Confessions of a Stylist, Or Collaborating with Photographers

PhotographerAs a stylist, I work with photographers with varying expertise and personalities; each has his or her own stylistic preferences.

If a photographer adds a good stylist to his or her team, the images will be superior.  Quality is guaranteed if the two professionals have a strong connection. For this reason, online stores and media organizations must ensure that the photographer works well with the stylist. The results will have an impact on the overall company. Trust me.

Unfortunately, quite often, companies underestimate the value of incorporating a stylist on the team. Or the company simply cuts corners financially.

Don’t get me wrong, a photographer with a good eye and extensive industry experience is crucial. He or she brings out the model’s best facial features, body and overall personality. A seasoned photographer has innovative ideas about scenery and background. He or she may even take a risk and experiment by creating a visual story.  This requires tremendous imagination and judgment, especially if the photographer creates a story for a magazine spread or a designer’s look book.

Honestly, however, it is rare that the photographer has all these positive qualities.  Imagination may be present. But perhaps the company’s message is not paramount.  It is essential to create an image, which communicates the core values of the brand and designer.

I will tell you a secret.

The photographer is rarely aware of trends and fashion history. The photographer seldom has retail experience. Usually, a  traditional professional lacks commercial awareness of the apparel and suddenly attempts to produce fashion images.

The  results are not favorable.

For this reason, the magazines, online stores and outlets that use print media (produce catalogs) hire stylists.  A competent stylist must have a vision of the final image. He or she foresees the final results. A well-rounded, well-educated stylist has a greater ability to communicate the message using images. Imagination is significant. However, sound judgment wins in the end because the final results must convey a message that consumers easily interpret and remember.

A sound stylist knows photography trends and can influence an amateur photographer in editing and retouching. He or she can create impressive results from amateur work. Likewise, a good photographer can save an amateur stylist.  Both collaborate on the final results and lead the models and other artists― makeup professionals, as well as hair stylists.

On a side note, hair stylists and makeup artists are able to advance into a stylist career, if they continue to learn about fashion images, trends and fashion history. There is so much to learn.  A stylist must have an authentic passion to discover all these things to be a successful.  There is no ceiling.

I can share a few horror stories.

I watched a wedding makeup artist without any fashion industry awareness suddenly start pushing the limits and try to be a fashion makeup artist.  It turned into an awful mess.

It’s great to try something different. But you have to naturally have an interest for the arts and fashion or you simply must collaborate with a stylist. If you don’t naturally love fashion, stick to your strength. Focus on your niche market and do your best.

I also observed a situation where a hairstylist didn’t take into consideration the garment’s features or the talent and skill around her.  Lack of collaboration, ego and absence of basic leadership skills adversely affected the final results.

As artists we sometimes focus on our own ego and sometimes forget to collaborate and listen to each other. Practice and learn as much as possible in your field.  Always strive for learning opportunities from the other person.

Imitate in a way that contributes to the improvement of your existing strengths.

Don’t try to be somebody you are not. Don’t forget to have fun! The positive attitude of each teammate will only produce more quality work.

Share your stories of working on a team! Any horror or inspirational stories?


3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Stylist, Or Collaborating with Photographers

  1. Pingback: Nigel Barker noted fashion photographer | Halee René



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