The Politics of Fashion Photography Part 14 Putting Together the Right Team

Putting Together the Right Team

The Stylist Part 1

If anyone of you have ever been privy to putting a team together in any genre, you will probably easily identify with this highly often complicated process.  If there is one profession that can place you in a conundrum more than many, it has to be the Fashion Biz!  This will become pretty apparent after I have completed my essay aka rant aka expose aka “My Life on the Front Lines…”.

So, I guess many of you out there think that putting a photo shoot together for a fashion, glamor, portrait or beauty theme is as easy as going on to Model Mayhem or what ever other forum has a congregation of Models, sending a request and off you go.  Well, perhaps for those who aren’t really interested in pursuing the metier and just want to have fun doing the occasional photo shoot.  Or for those out there wanting to meet Hot Chicks or Macho Dudes or what ever, then perhaps.

But if you are serious about your profession, not only do you need to speak the language, but a few years of Psychology, Sociology and Political Science wouldn’t hurt a bit.

You have just been commissioned to do a photo shoot for a magazine.  It is for the Fall-Winter Collections and you have already established the mood board and are ready to start putting together the team.  The magazine have asked that you find a free lance fashion stylist, as they are looking for some outside creative input.

Well, if I were you, I would start my search with the stylist first, as so much of the success of the theme is contingent on this vital choice.  You have a list of potential stylists, but have to be cognizant of the fact that the magazine  have there own unwritten lists of dos and don’t s that you have to know intuitively. Like, she works for X magazines and Y magazines which are okay, but if she works for Z magazine, forget it, there is no way that the magazine would even consider this stylist and G-d forbid if you even suggest them.  That is the kind of Faux Pas you wish to avoid like the plague.  That would be the kiss of death.  Now in choosing the stylist, you also have to consider the following.  Will this stylist have access to all of the designers that you might want to feature in this story. If they do, will you choosing them also aid in getting that 1/4 notch better model with the notoriety you want for the magazine you are working with.  Because if he/she can’t, it will reflect on you, who chose this stylist in the first place.  Does this stylist work with some of the other magazines you may wish to work with in the future or have they strong ties to Ad Agency Art Buyers, who may have open ears to their recommendations for any future campaigns that may come up.

Will the choice of this stylist give you the impact and outcome that you were seeking in the first place, or will they kibosh your story by deviating outside of the spectrum of acceptability that you are willing to go with?  Will the choice of this stylist be acceptable to the other members of the team that you are hoping to collaborate with and were those other members memories with him/her of their experiences positive ones?  If not, it is time for a major re-think.  Butane and Fire are extremely volatile and when mixed are always explosive.

Do you give the stylist the freedom to choose the make-up, manicurist and hairstylists? How heavily involved are they in the casting process?  I ultimately like to get the stylist involved in this process.  It really aids in being able t realize the final outcome of the shoot.  Remember, that the stylist may have also been involved in the evolution of the idea or may have actually been an integral part of the original idea and is in a position to make it happen through their choice of the clothing and accessories.

When working with a stylist, always tell them how many final images you wish to accomplish, as their shopping will be affected by the information presented to them.  The more info you share, the better the outcome will be. A stylist is your direct link to all of the designers press attache’s and that is a very good or bad thing.  They could be the reason you may get an ad campaign, press book or catalog.

The Stylist Part 2… coming when I am in the mood…


About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…