‘Wow, you shop for a living?!’ …Kind of. Find out what stylist really do!
Welcome to my first blog post! Thanks for joining me here.
After much internal deliberation, I've decided to start keeping a blog because I felt like there is a lot of information missing online that's needed for young people to break into the arts and fashion industry. I often get emails or messages from other artist or entrepreneurs who are struggling to find guidance and tips that are applicable in this notoriously difficult industry to break into and consistently find work in. Henceforth, on my blog, I'll be posting interviews with industry professionals, lists of resources, behind-the-scenes content, tips and whatever other information I think a budding young artistic entrepreneur may need on their journey! Feel free to reach out and ask questions. My hope is to build a community.
I'm not going to say I'm an expert persay, because I am still learning something new on a daily basis - however, I have worked professionally in almost every role you can have on a film or fashion photography set. Everything from model, to photographer, to stylist, to photographer's assistant, to food stylist assistant, to set builder, hair stylist, makeup artist, costume designer, props master, to floor sweepr - you name it, and I've been in those shoes before. I know what's worked for me, and what hasn't. These are not concrete suggestions I'll be sharing here - rather, information and resources that you can choose to do what you will with. I believe each and every person has a unique path that requires their own level of creativity to find what works for them.
For my first post, I thought I would share with you a list of tips from my Where Women Create BUSINESS feature. These are valuable tips I believe may help you get your foot in the door as a photographer, stylist or... anything you want, really!
- Build a solid portfolio. You’ll need a portfolio to show potential clients what you’re capable of creating, so make sure your portfolio is filled with the type of work that truly reflects you and represents the type of art you want to make in the future. Having a solid, diverse portfolio will take you far!
- Build your portfolio by testing! Testing is when a team of creatives volunteer their services together to create one vision, and in exchange for their time, they use the work in their portfolio’s. This is a great way to get to know yourself as an artist – these types of shoots allow you to explore your creativity and expand your skills – and they’re vital to becoming a professional. A lot of people don’t see the value in testing because it’s time-consuming, but my entire portfolio is made up of these shoots because it allows me creative freedom to attract the type of clients I really want. Invest in yourself: your hard work now, will pay off later!
- Take college courses only as you need to. It does not take a formal degree to break into the business! Everything I’ve learned has come from actually working on professional sets and paying close attention to everything around me. I spent 6 years assisting stylists of many kinds. It was during this time that I learned everything I would ever need to know to break into the business myself, which eliminated the need to go into debt for school. On the other side of that: I’ve taken non-degree classes periodically over the years and they’ve all held their value in some way – use your discretion!
- Assist other professionals in the industry. This is a great way to not only earn an income as a freelancer and make a healthy living (while also allowing you plenty of free time to dedicate to personal projects or side hustles), but it also allows you the privilege of insight into how photo shoots or films are created. By being on set you can learn everything from how to produce a shoot, to what equipment you’ll need in your kit, to lighting techniques and way beyond.
- Network: It’s not actually about who you know – but let’s face it; if you’re great at what you do, who you know doesn’t hurt. You can attend local art events, work with many different types of people in the industry, expand your network to local cities, use online networking to find other local creatives, show up to gallery openings, museum exhibitions and so on.
- Be prepared to be devoted to the long run. It can take years to build a portfolio and gain a reputation, or become recommended by other professionals. Be patient, persistent and above all: do not give up!
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Do you have expert advice in the field? Leave us your best tips below!