I love styling photos, but this hasn’t always been the case. I remember the first time I practiced styling an invitation suite. It was the week leading up to the wedding and I had this vague idea of the overall image, but couldn’t piece the specific details together. I sat there for a long time trying to think of how that invitation should be photographed so that the character of the invitation would be displayed in the photograph. And you know what? It wasn’t perfect at first. But practicing the styling of that invitation suite paid off because the photograph I took at that wedding is one of my favorites!
So maybe you have never heard of styling or maybe you have heard of it and feel a little confused once you have all of the pieces together. Or maybe you don’t know what pieces you need. In the coming months, I will dedicate a blog post to styling an invitation suite, but today we are going to talk about styling your everyday. Because if you style your everyday, it will leave you with so much creative freedom when you start styling details at a wedding or portrait session!
All photos in this post were taken with my iPhone to show you that you don't have to have a professional camera to style your photos! Read on for 10 tips to style your everyday!
(1) COLLECT THINGS THAT INSPIRE YOU - This doesn’t mean that you have to go on a shopping trip just to style your instagram/facebook/twitter images. I’m guessing that you have been buying things that you like for years! So pull out your favorite blouse and photograph your details on the blouse. Or add in that vintage camera that your grandma gave to you.
(2) START WITH AN INSPIRING SPACE - I love our home. Over the past year it has turned into a creative place for me that is so refreshing! It’s my favorite place to be. If you don’t like the clutter in a drawer, clean it out and start new! You will be surprised how simple changes in your workspace can make a difference in your inspiration!
(3) USE NATURAL LIGHT - Or use flash if you prefer! But personally, I think everything looks better with natural light. There is something so refreshing about a naturally lit image! I have a several places in my home that I use to take photos because they are full of natural light! I keep those spaces clean and ready for the next instagram post!
(4) START WITH THE FOCUS DETAIL - The focus detail is the main point of your image. Are you going to talk about going to the lake? Maybe you are already at the lake and want your focus detail to be the water, the picnic basket or you holding hands with your husband (<-my favorite!!). Or maybe you are still at home and headed to the lake and want to post an image of the bag/sunglass/camera you are bringing with you! What is the image about? What is the intention of the photograph? Why are you taking the image? Try answering these questions and then decide on your focus detail!
(5) ADD IN OTHER DETAILS THAT COMPLIMENT THE FOCUS DETAIL - Once you have decided on your focus detail, start collecting other details that compliment the focus detail. This just means that these complimentary details help you to tell a better story or communicate better through a photograph! Collect them from around your home, outside in your garden or recent travels!
(6) KEEP THINGS SIMPLE & CONSIDER COMPOSITION - An intriguing image is always created with purpose. I love to keep things simple, but even if you are adding in a lot of visual stimulation remember to keep the attention on your focus detail. Also, think about the angle you are shooting from & what story that tells. Think about what is included in every corner of your image! Do you love it? Great! But if you don’t love it, then move in closer so you can crop that out of the frame.
(7) CREATE MOVEMENT - This is my favorite part of styling an image. I always try to answer these questions: What is the purpose of this image? Why did I choose this focus detail? How can the supporting details make the viewer feel like they are in the same room? So creating movement doesn’t mean that you introduce motion blur, although that is certainly an option!
(8) THE IMAGE MUST REFLECT YOU - Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to be someone else. Give yourself permission to see the world the way that only you can!
(9) CONSISTENCY IN LIGHTING - If you are posting your image to social media, think about how the sum of your images will look in a gallery. Will they look like they belong to the same person? Challenge yourself to find your lighting and editing style!
(10) HAVE FUN & CREATE COMMUNITY - Styling is not about impressing anyone. It’s about using your creative vision to tell a story! Let yourself shine through in the image and give people the opportunity to connect with the image. How are other people going to see themselves as part of the image? How are they going to be pulled into the image?
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