Having a stylist on a photoshoot can be an elevation or, in some cases, a disaster for your project. The key to avoiding styling disasters is planning and having a good open dialogue with your stylist. As a stylist, our job is to bring concepts and ideas to life with wardrobe. But, unfortunately, concepts can get lost in translation when communication between the stylist and photographer or creative director is poor. So how do you successfully communicate your goals to a stylist? I’m here to give you four tips on how to do so!
Take a look at their portfolio
I know this may seem obvious, but I cannot tell you how often a photographer or editor has approached me with an avant-garde concept when most of my work falls into the commercial category. You may like the stylist’s work, but if you have a specific idea in mind, try to find someone whose body of work matches the look you want to achieve. Now, this isn’t to say that they are incapable of stepping out of their box, but if you’re working on a big project like an advertisement or editorial, it may not be a good idea to book someone whose aesthetic doesn’t match what your concept. By thoroughly looking at a stylist’s portfolio, you get an idea of what they can do and their aesthetic.
Have a cohesive mood board
While stating that you want to go for a “California girl” or “edgy” vibe sounds straightforward, but those are both broad terms. Your definition of edgy or Cali girl can be different from what your stylist has in mind. Here is where a cohesive mood board comes in.
Plan in advance
Sometimes booking a stylist last minute can work out, but most of the time, not so much. Most of us pull wardrobe from showrooms or style houses, and many of them are by appointment only. So one of the questions you should always ask a stylist is, “How much time do you need to pull wardrobe?”
Provide as many details about your project as possible
Some details may seem too minor to mention, but trust me, when booking a stylist or any other creative, for that matter, there is no such thing. As a stylist, the most essential details that I need to know are the models’ measurements if the location has a clothing rack, dressing room, how many looks will be shot, and any last-minute changes. Without this information, it is challenging to provide top-notch styling.
About the Author
Alannah Jones is a wardrobe stylist based in Los Angeles, California. You can find her portfolio on her website and Instagram. Make sure to also take a look at her blog, where she covers various interesting topics.