Top tips from expert stylist – Hannah Bort

You might have a natural talent, or it might not come as easy. Either way, good styling is simply a must! Super-talented stylist and creative director, Hannah Bort, is an industry figurehead, working with design brands including Fritz Hansen and Graham & Brown, plus retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Harrods. Here, she highlights six things to consider when planning your shoot…

1. Set clear objectives

Deciding on a clear ‘look’ from an early stage will inform the imagery you want to take. If you’re not sure where to begin, often outlining what you don’t want will help you focus on what you do like. Many stylists continually curate extensive moodboards made from tearsheets or on sites like Pinterest, categorising by theme, colour, trends etc. These can be an invaluable source of inspiration when you want to springboard some initial ideas.


2. Consider the basics

What are the images going to be used for? Who is your core customer? How many images do you want to take? Do you need different crops, portrait or landscape formats for each image or are you shooting to specific dimensions, e.g., banners for website use? Will you need to hire props? If so, you should factor this cost into the budget. Do you want models? In which case you need to allow time for castings and consider schedules dependent on their availability.


3. Location, location, location

Depending on the type of aesthetic you are trying to achieve, you’ll need to choose between shooting at a location house or venue, in an outdoor environment or in a photography studio. All have their merits and limitations. If you opt for a studio-based shoot, for example, you may want to work with a set builder to create tailor-made backdrops. Location choices are also greatly dependent on budget, so outline this early on to determine what is realistic.


4. The right photographer

Think clearly about the style of imagery you want to achieve and find the right photographer by looking at websites and portfolios. Do you want reportage style or are you looking for someone who specialises in food photography or portraiture? Do they favour shooting with natural light or is their work mostly studio-based? Have a meeting with them in advance so that you can talk through lighting ideas and the mood of the overall shoot – they can then bring the appropriate kit with them on the day. Remember all images need to be available in high resolution when going to press or being printed. Photographers can help you with crops, work with a retoucher (or do it themselves) and supply you with the appropriate file sizes.


5. Time is money

Set a clear budget before you start planning a shoot and be realistic about what is achievable. Costs can include a photographer, stylist, set-builder, model, location, prop hire, courier, image retouching and even lunch. You also need to allocate the right number of days. Things don’t always go to plan and shoots can easily fall behind. In those instances you might consider reducing the overall shot count to avoid incurring further fees.


6. If you’re unsure, hire a stylist

From initial briefings to planning, consulting, pulling together moodboards, hiring props, organising couriers and location logistics – we can do it all and help alleviate some of the stress of planning a shoot. A good stylist will understand the needs of his/her client, the market they are targeting and translate this into a creative vision in line with your brand’s ethos.


hannahbort.com / @hannah_bort




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