I consider styling a form of art. And as an artist, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the final images from a well-styled photo shoot. What most people don’t realize is how much work goes into planning the concept, color palette, selecting the models and scouting the location. Fortunately, most photo shoots do not require a professional stylist, but it is still helpful to keep a few styling tips in mind when selecting the wardrobe. Think Outside the Box. When looking for inspiration, many people limit themselves to what’s already been done. As a stylist, I am always looking for inspiration from any source imaginable….my neighbors cobblestone sidewalk, the bright teal swing set at a nearby park, the rusty metal bench outside my favorite coffee shop or an elaborate arched doorway at a local museum. Open your eyes to your everyday surroundings and you will be surprised at what you find! Use these ideas when planning your shoot location and color palette.
Mix and Match. This is my favorite element in photography – the unexpected! Play with the juxtaposition of elements when choosing your location and attire. Mix old with new, refined with rugged, shiny with dull, ethereal with abrasive, modern with vintage…you get the idea. For example, consider throwing on pearls with a t-shirt, pair a sequin top with worn denim or go barefoot with a flowing dress.
Color and Texture. Bold colors and yummy textures will bring life to your photos. Work with your photographer in advance to discuss the background colors and how they will play off your wardrobe choices. For example, bright yellows, pinks and oranges pop nicely against an ocean backdrop. And if you are going with black and white photos, it is especially important to choose drastically contrasting colors so that they read well on camera. And equally important is texture. Adding texture gives an added element of interest. A few ideas: shiny belt, straw hat/fedora, linen pants, silk scarf, wool sweater or metallic accessories.
And lastly (but most importantly), keep it real! For families, weddings, engagement pictures and graduation shoots…. remember to look like yourself. You want your personality to come through in the images so make sure to breathe life into what you choose to wear. If your son wants to throw on his converse sneakers with his seersucker pants and bow tie…so be it! In ten years you will look back at that photo and remember his unique style.