There is no doubt about it, there are just some things that are more fun than others when it comes to running an online business.
Spending hours looking for a plug in that broke your online store- not so much fun.
Spending hours planning and making a photo shoot happen- SO much fun.

I’ve been lucky enough to work lots of different shoots (indoor studio shoots, outdoor burning hot blazing sun shoots and of course sideways rain shoots) and even study how to style a shoot at Fashion Institute Of Technology (FIT) in New York City (pinch myself moment FOR SURE)

Anyways, the point is I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way to make the most of your shoot. What most people don’t realise is shoots CAN be expensive. Most people are being paid by the hour so it’s critical you are well organised so you aren’t wasting money whilst you figure out your next move. Here is how to plan a shoot for maximum fun and minimum costs:

Decide on a theme and create a secret Pinterest board. You will need to have a clear vision of what you want before you can do anything else.

Find a photographer and share your vision with them. Is this something they can achieve?
Do they have all of the equipment needed? If the shoot is inside, do they have their own studio? Or can they help you find a location? Is the shoot outdoors? Do you need a permit?

The photographer may charge you based on a flat fee or an hourly rate. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what’s included in the price. Usually you will get a range of images from the shoot (called selects) which are retouched and ready for commercial use. Agreeing on how many and how they can be used up front avoids any awkward discussions later on down the track.

I recommend getting the following of each garment:
Any special details/embellishments/functions of the garment

Next step is to find a model that fits your brief. It might not seem like a big deal but the look your model has is important to the outcome of your shoot (the images will be used to communicate your brand’s message after all, so does the model deliver in this area?) Personally, for me I always start with the hair color as often this will impact on “vibe” I’m going for.

Some other important factors to consider when hiring a model for a shoot is:
Eye colour
Shape (we have used both “straight” sized models and “curvy” models over the years.
Shoe size (if you are selling shoes, this is super important) as models can often have larger than sample size feet.
Experience- Are they comfortable in front of the camera? Do the know how to pose” Do they need direction from you or the photographer?

Running a MODEL CASTING is a great way to get a look at some girls and make a decision in person rather than based on their online profile.

Models booked via agencies are generally more expensive and you will pay by the hour, their hourly rate will usually depend on their “look” and their level of experience. I always ask model agents for a look at some new “up and coming girls” who are often a bit cheaper and keen to impress.

Once you have your Photographer and Model sorted, share your Pinterest Moodboard with them so they are on board with your vision.


The next step is to start planning your shoot on paper. To do this effectively you will need a runsheet and some tags (or post it notes) I have created a free downloadable runsheet for you so make sure you grab a copy of it before your next photoshoot.

I have included an example of a run sheet from a shoot we did on the beach last summer with multiple models, no change rooms, no electricity for hair styling and blistering sun) It’s like the worst case scenario for a shoot, but it was by far the most fun I have had styling a shoot.

Anyways, the spreadsheet includes:


This is a list of EVERY style you need shot. You move the item from this list into the run sheet so everything is accounted for.


Which garment on which model at what time. You take the info from “items to be shot” and you add it to the run sheet. Different models, different looks. Make sure you get the right look on the right model. Each look has a number ( LOOK 1- LEOPARD OP) in this case it was only used once and shot on one model, however LOOK 3- MARBLE OP) was shot on both girls.

On the day, the shoot will get crazy (especially with multiple models) so making sure you have several of these on hand so everyone knows where they need to be will be the secret to a smooth running shoot.

Keep track of garments by labelling with the look number with either swing tags or even a post it note if you are in a pinch. That way you won’t be scrambling for a garment when your model is standing in their birthday suit.


As I mentioned earlier, most of the people involved in the shoot will be paid by the hour so making sure you don’t have people turning up and sitting around is important.

Add everyone to the call sheet so they know exactly what time they need to arrive at the location.


The week of the shoot you can usually find me driving around town like a mad person sourcing everything from giant swans to a vintage bicycle. This is a fun, but exhausting and time draining exercise. Rent or borrow what you can as props can get expensive (loaning items from other designers is a great way to get great props and also build relationships with your peers) Sweeten the deal by offering them the use of the images for social media.


Record the working hours of all involved
Return all of your borrowed items
Remember to thank all involved and share images around for social media use
Schedule in your images for social media
Crop and upload to your online store (you may need to reduce file sizes)

A photo shoot can be a lot of fun if you are organised and have a clear objective. Working with the right people can make or break the experience for you so pick a team that works well together and make them your “go to”.