In addition to your written pitch, photography is the first experience an editor will have of your designs and your brand. Don’t underestimate how important it is to approach your photography and visuals with as much care as you do the pieces themselves.
For many fashion designers, photo shoot production is a challenge, which is why we offer look books, line sheets, catalogues, and branding as key services. We manage the entire photo shoot experience, from creative direction, photography, post-production as well the graphic design of the final product, including websites. I love the opportunity to leverage my photography and graphic design skills, and my clients appreciate that they also get a publicist’s trained eye on their photography (I’m always thinking of the purpose of the images and how they will be received by the media).
When approaching the development of a lookbook, line-sheet or catalogue, the way a product is visually communicated and delivered is just as important as the product itself.
As a quick example, we created a look book, line sheet, website and all other brand materials (business cards, order forms, etc.) for Tess & Co (lookbook pictured below). These visual brand materials materials led to placements in Good Housekeeping, People StyleWatch, Time Out NY, and Hart of Dixie, which transformed the brand from one struggling to find a showroom to fending off multiple requests for representation.
What is a line sheet?
A line sheet showcases a complete product offering and includes style information and images for each individual style. Styles can be grouped by delivery date, theme, style number, colors, etc. Each brand does it differently. This is a necessary tool for both PR and sales.
These visual brand materials materials led to placements in Good Housekeeping, People StyleWatch, Time Out NY, and Hart of Dixie, which transformed the brand from one struggling to find a showroom to fending off multiple requests for representation.
What is a lookbook?
A lookbook is an optional marketing tool used to creatively showcase a brand’s overall vision and is used to entice editors and buyers. Since a line sheet is more structured and limited as to what you can do creatively, a lookbook is a great way to show your brand identity. Lookbooks are primarily made up of editorial or magazine-style images and less product information. But again, every brand is different! Often bloggers appreciate having lookbook images to use in their posts, as opposed to more traditional product shots.
While both lookbooks and line sheets are highly valuable tools, if you have to choose just one, start with a line sheet. Even with a line sheet you can add creative images, a great cover photo, and choose typefaces that make it a little more appealing. Essentially this is the tool that both editors and buyers will be using.
Ready to create a line sheet or lookbook? Here’s what you’ll need.
1. An inspiration board
Similar to the collages designers put together designing a collection, an inspiration board for your photo shoot will help you clarify your vision. Pull images of models, places, colors and poses that you like and you’ll soon realize that you’re already half-way done.
2. A professional model
As mentioned, your product photography has the potential to capture an editor’s interest or get quickly passed over. This is not the place to skimp on budget. Similarly, the right model can make or break a look book, line sheet or catalogue, so work with a professional model represented by an agency. I cannot stress how important it is to set aside a budget for this.
3. Style information for each piece
Include style information (style name/number, color, price) so that editors can easily identify the pieces within your collection. For a line sheet, simple poses or products shot against a white background work best.
4. Small file size
Your digital look book, line sheet or catalogue should be a PDF under 5MB. Do not send word documents, which can appear unprofessional, or TIFF files, which can impede delivery and are a pain for an editor to work with.
5. Contact information on every page
Make sure your contact information is easy to find, and include not only your email but a phone number and social accounts. Many editors have mentioned to me that the front page is best, so it can be a good idea to put the emphasis on the front page, and then add in contact info as a footer on each additional page.
Ready to do grow your brand?
If you’re a designer ready to create product photography that will wow editors (or a PR agency looking for a photography partner), I’d love to hear from you! Be sure to ask about the package I’ve put together just for PR Couture readers.
Written by Carmel Samiri
My focus over the past eight years has been dedicated to exploring new and creative ways to help fashion and lifestyle brands develop their identity and expand their business. I specialize in art direction, photography, storyboards, look books, graphic design, brand identity, media kits, marketing strategies and print production.