Tips for Photo Stylists Working with Photograhers

Just want to share a couple things today about working with photographers.  Although photographers along with creative directors and art directors are your teammates on assignments and we all work collaboratively for the common goal - creating beautiful, inspiring images, there are some guidelines.  Here are just a few:

Learn Basics of Photography

When new and just starting out - you need to have some basic knowledge of photography and terms and continue to learn. (We have Glossary in our Free Resource Library)  I would spend some time and consult with a photographer before going to your first assignment.  (Not the photographer you are working with)  Remember that the photographer you are working with is working for the client as well and would not be able to talk/teach you during assignment.

Read What Photographers Read

Here are a few of my favorites:

Photo District News
How to Photograph


Don't Ask Photographer to Replicate/Copy an Image

Don’t show a photographer a Pinterest image/any image and say “lets do this”.  A photographer is an artist with a desire to create their own original images.  You are asking them to “copy” another photographer.  While I know it’s been said . . . “nothing is original anymore” - try to be original.  You, as a stylist, should not want to copy another stylist either.

Be Respectful/Careful of Photo Equipment

A photographers equipment is expensive (& depending on the job, sometimes rented) be respectful.  Don’t step on the seamless with shoes, or get it dirty in any way.  I know that models, products, etc, are on the seamless, but you as a stylist, need to be mindful/careful.

So, I’m all about the #truestory and sharing thoughts to new/aspiring stylists.  This happened:  I worked in a studio where a beautiful black marble floor was made for an interior bedroom shot. (The Contractors worked on it long hours and made it absolutely beautiful!!!)  The 2 Stylists working on it were wearing “booties” to protect the floor - but they were walking around the Studio (understandably full of dirt/dust) and then walking on the floor transferring all that dirt/dust!  (This defeats the purpose of the booties/socks)  That dirt/dust is very visible in the photographers image.  Not only that . . . respect and appreciate the work of the contractors who worked on that floor.

Don’t Ask Photographer to Correct Something in “Post” 

It’s a stylists job to get it as perfect as it can be - not to rely on post.  You become a valuable, “booked again” stylist when you take pride and care in styling - not taking a “easy way out”.  I’ve styled 10+ lamps in one shot where I “hid” every cord to the outlets - because creative director wanted the lamps lit. (Without asking the photographer if the cords can be hidden by post.)

Be Discrete with Commenting or Discussing Concerns/Problems

If you see something “wrong”, or have a concern or comment, take the photographer aside to speak with him/her, never in front of a client.

If you have been hired by photographer, you may be working for his/her client so be respectful and polite. While, of course the Art Director, Creative Director, Photographer and you, the Stylist, are all a collaborative team - your opinion, talent, and eye matters - you still want to be respectful.  

Continue Your Education on Photography and Styling

Take classes,  attend workshops, do personal projects and test shoots, and go to conventions and industry events - keep educating yourself and learning about the industry and trends.


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