5 Reasons You Will Not Be Hired Back As A Photo Stylist

Sep 26, 2023

Sometimes, it's not just our beautiful styling that gets us the Photo Styling or Prop Styling assignments or the callbacks, sometimes  ~ it’s our behavior, respect for others, attention to detail, pride in our work, desire to make a client happy and going that "extra mile".  As I write this Post, I'm thinking . . . Ooooo, this might be a littl' harsh of a statement ~ "why you will not be hired back."  BUT, as much as we want to know WHAT WILL be the factors in Photographers and clients hiring us ~ don't we really also want to know the reasons for why they might NOT hire us back?  (Both help us in our photo and prop styling career)  Sooooo, here we go!

Throughout my career, I’m either the:

▪️ Photo Stylist
▪️ Art or Creative Director HIRING Photo Stylists
▪️ TRAINER of Studio Staff Photo Stylists
▪️ RECOMMENDER of Photo Stylist to Colleagues
▪️ REFER for Photo Stylists 

So as I'm living and experiencing all those hiring scenarios, wanted to share my thoughts (and observations) about hiring. These 5 sitiuations definitely come into play when I consider a Photo Stylist “call back” or hiring a Stylist for a Studio Staff Position after a they have done a photo studio or on location “testing”.   Oftentimes, we chat about the "Reasons Why You Get Hired" and don't talk about some of the reasons why you might not get hired back.  (and that's something I hear all the time from Stylists, saying ~ "they" never hired me again and I don't know why?) 

So, Onto The 5 Reasons: 

1.  COFFEE & DRINKS = (Disrespect)

Coming in late with coffee (& food) in your hand.  (Oh no they diiiiddddn’t!)  So, this, is a hugh one for me.  If you are coming in late with a coffee, it means that coffee was more important than holding up the ENTIRE creative team!  It’s a matter of respecting your team and colleagues time and the client. (Also, bringing that coffee to the set with textiles, surfaces, products, wardrobe that can be ruined with a accidental spill of coffee or beverage! ~ oh, please no!)

2.  DIPPIN’ ~ LEAVING THE SET = (Doesn’t Extend Themselves For Clients)

When I see a Photo Stylist starting to pack up to leave 30 minutes before scheduled wrap time and doing the “mad dash” to the door, that is a huge warning sign for me that the Stylist is a “clock watcher”.  While you know I am a big advocate for Photo Stylists being mindful of “Scope Creep, I do LOVE a stylist who wants to extend themselves and makes clients happy by going the extra mile!  


I can honestly say I have NEVER asked that of a Photographer. You become a valuable, “booked and hired again” Photo Stylist when you take pride and care in styling ~ not taking “easy way out”.  (I once did a Group Product Shot of 12 Lamps, which the Creative Director wanted all turned on so I hide every single electrical cord via angles so none of them would show ~ all 12 of them!)  Yes, when a team is (& has been) working closely together, saying . . . “can you fix that" (little thing) could be a completely normal conversation and request. (I still never do it!) I’m talking about "testing" or newly hired photo stylist ~ the ABSOLUTE last thing I would want to hear from a Photo Stylist is  . . . "Can’t you just fix that in photoshop?"

4.  YOU DIDN’T READ and FOLLOW THE CREATIVE BRIEF  =  (No Attention to Detail)

Read everything about the shoot through and through before shoot day. You do not want to miss any detail. Read Call Sheet, Creative Brief and review every email sent to you about the assignment. You don't want to miss something that you need to get for shoot ~ that would hold up the shoot.  No detail on the Brief is a "maybe we need it" ~ consider it a "must have" for the shoot. Actually, it's alwayS great for you to over prepare and bring more than expected.  I do love me a Stylist who "surprises" me with some items they think may work for the project, bring options and show me their creativity with items I didn't expect.  This is where I always say . . . don't think of yourself as "just" a Stylist ~ position yourself to be a Creative Advisor to the project. (And to your Photographers and Clients.)  We talk about and expand on positioning yourself in Don't Always Give a Client What They Want.


Be discrete with commenting or discussing concerns and problems on the set.  If you see something “wrong”, or have a concern or comment, take photographer aside to speak with them, never in front of their client. If you have been hired by photographer, you may be working for their client, so be respectful and polite. While, of course the Art Director, Creative Director, Photographer and you are all a collaborative team ~ and your opinion, talent, and eye matters ~ you still want to be respectful.   Talk to them discretely off set if you have something to say. They will appreciate you being discrete.  Also, just make sure it is very important.  (Also, I have seen it all on set:  a Photo Stylist taking the photographers camera and start using their camera to take photographs on set, a Photo Stylist arguing with Photographer about "the better way" to do things, than how they are doing it, in front of client . . . )

So, that's the 5! You know I always share that "real deal" with you about 
Tips for Photo Stylists Working with Photographers and the Skills and Traits Needed as a Photo Stylist.


Bonnie ~


Image Credit |CoffeandMilk via Canva 

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