Role of a Stylist
a good stylist Will have tO have a talented eye to choose the right clothes for a photoshoot, know how to fit them, and work confidently and happily alongside the rest of the creative team on the day of the shoot. If the clothes don’t work for the intended theme, the photos are unlikely to work either. When choosing your stylist you want to be sure they’re right for the job. For example, a commercial stylist won’t be right for a high-fashion creative shoot, and vice versa.
If you’re just starting out, it’s worth styling your own test shoots. This will give you firsthand experience as a stylist and will help you to understand what styles work in which scenarios.
In my first few years as a photographer I styled most of my photoshoots myself. This isn’t to say I couldn’t use a stylist, but more that I wanted the styling to fit precisely with my vision. I would search for clothes in charity or thrift stores or even on eBay, looking for specific garments to go along with the theme I wanted to shoot.
If you don’t have the option of using a stylist, say for a test shoot, then encourage the models to bring their own clothes. Give them some reference points and themes before the shoot and ask them if they have any clothes in that specific genre. Don’t leave it down to the last minute, however—it will be easier for you and the models if you plan ahead.
On most professional photoshoots (unless there is an art director or somebody controlling the styling), you as the photographer are responsible for overseeing how the stylist is working. It is good practice to be with him or her every step of the way—from handing over
a brief, ensuring visual references are being sent back and forth, and even meeting to pull the clothes and to make a plan of how they’re going to be shot. It’s impossible to be too prepared. The greater the understanding between the photographer and the stylist, the better the shoot will go.
Munish Khanna is a well experienced creative photographer based in Delhi, India
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