What is a LookBook?
LookBooks and Catalogs introduce your product line or new season's collection to press and buyers. Catwalk designers usually take the image for the lookbook from catwalk photographs. They are often presented as an A5 wire-bound glossy booklet, with 30-60 looks from the show, one photograph to a page.
The lookbook must have clear photographs of all your key products, with reference numbers, contact details and website address. If you include a recommended retail price (RRP) for each garment as well as a description of the product you can use the lookbook as a small sale catalogue for consumers.
You could keep your printing cost down by selecting few very strong images that give the essence of your collection and putting the rest on your website. However, busy journalists may just choose from the limited selection in your lookbook.
Photography is especially important in a business like fashion where aesthetics are everything.
Developing a relationship with a photographer you trust is extremely important. Quite often you will be working to tight deadlines for shoots and you need to work someone you can offer advice on what will work best and be most cost-effective. You may find the photographer can also help with things such as sourcing models, location, hair stylist and make-up artist.
Planning a Fashion Shoot.
Before you start, answer there simple question. What is the purpose of the images? Who are they for? A lookbook (aimed at buyer) needs to show the details, print and silhouette of your designs, while an add or editorial (aimed at consumer) needs to tell a story and create an atmosphere.
The key ingredient are: great clothes, a beautiful model and a talented photographer.
Planning and preparation: Have all your garments / designes ready (ironed, pressed and steamed), confirm with everyone in the team a few days before the shoot date, bring your inspiration, research, tear-sheets and mood-board. Hair and make-up take an average one to three hours. Make a call-shit (all members of the team, contact details, location address, time and other info) and send it to everyone on the team. Example of a call-sheet you can download here.
The team: Photographer, model, location, lighting, stylist (unless you style yourself), hair stylist, make-up artist, props and so on.
Photographer: Fined the one who can best illustrate your collection. Start by looking at photographer portfolio
Look for someone who suits your brand and collection (an amazing product photographer is perhaps NOT the ideal fashion photographer). Ask to meet up and have a look through the portfolio (every experienced fashion photographer will have one). On the shoot the photographer is often the creative director so you need a good personal vibe.
Charges / fees: There is no set rate for commercial photography. A photographer's fee varies depending on the use of the image:
- Where the images will be displayed (packaging, website etc)
- How long they will be displayed for ( a longer licence will have a higher fee)
- Territory (UK, US, etc.).
Licence to use / copyright: The copyright in photographs always resides with the photographer.
Story: Contemporary fashion photography is more about the photograph than about the clothes. A series of images represents the dream and desires of your clients, and it is drives by lighting, pose and story. The series of images allows you to develop characters and introduce the clothes.
Model: Make sure a model's features match your collection. Contact the agencies beforehand, check prices and available models - the best ones are unlikely to do jobs on a small budget, so make sure you cast them, meet them and see them in your clothes (if it's possible) before you make a decision.(that way you can check fittings). When you see a model wearing your clothes well it will click immediately.
Book a 'second option' in case of no-show. Brief your model on the kind of person she or he is to become in the shoot (refer to your story).
The model's fee is based in similar parameters as the photographer's fee.
Here is the list of some model agencies in London that I would recommend.
List 1: Model fees for a new face (print and web lookbook) between £500 and £1000 plus 20% agency fee. Fees possibly could go slightly lower deepening on the brand/girl) for one year web and print usage worldwide. (for Jan 2014)
List 2: Model fees for a new face (print and web lookbook) about £350+20% agency fee and mainboard would be £500+20% agency fee. (Fees possibly could go slightly lower deepening on the brand/girl) for one year web and print usage worldwide. (for Jan 2014)
Ensure that the model signes a model release form, allowing you to use the images for your particular purpose. This is the contract (if you override this arrangement - for example, by hiring a model for a lookbook, then using the images for a campaign - you must inform the agent and pay the additional fees).
- Natural light - realistic, soft
- Flash-lighting - sculptural, fantasy
- Use your contacts here - owners of many good locations know they are good and will charge you(try to avoid a trade of images, because of the location uses the images for promotion it is you and your photographer who will get in trouble)
Studio shoot is preferable so you are not dependable on weather condition, you have access to electricity, bathroom facilities etc.
Hair stylist and make-up artist: These specialists should add to your story, and the character of the model. Arrange a meeting, view portfolios and see if they are confident about working on your shoot. Sometimes hair and make-up artist can be the same person which always work better for a smaller shoots as it is easier to organise and can be more cost effective.
After the shoot: Some digital photographers will give the client a CD with preview images directly after the shoot, while other may post a selection of images on a website. Ones the images have been selected, they will be taken through the digital workflow. Any professional fashion image are then retouched. Usually some amount of retouched images are included in photographers fee, if not make sure you have limited your selection as retouching is expensive.
Make sure you tell the photographer what you need the images for (website or poster etc) as the images will be set up differently depending on the output.
Tips for Printing Lookbooks
Images: The printer will always produce a far better lookbook when using very high resolution images.
'Fashion' printers focus on the garment rather than the model. The printer's job is to replicate the garments as closely as possible in printed format. This becomes increasingly technical when printing on different substrates of paper or board.
You can enhance the images, depending on the type of material used to print on uncoated, coated matt, coated silk or coated gloss finishes.
Before going to print, always ensure you have a digital proof from the printer as a final safety check. The colour digital proof is 80 to 90 percent accurate in terms of colour balance and is also good for checking text accuracy and image positioning.
Materials: The majority of lookbooks are printed on a uniform boardweight throughout, such as 300 gsm or 350 gsm. This will also keep the cost down. Ask your printer to provide you with a free 'mock-up' or unprinted dummy of your chosen lookbook.
Enhancing the lookbook further can be done by using specialist finishes such as matt, silk or gloss lamination on the paper or board; foil blocking in myriad colours; or debossing or embossing the material to give it a sunken or raised feel for a specific logo or piece of type.
Dimensions and binding are down to personal choice as well as cost. Printing, then creating the board into panels, then folding them into a 'pamphlet' type of finish is the most economical option. More flamboyant, costly lookbooks may be stitched or bound like a magazine.
Quantity: Always print just enough, to avoid surplus stock the following season. Printers will quote for batches of 500 or 1,000 so you can see the price variations.
For any Lookbook / Catalog Shoot enquiry or to get a quote please
do not hesitate to contact me mail(at)kuletski.com