.


So as a fledgling Fashion Stylist, how do you pull looks? Perhaps you are working with a photographer who has already established a relationship with a magazine, and who can provide a pull letter for you to present to showrooms. Showrooms represent designers and want to make sure that they loan out the collection to stylists who will get the clothing into magazines in a cool way that’s relevant to the brand. Building a strong relationship with a showroom includes treating the borrowed clothing respectfully, returning all borrowed items damage-free and in a timely manner, and sharing published images with them. By showing the showroom that you’re a talented and creative person who’s also responsible and reliable, they’ll be happy to work with you again the next time you reach out with an editorial project.


You’ve created your looks for your first editorial shoot, but are still missing some items…shoes to go with the fierce red leather asymmetrical skirt? A statement necklace to pair with the plunging neckline of the slinky metallic maxi dress? Be brave and reach out to shoe and jewelry designers directly to see if they’d like to collaborate. A “no” today may turn into a “yes” down the road. At least now you’ve made a new connection, and you’re on their radar. Also, keep in mind that many stores offer a flexible buy and return policy. If you choose to complete your looks in this manner, it’s super important to protect the merchandise so that you’ll be able to return it and get your money back. Stylist tricks include taping the bottom of shoes with masking tape to avoid dirt on the soles (don’t let models walk in the shoes either), and using a make-up hood when dressing the model to keep all clothing stain free.


An editorial shoot is a fashion fantasy captured in photographs. Many times, the clothing that you’re working with doesn’t fit the model properly. This is when stylist’s get to work their magic with their prop kit, using pins, flash tape, and clips to tailor the style on the model’s body and make the look picture perfect. Don’t forget to pack your steamer, so your looks will be fresh and wrinkle-free.


Fashion editorials are a fantastic way to flex your creative muscle, build your portfolio, and expand your network. There are also some downsides that you need to know about. Fashion editorials are time and energy intensive; a successful shoot takes many hours of preparation, shooting, and return time. It’s also rare for a fashion editorial to generate any income. The purpose of fashion editorials is to create a strong portfolio to show to clients who are willing to pay for your styling talents. Paying clients include E-Commerce styling, advertising campaigns, lookbooks, images for model’s books, individual client styling, portraiture, and headshots. Also keep in mind that photographers, make-up artists, and hairstylists in your network will get booked for jobs. If you make a good impression, they’ll be happy to recommend you when the client asks for a stylist referral.


Does all of this sound overwhelming? Take a deep breath and take it one step at a time, one look at a time, one editorial at a time. And if this seems like too much to take on solo, finding a seasoned stylist to assist is a fantastic way to gain knowledge and experience. Being open and willing to be mentored by someone with more experience and connections than you is a fantastic way to open the door to your own Fashion Styling career. And down the road, when you’re super busy with your own paying projects and clients, you’ll be happy to say yes to your own assistant to share your Fashion Stylist skills with.



Banner Image Credit solve sundsbo


A brief bio:
Gisela Viera has had a lifelong love affair with fashion, design, and personal style. This passion led her to obtain a degree in fashion design from Polimoda Istituto Internazionale di Disegno Moda, a premiere design school in Florence, Italy. After working with several design companies, Gisela began working as a fashion stylist in Barcelona, Spain. Stylists work with dreams and fantasies, teling a story through clothes, accessories, make-up, props, and locations. Gisela received the Silver Lux Prize from the Spanish Professional Photographers Society in honor of her styling talent. Gisela currently lives in New York City. Her personal style and wardrobe styling business allows her to share her years of fashion experience and style expertise in a very personal and individualized manner.