Stylist Chloe Arnold
You may not know it, but behind every beautifully shot image for print or online there is usually a stylist that has been involved working behind the scenes, making sure that the item being shot looks its best and most importantly captures the attention, and imagination, of you and me.
The process often starts long before the photo shoot even takes place; thinking of ways to shoot the item, sourcing different props to make the product shine, and also liaising with the photographer on all manner of things, from background settings or surfaces to use within the shot, to lighting and clothing for models.
We ask Chloe about how she got started in styling, and what she loves about her job, and more importantly where she sources all of her amazing props!
We know you as a super stylist, but what made you want to have a career in styling?
I’ve always loved photography and being creative, I got my first camera when I was 12 but I couldn’t have imagined back then that I would be styling for a living.
At uni I would keep, and still do, images from magazines for inspiration, I would set up and take photographs of little interior scenarios in my shared student house and enjoyed it so much, I loved it, I realised then that photographic styling was something I could really see myself doing.
What are your crafting passions? Where you busy making lots of bits and pieces for Christmas?
I am a geek when it comes to pattern, colour, fabric, pens and paper, and I love buttons, I probably have a few too many! My love of craft probably comes from growing up watching my Nan sewing, knitting, making and mending things.
I have a case full of scraps of paper and fabric, which I keep to use in my illustrations, I even keep the inside of envelopes for their pattern, the scraps are great for Origami too! I think it’s exciting that craft has become so popular and accessible and that it’s even on prime time TV! For Christmas I made pom poms in a range of colours to hang on my tree. I also decorated a wreath for my front door, I bought a plain White one a few years ago that I can decorate differently every Christmas.
What process do you go through when you get a new brief?
I start by thinking about and researching ideas, after ideas and style are decided upon I then usually start sourcing props in time for the shoot. Depending on the size of the project I can work as part of a big team or it can be just the Photographer and myself. It’s a hands on creative job that can be long hours but I really enjoy it and not one day is the same as the next, there is no such thing as a typical day!
What is your favourite kind of project to work on?
I feel very lucky that I get to work on a great variety of projects as a Stylist. All projects are different, they can range from working on location or in a studio to working on roomsets to very detailed tabletop shots. I do really enjoy the initial set up of a shot, sometimes working out the composition is like solving a puzzle and I really enjoy that challenge. Shots can sometimes turn out completely different to how you expect, you have to be able to think on your feet and except that things may change along the way.
What/who inspires you?
So many things inspire me, friends, family, design, music, art, typography, Pinterest………I could go on but the list is endless! I’ve always had a passion for being creative and find inspiration in lots of different places, it really can be anywhere! As a Stylist I have worked with lots of very inspiring and talented people of different ages and experience, I love that even after nearly 10 years I am still learning new things, I’ve met some great friends too.
What are the five pieces of kit you couldn’t be without when styling on a shoot?
It really does depend on the type of job I’m working on as to what I will need but I would say the five things I would always have and that I use a lot would be, variety of tapes, steamer, pins, blu tak and fishing wire. There are things in a Stylists’ kit that get used for completely different things than you would normally use them for, I have chopsticks in mine!!
Do you have any favourite places you like to go for props?
As a Stylist it’s difficult sometimes to pass things by without seeing the potential in them as a prop, which can mean you end up with a lot of stuff and random things that you probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I love a rummage in a second hand shop, at a car boot sale, markets or reclamation yards. London and Brighton are always fun and if you look hard enough you can find some really interesting pieces wherever you are.
What would be your top three pieces of advice for people out there who are thinking about a career in styling?
The main piece of advice I would say to anyone, if they have a talent and passion for styling and it’s something they really want to do, would be…… Be patient and stay positive – Becoming a stylist doesn’t happen overnight but that’s not to say you won’t become one, everyone has to start somewhere.
Are there any trends emerging for 2015?
Upcycling is here to stay for a while. Whether it’s furniture or even little items, transforming even little everyday objects or ones found at your local boot sale or charity shop can make something unloved personal to you, or breath life into something you had got a bit bored of or were going to chuck away. I think it is very much still a trend that everyone can do whether complex or simple and at any age.
And for the future what’s next?
Styling, illustration and more crafting……..and hopefully a holiday, I’d love to go back to New York!!!