“Think about the images’ effects you want to cause on the viewer”
Part 6: How the styling appeals
Which age is your target group? How bold is their style? Where and when do they wear your fashion? The answers to these questions may help you decide the extra fashion you need to add to your collection in a shoot, in case you don’t produce the overall look from head to toe. If you e.g. make shoes, you’ll definitely need pants, shirts or dresses to combine on your model and vice versa. You may find the solution being a cooperation with another label that with your help designs the perfect counterparts to your own collection. Yet, this might double your work prior to the shoot and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea – eventually you’ve decided to produce e.g. just shirts for a reason. But that shouldn’t be a problem for your shoot after all. You’ll just need to have a proper styling that underlines your story without stealing your fashion’s show and we are going to analyse how to approach this in four steps. Regardless of whether one of your brand’s team is looking after the styling or an external stylist does, you should be able to decide, communicate and possibly sample what you want through mood pictures. Defining the styling is one of the most important parts of the shooting concept.
How to define your fashion styling in four steps
EITHER YOU …
1. … choose unobtrusive styling to underline your fashion
When you’re aiming for a calm and adult look or your fashion pieces are already quite bold, in my opinion it’s necessary to keep an even keel when it comes to the rest of the style. Decent basics or classy and premium looking pieces will make your look complete or even pop out more. Remember that less is more, so you won’t need too many layers – it’s basically about not leaving the model half-naked. The colours should match the whole thing as well as the seasonal mood and the setting. Black and white, and neutrals like grey, beige and brown are mostly good to go ahead with. Depending on the degree of casualness and the season you can use things like uniform jeans or cloth pieces, plain shirts, turtle necks, blazers, simple sneakers, heels or boots, small accessories etc.
OR YOU …
2. … increase the conspicuousness by freaky and bold styling
If you are looking for a striking effect, especially when you e.g. design fashion for young people, sometimes less is less. Therefore more vibrant colours, more layers or more accessories may look great on your model. You may even want really freaky pieces to match your funky style like e.g. messy tights, super-duper high platforms or a cropped shirt with cheeky print. This sometimes works, but it’s definitely not as easy to style as it sounds. There’s only a thin line between cool boldness and weird cheapness. So usually, a single additional funky and eye-catching element is enough to burn your brand into somebody’s mind. Also remember that the make-up and hair style have the power as well to render looks more eye-catching. Another way to stand out is to fill the empty space around the model with a detailed set. Like this your images look amazingly brave, but still tasteful. In the end, the decision depends on whom you want to reach.
3. … mind the details
A beautiful suit is nothing without a premium wristwatch. A delicate necklace and a few rings can work miracles when it comes to bringing a clothing look to life. To a casual dress a pair of sunglasses can add the specific summer breeze that you where looking for – in other words: details of the styling make your photos complete and the model who embodies your brand looks more authentic to the target group. They help one to imagine the shown scene in a better way, because there is more to it than simply looking at a product. The right styling details make your photos look like snippets from real life and the same time they prove taste and make people desire what they see. Another aspect of caring for the details is how you handle e.g. wrinkles, collars, hems, zippers and buttons. Especially these parts of the clothes need to get styled accurately, which among others, is a good reason to work with a professional ( – I will elaborate on a few more reasons for hiring an experienced stylist in a future article). The mentioned to-be-styled details can turn out to be tricky sometimes and if only because of the post production, someone should always pay attention to them. But in fact, a pair of magical stylist hands don’t only fix rumpled looks, but they also add an incredibly immaculate appearance to your images. That’s the dream.
4. … better bring more styling than you need to be flexible
If you’ve ever ordered clothes online you might know that some pieces turn out to look completely different on you than how you’ve imagined. Also oftentimes a shirt and pants which you wanted to combine (theoretically) happen to look horrible together (in practice). The same may happen with clothes on a model during a shoot. Firstly every human body is built differently – unless you schedule a prior fitting, you never know how everything suits the person – and secondly, in style questions, some visions may play one false until it’s obvious on the model. Therefore, it’s crucial to have enough alternatives available. Especially when your brand photos depend on additional styling, e.g. basics, you may rather want to have a wide range of different clothes in slightly different sizes, colours, cuts, etc. to choose from. Remember that paying attention to the details can directly influence the quality of the images – and while some imperfections may possibly get smoothed out, others can’t, so they need to get replaced by something better looking.
I hope that my four steps are helping you to imagine the importance of the styling during a campaign or lookbook shoot better. The topic isn’t absolutely complete yet, because I will delve into it a little more in another post. So make sure to come back to my journal later (;