Photostylist  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotPhotostylists collaborate with a photographer, art director and client to create great photos. They compose the shot with models or different products, like flowers or food, within the frame of the photograph to create a desired effect.

The photo may be used in a catalog, advertisement or magazine. Photostylists are the cinematographers of the still frame.

dotPhotostylists must have a firm grasp of the principles of design and color, display illustration, display design installation, communications for visual merchandising and lighting.

dotSetting up shoots for clothing, fabric and food products are typical jobs. They may work on magazines, music videos, commercials, fashion shows and films.

Freelancing -- finding clients and networking -- is also part of the career.

"Displaying merchandise effectively takes flair and creativity," reads the program overview for a two-year diploma program in visual merchandising arts. "Gifted designers can create environments that not only attract attention but also help sell the products displayed."

dotYou also need interpersonal skills, says Stephen Ang. He is a photostylist and teacher in New York. "The underlying responsibility of the stylist is to be a liaison, interpreter and negotiator with everyone. You must be someone who is perceptive, flexible and amiable."

dotPhotostylists may spend very long days in the studio to create the styled compositions typical of today's photographic work. They do, however, make a killing in overtime.

Don't even think of a routine schedule. "An average day is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. But a day can vary from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.," says Ang.

"Sometimes I work seven days a week for a month, and sometimes I don't work for a month. A stylist's schedule varies from week to week, month to month and year to year. There are no patterns!"

At a Glance

Collaborate with a photographer, art director and client to create great photos

  • An average day is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • You should be a bit of a salesperson
  • A master's degree in visual arts would be the ideal education base