Photographic Stylist

Job Description:

Photographic stylists use clothes, props and accessories to stage sets and create the right 'look' and mood for a photo shoot.

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

In your day-to-day duties may:

  • receive instructions (the ‘brief’) from the photographer or art director and come up with ideas
  • decide on the best clothes, accessories and backgrounds to achieve the desired look
  • buy, borrow or hire props, clothing and accessories
  • arrange a set
  • dress models and make any adjustments
  • keep a stock of fashion or home accessories
  • build good relationships with shops, prop suppliers, PR agencies, photographers and models
  • keep up to date with trends


You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity)
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a photographic stylist, there are no specific subjects that are mandatory, as styling is a creative field that relies on practical skills and personal creativity. However, certain subjects and skills can be advantageous for pursuing a career in photographic styling:

  1. Art and Design: This subject can provide you with a strong foundation in the principles of design, composition, and visual aesthetics, which are essential for styling in photography.
  2. Textiles or Fashion: Courses in textiles or fashion can be valuable for understanding fabrics, clothing, and fashion trends, which are important aspects of styling.
  3. Photography: While not mandatory, some schools offer photography courses, which can help you understand the photographic process and collaborate effectively with photographers.
  4. English: Good communication skills, both written and oral, are important for working with clients, photographers, and other team members in the industry.
  5. Media Studies or Film Studies: These subjects can provide insights into visual storytelling, film production, and media aesthetics, which are relevant to photographic styling.
  6. Drama or Performing Arts: Courses in drama or performing arts can be beneficial for understanding the artistic and dramatic aspects of styling, particularly for fashion and editorial photography.
  7. Textiles and Design Technology: These subjects can provide practical skills in working with fabrics and materials, which can be valuable for styling clothing and props.
  8. Graphic Design: Courses related to graphic design can be helpful for understanding layout, design, and visual communication, which are relevant to styling.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering


You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a relevant subject like:

  • fashion photography and promotion
  • fashion styling and communication
  • interior design
  • visual merchandising
  • photography

Most photographic stylists come from a fashion, photography or design background. As a food stylist your background would usually be in catering or food science.


You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Certificate or Diploma in Photography
  • Diploma in Fashion


You could do an apprenticeship in a related field to help you to get into this role, for example:

  • an assistant photographer advanced apprenticeship
  • a fashion studio assistant advanced apprenticeship

These may teach you some of the skills and knowledge needed.


You should try and get as much work experience as possible. It’ll help you to make contacts in the industry and allow you to learn on the job.

You could approach photographers and stylists and offer to help them, or contact magazines and newspapers about possible work placements.

Career tips

Work experience in fashion retail, visual design or interior design can be useful.

You’ll need a portfolio with examples of your styling work to show to potential employers. These are known as ‘tear sheets’. They show how your styling was used in the final images.

Having a website and social media accounts where you can advertise your work will also be important.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 36-38 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays away from home.

You could work on a film set, in a creative studio, from home or in an office. Your working environment may be physically active, you’ll travel often and you may spend nights away from home.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could work with bigger advertising and PR agencies, stores and design houses.