Everything You Need For Your Photo and Prop Styling KitSep 27, 2023
We are talking everything Photo and Prop Styling Kit ~ how you arrive, pack and prepare for photo and prop styling assignments to look like a complete professional photo stylist. There is more to your Photo and Prop Styling Kit than just your tools and products. You need to be mindful of what you use to carry everything to your styling assignments to the ways that make you stand out as a professional and polished Photo and Prop Stylist. Your Kit and the contents have to make you effective and efficient. HOW you arrive to your assignment matters in addition to "what's in your Styling Kit".
First, before we chat the inside, contents of your Kit, we have to talk about the actual (outside) of your Kit, how you arrive to your assignments and how to set up your photo styling "work" station.
** I do lifestyle photo and prop styling, so the suggestions in this post cover the needs of interior home, tabletop prop, wardrobe and food styling. **
YOUR ARRIVAL TO THE STYLING ASSIGNMENT:
Brand Your Organizational Items. I always “brand” organization products with my name and logo. Specifically, I brand my garment bags (if you do wardrobe) and large plastic containers with both my company color and my name and logo.
Shopping Cart Gives You Professional Appearance. I use a shopping cart when bringing items into the photo set or on location. When doing studio staff stylist assignments and long term assignments where I am arriving on set from doing some shopping, I use reuseable black shopping bags. I do not arrive to the photography set with store plastic shopping bags from stores.
Prop and Drop Assignments. Sometimes, I do what is called "Prop and Drop", so I want all the containers I bring (& leave) at clients to be branded with my company logo and name. Prop and Drop is when you are not doing the actually styling on set, but you drop off props to the photo studio or on location and the studio does the styling. (This is oftentimes, because a Photo or Prop Stylist is not in the budget for the project.) Sidebar to this: I will prop and drop for a client, but I request that they do not give me styling credit. I don't know how it will be styled and it's actually not styled by me.
Set a Professional, Polished Tone. Everything I use in my business is in one color ~ black. (Black is just my preference.) I feel that black is a great, professional look, but you can use your brand business color as well. (Also, black hides some of the "wear and tear" we experience "lugging" our Styling Kit, Shopping Carts, Garment Bags ~ everywhere.)
Below links are not affiliate links. Items are what I use for my business and I am sharing what I use to help you with your business.
Train Case. This is actually a makeup case used by professional Makeup Artists, but I use for my Kit. Train cases are available by many supplies as well as on Amazon (search for "rolling train case".)
Shopping Cart. I use a collapsable shopping cart when I bring items into the Photo Studio for 2 reasons (1) it holds alot and I don't have to make several trips and (2) you look polished, professional and organized. I get items like this at The Container Store.
Fitted Box Pleat Tablecloth. I love a "box pleat" tablecloth because unlike a standard tablecloth, a box pleat goes all the way to the floor, so you can "hide" any supplies and tools UNDER the table and the table remains clean looking and organized. Also, I get polyester fabric because it has less wrinkles. (You don't want wrinkles.)
Luggage. (Matching) I now use Beistravel. I like that they have great quality with alot of matching accessories. (This gives you a completely polished, organized and cohesive professional look.) I bring my laptop for extended assignments because oftentimes I'm sourcing on set for the upcoming days inside the Photo Studio, during breaks. So, for my laptop, I got the Work Tote in both Black and Beige, because I love it so much! (I got the larger size. It fits my laptop and alot more.)
Garment Bag. (Branded with my name and logo) I have several garment bags because when I'm carrying in wardrobe to a photo shoot, I want everything to match and to have enough for all the wardrobe. These do not have to be expensive. I have very light weight plastic ones. It's the organization and cleanliness that counts, not if they are high quality.
Reuseable Shopping Bags. (again, all one color) To the point made with the Garment Bag, these bags are light fabric, not expensive ~ but they all match. When I shop, I use these instead of coming into the assignment with a bunch of plastic bags from the stores.
Large Plastic Containers. (Branded with my name and logo) When I have a big assignment and have to bring in alot of items into the photo studio or on location, I use the large plastic containers and I have large sticker with my name and company name on them.
** Also, I do alot of borrowing from brands for my photo shoots. (With all types of items from homeware, furniture, wardrobe.) Brands will send items to me, so I unpack them from the boxes they came in into Large Plastic Containers ~ so everything looks organized. If it's a huge assignment, I will have the brand items sent directly to the Photography Studio or the location we are doing photo shoot.
Garment Rack. (if you do wardrobe) This is how I handle the garment rack situation. The photographer or photo studio may have a rack for you to use, (Most commercial photographers do.) but I like to be completely self sufficient when I begin to work with a client. (I want to be known as completely prepared.) When I continue to work for the same client over and over, I will use their studio rack.
Origami (Foldable) Shelves. Ok ~ I LOVE these so much! I bring these to assignments, when I have very limited space to have my Kit, props and items I need for the photo shoot. It's skinny and vertical ~ so it's really a space saver and I can put alot of items on it. I don't bring this to every assignment. I use these primarily when I have large assignment, where I have to set up a "styling work station" for myself. (& it's great to travel with because it easily folds right up!)
Clothing Wardrobe Hangers. (Joy Magnaro) I use these hangers because they are slim and thin so I can fit more clothing on the rack and they are velvet, so clothing will stick to hanger and not fall off. I have black, but they have SO many colors ~ you can select your brand colors. Having continuity of your brand color is a great thing. People remember colors and associate them with you and your company.
If you want to know the products, tools, methods and the "how to tips" of my 20+ year in the photo and prop styling business, I have a 1 hour Photo Styling Kit Video (& Checklist) in our Business of Photo Styling Shop. I show you all the tools and products I use and how I arrive to assignments and how I organize "my space" and Kit while on set. We cover it all!
You can get this video and other products in our Business of Styling Shop. Our mission is to organize, prepare and protect your photo and prop styling business.
FREE Business of Photo Styling Guides to help with your Styling Business! Check them our in our Resource Library.