Photo styling is a profession that is often not very well-known or understood by the public. This may be, in part, because a photo stylist's job is meant to seamlessly integrate with the photographer's. Photo stylists naturally showcase all the assets and attributes of a product.
As strange as it may seem, people who are gifted at photo stylist jobs have the ability to make photos appear as if they had no styling done to them at all. It is the talent for making a photo appear as natural as possible that separates an amateur photo stylist from a professional one. This talent also helps photographers help concentrate on their subject and aids the viewer to understand the message conveyed by the photograph.
Photo stylist jobs may entail more than one duty. For example, it's not uncommon for photo stylists to scout for locations, find models and decide on which props to use for a photo shoot. For this reason, an understanding of artistic concepts such as composition, color, design, and style are key to completing a job. Photo stylists may also need to consider the input of those associated with the project such as clients, photographers, art editors and project managers when preparing and executing a photo shoot.
While degrees in photo styling exist, not all photo stylists require formalized training to be successful in the field. Photo stylists can get their start by studying and working in theater, graphic design or fashion merchandising. In addition, internships may be taken with publishers, photographers and advertising agencies.
Building a portfolio is essential in attracting jobs. To pad a portfolio, a potential photo stylist can use the work completed while interning or volunteer with various companies or organizations to help build it. Internships and volunteer work should be chosen depending on the type of photo stylist jobs that that a person hopes to eventually obtain.
Fashion, wardrobe, product, room and food styling are but a few different types of photo stylist jobs that are available. Fashion styling can require that a photo stylist dress a model, such as for catalog work. Wardrobe styling differs from fashion styling in that the photo stylist is expected to choose apparel for models that best complements the product and doesn't draw attention away from it. Product styling emphasizes styling a product by itself or in conjunction with other products and room styling means taking care of other elements in the room meant to serve as a background for the product. Food styling may entail the handling of food and can even require a culinary degree.
Those interested in photo stylist jobs should feel at ease with working behind-the-scenes. They should also be comfortable taking work on a freelance or contract basis, as most photo stylists are employed in this way. However, finding a full-time position with established clients, like those involved with magazines, is always a possibility for those looking for more stable work.