How to Do a Fashion Photo Shoot?

The answer will save you A LOT of trouble: DON’T!

It’s time consuming, back-breaking, messy work.

It requires excellent organizational skills—before and during.

If you use a mannequin, it falls apart with every clothing change. (And China is a global manufacturing leader? I guess no one told the workers that a square peg goes in a SQUARE hole. And I guess there is no such thing as quality control? Geezz…)


If you use a real model, she will have to pee from time to time. But neither a mannequin nor a human model will need to eat. And neither will have a shape that will accommodate real-women clothing, like a size 10. (Had to pin and adjust everything. Oprah’s skirt is a Size 12. It wrapped once and half around the mannequin’s waist. Sheesh.)

I would have used myself as my limbs don’t fall off willy nilly, however, I couldn’t figure out how to photograph myself.

I opted for a mannequin over a real model — for economic reasons — and I figured the conversation would be more stimulating. 😉

You need a decent camera, a cool background, and especially to understand lighting. Otherwise you end up with a non-eyepopping photo.

That’s the famous once-owned-by-Oprah fuchsia silk pleated skirt by Coach. Hard to see its swirly elegance.

That’s a shiny silk watercolor print top by Calvin Klein.

That’s a black wool hat with netting and rhinestones on the brim.

That’s a Karen Kane ruffle collar black jacket with embroidered sleeves.

Those are burnout velvet four-inch pointy-toe pumps by Nine West.

Hard to see all these details. Which is why a photo shoot is difficult and frustrating (and why the good fashion photographers and fashion set designers are artistic genuises — and most likely underpaid).

If you still insist on undertaking a fashion photo shoot, here’s my advice:

1. Figure out the outfits, shoes, and accessories ahead of time — what works and what doesn’t — before you dress up the model.

2. Use a better camera than a Canon PowerShot SD 880.

3. Practice with various forms of lighting: indoors, outdoors, darkened room with flash, etc.

4. Allow three to four times the amount of time you think it will take to photograph everything.

5. Keep several bottles of Barefoot Bubbly champagne on ice and your refill your glass accordingly. You’re in for a long haul…

Good luck!


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