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Magazine Style Fantasy Fashion Photoshoot DIY Checklist

Taking part in a magazine style fantasy fashion photoshoot is an incredibly fun and empowering experience. We’ve created a DIY checklist to prepare you if you’ve always wanted to do one, but cannot afford to hire a professional at the moment.

DIY Magazine Fashion Photoshoot DIY Toronto


Many would consider posing in front of a camera for a magazine something of a fantasy, but with a bit of work you can create something by yourself! If you hire a photographer it’ll feel even more realistic, but if you want to try it out on your own then you can try to DIY.



Let’s get straight to it! These are the things you’ll need to pull off a magazine style photoshoot session:

  • inspiration board
  • hair and makeup
  • wardrobe
  • camera and tripod
  • somewhere to shoot with light
  • posing practice



In the industry an inspiration board is called a moodboard. It gives models (and the rest of the team) the general direction chosen by the creative director/photographer. Now you get to do this fun step!

Get yourself onto Pinterest and create a board of your favourite images. You can also easily pin directly from our photography genre inspiration from our past photoshoots with other women.

The board should contain inspiration for hair, makeup, posing, wardrobe, location, photography, etc. Don’t forget to look in magazines or in their online counterparts like:



If you aren’t used to doing your own hair and makeup then you’ll need to do some learning. Get onto YouTube and search for the particular look you’re after via hair and makeup tutorials/DIYs.

You can also choose to hire a professional. I can’t speak for other areas in Canada or in the USA, but in the Greater Toronto Area the prices range vastly with experience. If I were to ballpark it you find a fairly experienced hair and makeup artist (aka HMUA) for around $100 for one look. A “look” being one hair style and one makeup application.

If you are going to hire someone and you aren’t thinking of spending lots of money the one warning that comes to mind is at least make sure the HMUA cares about cleanliness. For example, mascara should be applied with a disposable brush or he/she should ask to use yours.

Hair and Makeup Fashion Photoshoot DIY Toronto



Ah, the most fun part! I usually guide my clients into the type of clothes they should get depending on the look they’re after. Suffice it to say that high quality garments will show a lot better in front of a camera and in your final images.

Of course, it depends on what your ideas are, but I love simple, elegant, and timeless photography!

For a youthful, flirty, and trendy fashion look some of my favourites are:

And if you want something but a bit more fun:

For a classic, elegant, and more mature fashion look you can try:

And if you want to spice it up and look tastefully seductive some of my favourites are:

If you’re into working out, yoga, fitness, or running and you were thinking of doing a sportswear fashion sort of look you can always go with:

If you’re thinking of something more sexy like a boudoir type of theme there’s the obvious:

P.S. You can use all their websites to get inspired too! That’s the beauty of fashion photography. For even more inspiration check out some fashion stylist bloggers!

Shop Fashion Photoshoot DIY Toronto



This may seem like the hard part, but we’ll try to work with what you have. I can’t promise the best results, but you can decide on that yourself.

If you have any camera that isn’t on your phone that may be your best bet (depending on how old it is). If you have a DSLR so much the better! You should easily be able to compare all your alternatives. Take a photo of the same scene with your camera, phone, etc. and see what looks best to you. Make sure to compare them at their largest size (I assume you want to view your photos on your computer and not just on your small phone screen).

Grab whatever you determine to be the best and screw it onto a tripod. If you’re using a phone you may need an adapter. If you don’t have a tripod and don’t want one you can always figure out a way to just prop it up using pretty much anything you can think of. You can put it on a bar stool and use a towel to keep it upright.

Don’t forget that you’ll need a device/camera which you can put on a timer or trigger using some sort of remote.



The biggest part of making your photos look great is the light that you use! It isn’t hard to get access to beautiful light, but it may be difficult for you to see it. Professional photographers are able to see great light and/or create it using lighting.

Since we’re trying to make this photoshoot DIY as easy as possible we’ll just use the light you have available in your home. Find the biggest window that has the most light coming through.

You can use white bed sheets to help control the intensity of the light. Just throw it over the window frame and it’ll help soften the shadows in your photo.

Describing all the ways of shooting with light is another blog article in itself so I’ll just tell you now that you’ll be experimenting a lot.

Light Location Fashion Photoshoot DIY Toronto



Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need to practice your posing. This means getting in front of a full length mirror and working it!

I highly recommend not practicing directly in front of your camera. You’ll drive yourself crazy taking a photo of yourself and reviewing it. A mirror gives you immediate feedback on whether what you’re doing looks good or not.

Similarly, describing how to pose is another big blog article in itself. You can figure out the number one thing you need to look perfect in front of the camera if you don’t know what it is.



There’s a lot of information in here and hopefully it helps at least a few wonderful women out. As I mentioned before, you won’t get the full experience of shooting with a professional photographer, but you will still have fun and that’s what counts. Please don’t get frustrated that it will take a long time to get the image in your mind; it may even take a few days. Just keep at it!

As always, if you have any questions just ask us in a comment below; we’re always here for you!



Made by Ten Jonathan How GTA PhotographerJonathan How is the photographer behind Made by Ten and calls Milton his home. He specializes in creating beautiful, creative portraits of real women. He uses photography (and this blog) to help them build confidence and love for themselves and creates artistic images for their homes and offices. You can see him driving around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada from portrait to fashion shoot and back again.


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