7 Tips for Styling Your Own Photo Shoot

Apr 2 2018

by Katie Weinberger

While it’s great to work with a professional stylist for your brand, there are times when you need to flex your DIY muscle due to time and/or budget constraints. Recently, my friend and fellow Southern C alum, photographer Leigh Webber, shot a series of photos that we styled ourselves. So I thought I’d share my tips for styling your own photo shoot!

1. Use Pinterest for Photo shoot ideas

Before the shoot, I perused Pinterest and found ten or so images that I liked and that I thought I could replicate rather easily. One, for instance, was a cozy shot of a cappuccino nestled in flannel blanket. A delicate hand reached in for it. I shared this shot and the others with Leigh before we even got started. The resulting shot is below!

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Style Your Own Photo Shoot" by Katie Weinberger (photo: Leigh Webber)
(photo: Leigh Webber)

2. Have a plan for what you need and build upon that

I specifically had a couple of blog posts that I wanted photos for so I thought a lot about what kinds of photos I wanted for those shots. We did a series on brew methods, so I needed a shot for French Press brewing and for Pour Over brewing—me demonstrating both methods. From there I could build upon vignettes with each brew vessel. I changed out several of the elements in each frame—different mugs, napkins—to give me more variety in photos.

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Style Your Own Photo Shoot" by Katie Weinberger (photo: Leigh Webber)
(photo: Leigh Webber)

3. Style like you would for your home

Just like you would do for your home, consider how the colors of your props, background and colors all work together in your scene. And texture is the key—I had lots of different napkins to layer, a wicker placemat, wood planks, chrome coffee cups. Before the shot, I went into the yard and snipped a bunch of greenery too.

For each scene, Leigh and I spent a few minutes playing around with the props to get a balanced effect. I also styled like I would in my home—remember that things look better grouped in odd numbers and that it’s best to vary the heights of objects in a shoot.

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Style Your Own Photo Shoot" by Katie Weinberger (photo: Leigh Webber)
(photo: Leigh Webber)

4. Make it messy

Go against the tendency to be neat and tidy. Put crumbs around the pastries, spill the coffee beans. Pull a piece of greenery out and use it on the table. These are some of the things we did so that the scene did not look perfectly staged, rather, it looked more real.

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Style Your Own Photo Shoot" by Katie Weinberger (photo: Leigh Webber)
(photo: Leigh Webber)

5. Change the scenery

We had the table set up for shot, but for one of the brew demos, Leigh had me move to the other side of the table, just so the background was different. Another thing I did was change my shirt for the second half of the shoot. Since my shirt was in the background a different color made for a different scene.

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Style Your Own Photo Shoot" by Katie Weinberger (photo: Leigh Webber)
(photo: Leigh Webber)

 

6. Style Simply

A professional stylist can pull of looks with a lot of different elements, but for me, I kept the look simple. A bright red espresso mug with a green sprig of rosemary and a small plate of cookies. Scattered coffee beans on a wood plank with a chrome-striped mug. A diner mug sitting atop tasseled napkin. We had enough elements to bring the scenes to life, but not so many to confuse.

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Style Your Own Photo Shoot" by Katie Weinberger (photo: Leigh Webber)
(photo: Leigh Webber)

 

7. Collaborate!

For our shoot, I used a couple items from companies that I had a collaborative partnership or a commonplace interest. I used a Le Creuset French Press and also Dot & Army’s napkins for the shoot. We wrote a French press guide for Le Creuset and both companies are Southern C alums, so I knew that they would appreciate the shared spotlight.

It’s a win –win with nothing to lose!

The Southern Coterie blog: "How to Style Your Own Photo Shoot" by Katie Weinberger (photo: Leigh Webber)
(photo: Leigh Webber)

 

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Katie Weinberger View More Blog Posts from this Author

Katie Weinberger is the marketing and creative half of the husband-and-wife duo behind King Bean Coffee Roasters. As a lifelong reader and writer, she aims to read a book a week and writes regularly on her personal site, writingdownadream.com . She lives in Charleston, SC with her husband, son, cat, and dog. On the weekends you can find her paddleboarding upriver to the sandbar with her son and pup.

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