How to put together a TFP fashion photography shoot

Okay, you read my previous post on finding models. You’ve found someone to shoot. Now what? Here’s what you should do when you’re getting ready to do a fashion shoot:

1. What’s your concept? What is the shoot going to be? Will you be shooting one model against a white backdrop? Or 4 or 5 in an urban setting? Figure out all of the implications for your concept, and make sure that the shoot will not be beyond your grasp (artistically, or more likely, financially). It must be actually feasible.

2. List people you will use, and their responsibilities. Loosely, there are 5 areas of responsibility that make up a fashion shoot: Hair, makeup, wardrobe, photography and modeling. The shoot will only be as good as the collective talent of the people involved. Have you got those 5 areas covered with the most talented people you could find? Will you be using the model’s wardrobe? If not, where are the clothes coming from? Make sure that everyone knows what they are responsible for.

3. Assess your resources. What do you have, and how does that compare to what you will need? Make a list of both, and if you need to get anything new, get it with plenty of lead time, and test it before you bring it on a shoot. Talk with your team and make sure that they all have the things they will need as well.

4. Set your schedule. Get people’s schedules and plan to shoot in mutual free time with plenty of notice. Make sure that people understand that it’s still important to show up and be on time. Flakes do not get called back. Plan for things to take longer, and start later than you expect. Do not shoot on a tight schedule if you can afford it.

5. Prepare for contingencies. I’ll write a post later on pre-shoot photography equipment checklists (or link to one here.) Make sure that everyone has the day, time and location correct. Call the day before to make certain. Know people’s future schedules, so if something comes up, you can reschedule. Know other models and stylists, and book work with them, instead. Whatever happens, it’s important to not stand still. Keep your cell phone charged.

As long as everyone has their ducks are in a row, there shouldn’t be any problems. Thoughtful planning from the very start is the best way to make sure that your photo shoot goes well.


  1. Always good to have an extra model handy too – can’t remember how many times someone has said “oh i’ll be there” and of course not show up.

  2. Photoraw


    Willing to build a nice portfolio, for the first time I met a model and a make up designer to organize a TFP shoot together.

    During my meeting with model and make up designer, the make up designer mentioned she would have looked for shops willing to lend us some clothes for the shoot, rather than using model’s wardrobe in order to get real fashion photographs.

    Few days after our meeting the make up designer told me she couldn’t find anybody willing to lend us clothes and she wrote me this:

    make up designer:

    If we don’t find a stylist or shops willing to lend us their clothes for the project then it is always the photographer’s responsibility to work out the financial arrangement to make that part of the project work;
    this is one of the consequences of being the sole copyright
    holder, unfortunately.

    So my question is:

    Is the make up designer right?

    Is the photographer responsible to provide (paying) the professional clothes for a shoot?

    Shouldn’t be instead an expense to be shared among all members taking part of the TFP shoot?

    Thanks in advance for who will provide the answer.

    • Robert T

      My best friend has been a professional model for years.

      She’s done a lot of TFP shoots also.

      She constantly needs outfits, new clothes, shoes, belts, and such for shoots.

      The trick buy them and use a credit card. Keep them VERY nice and keep the tags on them.

      Return them later on before 30 days is the secret. Quite common in the industry.

      I’ve been on enough shoots and seen the photographer do this, and the models do this.

  1. 1 Planning a Commercial Lifestyle Photo Shoot: How Not To Blow It « clique

    […] of stylists and models. Line up back ups as well. I covered this a little bit before in my post on lining up TFP fashion shoots. The difference here is that this is a paid gig. Unsurprisingly, stylists are far more amenable to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: