The most common questions I get from aspiring stylists are regarding the styling process so I decided to do a break down of my process from start to finish. Notice I italicized “my”, because every stylist has a nuanced process but I feel this is pretty standard, so break your notepad out and let’s get started:
The prep process
- First thing’s first: I talk to the photographer/producer about style direction and get the mood board. The mood board is a collage of inspiration images that tells me what type of clothing/shoes/accessories or general vibe the shoot is going for.
(Mood boards from my past shoots)
2.Then I gather all of the model information from the photographer as I can; height, sizes, measurements (if available). Measurements are important because dress sizes don’t tell the full story. For example- I did a shoot and the model was a size 4 but I didn’t know she was a double D bust so needless to say a typical sample size top did not fit her well. Ever since then I always ask for the measurements to get a clear idea of what I’m workin with.
3.Based off of the mood board/sizes, I look through my contacts to see which showrooms carry the type of styles I need to achieve the look that fits the vibe of the board. Next I start emailing PR showrooms and designers to make appointments to get everything I need for the shoot. Every showroom carries different styles. I have go-to showrooms for streetwear, showrooms just for gowns, showrooms for shoes and accessories, etc so that’s the importance of a good board because I’ll know exactly where to go.
4. Now it’s the fun part-getting to pull (pull meaning get the clothes, click below for a quick stylist lingo review)
5 .Once I have all my pulls in the studio I take photos of everything and put the pics in folders organized by showroom and date if I wasn’t sent a pull sheet (basically a list of the clothes/accessories I borrowed from the showroom, sent by the showroom) .
This seems daunting after long days of pulling, but what's even more stressful is trying to figure out which black bodysuit goes back to which showroom if you didn't make notes.
Pull sheet example:
6.After that, I style out/create looks according to the mood board. Some stylists style when they get on-set-I’m too Type A for that. I have to have everything organized and in order beforehand so I know exactly which looks we’re doing and already have all accessories and shoe options picked out. It also saves a lot of time!
The day of the shoot
1. When I get to set, I unload all clothes, shoes, accessories and organize everything in order it's being shot. Every stylist has their own method of organization but my e-commerce background taught me that this is the most efficient way. Some stylists for example organize all shoes by color, or by style, etc.
After everything is unloaded you’re going to steam everything to perfection so clothing appears perfectly wrinkle-free on camera (plus it creates less work for the photographer during post-production).
I always make sure I have my kit on hand in case clothes have to be pinned to fit the model in a way that's more flattering or if I have to double stick tape something into place. Find more about what goes into your styling kit here.
Watch me behind the scenes of my editorial photoshoot:
When the photoshoot is all done, it's time to organize all clothing and take them back to their respective showrooms. Check for any stains, smells, missing buttons, broken zippers, you get the gist. Respect the clothes if you want to stay on the showrooms good side. If it was a super hot day and the model was sweating, take it to the dry cleaners. Don't be that person that think it's going to slide and the showrooms won't notice. They absolutely will.
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