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Photo Styling Kit Essentials (for all creatives!)

*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase!

 

It’s no secret that I started out in the creative industry as a wedding and portrait photographer. I love every second of a wedding day or session, and still enjoy second shooting for some amazing photographers!

While my time as a photographer may be limited nowadays, there are still so many skills that have carried over into my copywriting business—not counting the business management skills!

The online world is driven by visuals, so we small biz owners must have engaging and high-end images to share on social media. While I sometimes use my Social Squares account on days when I’m in a pinch, the styling kit I curated for wedding days has actually been a huge blessing, and I think ANY creative small business owner should have some of these staples available for their own content!

 

1. Styling Boards

As you can see from the photo below, not everyone has a beautiful, clean, white background in their home! All of the photos in this post were taken in the basement of our home, which has some old green tile, and the red patterend rug you see is one I got this year while visiting friends in Morocco!

Several years ago, I prepared 3 “styling boards” by purchasing blank canvases and fabrics in three neutral colors: white, blush pink, and light gray. My husband then helped me with an industrial stapler to attach the fabric to the canvases. When making your own styling boards, make sure to have a lot of extra fabric so that you can cover the edges of the canvas when taking your photos! (You can see how this can look in the photo above, where I intentionally show you some edges of the canvas.)

You can purchase canvases at Michaels and the fabric at Joann’s Fabric!

 

2. Ribbon

If you’re in the creative industry, you’ve definitely seen these types of silk ribbon on wooden spools used here and there. They are a great way to add a little extra texture and movement to your styled detail photos!

Here are a couple examples from recent weddings I shot! (I’m obviously partial to my white ribbon!!!)

You can pick up ribbons like these on Amazon or Etsy and still stick to your budget! Check out these ones on Amazon!

 

3. Loose Leaves & Flowers

While having fresh blooms is always great when styling images, you can also pick up some fake flowers from your local craft store and keep them in your styling kit! I’ve had the flowers below for a number of years! Occasionally, I’ll pull off the leaves to add just a touch of greenery to the images (see the photo above from Adam and Sarah’s wedding!). These are great to have on hand so that you don’t have to stop by your local florist or grocery store every time you need to do some styled images!

 

4. Artificial Lighting & Reflectors

Similar to my point above about not always having clean backgrounds in your home, you might not have anywhere in your house with windows letting in a bunch of natural light. You might also be a night owl like me and get a bunch of work done in the evenings when there’s no natural light available at all!

To make sure you have all the resources you need at your disposal when your creativity is at its strongest, consider investing in a small artificial lighting setup. These items I purchased very early in my photography business when money was tight—they’re great for any frugal small business owner, and they last a long time.

First, check out this Newer brand light box. It’s super affordable and my biggest secret weapon to indoor lighting that mimics natural outdoor light!

This particular product comes with two light stands, which you can set up on either side of your styling boards for even lighting. Sadly, the night I was taking these photos, one of the bulbs broke, so I had to use only one light box. (I’ve had these for 4+ years and this is the first time a bulb broke!)

Fortunately, I also have a few different sized reflectors to bounce light back onto the styling board to even out the lighting a bit. You can get the exact model in my photo below on Amazon! It’s about three and a half feet tall, so it bounces a lot of light back onto the items I’m photographing.

 

5. Other unique items to add texture or pops of color!

This is really just a great excuse to walk around the craft store and pick out goodies, let’s be honest!!! A few things to keep an eye out for:

  • Scrapbook paper with texture or unique designs (these below are all shiny in various colors!)
  • Antique stamps
  • Lace, tulle, and other decorative fabrics
  • Decorative, antique items (mirrors, hairbrushes, perfume bottles)

Make sure to also think of items that are on brand for your business. The sky’s the limit when it comes to this, so use your imagination and get creative!

 

Do you have any other tips for how to take your own styled images? Leave a comment or send me a message through my website: CONTACT ME!

 

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