As a photographer, I’ve found it useful to start thinking like a stylist. Putting on your stylist hat is an important part of your session, especially when you have a vision in mind for the final product. So many clients who bring their children and families to me for sessions benefit greatly from my help in helping them decide what to wear and bring for a session.
The subject of what to wear always comes up when planning a session and my advice usually surprises them. “Don’t try to be too matchy” and “khakis and a blue shirt are so yesterday’s Gap ad” usually surprise them (and make them sweat a little). Instead, textures are excellent. Patterns you wouldn’t expect. Layers to ad interesting dimensions. Accessories, accessories, accessories. And props.
Here are 5 thoughts on being a stylist for your session:
- If you are so inclined, go to their home and help them find a couple great outfits. This will help you as much as it will help them because you might get an idea for the direction of the session which you didn’t have before. And if you don’t already know your client well, visiting them will help you get to know their personalities and that will help your comfort level in the session immensely.
- Think about your location and tell them about the colours to avoid. If they’re coming to the studio where the background is white or black, tell them to avoid those colours unless they’re going for a floating head look.
- I once wrote a post called ‘Dress to Match the Sofa‘ which I share with my clients before their session. In it, I encourage them to think about the final product and where it will be displayed in their home. Something we sometimes, surprisingly, overlook.
- Bring your own accessories. Part of my kit is a bag of pearl necklaces, sunglasses, hats, scarves, costume jewellery, etc. Bold, eye-catching accessories can make an ordinary photo extraordinary.
- Encourage your client to buy something new for the session. A new outfit that they (or their children) chose and love will boost their confidence and help them feel like a model for the day. Go shopping with them if you must and if they don’t find styling natural, tell them to find an outfit in a catalog or on a mannequin and just buy the whole thing. There won’t be any doubts how to put the outfit together.
Paying extra attention to things which we sometimes consider superfluous to the actual photographing part of a session will help everyone be more comfortable with the goal and the outcome.
What about you? Do you ever style your sessions?