How to take your own fashion lookbook photos…by yourself!

how to lookbook fairytalePreface: I’ve been wanting to get my photos taken for a while, but the weather just hasn’t been in my corner lately. Don’t you hate when that happens? It’s like the sun is playing a cruel game of peek-a-boo with me. Always out when I’m busy, nowhere to be found when I’m free. Ugh! Anyway, I got sick and tired of waiting on the weather and decided to snap some quick photos of myself before another storm rolled in. 

Ok now that I got my little story out of the way, on to the topic at hand- lookbooks. I believe every fashion business needs one. They’re the best way to communicate your brand message while also showcasing your clothing and how it can be worn and paired together. Not everyone has a photographer on hand though, or the money to hire one. And if we’re being really real, not everyone has access to models or friends willing to be models, so I’ve decided to share how to shoot your own lookbook, featuring you, shot by…you! 

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Step 1: Pick a theme/story

Is your shop girly? Grungy? High fashion? Pick a lookbook theme that will properly communicate what your brand means to your customers. Need an example? One of my favorite lookbooks is from Wildfox, a vintage-inspired, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, clothing line. Their Barbie Dreamhouse themed lookbook is as chic, fun and quirky as they are!

For my lookbook, I went with a fairytale/into the woods theme. Why? Well, ever since I bought this skirt I’ve been twirling around like a princess so I thought it was fitting. But if I were to choose a shop that would be appropriate for this shoot, I’d go with Chicwish*. Check out their products and you’ll see why!

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Step 2: Pick outfits

This should be easy if you’ve picked a theme that goes well with your shop’s offerings! Make sure to have a variety of outfits ready to showcase. I only wore one because I was determined to beat the rain (which I barely did). On a sunnier day I’d have at least three interchangeable outfits.

Step 3: Pick a location

Where else could a fairytale themed shoot take place if not the woods? Ok so I was technically at a park, but the tall trees and giant teddy bear sculptures made for a whimsical looking set up.

If you’re shy like me, pick a location that’s somewhat secluded so people won’t see you running back and forth between the camera and your designated spot. But also be within earshot of people just in case something happens and you need to call for help. Sounds morbid, but safety first!

If someone does come across your shoot, act confident, like you’re supposed to be there. That’s what I did when a biker rode by and stopped to talk!

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Step 4: Set up your tripod & camera

Of course when you’re taking photos of yourself a tripod is your best friend! Try different angles and don’t be afraid to experiment with your camera’s placement. While some lookbooks do a great job showcasing outfits from just one, repetitive angle…personally, more times than not, I prefer to see shots with variety.

Setting up your tripod is a no brainer. Focusing your camera is the tricky part. I don’t have a remote for my DSLR, so I usually toss it on auto, then take a shot of something that’s the same distance away as where I’ll be standing. After that shot I switch the camera to manual, set up the self-timer, and go from there. It’s a time consuming process but it gets the job done!

Oh, and be sure to take a LOT of photos. I took a ton, and only ended up with five-six post-worthy shots.

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Step 5: Don’t forget the close-ups!

Get photos of accessories and close-up shots of your outfit’s details. You want people to buy these items, so make them look as enticing as possible!

Step 6: Edit your photos

This is where your Photoshop skills come in to play! No Photoshop? No problem! Gimp is a free alternative, and it’s virtually the same. There are pleeeenty of tutorials out there for any look that you’re trying to accomplish. I looked up a few dreamy-inspired tutorials, and I think they came out pretty good! Here’s a before and after.

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You can also add text to your photos (like in fashion magazines) listing the names and prices of the products. Or not. Up to you!

What do you think of these tips? If you decide to give shooting your own lookbook a try, let me know in the comments!

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jump into online sales

Want to start your own boutique but don’t know where to start? You know I’ve got you covered! My e-book ‘Jump Into Online Sales’ walks you through the process of creating your very own online shop. Check it out!

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