How I Styled A Photoshoot For Grazia x Topshop
Updated: Jun 6, 2019
Ramadan has started and the manic pace is slowing down. Which is also a good thing because I really needed a break. I'm using this time to reflect on the past 6 months and asses. I'd like to share the process of an exciting shoot I've worked on recently. I started reading the Magazine Grazia France religiously when I was 19 years old, back in Belgium, so having the opportunity to work with Grazia Middle East was quite a special moment for me. Here goes the story;
It all starts with a call from one of my agents, Lailas from MMG Artists. She had received a request from Grazia for a stylist to create a concept for a Topshop advertorial. She suggested available stylists and I was chosen. She then proceeds with the booking and commissions me to execute styling and creative direction for a promotional editorial campaign (or advertorial) for Topshop in Grazia Middle East. This advertorial is initiated at the occasion of the Worldcup and the client brief reads: Elegant occasion wear to attend the Dubai Horse Races.
I'll take you through the steps of how I got started;
First I need to understand the brief and ask as many questions as possible, such as: How many looks? How many pages? Does the location need to be outdoors or indoors? Do we have a full day or half a day to shoot? Etc,...
Then with all the information gathered, I create a moodboard based on the theme, suggest the location, model, hair and make up artist, in some cases also photographer although that's very rare (for this shoot the photographer Adel, works in house with Grazia).
Then, we present it to Grazia's editors and depending on their feedback along with the clients feedback we proceed or make amendments.
This is the fun part where we go shopping!!! DING DING DING!
We basically pull clothes from the Topshop boutique in Dubai Mall, all while keeping mood and theme in mind. It's a lot of fun for the first 2 hours, then I start getting tired and confused. I'm hungry, thirsty and my feet hurt.
I always make sure to have the moodboard with me on my phone so that I don't drift away and get distracted by the millions of options available in the shop... Red or green? Long or short? Silk or Tweed? Both?
ARRRGGHHH %@#!... And this is the fun part! :D
I'm in there for almost 4 hours and share all the looks with the magazine editors for approval.
Step 3: D-day!
I pack all the outfits and bring them to the location. The client provided a lovely hotel room on location where we setup and get our pretty model ready.
Along with the assistants, photographer, videographer, model and make up artist, we execute all in 4-5 hours time under the Grazia editors supervision. Luckily, we worked really well as a team.
Share all the credits of the clothes, shoes, accessories and jewelry along with their prices with the magazine editor.
- Learning to let go. The magazine and client hire us to see the results and execution that they expect. Sometimes an idea that you thought was so brilliant, gets turned down and that's ok. Ultimately, I'm satisfied if the client is happy.
- Pack everything up and return all the clothes and accessories in perfect condition to the shop, this time we didn't encounter any problems, no make up on the clothes nor accidents. But this is always a source of stress for the stylist.
- Being paid to be creative and dream away, all day, everyday. It still baffles me that this is what I do for a living.
In the end when the print comes out and you see the results on paper in your hands, you feel happy, proud and privileged that you actually get to do this.
Let me know if you have questions, just ask and I'd be happy to reply. ;)
Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: This is obviously an example of one particular shoot and does not mean all shoots are prepped this way. This also does not reflect all the work that goes into creating a full fledged photoshoot. I can only speak from my personal experience. It's a glimpse, a sneak peek from my perspective and what I did as a stylist on this particular shoot. :)