I haven't talked much about my experience at Alt Summit yet, but I will soon. For now, I couldn't wait to share what I learned from Susan and William of House of Brinson. At Alt they put on "design camps", much like a hands-on workshop. I definitely wanted to learn about photo styling, as I know nothing about it (and I'm pretty boring/simple with my own photo styling.) I waited in line (lots of people wanted to go to this one), and it proved to be a great choice. At the House of Brinson photo styling design camp I learned a lot, like developing a persona or mood for consistent styling and building a library of props, textures and fabrics. (My mood is definitely girly with edge…. or maybe just manly. haha. ) Anyway, aside from admiring House of Brinson's body of work, I appreciated their openness in teaching. I was so fascinated with their techniques that I forgot to take notes, but thankfully, my new friend, Tina of Franklin Eighth shared the 10 Photo Styling Tips she learned from the design camp.
Susan walked us through her thought process as she styled this floral arrangement. Plants and flowers give life to images. Will and Susan told us to buy multiples because you'll ultimately need backups if you change your mind or something happens. Susan suggested that when styling flowers to cut off most of the stem to get the flowers to face the way you want. As she styled Will took pictures with his camera mounted on a tripod, releasing the shutter with a wireless trigger. He shoots on a long shutter, so a wireless trigger is essential to sharp images. The light source (a nearby window) is diffused with a large diffuser.
We were encouraged to put what we learned into practice with Susan and Will on hand to answer all of our questions and share some advice from their experiences. Below Emmily of Charming Details gives a go at styling some flowers after the design camp. I love how eager everyone was at implementing Susan and Will's advice into their photos. Instagram was blowing up with pretty styling pictures from this design camp.
I love how Susan styled these citrus fruits. She described what made "pretty" fruits; we should look out for even skins and try to have the stems and leaves on if possible. William suggested we ask local vendors at farmers markets to keep the stems/leaves on if we can't find them at the grocery store. During the design camp, Susan and Will emphasized the value in planning. In this setup I love the rich color of the linen. Usually when I'm photographing a wedding or styling an image I want fabrics completely flat without any wrinkles. Susan and Will emphasized texture, so they leave their fabrics unpressed and utilize them in the images to give depth and interest. (See how their fabric isn't completely flat. Mind blown.) I also realized how beautiful a little bit of messiness can be. It adds a touch of reality that adds a tangible dimension to pictures. I would have never thought to cut these fruits open. So for this setup alone I learned a ton of useful tips.
Towards the end of the design camp, Susan briefly describe how she styles soft materials. Using batting or tissue paper underneath these soft items, she creates depth by pulling the items off of the background. The goal is to give the items life.
House of Brinson is definitely a blog you'd want to follow. Peppered with beautiful imagery House of Brinson is a visual indulgence. And you have to see the manor they just moved into. It's beautiful! His pictures are breathtaking and her styling is impeccable. I love how they work together, and I think they even mentioned they were high school sweethearts. Make sure to check them out!