Friday, November 30, 2012

Diary of an Aspiring Stylist: Post-shoot Debrief
Dream Team

I had a super exciting opportunity earlier this week to work on the Mel Boteri Spring/Summer 2013 shoot. Melanie Mueller is a bespoke handbag designer and expanding her collection to include jewelry as well as more wholesale bag options.

A quick glimpse of Mel's goodies and the looks I pulled.

This was a pretty phenomenal team. I learned a lot about what makes individual contributors go from good to great as well as what a more realistic experience for a stylist is (aka hiccups happen).

So to start with, here are the players on the team and what they did that made it clear that they were all professionals:

Lead - Mel was fantastic about communicating prior to the shoot. She was explicit about her demographic, goals, and even had a number of reference photos for the team to get an idea of what she was going for. This was invaluable and saved all of us from guessing what she wanted and got us all on the same page from the get-go.

Mel helping the photographer test the lighting.

Host - The folks in charge of the venue at both this and the last shoot I did were incredibly gracious and flexible with how we used the space. As I've mentioned, last-minute changes aren't unusual, so it's imperative to have a space that is willing and able to accommodate the shoot.

The bespoke studio we shot in works with Mychael Knight of Project Runway fame for their womenswear. One of their custom suits next to one of Mychael's dresses next to a pretty impressive cognac collection.

MUA & Hair - Good make-up artists and hair stylists know how to create beautiful looks. Great make-up artists and hair stylists sit and watch the shoot to make sure everything looks just right. If a curl is out of place or the lip color is losing its luster, they jump in to fix it without even being asked.

Prepping the model prior to shooting.
Applying touch-ups between shots. 

Photographer - The photographer was briefed by Mel on what her ideas were and what kinds of shots she was going for. She gave great direction to the model when necessary and got a variety of shots in. (We had 300 usable photos before we were even halfway through the shoot!) Before finishing with a look, the photographer made sure that the lead felt comfortable with the shots she had taken. This particular photographer also was able to load the photos onto a computer between takes (while hair and wardrobe were being changed) and showed the resulting photos to the lead there as well.

Lead and Photographer reviewing references and inspiration.

Model - Every look she came out in she gave a completely different feel to, which is a versatility that is so rare. She was gorgeous but also knew what she was doing. She didn't need much direction and struck so many great poses with each look. I've never really called anyone "a natural" at anything, but she was most definitely a natural.

The first look of the day.
The team watching it all come together.

Stylist - I totally felt out of my league when I realized how exceptional this team was, but I pulled so many items to choose from and had such good support and leadership around me that I think we ended up with some really chic looks.


  • Set realistic expectations. When a store asks when you plan on returning the borrowed merchandise, you obviously want to work with them and get it to them as soon as you can. However, you don't want to over-promise and end up running late. It's kind of like waiting for a table at a restaurant. If they tell you it'll be a 30 minute wait and it takes 20 minutes instead, no complaints. If they tell you it will take 30 minutes and it takes 40, you've probably started to get impatient. Give yourself some wiggle room for a longer shoot, traffic, etc.
  • Take precautions. You'd think it goes without saying that since you're borrowing these items, but you should be very careful. There are very particular things you can do to safeguard against damaging the clothing that you may not think about. For instance, we wanted to fit an oversized piece on the model, but the material was very delicate so we opted for clamps instead of safety pins. We also put a cloth around the neckhole of shirts that were trickier to get in and out of.
  • Remain calm and address issues. Unfortunately we didn't pick up on that last trick until later in the shoot, so one of the borrowed tops ended up with a makeup stain on it. We notified the shop, researched cleaners, and have our fingers crossed that they can remove the stain easily. If not, we'll be paying the shop for the item that was damaged.

Last dress in the store but we had to have it, so we clamped it in the back to make it fit the model.
I'm so eager to see the photos from this shoot! And I should have the photos for the last shoot posted real soon...

1 comment:

  1. Aaahhhh!! So excited for you :D Can't wait to see the results!