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.