Less than a year ago I got the opportunity to do a little display work in my retail job at the time. It was only because there was a delay with deliveries and there wasn't much to do, and my wonderful manager at the time gave me the task of making some fun product displays, and gave me free reign to do whatever I liked with them. They were some of the most fun shifts I have ever had in any job, and it was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me as it got my brain swirling with vague ideas about some kind of career in styling, design, interiors, or decorating in some capacity. In the fairly short time since then, I've done work experience in the industry, now have a job in a fantastic homewares store with an amazing interior stylist as a boss, and the vague ideas from back then are forming into more focused aspirations to become a stylist. I still have so, so much to learn and still a lot of hard work to do to get to anywhere near where I want to be, but I am loving being able to practice prop styling for this blog and other projects, and helping style furniture and homewares at the store I work at!
The other day I was styling some vignettes for this month's 7 Vignettes project by Interiors Addict. As I was making a huge mess of melted chocolate (I'll get to that) and gathering all sorts of things from around our house and actually talking to myself at one point, I had to have a laugh. Styling photos makes me act a little crazy and really pushes me to get creative. Here are some things I have learned and experienced so far when prop styling for photos...
1. Being absolutely void of any ideas whatsoever for a project and sulking about it and worrying that I'll never have another idea ever again. (I think any creative activity suffers from this one!)
2. Then being almost overwhelmed with inspiration from all sorts of unlikely places and trying to do four projects at once. I'll be inspired by Pinterest, people's blogs, interior magazines, a homewares catalogue, all sorts of things, and suddenly when inspiration strikes it tends to unleash an almighty flood of creative ideas. I've found myself in the middle of doing one thing and I suddenly have to go and grab something else for another idea that's just sprung to mind for a completely different project... and I'll end up doing four different projects at once.
3. Fossicking for objects to use in a vignette or styling project anywhere and everywhere is my new thing. When I have an idea, I start to see all sorts of objects in a brand new light, and I search high and low for items to use in my photos, and sometimes find them in the oddest places.
4. And if I can't find quite what I'm looking for... I'll think outside the box. It has sunk in that when prop styling for a photo shoot all that matters is what's in the frame. The other day for example I really wanted some decadent delicious looking cookies in a photo I was taking. I didn't have any, and I didn't want to waste time going to get some and I didn't have any ingredients to make some. All I found was an old packet of very plain wheat biscuits at the back of the cupboard and a very old block of sea salt chocolate that didn't taste very good (why were they in the cupboard still? I don't know). So I put down my camera, melted the chocolate, drizzled it all over the plain biscuits and voilà! Delicious looking shiny chocolately drizzly biscuits for my photos. Every time I put something together I find myself doing something like this!
5. A large white piece of card has been my must have styling tool. I live in a rental house which has sage/seafoam green walls. A large white piece of card to use as a background has been a fantastic $2 investment, although I really should upgrade to some kind of wood panel or something less prone to bending and marking.
6. Agonizing over the placement of every object of the picture. I'm getting really fussy over my composition of images, that's for sure! I want to have everything in the frame balanced and perfect. It's really helping my photography skills!
7. And then agonizing over which picture is the best one to use. I'll take so many photos of the same thing, most people would think they all look the same. But I'll spend a long, long time agonizing over how this one has the slightly better lighting, however this one has the poster and the tabletop perfectly straight and in line.
I'm sure that a lot of bloggers who take a lot of pictures for their blogs can relate to these as well! What are your photography and styling habits? Do you have props that you always use, or short cuts you like to take?
Hope everyone is having a brilliant week!