Photostylists collaborate with a photographer, art director and client
to create great photos. They compose the shot with models or different products,
like flowers or food, within the frame of the photograph to create a desired
The photo may be used in a catalog, advertisement or magazine. Photostylists
are the cinematographers of the still frame.
Photostylists must have a firm grasp of the principles of design and color,
display illustration, display design installation, communications for visual
merchandising and lighting.
Setting up shoots for clothing, fabric and food products are typical jobs.
They may work on magazines, music videos, commercials, fashion shows and films.
Freelancing -- finding clients and networking -- is also part of the career.
"Displaying merchandise effectively takes flair and creativity," reads
the program overview for a two-year diploma program in visual merchandising
arts. "Gifted designers can create environments that not only attract attention
but also help sell the products displayed."
You also need interpersonal skills, says Stephen Ang. He is a photostylist
and teacher in New York. "The underlying responsibility of the stylist is
to be a liaison, interpreter and negotiator with everyone. You must be someone
who is perceptive, flexible and amiable."
Photostylists may spend very long days in the studio to create the styled
compositions typical of today's photographic work. They do, however, make
a killing in overtime.
Don't even think of a routine schedule. "An average day is 9 a.m. to 6
p.m. But a day can vary from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.," says Ang.
"Sometimes I work seven days a week for a month, and sometimes I don't
work for a month. A stylist's schedule varies from week to week, month to
month and year to year. There are no patterns!"