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Hiring Models For a Lookbook

How to find and hire the right model for your fashion lookbook

Hiring the best model possible is a critical step when shooting a fashion lookbook. Everyone involved in producing your lookbook is extremely critical, but the model will be the public face of your brand. Do not cut corners here!

Alisa Michelle Jewelry lookbook photographed by Steve Fishcer
Jewelry Lookbook. Photography by Steve Fischer

This doesn’t mean only hiring the most expensive models will make for a successful lookbook. What it does mean is that you should have a vision of the model before you start the casting process. Keep searching agencies (more on agencies in a blog post next week) until you find this person because she or he will be your brand’s identity for the entire season. Yes, the more experience the model has,  the more recognizable she may be from other campaigns and the larger the social media following she has the more expensive the models day rate and usage fees will be. however in 99 of 100 cases the more you can budget for an experienced team (not just model) the higher the return on investment in your lookbook.

view my portfolio on my website at this link

HIre models through an agency, do not use friends family that are not agency represented. Seriously do not do this! Let me follow that by saying: this has nothing to do with how attractive a person is. We all have family, friends, friends of friends etc. that are just as attractive, if not more so than models represented by modeling agencies. The difference is that agency represented models do this as a job, they study and practice the art of modeling and the agency behind them puts their reputation on the line promising the model knows what she is doing. Modeling is not about being just a pretty face. When you are shooting a lookbook it is a very fast-paced environment and it’s critical that everyone on set knows how the process works. Agency represented models go through a process of test shooting with dozens of photographers before an agency will put them on their main board and allow clients to hire them. This means you get a model that knows how things work on set, knows the poses, knows where her light is, knows what eye lines are correct etc. etc. If you want to see the difference,  the next time you look at a professional model in a magazine notice how and where that model holds her hands/fingers and what she does with her eye line. Then look at an amateur model photo and notice the difference. It’s these subtle things that make for a professional model.

Leather and denim lookbook photographed by Steve Fischer
Leather and Denim lookbook. Photography by Steve Fischer

It’s critical that you not just look at the total dollar figure it costs to produce your lookbook but the return on the investment.

If you have any questions about producing you lookbook feel free to reach out via the contact me LINK on my website.

I will go into deeper depth about agencies, costs, locations and other topics in upcoming blog posts.


Steve Fischer is a Los Angeles based fashion photographer specializing in shooting fashion lookbooks, ad campaigns, and editorial work.


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Making a Fashion Lookbook

fashion photographer steve fischer shoots the Alisa Michelle Jewelry lookbook
Alisa Michelle Jewelry lookbook by Steve Fischer

A fashion lookbook is far more than a marketing tool for potential wholesale buyers. Social media is the most important means of building a brand image so in these days lookbooks are used more to promote a fashion brand on social media and on their own websites than what they used to be used for which was to give to buyers at fashion trade marts.

here is a link to my INSTAGRAM

You need people on social media to engage with your posts. You need to show them the quality, style and beauty of your fashion and want them to click through to buy it right there and then.

We all know we scan rapidly through our instagram feeds. It’s only the “wow” factor images that make people stop and look. That’s what you need in your lookbook. The point I’m making is cutting corners in creating your lookbook is suicide to your brand.

Huge name brand fashion brands have ad agencies that produce their campaigns. Medium size designers often have in-house creative departments. Newer brands often have none of this, but they all need the same thing to produce a great lookbook.

Here are most of the steps:

PHOTOGRAPHER do not cut corners when you hire a photographer. Your images are what are going to sell your product and build your brand.

MODELS often i hear from newer brands that they have a friend or relative that can be the model because they are just as beautiful as a model. It’s not the beauty. Professional models are trained how to work with photographers, the lighting, the poses, the eyelines, how to hold their hands in shots (it’s the small details that make great models). Do yourself a favor and go through a reputable model agency and hire a great model. She/he is the face of your collection

MAKEUP AND HAIR It makes a huge difference. Professional makeup artists know how makeup looks on digital and they will come up with a different looks for different setups during the shoot.

