I don't believe in hoarding information. Especially information that should be made available to all creatives. So in my own words, I'm going to explain in detail how to plan and execute a fashion editorial based on my experience!
If you're like me, you may see a whole bunch of magazine shoots that sparked ideas in your brain to create a shoot as well. Again with being like me, you may not know how to start, who to go to for help on starting, or if you're even capable of pulling it off.
I'm here to tell you––you are. Anyone and everyone is because it is just-that-easy; and here is how!
Before diving into the core of the ‘how to,' I'd like to provide brief background on the difference between editorial and fashion photography.
Fashion photography sells a lifestyle. Editorial photography sells a story.
Being that the purpose of editorial photography is to create a story for the viewers, I begin brainstorming by asking myself these prerequisite questions: What story are you seeking to show? Is it innovative? Is it something fresh and never seen before? What within your idea will have people raise an eyebrow?
Once the gigantic web of thoughts is developed in my brain and I have an insane amount of ideas bouncing around in my head, I then take my journal out and start writing everything down. Be aware that you will have at least 10 drafts of your plan before the final––I assure you, you will be revising it daily as new ideas come.
While writing ideas down, I also create mood boards to give my team a visual as to what I am looking to create. I create separate mood boards for what I envision the clothing styles, hair/makeup, and the photo style/posing/scene to look like. For those unaware of what a mood board is, it is simply a collage of reference images.
PLEASE NOTE: Editorials require a minimum of 4-6 outfits. You can choose to do an individual shoot with 4-6 outfits or put 4-6 models in one outfit.
I created an outline for your viewing to make the planning process easy, the PDF is uploaded below for you to download and edit. Within the outline I provided everything you need to ensure the success of your shoot!
2. Get a Team Together
Okay, now that the brainstorming process is coming together, your outline is filled out (notice I didn't say "complete," as it won't be during this stage), it is time to assemble a team.
For small productions (don't let the word production scare you) all you need are: models, photographer(s), and sometimes a makeup artist (depends on if your idea calls for one or not).
For larger productions, you'll want to have: models, a creative director (this is typically the person who developed the concept), a videographer to capture BTS [behind the scenes] footage to create a visual (not needed but it's nice to have), photographer/BTS photographer, stylist(s), casting director, and set assistance.
3. Execute the Shoot
Now it's game time. At this point your outline should be in its final stage with all details set in stone, ready for execution.
You should have a shoot date, location (studio, home, outdoor etc.), and time set for the project.
If you need help finding a studio space to shoot, I recommend Peerspace, the Airbnb of studio rentals available in all major cities––download it today to see if there are spaces near you! Sometimes I browse the app to get a look at spaces to help in the brainstorming process for concept ideas, add them to my favorites to revisit later.
4. Post Production
Now that the shoot is complete, ‘what's next?' you may wonder. It is now time to discuss with anyone who captured any medium of footage, in other words, your photographer(s) and videographer(s).
This is the most important part of the shoot, the part that makes or breaks your vision. Ensure you talk to the photographer about how images will be edited while still giving them freedom to edit within their style. For example, you're not going to put a grunge B&W edit on one's wedding photos––that will totally transform the story.
PLEASE NOTE: Editorials require about 10-20 final images. Quality over quantity. Choose the best images that clearly depict the concept you created, something that'll tell a powerful story without any words!
5. Submit to Magazines
Now it is time to submit to magazines––the moment of truth. This should be an easy step assuming you added your list of magazines to pitch to in your outline.
When adding these publications to your list, you must do some research prior. Find magazines that align with your concept as various publications are known for publishing specific styled shoots. For example, you wouldn't want to submit GQ material to Paper Magazine.
On the website or instagram of these publications, they have submission instructions and requirements––follow those guidelines and await your reply. 9/10 they will take your content as fresh artwork is always needed!
Upon getting your reply, they will let you know what images they'll use and a time frame as to when it'll be published.
PLEASE NOTE: Final images that are published to one publication CANNOT be submitted in any other publication, must be exclusive content. In addition, DO NOT share any high quality images of the outfits/set/production anywhere until published––otherwise the entire shoot is now void.
Andddd Scene! Congratulations on completing your first fashion editorial my friend!
If you have any questions that I did not cover, feel more than free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to answer!