stylist product photography

The role of photography stylists

Commercial photography is a complicated process. Far more than point and shoot, every single aspect of the image serves a purpose and the processes leading up to the shutter switch being pressed are just as important as the work of the photographer in the creation of an image which will capture the attention of your customers.

Key in the creation of a captivating image is the work of stylists. When you require imagery of your chosen subject, whether that be a product photo or video, there’s more in the scene than the item you’re depicting. While you’ll choose the subject and the photographer or videographer will capture it, it’s the stylist who will control and direct the bigger picture in making the photoshoot achieve its objectives, often bringing together the work of several specialists to create a single coherent theme or idea.


What does this mean for your brand?

Whether you’re looking to have product imagery captured for your catalogue or trying to portray your brand in a particular way, the stylist will consider all you’re trying to achieve and make sure that this is accomplished. Will your filming or photography require sets? The stylist will help you assess your needs. An interior design photoshoot, for example, will require not only the product and the location, but alone these two essentials would look unnatural. The Stylist will consider all the other factors which feature in the frame, making the resulting image look more natural, right down to the angle the alarm clock is positioned on the nightstand.

Props, ornaments, colour schemes, the clothes a model wears and any accessories they’re adorned with, are all things a stylist will take responsibility for sourcing, assembling and arranging based on the objectives of the shoot.


How does this improve the photography?

Fundamentally, the photographer’s job is to capture the subject as directed, however, the context of that imagery is as important as the subject. A picture of a bedsheet in its packaging isn’t particularly compelling, but a picture of a beautifully arranged, attractively decorated bedroom, with that sheet front and centre will give the consumer a better impression of what that sheet will look like in their own bedroom and subtly convey that owning the sheet will help them achieve the same desirable ‘feel’ in their own bedroom that the picture depicts, which might ultimately influence their decision to buy.

It is the stylist who bears ultimate responsibility for arranging that whole scene. Planning the colour scheme, obtaining the various props (the bed, the pillows, the furniture, the lighting, that white rose positioned attractively on the sheet) and even making sure that the sheet is ironed and arranged attractively.

Next time you see a commercial photograph, have a look at all the aspects of the picture that aren’t the subject and you’ll see the work of a stylist hidden in plain sight. If a photographer can be described as a Lightsmith, then the stylist is the Moodsmith and both are just as important when it comes to producing images that sell your product or your brand.


If you’d like to find out how having a stylist on board can help you and your brand stand out from the crowd, then get in touch with us and we can help your company depict itself in a coordinated, unified and above all, beautiful light.