How to Create a Fashion Look Book
Part 2: the Shoot
You’ve determined your goals and vision, assembled your team, scheduled the shoot and communicated all the information to everyone involved. Great job! If you need help on doing these things see the previous post How to Create a Fashion Look Book Part 1: Planning. Here are some tips that will make that shoot day go as smoothly as possible starting with a few more things to do ahead of time.
Make a Schedule
Many creative people are perfectionists (including me!). That’s not a bad thing – after all, you want to work with people who are going to do an excellent job – but sometimes perfectionists will keep working on something until it’s perfect. Sometimes it takes all day. Sometimes it takes more than a day. For this reason it’s very important to create a schedule for your shoot day and make sure everyone is aware of and sticks to it.
Here is what a look book shoot day schedule might look like:
- 8:30 team arrives – review creative vision and mood boards (coffee and bagels)
- 9:00 makeup and hair
- 10:30 shoot looks 1 – 6 white background
- 12:00 LUNCH 12:45 makeup and hair touch ups
- 1:15 shoot looks 7-13 pink background
- 3:00 break 15 minutes: water and light snacks
- 3:15 shoot Looks 14-20 blue background
- 5:00 wrap
By creating a schedule and communicating it to the team BEFORE the shoot day, everyone knows what’s expected of them and when they need to be where. Using my sample schedule it’s clear the stylists know they have an hour and a half to get the model ready and the photographer knows he should have his cameras ready and his lighting set up roughed in and and tested before shooting the first look at 10:30.
Be aware that if you let things run over time THEY WILL. Stay on top of the team and keep everyone moving on schedule.
Create a Shot List
Create a list of shots that you need and share it with the photographer and team AHEAD OF TIME. I find it best to do this by creating a shared Google doc so that the everyone can make comments and give feedback. If this is done right, everyone will know what to expect, can point out some potential problems, and possibly suggest ways to make things more efficient.
If there are shots that are critical and others that are ‘nice to have’ mark them as such. Start with the critical shots and make sure they’re nailed down before moving onto lesser important ones. Again keep in mind that things will usually take longer than you expect – you may have to skip some shots you want in order to get all the important ones done on schedule. Keep your eye on the clock!
When planning your shots make sure to get at least one unobstructed view of the garment from the front and several other angles. If there are interesting details or design elements make sure those are captured clearly as well. In the look book you want to give the viewer a very good idea of what the garment looks like from several angles. When selecting photos at the end I find that at least two images of each garment works best. But if the images are also going to be used online in a catalog or ecommerce site, more than two may be necessary.
An experienced photographer (such as myself) should know how to capture the garments and the details to give your viewers all the info they need.
Show Up Early
As a photographer I know it can take more than an hour to load in and set my lighting up so for most shoots I like to arrive at least 30 minutes before hair and makeup is scheduled to start. if it’s a location I have never been to before I may even try to get there an hour ahead of time.
A designer should arrive early enough to prepare the pieces (described below), and stylists should give themselves enough time to set up makeup and supplies before hair and makeup time on the schedule.
Finally a good model will arrive 15 minutes or so before before the scheduled start time.
Google Maps is a good tool for predicting traffic as you can select an ‘arrive by’ time and date when you map out directions. It doesn’t hurt to do this even for locations you’re familiar with. If you’re mapping it out on your computer, you can send the route to your phone.
Prepare The Pieces
Preparing your pieces means making sure that the garments are organized and ready to be put on by the model and photographed. Obviously preparation time is going to be different depending on the type of garments that are in the collection, but be aware that preparing the pieces may take longer than anticipated. Good thing a shot list was created and prioritized, so you know which pieces need to be prepare first! See how useful that can be?
Here is some tips I have found useful when preparing garments for a shoot:
- Organize the garments on the racks in the order they are to be photographed
- Number the looks Match all accessories with the garments and if possible, hang them on the hanger with the garment. If an accessory is to be used multiple times, create a list of the look numbers and keep it with the accessory (gold belt: look 1, 2, 5, 7)
- Put shoes and accessories in mesh bags and hang on the rack with the garments. I have used these Produce Bags as shoe bags
- Have double the clothing racks you need. When an item has been photographed, move it to a rack with other garments that have already been shot. In other words, when a garment has been photographed, get it out of the way.
If you found this article helpful, please share it! If you have any questions, or tips on how to make a look book or catalog shoot work more efficiently please leave comments below.