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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!