LOCATION these can be hard to find but look at great lookbooks and look at their locations (often locations out of town or country like Tulum Mexico or Palm Springs etc. If you want your brand to appeal to a certain demographic shoot at a location that fits that demographic. If you have a high priced line shoot at a exotic location. If you are a lower priced brand then you can shoot more street style.

PRE PRODUCTION Moodboards, shot lists, outfit setups…. they all need to be planned before the shoot and the entire crew needs to have copies in advance.

If you have the budget you can hire a photography producer that handles all these details.

If you would like to discuss shooting a lookbook or get a quote please feel free to contact me. I am based in Los Angeles but travel worldwide to shoot assignments. Just fill out the form below or visit my website HERE

[contact-form to=’’ subject=’lookbook inquiry’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

denim lookbook by Steve Fischer
Barry Yu Lookbook
swimwear lookbook
Mary Grace Swimwear
american apparel lookbook by Steve Fischer
American Apparel
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Shooting a Lookbook and how Important Preproduction is

A lot goes into shooting a lookbook. After all it’s the image of your collection and  you need to rise above. It used to be that lookbooks were used to showcase your current collection to buyers from retailers but that’s changed, now lookbooks are used more to sell direct to the public through the designers website.

Your lookbook needs to stand out and that means it takes planning. Preproduction is just as important as the shoot itself. So what goes into preproduction? Well here are a few things:

  • model castings
  • mood boards
  • location scouting
  • deciding which pieces from your collection to shoot
  • continuity
  • a capable crew
  • a solid photo retoucher
  • a great graphic designer

When I’m hired to shoot a lookbook my fee includes assisting in all these aspects. I have relationships with all the major agencies and can setup castings. I can give input on locations and pull permits. I have great photo assistants and digital technicians and one of the best photo retouchers in the business.

I am based in Los Angeles but travel for lookbook shoots. Or, if you don’t need to be on set you can ship the wardrobe and we can shoot the lookbook here in LA. I’ve even had clients that monitor the shoot via skype.

Feel free to call or email me with any questions. I am more than happy to answer any of your questions.

fashion photographer Steve Fischer photographs Faith Schroeder in Flynn Skye
Flynn Skye
Alisa Michelle Jewelry lookbook photographed by Steve Fishcer
Alisa Michelle Jewelry
victoria and woods photographed by Steve Fischer
Victoria + Woods
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Fashion Lookbook Photography


One of my favorite parts of being a fashion photographer is shooting lookbooks. Many photographer, once they become established, stop shooting lookbooks and instead only take very high paying jobs through ad agencies and such. But a lookbook is still one of my favorite projects.

A lookbook is the brands identity. It is what is used to sell the collection. I understand this will sound self serving but cutting corners on a lookbook is essentially a death blow to your collection. With tens of thousands of designers creating collections every season you have to rise above to be noticed. It’s imperative to factor this into your budget. Great models, photographer, crew and location are needed to stand out from the competition. Look at the brands that have come out of nowhere and become sensations. Brands like: Wildfox, For Love & Lemons, Paige Denim etc. The common thread they have is that they always have great lookbooks. And to have a great lookbook  you need experience in front of and behind the camera.

Although i am based in Los Angeles I absolutely travel to shoot lookbooks. If you would like to discuss your lookbook feel free to contact me. You can reach me through the contact link at the top of the page.

Here are a few images.

Faith Schroder in wildfox by fashion photographer steve fischer
Wildfox by Steve Fischer
Taylor Kenny jewelry lookbook by fashion photographer Steve Fischer
Taylor Kenny Jewelry by Steve Fischer
Barry Yu NYC leather photographed by Steve Fischer
Barry Yu NYC by Steve Fischer
radha from Next Models in Levis denim photographed by Steve Fischer
Levi’s Denim by Steve Fischer
american apparel bodysuit photo by Steve Fischer
American Apparel by Steve Fischer
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