back to top

How to Shoot Professional Editorial Fashion Photography

Last updated: November 12, 2023 - 9 min read
ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little money. Need more info? See how it all works here.
Subscribe Below to Download the Article Immediately

You can also select your interests for free access to our premium training:

Your privacy is safe! We will never share your information.

Fashion photographers often have to shoot in difficult and challenging environments. Whether it’s on a busy street, in a studio or outdoors, there are certain techniques that will help you master editorial fashion photography. Here are four tips to get you started.

eBooks and Courses for Everyone

Editorial Fashion Photography: Common Questions

What Is an Editorial in Photography?

An editorial is a set of images that tell a story. These photos are made to accompany a certain piece of text. Unlike commercial photography, editorials are all about storytelling.

This gives editorial photographers more creative freedom during their photoshoots.

What Is the Difference Between Fashion and Editorial Photography?

Fashion and commercial photography try to sell a product. Editorial photography focuses more on storytelling than on advertisements.

Even though editorial photography features different brands, its goal is to sell a story.

How Do I Submit to a Fashion Magazine?

The submission process is very simple. Find a few magazines that you like, read their requirements, and submit your photos before the deadline. Most fashion photography magazines look for a specific feel in their submissions.

To increase your chances of getting your fashion photography featured, make sure you look through the magazine to understand its individual style.

What Does Editorial Modelling Mean?

Editorial models are featured in fashion editorials. This is a prestigious job that affects fashion trends. As an editorial model, you have to tell a story in any location and in any outfit.

A few famous fashion editorial models are Natalia Vodianova and Anna Ewers.

How to Shoot Fashion Editorial Photography

Start With an Idea to Keep Your Photos Consistent

Fashion portrait photo of a model with painted face

Before you look for models or make mood boards, you need to have a solid idea in mind. This can exist in the form of quotes, pictures, or even keywords that you find inspiring.

For example, you can start with a simple keyword like ‘summer‘. Write down everything that comes to mind when you think of that word.

You might think of things like ice-cream, beaches, and flowy dresses. Ice-cream can be your prop, a nice beach can be your location, and dresses can be your main wardrobe choice.

The clearer your idea, the better. Once you have a specific idea in mind, use it as a foundation for a network of ideas. Google them as much as possible. Look through magazines. Read articles. The more information you have, the stronger your idea will get.

Finally, come up with a catchy title to summarise the feel of your editorial fashion photography shoot. You can use this in your magazine submission. It’ll give editors a clear idea of your photo shoot before they even see your pictures.

Gather a Team of Creative People to Make Your Photoshoot as Professional as Possible

Werk photo of models getting make-up before a runway show

You can be in charge of everything during a fashion editorial photoshoot, but you’ll find it less stressful to collaborate with other people.

Look for talented make-up artists, stylists, and hairstylists whose styles go well with your theme.

You can find many creatives on websites like Model Mayhem or Facebook. If you’re a beginner, look for other amateurs so that you can all work together to build your editorial fashion photography portfolios.

Keep in mind that an average editorial consists of around 20 pictures. Each fashion look should have at least 4 photos.

A team of professional artists will save you time and enhance your ideas. Don’t be afraid of guiding them throughout your photoshoot.

Even if you know nothing about make-up, you have an idea of what does or doesn’t go well with your theme. That’s worth sharing with everyone on your team.

Make a List of Magazines You’d like to Submit Your Photos To

Photo of a woman in blue suit holding a Vogue magazine
Most Vogue photographers started out as amateur fashion editorial photographers. Fashion photographer Lara Jade used to take simple photos at home. Now, she shoots for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Wedding.

There are thousands of fashion magazines, both online and offline, that are open for submissions. Make a long list of magazines that you admire. You can start with ONE, Peppermint, and Lucy’s.

All of them have similar requirements when it comes to image size, image amount, etc. You have to credit your team, the brands you used, and so on. Some magazines have a specific look they want to include in their issue.

In general, fashion magazines want to make sure that you’re not randomly submitting photos to their website. To liken your chances of getting featured, carefully look through their website to understand their aesthetic.

Keep in mind that once a magazine accepts your submission, you won’t be able to submit the same images to any other magazine.

Find 1-2 Locations That Can Help Your Idea Come to Life

Photo of two models in black lace dresses outdoors

Locations are one of the most important parts of editorial fashion photography. You need to make sure that they support your story and don’t look too distracting.

