Taking Inspiration from Prop Styling

One of the ways in which I get to be most creative in my career is when I do my own set design and prop styling for food shoots. When I worked with an ad agency we had the most amazing prop cupboard with an ever rotating supply of beautiful glasses, dishes, textiles, etcetera.

Styling my independent work is a lot of fun because I get to hit the shops, concept in mind, to find a setting that creates a strong narrative for my subject. Whether I am imagining a dinner party, a relaxed Sunday brunch or a cup of coffee enjoyed with newspaper in hand, the setting tells the story.

I find that when I get stuck shopping for my own home it can help to apply some of the same creativity and logic as when styling a photo shoot. I visualize what the space will actually be used for and then shop that narrative. If I plan on hosting BBQs on the patio, I'll create a bit of extra seating and add warm touches like outdoor lighting to create a welcoming effect. I also use the same techniques in the store as I do when creating a vignette for an image. Much to my boyfriend's chagrin, I've been known to co-opt any available space and start layering elements from around the store to create a finished look before making any purchases — even if I don't end up buying every piece at the same place, it helps me create context and hone in on what else I'm looking for.

(Image via West Elm, Jali Lattice Dinnerware $40-$56)

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