How To Grow Your Photo Styling and Photography Business

Mar 29, 2024

Much of Photo Stylists and Photographers world is intertwined.  We are Teammates. While our jobs are different ~ we relate to one another and can learn from each other. (Also, some Photographers do “double duty” of being both Photographer and Stylist.)  I chat about the Stylist perspective in 15 Things Photographers Look For When They Are Testing You and 15 Tips for Photo Stylists Working with Photographers.  It’s helpful to get each others prospectives on the business and working together.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed as a Freelance Photo and Prop Stylist and Photographer or have that feeling of:  “What should I be doing every day to grow my business?  Every day is different and fluctuates. For example, you could be styling or shooting for a day or (multiple days) or you could have “office days” where you are building your business.



1.  Stay On Top of Industry, Advertising and Business News.

We are tempted to alway be looking at trends. For Stylists, it may be magazines, Pinterest, social media.  For Photographers, it may be looking through pages of Photo District News (Ohhh, how I miss Photo District News! Still have those printed copies.) or Fstoppers.  But, we need to stay on top of all business. I have gained insight of who I could style for by being up to date on advertising campaigns, brand mergers and new brand launches, etc.  They will need Stylists ;)  Couple of favs are Advertising Age and Fast Company.  For industry reference, love Fashion Snoops.  (Trends and news on fashion, home, beauty and wellness.)   It’s about balance ~ overall business to trend/industry.


2.  Pitch, Reach Out, Connect.

Don’t wait for those dream clients to come to you.  Be proactive. Connect in all areas of styling from clients you want to work for to magazines that you could be quoted in.  I always check out Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to see if there are any sources that would be a good fit to help.  (They will quote you and link to your website or blog in their article.)  This Post was from a connection I made with HARO. As a Stylist, is there a Photography Blog you could reach out to to see if they need a Prop or Photo Stylist perspective?  Or, if you're a Photographer ~ reach out to Prop and Photo Stylist Blogs. 

3.  Promote Your Business.

We all know we have to promote.  The more you do it the easier it will become. Before you know it, work will come.  So get on Pinterest, your socials, develop (& grow) your email list, join and attend in person events. OR you could get booked as a conference or event speaker.  (I have done many speaking events at Photography events.) You can do an In person event or a virtual summit and share your expertise (& promote your business) This has to be an ongoing weekly task.

Also, pop your portfolio on sites like 

4.  Connect with Your Fellow Stylists {& Photographers}.

Connect with Peer Groups.  As a Stylist, I suggest you “go where the photographers go”!   What better place for a Stylist to go (& potentially meet and get booked) than to Photographer Events, Conferences or Tradeshows.

I also love to connect with fellow Photo Stylists in all niches.  As there is with photography, there are so many specialty niches in styling ~ fashion, wardrobe, (lifestyle), food, home and interiors, beauty and wellness, jewelry, soft styling, product styling ~ so much!   It’s great to get together and share ideas. 

5.  Events, Trade Shows, Markets.

I’m a believer in always attending events to meet people in person.  Connections, bookings and referrals, can be (I believe) easier in person. Instead of always going to peer events, attend industry events with variety of creatives you can connect with.  It’s good for connecting as well as inspiration.  Fellow creatives are inspiring to be with and we can motivate and inspire you.   Attend monthly group events that involve all types of creatives ~ from Art and Creative Directors, Producers, to Commercial Hair Makeup Artists.  You can all share leads!  I find going to shows so helpful ~ I wrote 2 guides on it!  Best Conferences, Tradeshows and Events and Photo Stylists Guide to Networking.

6.  Be Mindful of Money.

Be mindful of your money and what you have in your accounts as well as building new income streams for your styling business.  Check your accounts on a regular basis.  Best to know and don’t ‘hide” and ignore it if you are not bringing in as much as you would like. It's a process. You will grow and your rates will increase.  Develop a framework and plan. You can bring in more income with your styling talents!  We talk about 8 Ways to Make Money as a Stylist and Income Streams for Photo Stylists.

7.  Always Be Learning.

Stay up to date in your industry and learning how to improve upon (& add to) your services.  When a company (that has a studio staff stylist department) I was working for started to turn to AI to do imagery, I educated myself on the process and what the future holds for styling in an AI world.  Also, when I was working for a company that did interior styling, I wanted to “up my game” in flower designing and styling.  So, I took a Workshop with Ariella Chezar .  I talk about it and her books in Styling Florals and Plants and Wholesale Purchasing.

For Photographers, It could be taking a styling workshop.  Like we said ~  Our worlds are intertwined.

8.  Style and Be Creative.  

Both Stylists and Photographers ~ go to a Thrift Flea Market, Grocery Store, Farmers Market, Flower Show, Museum, Art Show, etc.  Just go and be inspired!  Take some photographs throughout the day ~ Do a littl’ composition of items to get yourself inspired.

9.  Take Photographs.

While I have always been strictly a Photo Stylist and not a Photographer in my career. (Oftentimes, I had to explain to people that “I’m the one who styles the images” not the photographer of images.)  I find it very helpful to learn tips from photographers I have worked with to “pick up” knowledge that is helpful in styling an assignment.  You don’t want to have the feeling “that’s not my job to photograph”.  Always be learning about photography.  While photography knowledge was not “required” as part of any of the assignments I have done ~ it’s ALWAYS helpful educate yourself.  Same for Photographers, learn from Stylists.  (Who knows ~ maybe one day the budget will not allow for a stylist, stylist cancelled at last minute, etc. ~ always helpful to learn styling techniques.)

10.  Take Care Of Yourself / Self-Care and Mindset.

When first beginning to grow your business, you could feel overwhelmed (or even if you have been in business for awhile, you could feel that way.) Have some downtime that is not related to business.  Have a spa day, go to the park, the beach ~ decompress your body and your mind.  THIS, of course, should be number one on this list! ;)

HAVE to add one more:  Collaborate.

Doing Personal projects with Photographers can be so helpful to grow your business.  You both have new images for your portfolio, you ask fellow creatives to join you and connect and learn things from each other along the way.  See our Styled Collaborative Shoot Guide for tips (& a sample outreach letter.)

Bonnie ~


 ** Photographers and Stylists can help each other. I even have a Workshop I teach specifically for Photographers who want to learn more about styling in our services we provide.  Remember, while commercial photographers will hire a Photo Stylist, some photographer niches style themselves in addition to photography. :)

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Image Credit  | Studio Firma via Stocksy

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