How to become a photographic stylist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
You could take a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a relevant subject like:
- fashion photography and promotion
- fashion styling and communication
- interior design
- visual merchandising
Most photographic stylists come from a fashion, photography or design background. As a food stylist your background would usually be in catering or food science.
You'll usually need:
- 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Examples include:
- Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Photography
- Level 3 Diploma in Fashion
You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could do an apprenticeship in a related field to help you to get into this role, for example:
- an assistant photographer advanced apprenticeship
- a fashion studio assistant advanced apprenticeship
These may teach you some of the skills and knowledge needed.
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You should try and get as much work experience as possible. It'll help you to make contacts in the industry and allow you to learn on the job.
You could approach photographers and stylists and offer to help them, or contact magazines and newspapers about possible work placements.
Work experience in fashion retail, visual design or interior design can be useful.
You'll need a portfolio with examples of your styling work to show to potential employers. These are known as 'tear sheets'. They show how your styling was used in the final images.
Having a website and social media accounts where you can advertise your work will also be important.
Professional and industry bodies
The Association of Photographers and British Institute of Professional Photographers (BIPP) offer membership for anyone with an interest in professional photography.
You'll find more details about working in careers in photography from The Association of Photographers.