Tips for Emerging Designers: Lookbooks

One of the most important tools a designer needs to have is a lookbook. How that look book is shot can affect sales and media attention. I’ve seen many designers send me what they think is a lookbook when really they are actually campaign shots. What’s the difference? Oh, it’s a big one.

Andrew Majtenyi lookbook FW13

Andrew Majtenyi lookbook FW13

A lookbook should be a series of images shot to showcase each outfit. Campaign images are created for public perception and to reinforce branding. While a campaign shoot can be more creative and help relay your brand’s messaging, lookbooks are a crucial industry tool and should be your first focus, especially if your marketing budget is tight. 

Key industry types who will be reviewing your look book:

  • Buyers
  • Sales reps
  • Media
  • Fashion editors
  • Stylists

When they are looking at your lookbook, they want to get a good sense of what your collection actually looks like.

Keep it simple and focus on the reasons you are shooting a lookbook:

  • make sales
  • give a visual representation of the items in your collection
  • provide a reference for fashion editors and stylists for editorial shoots and celebrity pulls

Images to include:

  • professional model in simple poses (straight front and back works well)
  • styled only to enhance your collection; accessorize with shoes and belts only unless you create your own accessories
  • standard lighting
  • simple hair and makeup
  • outfit shots from front and back

Booking your creative team:

I highly recommend booking through reputable model, photo and artist agencies to ensure you are not wasting your money by having to reshoot or run overtime and you’ll also be happier with the outcome. Start asking for quotes now for next season. That way when it’s time to shoot your next collection, you will have set aside those all-important dollars for your professional look book.


You should shoot your Fall/Winter collection in early January and your Spring/Summer collection in early June. This way all your promotional materials will be printed and available to distribute to buyers right at the beginning of buying season and most importantly, before all their budgets have been spent.

Some great examples of lookbook images:

I recently received a link to Zoran Dobric’s SS14 lookbook. It’s a great example of balancing the creative and practical. Take a look here. I’ve also sourced some other great examples from Canadian designers to give you a visual on what to aim for when shooting your next lookbook.

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About Gail McInnes (320 Articles)
Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Gail McInnes has made an indelible mark on the Canadian fashion and entertainment scenes; managing and guiding the careers of some of the country's most notable talents, including Lucian Matis, Hilary MacMillan, Stephen Amell (CW's Arrow), Natalie Brown (The Strain), Brad Goreski (E! Fashion Police), and more. Visit for more information or email

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