Updated: Apr 12, 2022
As a food stylist, the energetic pace required on set and in the days of production meetings preceding it offers rich and collaborative connection with my clients. I find that by intertwining the rhythms of connecting and creating, with resting, reflecting and growing is what grants the
fruitful reward of seeing my clients’ stories told well. Through maintaining this rhythm I find joy in bringing that which is true, good, and beautiful into new light.
The rhythm of connecting and creating begins within the substantial outline of conversations I have with each client as we share a focused exploration of their specific product, both as it is known today and for what they dream of it becoming tomorrow (clearly identifying needs vs. wants). These conversations grow broad opportunity for the way I specifically style a product, based on my understanding of the client’s aim in reaching a target audience. To increase audience engagement is the end goal for each of my assignments. That is my expertise – applying design principles that increase engagement – to rouse conversation. Applying design principles to every component of the set, so that each works to enhance engagement is of critical importance. Every piece must play a part in telling the client's larger story.
Even before we ever discuss how we will best feature their product, I seek familiarity with the brand, and with the client. I liken this process to the way an actor learns a script. It’s not only the lines that matter, but the way the actor gets into character, that will bring to light the very essence of who the viewers relate to on screen. Each of my learnings from a client conversation help me to polish the lifestyle or action we choose to include, as we create and enhance the mood of the set. Also of importance is the additional awareness of what lifestyle and other products and services appeal to my client’s target audience, so that we accurately storyboard what will come to life on production day. By working to funnel every action toward the goal of attracting the eye of a certain audience, we are better able to streamline our productivity and the level of creative reward we achieve. It is this degree of familiarity in pre-production, that drives a “full steam ahead – all systems go” collaboration on the day of creativity. And when a day of photography preceded with this kind of preparation concludes, we know we have put all our resources to their best use! This is what moves the needle of collaborative reward and collective gratitude between myself and my clients, as we anticipate the engagement of the audience to powerfully align their purchasing power with my client's brand.
Many of my food styling assignments are one day achievements. Some however, require the level of output I described above, over several days. Regardless of the duration of creativity, I find that what prepares me best to repeat this process, is the time I take to reflect after completing an assignment. I take notice of what stretched me, what techniques were most effective, and those that would have been helpful in the unpredictable circumstances of a particular shoot. How were my gifts and knowledge received? What might I do differently to serve my clients with greater effectiveness? What positive aspects of my service need to be highlighted in the future, as specific capabilities that I bring? I know that these pieces of new knowledge are there to grow my business. Capturing them is a discipline. In taking this time to reflect and strategize, I know almost as much satisfaction as I do in getting to know the hearts of my clients and their brand. It takes time and gratitude to fuel the new growth that comes from resting and reflecting. And how thankful I am for the breadth of work that keeps me creating and connecting, as I know that my most exhilarating days of styling are what fruit the most rewarding places of active growth – but only as I am disciplined to rest and give attention to the ideas calling for fresh discovery.