what goes into styling a photo shoot?

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I’d always known that styling a photo shoot wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t until I hit Temple & Webster HQ a few weeks back and saw the team in action that I realised just how laborious it can be. I sat down with T&W’s Head of Styling, Jessica Bellef, to get the scoop on what she and Senior Stylist Adam Powell deal with daily when they’re putting together their glorious homewares shoots.

Composition is Crucial (Product is KING)
“Our starting point is always the product,” Jessica explains. “We consider what colours, materials, features (selling points) we need to highlight and from this info, we develop a concept for the shoot. If we have a clear framework or story in mind, our decisions about props and colour palettes become easier.

The product is the focal point of the shot; all the other elements support the products’ story. We also see our styled shots as an opportunity to educate our members about the functionality of the product or ways they can incorporate product into their homes. For example, clustering together a range of artwork to show how they can be mixed and matched”.


“Colour can have such a massive impact on our emotions and on our perception of objects. I could go into the science of our friend – the colour wheel – but that’s a whole week’s worth of design school lectures!

Basically, we choose colours which compliment the product and enrich the shot’s story, highlighting the selling points. Contrasted colour will always draw the eye, so pairing contrasting colours creates a shot that grabs attention. Sometimes though, the product requires a more harmonious palette and so we draw on colours that are in the same colour family”.


“We love props, it’s no secret! The props need to be a balance of interesting and supportive; on-set we are constantly checking that our props aren’t taking centre stage and that the product is hero. Props will always support the shoot concept and highlight product features. A bunch of flowers, a geometric vase, a copper teapot, a stack of books – it’s these supporting actors that help bring the story of the shoot to life”.

Lighting is key to photography. Too much light and you blow out the image, colours are distorted and details are lost. Too little light and your image will have no contrast. We are lucky we have a studio space with beautiful daylight – but we also work with super talented photographers who know their stuff and so can control the conditions with a flick of a switch (or flash). For our shots, we make sure the image is a true representation of the products’ colour and details”.


Happy accidents
“Sometimes the final shot is a surprisingly pleasing derivative of the original idea and I love when this happens. The florist sold out of the flowers I wanted, the product sample was a different colour to what had been specified, the wall colour shoots differently to the swatch. You can’t aways dodge those curve balls. But when magic happens in the studio and all the fractured elements manage to click together on set, it’s a happy day. The Styling God is smiling down on us”.

Follow Jessica and Adam via The Prop Shoppers on the Temple & Webster blog and get the inside scoop on more of their styling adventures. 

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