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How to plan an ICONIC fashion editorial shoot

Updated: May 22, 2023

We're pretty sure that every fashion designer would love the opportunity to be featured in Harper's Bazaar, Dazed, i-D and any of the Vogues, but what does it really take to pull off a high-quality editorial shoot? Editorials differ from commercial shoots and speak way beyond the product. They tell a story about the brand and collection on a deeper level and take a much more artistic approach than commercial photography would. The images portrayed convey an entire narrative without the need of any words, although, editorials are commonly used alongside written content.

Editorial photoshoots are known to be expensive to produce as they require a lot of planning and resources, much more than an e-commerce shoot, but if you are looking to raise your brand profile and get featured in a magazine this year, we have several tips on how to plan an iconic shoot.

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KIWI&YAM fashion editorial featured in ICON MAGAZINE, creative direction by THE FASHION BLEUPRINT, 2021

Plan, plan, plan

Planning really is everything in life and there are several components involved when looking to create an iconic photoshop that will capture everyone's attention and set your brand apart.

Here are a few important steps :

1. Research and mood-boarding

Finding inspiration for your photoshoot is the first point of call. This is an integral step when creating the creative brief that you will later go on to feed to the wider team. Your mood-board could be a mixture of words and images, to include colour palettes, location ideas, models, hair and makeup looks. At a glance off your mood-board you should already be able to give an idea of the story that you are trying to tell. Remember good storytelling is the heart of editorial photography. When researching, it is great to be inspired but your concept should be original, if you are referencing anything it's imperative to give credit.

2. Location scouting

There is always the option of using a studio and creating a set of your own but choosing a location in line with your creative brief, whether indoors or outdoors, can really add depth to your images. There are a number of websites where you can search for locations, but we always advise taking a trip to see it in real life. There you will be able to pinpoint exact locations for shots that you can include in your shot list for extra planning preciseness.

3. Casting

The casting for your team will ultimately determine the outcome of your shoot. You will need a model/s, stylist, hair, makeup and most importantly a photographer. Other less essential roles include a runner, creative director and photographers assistant. Photographers have different specialties so make sure to choose someone who has the expertise with shooting editorials and a strong portfolio. This will reduce any post production work as a more experienced photographer tends to have a better idea of the creative direction you should take.

Who you choose to model is also important as they have a duty to represent and relay the message you are trying to portray through visuals, models who embody the brand values are always better to work with. Some questions to ask yourself when scouting models are:

  • Do the models complement each other?

  • Am I being inclusive in my selection?

  • How much experience do they have?

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KIWI&YAM Diaspora 2021 mood-board

4. Call sheet

A call sheet is one of the most useful tools in coordinating your shoot. It is a simple document that contains all the relevant information for the running of the day. It outlines everything your team needs to know ahead of the shoot, including crucial elements like the arrival time, meeting point, location address, contact details for all involved, the schedule, wrap-up time and your shot list. There really aren't any rules to creating a call sheet but the more detail included the better. Usually call sheets are sent out 2-3 days before the shoot, once all the final details are confirmed, this also allows time for those involved to ask questions and prepare themselves beforehand.

5. Shoot day

Shoots can get hectic and unfortunately no matter how much you have tried to plan ahead, things don’t always run on schedule. This is why it is important to allow enough time for any late arrivals, look changes (especially if hair and makeup needs to be changed) and time for lunch breaks. A good tip would be to arrange your shot list in accordance with which looks you will be shooting first. Make sure the lighting and backdrop is also set up, so you don’t need to keep switching back and forth. This is something to be discussed prior with the photographer, creative director and set designer if you have one.

6. Post production

Most publications plan their content months in advance so if you haven't already arranged for a magazine to commission your images prior to shooting, you should start pitching your feature for submission to fashion editors as soon as you receive the pictures back from the photographer. This means that a public preview of the editorial should wait until you have a post date. All those involved should agree not to post, so that the images remain exclusive.

Written by Misi Ogunlana, 2023


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