Many fashion editorials are atmospheric and detailed. Find at least two locations that you can easily move to during your photoshoot. This will ensure that your results are diverse and that you don’t run out of ideas quickly.

Make sure the background doesn’t take the attention away from your models. Many popular fashion editorials were made in studios, on beaches, and in parks.

Also, be prepared for unexpected weather changes. If you live in a place where it might start raining any moment, you can shoot indoors with professional studio light.

If it’s the middle of winter, find a safe place where you can photograph your model’s surroundings without freezing.

Inspire Yourself and Your Team with Mood Boards

Photo of pictures and color palettes

Mood boards are every fashion photographer’s best friend. You can think of them as a collage of inspiration, similar to what you’d see in a Pinterest board.

Your job is to collect as much visual inspiration as possible. The photos need to have a similar look and feel so that you know what you’re aiming for during your photoshoot.

Make sure you print your results so that your team can refer to them whenever they need extra guidance.

In general, mood boards are made of pictures. You can also include short quotes or illustrations to represent your theme. You can save photos from Pinterest, Unsplash, Instagram, etc.

Don’t Be Afraid of Giving Detailed Instructions Throughout Your Photoshoot

Photo of a model posing at a studio

Fashion editorials demand a lot of attention. As the photographer, you have to be in charge of lighting, storytelling, visual aesthetics, and so on. Because of this, it’s important to make your opinions as clear as possible.

This doesn’t mean you have to boss everyone around. Your job is to make sure that every part of your fashion photography shoot is complementing your pictures. Think of yourself as an ambitious director working on a big-budget film!

Sometimes, this means asking your make-up artist to change a certain look or disagreeing with your stylist’s opinion. Other times, it means listening to your team’s thoughts and letting them do the work for you.

This will help you have a healthy relationship with everyone you work with. Most importantly, it will help you take the best possible fashion editorial photos.

Experiment with Different Angles and Poses to Keep Your Photography Exciting


Fashion portrait photo of a model looking straight into the camera

Many fashion photos have a specific look: sharp, vibrant, and atmospheric. Most fashion photographers use a small aperture to capture as many details as possible in their pictures.

To make your fashion photos stand out, you need to focus on perspective, composition, and posing. Don’t stick to one angle or pose, even if it works well in your pictures. Take 5-10 photos and move on to a different angle.


Photo of a model dressed in green holding plants

The more angles and poses you use, the more photos you’ll have to choose from. Your use of poses will show magazines that you’re open to creative experiments. It will also keep your work from looking dull.

When it comes to posing, go to your model for advice. They might have specific poses they feel confident in. You can also use various posing references to help them feel confident throughout the shoot. Here are a few examples:

Break the Rules to Develop Your Style

Portrait photo of a model dressed in a black sequin dress

As you experiment with different angles and poses, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Fashion editorials have specific rules. But don’t be afraid of breaking general photography rules.

For example, try shooting from a very low or very high angle. Experiment with different photo rotations. Try out a new color correcting method. Invest in a few lens filters to enhance your photos even more.

The reason you should break rules is to develop your individual style. As you experiment, you’ll discover new techniques that might come in handy in future photoshoots. And if something doesn’t work out, at least you tried.

Don’t Share Your Photos Until They Get Published

Photo of a model in a wellow tracksuit on the beach

When you’re ready to submit your photos, carefully read through the guidelines again.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to share your results until a magazine either accepts or rejects your submission. This means you can’t submit your photos to stock agencies or even share them on social media.

This step requires a lot of patience. If nobody replies to you within a month, submit your photos to another batch of magazines. Keep being persistent. There’s bound to be at least a few magazines that will appreciate your work.

Some magazines want short stories to go along with the photos. These should simply describe the photoshoot and the theme you were going for. Don’t forget to credit everyone on your team.

Once a photography magazine accepts your submission, you won’t be able to submit the same images to another photography magazine again.


To have a successful fashion photoshoot, you need to have an idea, a strong team, and an imaginative mind. The more you think outside the box, the easier it will be to take stunning fashion photos.

With time, you’ll strengthen your creative intuition and know exactly what you need to get your photography featured in a successful fashion magazine.

eBooks and Courses for Everyone