Photo Stylists

Published on July 12, 2017

It is mandatory that you have a Photo Stylist with you for every session!  This person will help you get the great expressions Spoiled Rotten Photography is known for and they are a vital part of your operation!

A good Photo Stylist actually runs the show at the photo session.  This person greets the kids, laughs, plays, wipes noses, fluffs skirts, rolls sleeves, adjusts elbows, combs hair, and generally has a lot of fun directing  the kids through each of several traditional poses.  The Photo Stylist’s number one job is to connect with the children.  For this position, find an outgoing, joyful, assertive person who has a natural connection with young children.

Are they Employees or Independent Contractors?

It depends.  Employees are directed and managed by their supervisors.  They are told what to do and how to do it and are provided with the tools to do so.   Independent Contractors must provide their own tools and equipment, have the freedom to set their own schedule, pay their own business expenses, and may perform the same type of work for other businesses.  How they do their job, is generally up to them.

Since the Photo Stylist (once trained) directs much of the operation at the photo session,  we feel they can be treated as independent contractors.  We currently schedule our photo sessions with our schools, and then share that schedule with a pool of Photo Stylists.  Each tell us which days they will work and which days they will not.  They drive their own automobiles and pay their own mileage expenses and are free to work for other photographers.

If you choose to employ your photo stylists as employees, you can have them sign an exclusivity agreement to prevent them from working for other photographers.  Contact your accountant for help with quarterly payroll activities necessary for employees.  All employees are required to fill-out DHS Form  I-9.  and IRS Form W-4, (plus your state’s witholding form) before they start work.

If you choose to employ photo stylists as Independent Contractors, ensure they provide their own tools and equipment, have the freedom to set their own schedule, pay their own business expenses, and perform similar work for other businesses.  Avoid paying contractors as part of your regular employee payroll process.  Pay them on a different schedule.  Use a written agreement to clarify the services the contractor is supposed to undertake, and include a timeline for when they should be completed.  All independent contractors are required to fill-out IRS form  W-9.  before they start work.

Legally, the contract is a key part of establishing a non-employee relationship, though it doesn’t guarantee that the IRS or other agencies will agree that your contractor should not be reclassified as an employee. If the IRS deems an employee is misclassified as a contractor, some states – particularly Colorado and Maryland – can enforce hefty tax penalties on the employer. When in doubt, consult the IRS’s guidelines on the difference between an independent contractor and an employee.   See a sample Photo Stylist Contract Agreement.

Photo Stylist – Sample Job Posting

Spoiled Rotten Photography is looking for an special person to help create beautiful portraits at local schools!  Please submit Resume and Cover Letter to

A Great Photo Stylist (Is this you?):

  • LOVES to work with preschool age children.
  • Creates a genuine connection with children.
  • Has a beautiful heart and the patience to work extended hours with children.
  • Is physically fit and able to bend, squat, and be on their feet for about 5 hours.
  • Has reliable transportation and a manageable commute.

Photo Stylist – Duties and Responsibilities

The photographer relies on the photo stylist to make the clients and children feel at ease and comfortable from the moment they enter the building or space.  The photo stylist is the one who will primarily interact with the children, teachers and possibly parents as preparing for their portrait session.  Photo Stylists talk, play and draw the children’s eyes to the camera for the photographer.  Therefore, it is essential they always be cheerful, friendly, playful and patient.  The Photo-stylist is responsible for managing the label system, helping load and unload the set, and helping set up and break down the set.  They also support the photographer in whatever manner needed.

A Day in the life of a Photo Stylist

Set Up

  • Arrive at school or location.
  • Check in with the photographer & school director.
  • Get any ID required for security, if needed.
  • If the shoot is to take more than one day check to see if the set can be left overnight in your secure location.
  • Find out name and meet the School Helper/Runner
  • Assist in carrying all set items from vehicle to assigned location
  • Set up seasonal set per set design instructions
  • Set up lights per lighting instructions
  • Tape down all cords and flooring to minimize tripping hazards.
  • Plug in extra battery and tell photographer where plugged in
  • Arrange any set accessories (pillows, books, toys, etc.) for easy access
  • Read over Child Information sheets taking note of special instructions, notes about children and parent notes
  • Place stickers, information sheet and blank notebook/paper for sticker placement all together in preparation for check-in and sessions

During Session

  • Greet child as the helper brings them in.
  • LEARN their name and USE it!
  • Read any information or notes on child.
  • Introduce yourself and photographer to children.
  • Get child’s barcode sticker attach to folder or notebook.  Make sure photographer takes a photo of the barcode before photographing the child.
  • Do the “Give Me Five” ice breaker
  • Lead child to the set and position them where you would like them (knees toward the Large Softbox or Main Light Source)
  • Adjust clothing and hair
  • Comb hair if needed (Use a clean comb from Emergency Kit bag for each child – make note of any hair comments from parents (i.e. bow placement, hair part placement, etc.)
  • Check clothes for wrinkles or bunching.  Adjust appropriately.
  • Wipe nose and face to remove any crumbs or crustiness.  Wipes are in the Emergency Kit bag.

