How does one become a Prop Stylist? I asked myself this exact question a couple years ago. I've studied magazines and photographs for years and only in the last couple years noticed the very small writing on articles in magazines..."Photographed by...Syled by...etc." I started Google-ing "How to Become a Stylist."
I discovered the well-known Emily Henderson and her advice on how to become a stylist. She wrote another post on a day in the life of a stylist. These articles almost discouraged me from any more research. Emily and her kind shop for trucks of options for a photoshoot. Unpack, pack, re-tag, return (standing in line no less!) Her 3 options for becoming a prop stylist are one: get a job with Martha Stewart. Two: Assist a freelance Stylist (I can't even find one online in my area.) and Three: Create an online brand with cache and test with photographers. This last option seemed like the only option for me (according to Emily Henderson). These articles were very informative and eye opening.
Along with my research of "how to become a stylist," I Googled the names of Stylists in my favorite magazine: Country Living. Heather Bullard and Serena Thompson of Farm Chicks are 2 favs. (Serena doesn't call herself a Stylist but it's only a matter of time 🙂 ) I also wanted to find some "close to home" stylists and I found Jenn Elliot Blake of Seattle and Chelsea Fuss of Frolic. For years already, I've been following Selina Lake. Her pretty style is sure to please! She talks about how she became a stylist (at a very young age) here. She shares her grit and determination using Self PR until she got her first styled shoot commissioned. I follow these ladies blogs regularly and learn so much from them! Thanks ladies!
Along with these talented ladies, I found even more specific information on Annette Joseph's blog. Lessons in Styling. How to Be a Producer. How to Organize Props. Styling Kits.
Basically, mostly from Annette Joseph's tips, I came up with a To-Do List for a project/photoshoot:
1. Inspiration Board (I use Pinterest)
2. Come up with a theme, determine location.
3. Make arrangements. Determine best shooting time with photographer.
4. Order, Shop, Collect Props. Un-tag props, wash if needed, re-pack.
5. Bring list of props to use to photoshoot including your style kit (and sometimes other things like a table to set all your stuff on, a ladder for the photographer, snacks. etc.)
6. Bring "Shot" list for photographer.
7. Un-pack props in staging area at photoshoot. Set up the scene.
8. Go through "Shot" list and Prop list.
9. Re-pack everything carefully. Bring it home; unpack, wash, re-tag. Re-pack and return to store.
In my first process as a Stylist I also helped with Wardrobe Styling, Hair, Makeup and was a Food Stylist. Also, behind the scenes, I was talking to vendors, collaborating with the photographer and then following up with vendors with images and sources. I learned a lot from this process and will share everything I learned in upcoming post(s).