This week I had the perfect booking, wardrobe styling for three male executives’ portraits. I was referred by my makeup artist buddy Natalie Dixon, who also worked. She says at first she thought she’d be able to do the makeup and the styling because it seemed simple – no shopping or propping, just a little steaming of their own suits. (It wasn’t that simple.)
The styling job was “perfect” because (1.) The men were bringing their own clothing, two sets of suits, shirts, ties, etc., (2.) it was to be a short day, (3.) for a full high-end day rate, (4.) we would be shooting in an office building with all the conveniences, just steaming and ironing if needed, and (5.) we would be paid the same day! Natalie said “This sets the bar for a good booking!”
Of course it wasn’t so cushy. I worked hard at watching the shots and making sure the suits did not do what suits do when men sit down or fold their arms – they pull and crinkle. Also when men sit down in a suit jacket, a ridge forms at the back, just behind the collar and it needs constant attention. I was regularly “going in” to straighten things out and, as always, non-professionals move out of position to see what you're doing when you come to make an adjustment.
I have to admit I haven’t learned how to tie a tie. But I did hold a mirror so they could tie their own (second nature for them) and placed tissues over the shirt collars so makeup wouldn’t get rubbed on the collar when they flip it up. (A TV trick.)
We wrapped after about six hours and got to eat a late lunch – delicious food was brought in by our office host. And got paid. The tiresome part is schlepping, as every stylist knows, carrying my supplies to the car: rolling rack, steamer, iron, towel, mini-ironing board, kit, swivel hangers, all the necessary items. But on this shoot I wasn’t the last to leave for once - the photo assistants were still breaking down lights and the art director was transferring files for another hour or so! Now, off to the bank.