Styling is subtle. It’s about adding the right accents to your photo (whether you’re a photographer or model) to make it more visually interesting. Keep the following style tips in mind to take your photos to the next level!
Understand the Vibe. The first question I ask photographers who reach out to me is, “What vibe are you looking for?” Understanding the vibe (the overall theme or feeling of the shoot) is key to making sure the model and photographer are on the same page.
If you start planning parts of your shoot, like outfits, before discussing the vibe, you can end up in some pretty awkward situations. There’s nothing worse than a model who wants to shoot sexy and a photographer who wants to shoot serious (or vice versa).
Some easy ways to discuss the vibe of a shoot are describing feelings (fun, colorful, dark, edgy, etc.), referencing photographers/models that have a desired style and sending images as inspiration.
Remember Your Feet. If you’re like most of us, picking an outfit for a shoot probably means rummaging through your closet to find tops, bottoms and a few layers to round things out. When it comes to shoes, you probably grab the first thing that comes to mind on the way out the door.
Shoes are probably the most underrated item in a model’s wardrobe. They can bring an outfit from day to evening and completely transform the wearer’s style. Not to mention that shoes that are the same color as your bottoms (nude if you’re showing a lot of leg), give the illusion of having longer legs.
Shoes may not be the most exciting part of your outfit, but you should consider bringing a second pair to your shoots. They will add variety and could make you look taller. (Who doesn’t want that?)
Accessorize with Intention. What’s the difference between basic clothes and a memorable outfit? Accessories. One photographer put it best: “Adding a few accessories, like a necklace or earrings, makes your viewers’ eyes linger. A pretty face is important, but you need to add something extra to make them appreciate it.” Accessories bring an outfit together and add visual interest that helps you (or your subject) stand out.
The accessories that I bring to every shoot are: round framed glasses, sunglasses, topaz rings and a silver chain. Regardless of your style or gender, accessories add extra flair that will make your outfit pop.
Makeup to Match. Makeup is a tricky subject. Some people love it, while others try to avoid it at all costs.
The one rule I have with makeup is: it should match your outfit and the shoot’s vibe. If you’re shooting in an evening dress, you should opt for a dramatic look (dark lips, smoky eye, etc.). On the flip side, you probably shouldn’t wear that makeup for a beach or lazy morning shoot.
At the end of the day, you should feel comfortable with your choice to wear or not wear makeup. Just think about the overall mood of the shoot before covering yourself in body glitter.
Get Comfortable. You should be emotionally comfortable, not necessarily physically comfortable, on every shoot. This means wearing clothing and makeup that make you feel confident and powerful.
How you feel about a shoot’s vibe, location and styling can be visible in the end result. In the past, I’ve wasted shoots because I packed the wrong outfit or agreed to a shoot concept that I wasn’t comfortable with.
Save yourself the headaches and be honest with your model/photographer up front. Don’t feel comfortable meeting with a new model/photographer for a shoot? Ask if you can bring a friend with you. Change your mind about a concept? Let the other party know! You’d be amazed how understanding and thoughtful creatives in our industry can be.
Good luck with your future work, and happy shooting!