Jun 4, 2015 | Fashion, Features, Style Tips, Styling

How to Style your first Photo-shoot Successfully

This post would be quite useful for all stylists, designers or anyone about to embark on anything for the first time. I would speak from a Styling (FASHION) point of view.. Still, it applies to different facets of work and life.

Your very first photo-shoot as a start-up/creative is a very important one for a lot of different reasons.It announces you to the world and showcases  your craft/talent to the fashion community..

Sometimes, we have just one shot..one shot!!

We need to give it our absolute best.. It is a very competitive industry.. and you need to pull all the stops to stand a chance of succeeding..

My very first photo-shoot in Nigeria was in August 2009. I got commissioned to style a sports themed shoot for Elan Magazine. My first thought was “Sports” eek..I was however determined to make it a really great shoot and I proceeded with a bucket full of gusto and passion…

I made some mistakes and I learnt some lessons along the way.. Here are my 10 top tips to keep you in tip top shape at your very first shoot:

1. Have a very clear theme.. DEFINE THE THEME OF YOUR SHOOT AND ADHERE STRICTLY TO IT. Work along a particular theme and it would channel your creativity in one direction and narrow off conflicting ideas.

2.Choose the right models/location to fit your theme.. This is equally really important.. Once i realised my shoot’s theme was sports, I insisted on really toned models.. Most of the models at the time were not as toned as I would like.. I begged and cajoled my dearest friend Ronke Onitiri to model for the shoot.. She has the greatest legs ever.. See image below..


3. Research: This is super important.. In my case, even before I started sourcing for the clothes..I researched sports editorials, sporty photoshoots and I got super inspired.. It gave me a clear idea of the sort of clothes to go forward and look for.. Research is a very important process of styling a shoot.. It fine-tunes your ideas and gives your inspiration a stronger leg to stand on.. Research..get inspired and crystallise your own ideas.. Do not copy verbatim.. Not a great move..

4: Sourcing/Pulling:  Get as many options as possible..As a start-up stylist, you may find it quite tough to get many stores to readily give you their pieces to shoot with.. Try your best to convince them..In my case, I was quite lucky.. I believe I talked quite a good game.. and I also put myself together in a bit of a convincing way..

I also, looked in my wardrobe and picked out pieces that would help my shoot.. DO NOT BE ASHAMED TO ASK FOR HELP FROM FRIENDS.. I also asked my friends for anything else I needed ..stuff I couldn’t find in stores but would make a great difference to the shoot. *RETURN IN GREAT CONDITION*

5. Tape Shoes and Steam clothing:  Shoes and accessories should be carefully laid out. Shoes should be taped at the bottom to prevent scuff marks etc.. You have to be also really careful with them outdoors..

A neat well-put together shoot is more or less already successful.. It is really important to have no creases in the garments while the models are shooting..(STEAM,STEAM STEAM).. Creased garments end up looking very untidy and takes away from the beauty of the shoot.. Fail!

6: Beware of too many opinions.. Once people realise it is your first shoot, they would come at you with different suggestions that may veer wildly from your plans or ideas.. Stick with what you planned originally if you do not agree with it.. Decline or disagree politely..

I would use my first shoot as an example.. I remember getting serious opposition over wearing a tennis skirt pop socks and heels.. They felt my model should wear trainers.. I disagreed politely but firmly insisted it didn’t have to be so literal.. I was quite lucky to have Kelechi Amadi-Obi taking the pictures.. He very calmly suggested they should hear the “stylist” out and see if it would work..PHEW!


7: Stay Calm, Confident and Positive: Nothing negates creativity like negative energy. If you are in an insecure zone, negative one or even generally in a funk.. Your shoot would certainly turn out badly..Embrace the moment and bask in the opportunity. Give it your absolute best.

8:Be a Team Player: The Stylist, Photographer ,Make-up Artist  and Hair Stylist should work as a team. That way, the shoot goes better and you are all on the same page. Help out each other when you can and pass on your opinions respectfully. Also, word of mouth is very powerful.. So.. PUT YOUR BEST SMILE AND ATITUDE FORWARD.. and they would be keen to work with you again.

9. Be Patient, kind and nice: Patience is key!! Photo-Shoots can be long drawn-out .. No-one wants to hang around a whinger or a grouchy Stylist.. Keep positive and upbeat till the fabulous end..Be kind and polite to everyone working on the shoot with you.. Especially the Models etc.

10. Be Professional: No matter how creative the environment is, it is still a job and you should treat it as such.. Don’t forget to keep your professional hat on at all times…


The photos in this post are are images from my very first photo-shoot in 2009. Like I said earlier, It was a sports themed shoot for Elan (Next on Sunday). The models were Ronke Onitiri and Kemi..

Kelechi Amadi-Obi did the photography while Banke Meshida Lawal was the make-up artist. I was a budding stylist and it was certainly not a perfect shoot. It is however my favourite shoot till date. I worked soooo hard and I was determined to have an amazing shoot.

I guess, it all worked out, as I was commissioned to style many more shoots following this ..



Have a great thursday all..

Stay strong and positive.




Ezinne Chinkata


Photography: Kelechi-Amadi Obi

Styling : Ezinne Chinkata

Make-up: Banke Meshida Lawal

Models: Ronke Onitiri


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