Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Styling 101: my first job

To be fair this wasn't my very first taste of styling because I have had previous experience in both costume and wardrobe, visual merchandising and have worked with magazines before as a writer where I got to part take in photoshoots.  But this was my first experience in being there purely for styling.  I knew that it wasn't going to be easy getting a foot in the door, especially in little old New Zealand where budgets are tight and job circles even tighter!  So the first thing I did was head to the store and buy a stack of relevant magazines, I noted down editors, stylists and art directors... and started emailing like a mad woman!  The magazines that did respond either gave me a direct NO, a 'we'll keep you on our books but are not currently looking', or just didn't bother to reply at all.  Knowing how easily I get discouraged from things, I really had to take a deep breath and tell myself not to give up!  Then one morning (after having contacted them about a stylist they use) I turned on my computer to find a YES!  I was so excited, but desperately trying to sound calm and professional.  As it turns out it was a magazine that we already subscribed to and who take a strong stance on only using vintage and hand/ ethically made products in their magazine. Perfect!  Right down my alley!

I met up with the sub editor/ stylist one rainy afternoon in town.  She was incredibly sweet and helpful, really taking the time to explain things to me as we whizzed around the stores collecting props for the shoot.  This was going to be for a feature story on cosy homes, so we looked for dark rich colours, cute but warm clothes from local designers and other little pieces that might come in handy.  We filled that little car with as much as we could before heading back to the office.

On the morning on the shoot I was running late!  I sat there in bumper to bumper traffic cursing every car that inched past me.  I had finally been given a break and now I was going to bloody miss it because of a small accident on the bridge!  Bad start for frazzled nerves!  When I finally pulled up to the amazing 1960s house belonging to a well known New Zealand photographer, everybody was sitting around chatting amongst themselves.  I nervously introduced myself to the editor, the photographer and the 'model' (also a photographer).  They had all been in the game for a long time and I felt very much like a new kid on the block.  Once we got started I played my roll of assistant by making everybody coffee's, picking up cakes for the photo and only offering some tiny suggestions here and there.  I wondered afterward whether I hadn't been a little bit too quiet, but then again this was my first job so I really felt that it was important to stand back and observe.

About a month later I got an email with a sneak preview of the cover, followed by a copy of the magazine in the mail.  It was really interesting to see how different it turned out in the end.  It was a lot darker than I imagined but I suppose that was in order to create a winter feel.  Ha ha at least I can look at the cover and say 'Hey I went out and found those cakes'!

Most importantly this job gave me a taste of what it is to be a stylist.  So often you have ideas about what you think a job is going to be like, and it can turn out to be a lot different (and usually a hell of a lot less glamorous).  I can honestly say that I loved the taste I got though, and a lot of that is thanks to my work on Dashfield.  This little job has already led onto other things, as well as another shoot in a couple of weeks so I will let you know how it goes.  The hardest part is trying to convince somebody to give you a chance!


    Freakin' brillant!Congrats!!

  2. Good on you, that's fantastic. I've just started writing articles for Homestyle magazine - my first will be published in their next issue, so I'll be so excited to get that mag in the post. It's all about putting yourself out there and pursuing your dreams. Look forward to seeing more of your styling. xxx

  3. This is a fantastic post. I learned so much just from reading this.

    I think you behaved perfectly. It's always better to fly under the radar at first and just ease your way into these thing slowly (I think).

    I love the pic, it is beautiful.


  4. Hello - thanks for finding me... I don't know how I've been missing you all this time! This post is so great - I'm so pleased for you that you are doing something you love, and learning so much and using your experience to make this work for you!

    Your photos are BEAUTIFUL and I am looking forward to going through your archives!

    Sarah xxx

  5. That's so cool! :) congrats! I would be so excited to show people that hehe :) look forward to seeing more styling stuff you do in the future :)

    Thanks for your comment on my blog - I just started a new job at the local council today - scary! I'll have a new post on my blog soon :)


  6. Oh that is just lovely!!!! Well done sweet.