Monday, November 29, 2010

Tabletop Styling at Sundance Catalog

I happened to pick up a copy of Sundance catalog yesterday while getting my monthly pedicure, my habitual indulgence. I only stop reading magazines and catalogs long enough to appreciate the massage portion in concentrated bliss.

Valuing tabletop styling as I do, I enjoyed the jewelry shots which were propped with loosely wrapped gift boxes and ribbon. The boxes were sometimes used as a device for showing bracelets, watches, or necklaces. Sometimes the ribbon was run through a ring.

I visited the Sundance Website to see if the holiday shots were there too and discovered a very neat and attractive site. The navigation through varied categories of clothing, home products, and gifts, as well as jewelry was fun and easy. Many of the category pages featured some of the same well-styled tabletop shots such as this one.

Styling jewelry is fun and challenging in its intricacy and detail. I love doing it. And working with gift wrap is another aspect of my career. I have usually tried for crisp knife-edges on gift boxes, achieved by pressing a crease into the packaging with my fingers. I like the way that restriction was abandoned and the folds of the paper left loose.

Since these shots are completed for the most part in summer, it's part of the stylist's job to hunt for holiday wrapping and ribbons. One of my favorite sources is The Container Store. Now they are featuring their holiday gift wrap and clever tags but even in mid-summer there is an ample assortment of solid-colored gift wrap, along with gift boxes of all sizes and shapes.

I posted the following Tip of The Week on Photo Styling Workshops just this morning: Stock up on Holiday Props. If you have the space for storing, this is a great time to stock up on holiday props, gift, wrap, and ribbons for those shoots next summer. The selection of life-like garlands, generic stockings, gold, red, or blue wrapping paper, and subtle ornaments is at its best now.

But if you don't hit the stores now, you can still find the supplies you need for beautiful tabletop shots throughout the year. You just have to look harder.

Images courtesy of Sundance catalog

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Window Display Project

When my daughter gave me 12 empty white shopping bags recently (knowing that I like a challenge) I got an inspiration. How about asking for volunteers in my Fashion Photo Styling class at San Diego Mesa College? They could earn extra credit by creating a display in the fashion department's display window. They could use the bags to represent various courses offered in the department - and style them with materials related to that course. And they could use the skills they'd been learning about stuffing with fiberfill, suspending with monofilament, and analyzing how objects are positioned.

Four volunteers participated in the challenge and spent a few weeks meeting, planning, and creating their own bags. A Saturday on campus allowed them time to cover the tired old window with grey seamless paper and install the new display. This is what they created.

We asked the professors for prop contributions representing: Ethnic Costume, Millinery, Fashion History, Textiles, and of course, Styling. The entire window represented Visual Merchandising.

Thanks to Dominique Avila, Lizetth Durazo, Juhee Miller, and Steffi Weigand, four students who also have a great potential as future photo stylists, for their hard work planning and installing this window to promote our department. This photo was taken on a rainy day - I love what happened when the raindrops on the window reflected the camera flash.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Editorial Layouts by My Students

I have to say that I am especially lucky this year. I have always had great students during my four years of teaching Fashion Photo Styling at San Diego Mesa College. But this fall they have been especially enthusiastic. They are enthusiastic about styling and enthusiastic about fashion.

We had our on-campus photo shoot in October and have finally gotten all the images edited (shot by Fashion Photography students from Siobhan Ridgway's class at City College.) And then I put them into the mock editorial layouts that inspired them. And here they are!

This was the day we accomplished 12 fashion shoots with 24 student stylists and 4 models in 3 hours! Whew. But it was such fun. More recently they have collaborated with the City College photographers on complete printed Lookbooks. I'll write more about those soon.

Thanks to San Diego Model Management for working with us to find 4 fantastic models willing to help the students in exchange for portfolio images.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hollywood Fashion Tape in a New Package

When I spotted this package of Hollywood Fashion Tape in a fabric store recently, I had to buy it. Even though I am not out of my last batch yet. It used to come in a little cardboard box which tended to get smashed up - and open - in my fashion kit. But this new tin is just darling!

A long-time staple of stylists, the double-sided tape is useful for many purposes in dressing talent. Listed on the package are:
  • Hide bra straps
  • Secure revealing necklines
  • Hold up strapless tops
  • Eliminate blouse gaps
  • Fix hems fast
  • Close wrap skirts
  • Keep scarves and accessories in place
  • Create costumes
  • Adhere body jewels
  • Anchor shoulder pads
The individual clear strips are 3" x 1/2". I love that the manufacturer (based in Minneapolis) keeps the funky style alive with the current packaging.