We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Photo Stylist?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A photo stylist is the person who sets the scenes for commercial photographers to enhance the subjects of pictures. He may work in a studio, outdoors, in homes or offices—anywhere a photographer can be found, a photo stylist is frequently on the set of the shoot as well. His job may be on the staff of a magazine, mail order company or Internet shopping site. Many photo stylists find freelance work more satisfying as it allows them to choose projects in a wide scope of genres and with a variety of photographic subjects and locations.

While many photo stylists decorate sets for a diverse clientele, a considerable number specialize in one area, such as food or fashion. This career choice may be based on industry demand or the opportunities available in the stylist’s geographic location. An area of specialization is also often favored based on the stylist’s success in set dressing for a particular genre, a talent that may emerge as the photo stylist’s career develops.

The fashion magazine industry is generally considered the field in which photo stylists are in the greatest demand. These magazines normally employ the largest number of photo stylists, as magazines tend to have a great need for professionally created moods and tones for photo shoots. Acclaimed photographers sometimes bring a photo stylist of their choice to job sites based on past success with their work.

Publications that focus on food also frequently employ photo stylists. In this industry, photo stylists often work closely with food stylists, who generally create mouth-watering food presentations through artistic vision coupled with science and technology. The food stylist normally concentrates on the subject of the photograph with the goal of making it look appealing while the photo stylist embellishes the background to add to the drama and impact of the shot.

Before arriving on the set of a shoot, a photo stylist ordinarily confers with the photographer to determine the ambiance desired by the client. He often brings props and objects from his own inventory for the project. In some cases, he borrows or rents applicable items to ensure the success of the photo session.

Exemplary organizational skills are normally required to be successful in this position. A photo stylist is typically required to schedule and reschedule shoots based on client and photographer preferences, so the efficient management of his calendar is important. Since he frequently has items on loan and rent from several associates and vendors, it is important he keep the related records current and orderly.

There are generally no educational requirements for this job. A significant number of photo stylists have experience in photography, art or other visual mediums. Similar to others in artistic professions, a photo stylist traditionally has a portfolio of his most memorable and successful work for presentation to potential employers.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon985162 — On Jan 14, 2015

A good way to find a job in styling (based on my own experience) is to email commercial studios and ask for a stylist position.

It helps to have an art and design background, some studio experience (e.g., artist's assistant) or anything relating to set design. Good luck!

By lapsed — On May 14, 2011

@softener - You could probably work your way up by offering to volunteer on sets if given the opportunity. Like the article says though, you'd need some kind of experience in photography or art but I don't think that simply means personal experience, but rather professional experience.

There are schools that offer courses that could give you a leg up. They might not necessarily be called photo styling courses but they're certainly related to the type of job it sounds like you'd be doing; I've seen courses on Visual Merchandising and Fashion Styling and Coordination, both of which I think would be useful.

By softener — On May 12, 2011

If there's no educational requirements for this job, how do you break into the industry? I can't ever recall seeing a job advertisement listed for a photo stylist.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.