In my opinion, every photographer who works with people or products should think about styling. I am a fashion photographer, thats why styling is one of my main interests.
So what exactly is Styling? If I speak about Styling I always mean clothes. Clothes are essential for a great photo, may it be a simple portrait setting, a business shoot or a fashion editorial.
There are professional stylists, putting together concepts, doing deep researches on various topics and creating stunning head-to-toe outfits. This job is fun and very interesting if you are into fashion.
1. Put together your wardrobe
There are some styles that are seen as timeless and "classic". The overall concept that is characteristic for all "classics" is the QUALITY. It is something you can keep for years, even decades because it will last. Obviously you are not able to have all pieces in all sizes, thats why you always pick size 36 (classic model fit).
Handpicked classics every photographer needs to know and have in their styling wardrobe:
black turtleneck pullover
little black dress
suits in all colours (blazer & bottoms)
nude shirt / white shirt
some special pieces like ruffled blouses (good for beauty shots)
Personally, I love to shoot my clients and models in black turtleneck pullovers, because then I can really focus the attention on the face and the personality. Classics reveal elegance and authenticity.
2. put together fashion and advertising shoots with a deeper concept by knowing the history of style
Be aware of which iconic clothes were trendy in different eras of history:
1910 - Edwardian Corset - accentuation of women's breasts and slim waist
20ies - Flapper Dress, straight cut comfortable dresses - abandonment of the female shape.
This look was mainly created by Coco Chanel and termed "garconne".
30ies - puff sleeves - curves of the female body were enhanced again.
40ies - utility dresses (midi dress), high waist bikinis
50ies - the poodle skirt (knee-length skirt of rock'n'roll dancers), cateye glasses,
60ies - pillbox hats (Jackie Kennedy), fringe
70ies - hippie culture, the crop top, bell bottoms,
80ies - punk & glamour business look - shoulder pads, oversized sunglasses
90ies - floral dresses, plaid (Clueless), platform shoes,
The 00s - velour track suits, UGG boots, underwear as outerwear, statement jewellery
today - almost all trends are based on retro classics
You could for example base your next shoot on the fashion trends of the 20ies with a modern twist. Copying the time's style identically will not be a stunner these days, because everybody already knows it. Always try to think about adding the right amount of innovation to your work.
3. Work ahead of the pulse of (fashion)time and get published more
We live in a fast-changing world with even fashion ad style trends that even change faster. That's why we need to be interested and totally up to date with our shooting-styles.
How to do that?
Take a look at fashion weeks that happen yearly all around the globe. The biggest and most influential ones are in London, NYC, Milan and Paris. You can easily access them online via VOGUE. Pick the trends you can identify with the most and plan some shoots based on them. If you are using the right outfits and brands your work will be much more likely to be published.
all images © Vic Schwarz