Income Streams For Photo and Prop Stylists

Jul 07, 2023

At some point in our careers, we will probably hear that statement:  "Your rate is too high" ~ we can't hire you.  Like many things, solutions (& income streams!) are created out of need.  I just listen to what people need and implement a process to do it ~ and you can too!  One income stream I have as a Photo Stylist is doing Creative Pre-Pro (Pre-Production) Meetings.  I generally, do not go down on my photo styling rate ~ BUT, I can provide solutions for a client (or prospective client) without going down on my rate. The cost to the client for this meeting is my entire day rate. (Oftentimes, commercial photo shoots will go week(s) so this is a saving for clients ~ but still ensures I receive a rate that equivalent to information and resources, etc that I am giving. 

I always say . . .  Remember, it's our styling that gets the scrolls, eyes on products and services and the SALES of our client products and services ~ it's your styling (& creativity!) that does THAT! Remember that when you are pricing your styling assignments. (YOUR styling and creativity sells FOR your clients)  THAT's why I feel that charging clients my day rate for a one hour pre-production meeting is fair. (for both of us ~ myself and the client.)

Doing Creative meetings happened so “organically”. I was at a wedding and a friend with a creative business said . . . “I have a client and I know they will not be able to hire you as a Photo Stylist, BUT can you come to the Production Meeting with me to give them creative ideas and we will pay for the meeting.”

Ok ~ why not! I said.  I charged a two hour minimum for the meeting. At the meeting, shared my ideas on:

 Surfaces to use
 Props to get
 Wardrobe to use
 Creative Concepts
 Locations and Permits

Funny thing happened  . . .  ALL of a sudden they had money to spend on a Stylist! Ummmm, funny how that happened, right!?!

I really do not hold back! I share my contacts, companies I use, tips and techniques, etc. I am helpful and generous in the meeting. (I attribute getting the actual jobs to how helpful I am in the meeting.)  Oftentimes, it a . . . O, what the heck, we should just hire you! lol

Attendance at the meeting can vary. It’s usually between 5-8 people. (And these are companies who either do not have alot of experience pulling a shoot together OR want to (& open to) learning more. Key to booking the actual job in the creative meeting is showing how valuable you are. Many a time I have heard . . . “Oh there is alot more involved in this styling thing” 

Of course, I have done creative meetings where they have not hired me for the actual job. We just did the meeting.  BUT, the 2 hour meeting is a GREAT income stream for Stylists.  AND, I have been hired by clients I have done meeting for months (and years!) down the line.  If you need some help with Negotiating Your Styling Rate, Self Assessment Guide and Cheatsheet we have a Guide in our Business of Styling Resources.



 Show your value.
 Start (& maintain!) a relationship with them.
 Keep in touch! (DO not treat meeting as a "one and done" situation.)

Ohhhhh, & bring some sweets to the meeting ~ people ~ they love their sweets! (& it’s a nice gesture.)

The 2nd income stream is a 2 day workshop I do for creative departments and new commercial photography companies.

Bonnie ~ 

Image Credit 

FREE Business of Photo Styling Guides to help with your Styling Business! Check them our in our Resource Library.


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