Fashion Editorial: Know the Rules


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Here are some things to remember if you plan on shooting a fashion editorial.

A fashion editorial is a collection of 6-8 images that are based on a specific theme and intended to be published in a fashion magazine.

Theme by Fashion editorial

Although it is important to have a consistent theme throughout your editorial, you can do whatever you like. You can have big-headed girls wearing brightly colored dresses, or you could use a beauty editorial that focuses on close-ups and uses only red and white colors. You can do anything you imagine. Many publications have a theme for every issue. These themes can be used to enhance your editorial. Figure 14.4 shows the theme of the publication, “ice”, so I created a beauty editorial around “Ice Queen”.

This image was taken to promote a magazine that featured an “ice” theme. The headpiece was made of cellophane resin and was lit using a softbox as the key light.

Remember that magazines often work for 2-6 months before publication. A magazine that has a deadline of August will not publish a swimsuit editorial in November.

Numerous fashion editorial looks

You are expected to shoot at least five to six looks when shooting a fashion editorial. You can change your hair, makeup, or clothing. To find out the brands and styles of clothing that are featured in a magazine, do your research. The biggest publications want their largest advertisers represented. However, small magazines don’t care as much about the brand of clothing if the images are appropriate for the audience.

Commission Letter and Pull Letter

You can request a pull or commission letter if you are shooting in a specific publication. This letter confirms that you are shooting for publication and can be used to help you create a better creative team for your fashion shoot.

Fashion editorials do not come with a salary. You will not be compensated for fashion editorials you publish. It’s not right. Magazines don’t pay photographers for fashion editorials. They view them as advertising for photographers. Instead, they serve to highlight a photographer’s vision and work. You have greater rights to ask for payment if your image appears on the cover of a magazine. The cover is a valuable piece of real estate.

Creative Team Compensation

A tearsheet (publication) in fashion is considered very valuable and often used as payment. If you are aware that an editorial will be published, you don’t usually have to pay hair, make-up, models, or wardrobe. Their payment is the exposure they receive through publication and the images that you provide for their portfolio. This will mean that your team is less experienced and more focused on building their portfolios.


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