It’s impossible not to be inspired by the sheer beauty and extravagance at The Chelsea Flower Show where nature has been so expertly tamed. I adore this show and gain so many ideas which are endlessly useful for styling. Flowers and plants are perhaps second only to a good pair of scissors in the essential ‘interior stylist’s kit’.
Blooming essential props
Regardless of the fact that the ‘Botanical’ interiors trend continues into 2016, flowers and plants have always been one of the important ingredients to bring alive an image. Whether it is a small still life shot or a larger room set – stylists turn instinctively to those ‘real life’ elements such as flowers, plants and food to add that extra dimension.
For me, nature can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary and, given the opportunity to do a furniture shoot on a beach, a yacht or in a wood, I always jump at the chance of taking ‘the indoors out’.
When new client ‘Fire and Felt’ recently came to me for styling help with their business importing uber comfy felt slippers/clogs from Austria, two things happened. Firstly, it didn’t take too long for some botanical ideas to emerge on how to style them (I always try to have a notebook near me for random styling ideas!) and secondly, it occurred to me that not only could I provide some ‘Instagram’ – or ‘Insta-styling’/Pinterest shots/stories this client required but I could provide images via Iphone or with my ‘better camera’. The perfect service to offer a small business who doesn’t have huge marketing budgets.
As a homes editor/stylist working on national fashion magazines means that my default thought is always: what is happening in fashion? And how close are the trends between the two right now! I learnt a lot from watching how fashion magazine departments worked and have transferred some of their approach to shooting interior images I work on.
- to style some shots for Instagram/Pinterest
- reflect the high-quality wools/Austrian mountain water (without use of chemicals) used to make the slippers
- get across the anatomically shaped fit
- show how these ethically made slippers can be used indoor and out which keep feet cool in summer and warm in winter
- to style shots appropriate for ‘Spring Greens’ theme and a bed/bath theme
- Colour blocking (using same/similar coloured props)
- Prop with plants and flowers
- Tell a story – lifestyle situations
Styling and photography is generally an ‘organic’ process and with all the planning in the world what comes together on the day as the best shot may end up being something that just ‘happens’ and maybe wasn’t planned at all. That’s the magic bit. However, a good location, good props and a great team are all things that can be planned in advance.
Here are some of the images of the Fire and Felt slippers I styled and shot on my Iphone using plants and flowers. Most of these pictures will never get used but I hope this gives you an indication as to the process, just one pair of slippers (or any other product) might go through before arriving at the perfect image for a client.
These ‘Pure Cream’ slippers are from the Magifelt Nature Collection by Fire and Felt. They are lightweight leather soled slippers and are handcrafted from undyed wool from the rarest sheep breeds in Europe, £55/pair.
Essential holiday packing
The green Stegman clogs lent themselves to some ‘lifestyle’ shots with a bit of a ‘travel’ story. I had found this rather fab vintage leather suitcase recently (£10 from Fanny’s Antiques, Reading Tel: 0118 950 8261) which did the trick. When I was on the riverbank in Pangbourne I came across this patch of cracked earth and decided it would do for a bit of a Tribal/Out of Africa story! The contrast of the ‘brown’ of leather/earth/bark worked really well as well as the green of nettles and grass.
(BTW, local dog walkers did their best to ignore me as I walked up and down the riverbank placing/photographing green slippers in different clumps of grass – but I could tell they thought I was completely bonkers!).
Pottering in the garden
The green ‘Stegman’ clog (for men and women) with its cork foot-bed and rubber sole is described as a ‘house clog’ which could also be used for pottering in the garden, £65/pair.
These shots show – because of the light – how different the colour of one pair of green slippers can look. My favourite version of these is the ‘lifestyle’ shot with slippers close to the bed of nettles (shot in Pangbourne Meadows, Berkshire). I suggested to the client that they could caption this shot with a recipe for nettle soup – organic food story/food for free story/self-sufficiency.
The placement of an individual flower stem just adds something special to a shot.
For the white slippers in the ‘Bed and Bath’ section, I styled both mini ‘lifestyle’ shots as well as the more stylised overhead shots – where items are more placed and less natural looking.
Breakfast in bed
I have to admit I am a total convert. I don’t think I have ever had a pair of slippers which mould so well to your foot and don’t make you feel frumpy when wearing them. The slippers quietly exude quality and luxury – and it’s really practical that some of the styles can be worn outside too. Check out the Fire and Felt website as there are so many beautiful colours and designs to choose from.
‘Insta’stories: left: Chelsea Flower Show; right: ‘Rio’ Olympic Games
Insta styling for you
If you or your client has a product that they wish to promote with images/story via social media and would like a ‘bespoke’ styling service then please get in touch.
With many thanks, Charis x