Set Break Down and Pack Up

  • Pack all accessories into bags
  • Turn off lights, unplug, and begin disassembly. Pack lights in Alien Bees bags.
  • Pack light stands.
  • Remove any tape holding floor and backdrop in place.  Discard.
  • Lower backdrop and unclip.  Pack clips in large duffel bag.
  • Disassemble backdrop stand and pack.
  • Fold or roll backdrop per instructions.
  • Fold or roll flooring per instructions.
  • Pack all Trick Bag toys. Place any used combs in “Dirty Comb” bag.  Pack up any wipe cases, bobby pins, hairdryer, hairspray, etc. back into Emergency Kit bag.  Discard any used tissues, wipes or trash.


  • Return any moved furniture to its original position.  Leave the room cleaner than when you started!  Take a reference photo with your phone if you need a reference to put room back the way you found it.
  • Recheck room for any other items.
  • Turn off lights. Close door.  Say “Goodbye” and “Thank you” to school director.

Dress Code


  • Spoiled Rotten T-Shirts and logoed wear are preferred
  • A purple shirt is also appropriate.
  • Shirts (or undershirts) must be tucked in!
  • There is a lot of squatting and leaning over going on…


  • Length should be long to Bermuda length
  • Jeans or Khakis are fine… they should be modest and not tight.
  • Tight yoga pants are NOT PERMITTED.


  • Hair should be neat and kept at all times.

Sample Facebook or Other Social Media Add for Photo Stylist/Assistant

Photography assistant/stylist needed. Mostly morning hours 2-3 days a week. Usually 7am – noon. We pay 12.50 (or whatever) an hour.

The photo stylist accompanies photographers to different schools to help set up, get kids to smile, fix clothes, move props, help pose, etc.

Must be super positive, love working with kids, fun loving, patient, able to make goofy faces, in shape (able to be on their feet-squat-bend for several hours) be reliable and have reliable transportation.

Email (email address) f you know someone who would love this fun job!

THEN WHEN THEY EMAIL… send these questions to help you get to the right person for the job.

Hi! Thank you for your interest in the Spoiled Rotten Photography photo-stylist and assistant position starting in August 2016.
* The photo stylist/assistant accompanies photographers to different pre-schools and schools mostly in the greater Huntsville area. They help set up photography equipment and sets, help manage our barcode system, get kids to smile, fix clothes, move props, help pose, wipe noses, and whatever else the photographer needs.
* This position is well suited for an outgoing person with a super positive attitude that loves kids!
* This position is very physically demanding and requires several hours of standing, squatting, bending and being happy throughout.
* This position is for mostly morning hours, usually 7am – noonish, although some afternoon hours are needed.
* Our assistants can work up to 4 days a week, but typically work 2-3 days a week (usually Tues-Fri).
* Compensation is 12.50 an hour.
* Training will be provided.

Now…. if this sounds like fun to you… tell us about you…

First Name

Last Name



Zip Code


Cell Phone

Email Address


Tell me about your temperament and why you want to work with preschool aged children.*

Being a Spoiled Rotten Photography Assistant/Photo-stylist is hard work! And it is physically demanding! Sessions are typically 5 hours… there is a lot of bending, crawling on the floor, squatting etc… Tell me about your fitness level.*

Are you a take-charge person, or would you rather someone tell you what to do, or somewhere inbetween…. explain.*

List days of the week and all hours that you are available to work.*

How many hours a week do you want to work?*

What situations do you have that will take priority over coming to work?*

Do you have reliable transportation?*


Do you like wearing the color purple?*


Other (Please Specify)

Are you willing to submit to a background check?*


How do you calm a crying baby?*

How do you get a toddler to sit on a chair that they do not want to sit on?*

How do you hold a toddler’s attention?*

If you are a current photographer…. list website or social media site for your business.

Are you willing to sign a non-compete agreement stating that you will not start your own school or preschool photography company and that you will not work for another school or preschool photography company?*


List 3 references, include Name, Email, Phone, and Relationship

Background Check Requirement

Every employee or contractor you hire must pass a background check before you allow them to work with children.  We recommend using AAA Credit Screening Services in addition to searching the National Sex Offenders Database.  If your state requires it, you must also validate them through to ensure their legal status in the United States.

How to order background checks:

  1. Have the prospective employee complete the following 2 forms:
  1. Once you have those forms back from the applicant, fill-out the Employer Certification and Order Form.pdf.  The most effective choice is a state-wide criminal history check.  If the prospective employee has lived in multiple states during the past 7 years, you will need to check each state.  Each state check is $27.
  1. Email the 3 forms to “”
  1. Also perform a free check at the National Sex Offender Database.

How to interpret background checks:

Each state has a list of crimes that disqualify a person from working with children in a daycare setting.  While state laws may only apply to daycare and education center employees, Spoiled Rotten Photography is committed to employing only people of the utmost integrity and character.  If a background check reveals any of the following offenses, the prospective employee must be disqualified. These offenses include, but are not limited to:

any felony conviction,



any se x crime,

solicitation of a child by computer or otherwise for the intent of committing a crime,

transmittal of obscene material to a child,

any crime that involves the physical or mental mistreatment of a child or the elderly,

any crime committed against a child,

any crime involving the sale or distribution of a controlled substance,

any report of adult or child abuse or neglect

Your state may include other offenses for which a person may be denied employment in a child-care center.  If you have any questions, please contact us and we will help guide your decision.