There are a ton of options for dresses for photoshoots. As a photoshoot stylist, I’ve used them all! But, the most surefire way to wear the best dress for you photoshoot is to…rent one! Rental dresses are the ultimate way to take your final images to the next level. But, let’s have a chat about what renting a dress actually entails. This post may contain affiliate links to some of the shops.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of renting a dress for your photoshoot
There are advantages of renting a dress for your photoshoot but they come with some drawbacks.
We will discuss this more in detail below, but here’s a quick list.
- Strict Timeframes
- Shipping and Returns
- Finding a reputable vendor
The Costs Associated with Renting a Dress for you Photoshoot
Cost is both an advantage and disadvantage. The most obvious disadvantage of renting a dress for a photoshoot is that you pay for the dress you don’t keep. Which may seem like a waste of money. But, this can also be a plus in my opinion. If you don’t hold on to a dress that you will most likely never use again, you can say hello to more closet space!
And here’s the plus. When you rent a dress for a photoshoot you are only paying a fraction of the price of the actual dress. Some rental dresses cost over $1,000 to purchase but rent for $70-100. Therefore, you are getting an exponentially more expensive dress to use for your photoshoot that will give you amazing results, at only a fraction of the cost. So, if you can’t afford that $1,000 dress for your photoshoot you can still get the same results as someone who can.
The Strict Timeframes associated with renting a dress for a photoshoot
Normally, when you buy a dress for a photoshoot you have enough time to make sure it’s a good pick. You have plenty of time to get the coordinating shoes and accessories. And enough time to make sure the dress fits you well. Not to mention, coordinate everyone’s outfits in real life and not just using pictures from the internet.
When you rent a dress for your photoshoot, you have a more limited timeframe. You have to coordinate everyone’s outfits with pictures alone to be ready in time. The rental dress usually arrives a couple to a few days before you photoshoot. And it must be returned within a day or two afterwards. So, that is your window of opportunity to: try the dress on, make sure it fits and prep it for your photoshoot. If you don’t like the way the dress looks on you, you have to have another option available just in case. I recommend having a backup dress that you can return if need be.
Rental dresses are usually made to fit most bodies, with universal sizing and adjustable waists. (Making them great options for a photographers client closet, but that’s for another blog article.) Now, that does not guarantee that you will love the way the dress looks on you, so you’ve got to be careful while searching for a rental to make sure it will compliment your body shape. When you consider the lines of the dress before renting, and match those with you body shape, you are more likely to make a great pick!
Shipping and Returns for Rental dresses
Shipping is something you may or may not have to pay when you buy a dress for a photoshoot instead of renting one, as most shops offer free shipping at some price point. Many dress rental companies include the shipping and return fees within the rental fee, so those vendors are a good choice. Some only include the initial shipping in the rental fee, so you have to pay the return shipping yourself.
Rental dresses for photoshoots are often pretty heavy, especially embellished fabrics so the return shipping fees will vary. Look for companies that include shipping costs in the rental fees to make the process easier. Companies usually have access to discounted shipping fees as a business.
Finding a Reputable Vendor for rental dresses for photoshoots
It’s important to choose a vendor you can trust and that has high quality rental dresses for photoshoots. I’m going to share some companies that I have personally used and some well-known respected vendors in the space with you. But, you can also find many options on Etsy, just make sure to contact the owner and make sure they are easy to work with before paying for your rental dress.
Places to Rent Dresses for Photoshoots
At first glance it looks like you can only buy the dresses that Style My Shoot Boutique offers. But, if you send a message to the owner asking to rent a specific dress, she can let you know if it is available. I had a particularly great time working with the owner, she was quick to answer, and sent me my dress in plenty of time for my photoshoot.
The delivery and return process was super easy. Delivery of my dress was included in the rental fee. She even included a slip to be worn underneath the very sheer fabric of the dress. I was responsible for the return shipping, which ended up being about $12 at UPS.
In addition to the easy rental process and great customer service, I appreciate that her model photos include women of different sizes. I am 5’0 and I don’t have legs for days, so it was nice to see the dresses she offers on women that were more petite. It made deciding on a dress that much easier because I could envision myself in it easier. I wore a rental dress from Style My Shoot Boutique for my most recent photoshoot with Lucki Malloy Photography and you can see the results below.
If you need a dress for your daughter for a photoshoot Rainey’s Closet is a great option. I was so so so happy with my daughters dress when we rented from Rainey’s. They have an option to get the accessories added to your rental, and I completely recommend doing so. The accessory package adds a lot to the dress! The cape and the headband that came with her dress added just enough sparkle.
The rental process with Rainey’s Closet was also very simple. The checkout process was easy, everything arrived on time, and the bag that the dress and accessories were sent to me in was reusable and included the return shipping. It could not have been easier! My daughter wore this dress for our latest photoshoot with Lucki Malloy Photography and this is how it looked in photos. It was great for twirling!
Reclamation is a well known dress rental company and a leader in the space. Jessica Simpson even wore a Reclamation lace dress for her Baby Shower. Reclamation has endless options to chose from, and you rent their dresses through Kindred Soul. I have not personally rented from Reclamation…yet, but it’s on my list and they are a great option.
I got really close to renting a dress from Utah Gowns for my last photoshoot. The dress I originally chose from Utah Gowns just didn’t work with the change of venue. But, they have some amazing options! I am still planning on renting from them in the future.
Etsy is my go to for really different pieces, and Flutter Dresses has some great options for photoshoots. From robes to one-size-fits most dresses, you will find something really unique for your photoshoot. Their Pastel Dress is one of my fav’s!
Final Thoughts on Renting a Dress for a Photoshoot
So, if you read through this article and you still are set on renting a dress for your photoshoot, then yay! I’m so happy for you! Not only is the process super fun, but you will be so happy with your images!
If you do rent a dress after reading this then I’d love to see the results. You can find me on Instagram @thekristincruz. And if you have any questions along the way feel free to send me a DM! I love chatting all things “dresses for photoshoots”!