How to Prepare Wardrobe For a Shoot on Location

Over the years I’ve worked extensively in Los Angeles in locations where there is no way to use a “home base” trailer, changing room, or even a car to work out of. So I’ve learned to get really resourceful.

By Marc Troy

I’ve learned that it is important to anticipate what variables I might be dealing with the day of the shoot. I always take the opportunity to scout the location if I have time before the shoot. This really helps me to map out what I will need to prepare for. Especially beach shoots (which are so many of my LA jobs). So let me share with you my secrets!

First of all, I have found that if the job calls for eight looks, I come prepared with twelve fully styled outlooks. Pre-steaming and packing each look really well so they are “ready to be shot” upon arrival. Here’s why: The beach has wind, sand, water, and intense sunlight. These unpredictable variables will inevitably dictate the flow of the shoot. The wind will affect not only the hairstyle but what fabrics can be shot. Wind can be very useful for scarves, big gown skirts, kaftans, etc. but can be a real nightmare for hats, certain jewelry, and lightweight tailored garments. So options are a very good idea!


If it’s windy, you’ll have sand to deal with as well so you’ll want to avoid working with extremely delicate fabric. Also, the texture of sand will determine the shoe options you have. If the photographer or creative director wants the model to utilize the ocean, then it’s important to make sure the garments can handle water and more specifically, salt water, without getting ruined! The sun can be your best friend for lighting but if the model has sensitive eyes it can turn into a miserable day quickly. So it’s a good idea to have sunglasses on set even if they are used only in-between shots!


This is a March editorial I styled for Collective Magazine done in Malibu beach with photographer Anthony Elgort, makeup artist Riku Campo, hair stylist Eric Sebbag, and Model Sierra Reed. Eric and I decided that a textured hair style would be best for the editorial. It worked out well because he didn’t have the option of working with heat tools since we didn’t have electricity! Anthony always likes the “no makeup” makeup look and with a face like Sierra’s no one put up a fight. I’ve worked with Anthony many times over the years so I learned that his editorials are always about the girl. So, for wardrobe I chose weighted textures that would still move with her and the wind (if we had it) and shape her silhouette while depicting her as the confident, adventurous, sensual and free spirited woman. We got lucky that day and we got an overcast day with a light breeze. This made it easy to shoot just about everything we wanted. The one thing you may notice is that you only see one pair of shoes in this editorial. A really high heel with an architectural platform on the front to give Sierra a solid base and enough of a heel to work with. Even though I had about 20 pairs of shoes with me that day, the sand was very wet so I quickly made a decision to go with wardrobe that could make sense barefoot instead of reusing the same shoe over and over again (I try to avoid doing that at all costs). It killed me not to use all my beauties but it worked out best and in the end it was the best decision for the shoot.

Being prepared to go with the flow is so important for being productive when mother nature gets involved. Bring your creativity and everything you need to execute on a whim and you’ll have great success with your location shoots!

Ryan Halltodo, author