How did styling become apart of my business and everyday life, one might ask?
Interestingly, I did not go to art or design school to acquire the knowledge I have regarding photography and styling. Rather, I jumped right into the creative industry, learning from the pros, and getting first hand experience through many styled shoots, and one too many iced coffees. I received my degree in English Literature, so it’s no secret that I’m passionate about stories. I love analyzing characters, common themes, and the beauty of the words that make up a given prose. Although I made the decision not to involve English Lit. directly in my career, I have been able to utilize the skills I learned in college to help benefit both my styling and photography!
I have discovered that whether I’m styling a small product, or an entire dinner table full of flatware and florals, each scene tells a story. Highlighting the product or prop is crucial, and that’s where the stylist can come in to alter or tweak things to create a specific aesthetic, in order to tell an individual story. For example, I just received a gorgeous earth tone necklace from 31 Bits to style and snap photos of for their upcoming launch. The piece is beautiful by itself, but it is my job to bring out the best in the product by creating a flowing scene. Rather than shoot the necklace on a simple white backdrop, I chose a warm colored marble countertop, a few air plants to peek in the sides of the scene, and some tangled twine to add movement. The desert plants, the warm color of the marble, and the brown twine mimic and compliment the earth tones of the necklace, not to take away from it, but to support and conjure it’s natural appeal. Can’t you just picture yourself poolside at the ACE in Palm Springs wearing that beauty?! I’m mentally there already! I have always loved styling, but I didn’t know it had a name.
A while back Design Love Fest hired me to model in a photo shoot, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled! Modeling has always been an art form I’ve valued, but I was even more interested to see how Bri Emery worked as a creative director. That shoot revealed to me some of the realities of professional styled shoots. Observing how Bri directed me, studying the mood board she made, as well as the overall aesthetic of the studio, allowed me to get a glimpse into the creative industry. Following that experience, I interned for The Shift Creative for six months, which allowed me to shadow and learn from another stylist and designer, Alexis Andra. I was able to be apart of many styled shoots, photographing and styling her events! This gave me first hand experience in how a business is run, connections are made, and how doable it is to set creative goals and go forward with confidence! Seeing Bri and Alexis do their thing, gave what I already loved to do, a name.
The great thing about styling is that it’s not just for the pros. Anyone can style, anytime! Whether you are throwing a party for your daughter, making some changes to your home interiors, or simply desiring to take some creative snaps for your feed, styling is a skill you can learn and implement into your personal lifestyle. It’s not about restructuring your home, rather it is as easy as adding a bold, pattered throw pillow and a sheep skin to the leather chair you already have. As opposed to painting the wall, add a macrame hanging with some greenery, or an art print you found at that fair trade craftsman shop you love. Just like that, your boring corner can come alive! Styling helps create an aesthetic you love, by just altering or adding to what you already have there (in a matter of minutes most of the time)!
Maybe your home is already the talk of the town, but you are looking at all of the pins of fancy dinner parties or Style Me Pretty’s latest feature and thinking, “there is no way I could do THAT.” Sigh. Girl, you can do that. You may not have every gift that the Event Designer you admire has, but you do have the ability to create something of beauty with the gifts you uniquely possess. Clear off your dining room table, go to the flower market, or simply cut off some eucalyptus from the tree around the corner, and create a table runner of greenery, or put some in random vases or pots you have! Adding fresh elements to your table sets the tone to be more life bringing and inviting. Pull out the dishes you have, add a few little candles, maybe even create little name cards utilizing ripped water color paper and black paint! Bring in some metallics if you want! You may not have those copper tumblers you see everywhere, but Michaels has some affordable copper wire you can use to wrap around your napkins (I did that for my wedding)!
The point is, styling is something you can incorporate into your everyday life. Look at it as a way to create a visual story that reflects your own personality! More than that, this is something you can do in community. Get together with a few friends and plan a pretty shoot or a lovely dinner. Go on a day trip to Joshua Tree or another place you’ve been wanting to go, and why not bring your friend’s rad tent and make floral crowns for a mini shoot? That’s how I got started! Above all, encourage and lift up one another, because we all have creative abilities!
Style, snap, and swoon over what you make together!