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Fashion Styling and Photography Tips From Insiders at The Alchemy Project.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

My background isn’t in fashion or photography, yet through my blog, daily I am working in and around those fields. So any chance I have to learn more about them, new skills and tips, I’m all ears. Which is why, a workshop I went to last week was so informative and helpful. 

The Alchemy Project at the Southbank Centre is a festival of South Asian arts and culture, taking a look at style influences from the Indian Subcontinent and the cross-cultural influences of South Asia in the UK, yet it is also much more than that too. As part of this, they are hosting a 4 part series called the Alchemy Fashion Undressed Project, in collaboration with MasterCard, which gives you behind-the-scenes insights into the fashion industry and also build on your practical skills for certain things, like photography, in the fashion industry.

I went along to last week’s class which was right up my street. It was fashion styling and photography. As you weren’t there I thought I would summarise the workshop and give you the top tips I learned, for your own styling and photography.


What it is like to be a Fashion Stylist.
Insider: Rebekah Roy- Fashion stylist.

  • Start doing styling for personal use. Think about it, no one is going to commission a painter to paint someone, when they have never lifted a paint brush before. Same applies to fashion. Style people for free, reach out to bloggers and local designers, anything to give you practice. 
  • Your personal style is not your clients. What you like in your own life is your choice, but it doesn’t mean it works for someone else. Get comfortable understanding and utilising other styles. 
  • Try things you think wouldn’t work. We go into a shop and pick up clothes we know will work for us. But a good stylist can work with things outside of their immediate “safe zone”. As an exercise, go into a store and pick up 5 items you hate, and try to style them. You will be forced to be more creative and stretch your skills. 
  • Countries are losing their culture. There are now H&Ms and Burger King’s in every corner of the planet. So important thing to do in fashion, is to study a countries past culture and their heritage. Look at what represents a certain identity and then make that modern in your work.
  • A routine test of a stylist’s skill is how many ways can you style a white t-shirt and jeans? Have a go at home and see what you can do with your wardrobe. 
  • A stylist’s process on a job. 
  • If you are known a magazine will contact you with an idea, if not, then stylists will reach out to magazines with ideas for a shoot. 
  • A stylist will make a mood board as concept of photoshoot, including:
    1. The feel of the shoot
    2. Makeup
    3. Lighting
    4. Model
    5. Clothes
  • Once approved, the stylist is the one to reach out to PR’s to source the clothes for the shoot. The stylist is responsible for the clothes throughout the whole shoot process. 
  • One the day, the stylist sets up the wardrobe and looks after it throughout, as well as helping to direct the photoshoot vision and co-ordinate with the photographer on the feel and aim of the shoot.
  • A stylist is forever wheeling around a suitcase filled with clothes!

Fashion Photography
  • Lighting is everything. You need to be able to control the light, as different light, will alter the mood of the shoot. The same women in a plain dress can change dramatically. Soft light can give a feminine touch to her, whilst hard light, can make her powerful.
  • Soft light can be achieved through a soft box, whilst hard light through a flash. 
  • You don’t need an expensive studio to start. Practice with dolls using table lamps and backdrops to understand how moving the lamp changes the lighting on the “model”.
  • As well as lighting for the mood, you need to be able to light for the particular model as everyone has different shaped faces and bodies, and so contours will be different. Photography is not a one size fits all point and shoot. 
  • Different fabrics will react and photograph differently to light. Study and learn the way common fabrics behave.
  • Where possible, always try to limit the colour palate to a maximum of 3 colours. It visually works more coherently together and the same reactions to light will be throughout. 

Stylist and photographer working hand in hand to create the look.

I hope you found the above helpful and picked up a few tips. I know I found the workshop in person so helpful indeed. Feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions though.

But in the meantime if that wetted your appetite, and you want to get into fashion, then in collaboration with MasterCard and Priceless London, I have a competition just for you. To help you understand the world of fashion more and also have an a-mazing time in the process, Priceless London are hosting #PricelessLondon Priceless Experience on May 28th. An exclusive fashion experience in London, one reader and a friend can win:
  • Private preview of the Alchemy fashion collection curated by the Canadian/Indian fashion duo Nor Black, Nor White before the public see it
  • Front row in the exclusive VIP area
  • Front row seats to the catwalk show
  • Nail art or men's grooming session
  • fantastic meal at one of the best restaurants on the Southbank – Skylon
To enter this, all you have to do is fill in your details on the Priceless London website: Enter here to win

I’ll be going to the fashion show on the 28th too, so I hope to see one of you down there soon. Good luck!

Remember, fashion is about passion. Do what you love, and don’t let anyone say you can’t do something. But remember to also work hard, and take every opportunity with both hands, as you never know what encounter may lead to something big in the future.


  1. beautiful garments
    keep in touch

  2. So many clever ideas! I've started making moodboards for outfits for 'big' events (weddings, balls, etc) and I find it so helpful!

  3. When you need a help of some suggestions on whether to keep or toss items in your closet which you are hanging on to then you better get the help of a stylist.