What I did when I started a glossy lifestyle magazine with no budget was this:
I approached B-List celebrities who were looking to raise or keep their profile out there and asked if they would do a fashion shoot for the cover of my magazine.
‘Hell, yes!’ was the usual response. Think about it, these are ordinary people wanting to make it in their area or be seen as having made it. They need cool coverage for their portfolio and to keep their image out there, so the idea of wearing designer clothes on the front of a magazine was wonderful to them – wouldn’t you do it too?!
I had TV presenters, actresses, models, Miss World hopefuls and an actual Miss World (Rosanna Davis) all agree at the drop of a hat.
Once I had them in agreement, I then approached a photographer and asked if they would do a photo shoot of ‘X’ for the magazine, including the cover shot. These were up and coming photographers, whom I knew could take good creative shots and who knew about lighting.
This was mutually beneficial to us both. They would get magazine cover shots for their website, and would get full credit in the magazine – free publicity for their business – and they would get experience in dealing with celebrities. Okay, they might have been B-List but Bs can turn into As and that’s pretty cool for a photographer to have in their portfolio!
So I have my model, my photographer – then I pick a cool location. A hotel, museum, library. It’s important to have an indoor base – you can do outdoor shots from there but you need a base. Hotels or manor houses are great for this.
You approach their marketing person and say you are looking for a location to do a fashion shoot with X for the cover of your magazine and you would like to use their venue.
In exchange for a room for the day you will give them full credit in the magazine (if pushed you could also give them a full-page ad). Why will they say yes? They get seen as a venue which is used as a trendy place to have fashion photo shoots. They can use it in some of their PR which is beneficial to you, as they will put your magazine on a pedestal of magnificence!
The room is important – it gives somewhere for the celebrity/model to change, have make-up and hair done, and to relax between shoots. Any hotels I have used gave us the penthouse suite or best suite in the place because they wanted the hotel to be seen at its best. They often have special features in the room such as balconies or amazing furniture which are great spots for photos.
Once you have your location you can set a suitable date with them. Check back with your model and your photographer and boom! you have a photo shoot date.
I approached hairstylists and make-up artists the same way as the photographers – they get the kudos for having their work featured in a magazine and I get a free team.
Next the clothes! Approach the PR person for one of the big posh designer stores and tell them you are doing a fashion shoot with X for the cover of the magazine with a 8-page spread inside focusing on (Topic – summer, Christmas, hats, whatever) and would they like to include some of their stuff. Again ‘Hell, yeah!’ is usually the answer. In exchange, you credit each piece in the photo to the store, with the price (this is information your reader will want anyway). You could also approach individual designers. If you are using several you may need a stylist on board to ensure everything looks cool and funky.
You will need the model’s/celebrity’s clothes and shoe sizes and then it’s time to go shopping. This is the fun bit! This consists of going into the store on the day of the shoot and picking lots of gorgeous stuff you would like to feature. Of course, the stores have a strict clock-out and clock-in system whereby everything taken out has to be logged when leaving and coming back, but it’s still fun!
And voilà, you now have amazing photos, of amazing people in amazing places wearing amazing stuff in your magazine.
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