How to Organise a Fashion Photo-shoot by Collette Costello – How to Start a Fashion Company Series

Media City Salford Quays Photo-shoot was a large scale shoot that I organised, it was featured by many press publications including The Guardian, Red Online and ASOS Marketplace.  This blog post is a guide to how I pulled off a fashion photo-shoot, with some hints and tips.

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You will need:

Mood-board/ Shoot Plan


Hair/ Make-up Artists


Clothes/ Accessories

As a new fashion designer or company money is always tight, my budget for the photo-shoot was a big fat zero, so how did I do it?

Mood-board/ Shoot Plan

To help with planning make a photo-shoot ideas board, it can be called a mood, style-board or a shoot plan.  Include examples of other photo-shoots that you like, hair, make-up, jewellery, location and model.  You can show this to your photo-shoot team so they know how to style your shoot, the look you are going for.

Clothes/ Accessories

As a designer I started by making the collection of clothes that I wanted shooting, if you are looking to just style a shoot sometime shops will lone you clothes to use or you could offer to shoot for a up and coming designer.  Once you have the wardrobe you need to plan a look around the garments, this mean planning accessories, everything from shoes to tights and jewellery.  I asked models to bring accessories with them, it can cost a small fortune to provide everything little item, again maybe you can borrow accessories from designers and shops.


I have done a few in-door photo-shoots and a lot of equipment like special lights are needed to make the photographs look good, even with a special camera it can be difficult.  In the past I hired a photography studio, however you still need someone who can use the equipment and you maybe only have an hour to get a great shot.  I find the best place is outside at a great location, maybe with great buildings, which is why I choose Salford Quays.  When we started taking photographs at Media City the home of the BBC we were told we need special permission and were not aloud to take photographs in that part, so always check.


I got my models from web-site where up and coming models are looking to build their portfolio, they will often work for free in exchange of photographs that they can use to advertise themselves.  I used web-site such as Model Mayhem and Star Now, my Models included Kelly Jay Warman and You Tuber Hannah Renne.  Remember to make sure your model matches your style of clothes, do they have the hair, skin tone you are looking for!  The same apply for MUAs and Hairdressers, I found recent graduates who again would work for free in exchange for portfolio images.  New models can be awkward and unsure how to pose, so this can be the down side, make sure you have poses sorted before the shoot with them.


I had two excellent photographer working on my photo-shoot Lorna Roberts and Emma Phillipson.  this worked really well as I had loads of images to choose from, without the photographer the shoot could not go ahead so it was good to have a back up.  Be careful when working with photographers as they very often will not exchange skills, in the past I have had photographers approach me offering to shoot my collection and then at the last minute asking for me to pay for the full rent on a location for shoot, telling me as a designer this was my responsibility as the model and they were working for free.  Make sure you value your own skills, designing clothes is as difficult and takes as much as skill as everyone else.  Check the photographers work out before working with them, you can waste a full day on a shoot with a photographer that will never send the images or they are bad.

After the Shoot

All the hard work is done, you have great images so get them out there, magazines, blogger want good images to print so send them over and see if they will feature your company.  ASOS marketplace put my company on the front page as the photo-shoot images were so good, this lead to a lot of interest and sales.


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