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How to Become a Photographic Stylist

Photographic stylists work with photographers to create the right environment for a photo shoot. This involves finding the right props, dressing the set and coordinating activities behind the scenes. If you want to develop a career out of your creativity and artistic ability, this could be it.

The Work

This job covers many aspects of photography. Hence, photographic stylists can choose to specialize in the following areas:

  • Interior design
  • Advertising
  • Editorial photography
  • Food styling - Preparing and displaying food in an appetising way before and during the shoot
  • Fashion styling - Working on TV, movie and music video productions.

Their main duties include:

  • Taking instructions from art or photography directors
  • Designing the look of the picture by imposing the right background and dressing
  • Acquiring and keeping a stock of equipment to be used in photography
  • Developing contacts with prop suppliers, model agencies and PR agencies
  • Keeping up to date with industry trends.

Work Environment

Photographic stylists have flexible working hours. Although they sometimes work from their offices or homes, they spend most of their time in studios, shooting locations and travelling to get the necessary tools and equipment.

These stylists’ work often includes working at heights and handling heavy equipment. This demands a good level of physical fitness.


Salaries for photographic stylists vary with the area of specialism, experience and reputation. Daily rates range between £200 and £400.

On average, however, stylists earn;

Job level


Annual Salary




Starting stylists


£12,000 - £20,000

Experienced stylists


£21,000 - £35,000

Source: National Careers Service

Entry Requirements

Many photographic stylists have backgrounds in fashion, photography, catering, home economics or design. To become a photographic stylist, you will need a relevant qualification and as much work experience as possible.

Obtaining an HND or bachelor’s degree in any of the following fields can help you get started;

  • Fashion styling
  • Fashion promotion
  • Fashion journalism
  • Fashion business
  • Visual merchandising or display
  • Photography
  • Interior or exhibition design
  • Home economics.

To get some experience before looking for a job, you could volunteer for magazines and newspapers. This will also add to your work portfolio, which you will show potential employers.

Important Skills and Abilities

To be a sought-after photographic stylist, you should have the following competencies;

  • An interest in photography
  • A high level of creativity and a good taste for shape and colour
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • The ability to work calmly under pressure
  • Good time management skills
  • The commitment and determination to hit deadlines
  • The willingness to update your knowledge of fashion and trends.

Training and Development

Although learning on the job is the best way to develop your career, you could take fashion styling courses offered by colleges and universities such as;

As you progress, it is important to build a strong reputation and establish contacts with photographers, editors and agents. This is what will help you find a job because competition for employment positions is strong.

Job Opportunities

Although freelance work is a common path for beginning photographic stylists, experienced stylists can find full-time jobs in;

  • Magazines
  • Style consultancies
  • Photography studios
  • Advertising and PR agencies.

With experience and relevant qualifications, you can move into journalism, photography or design.

The following links can enhance your knowledge of this career, as well as help you secure a job;

This career will give you the chance to put your artistic skills into practice, and importantly, get paid for it. Besides, you won’t heavily rely on formal education to get the job done; your creativity and skills will often suffice. It cannot get easier than that!


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