Archer Hotel New York styled by a PRO
When your eyes meet an ad or marketing campaign for almost any product, space or person, you are looking at the result of an art form so detailed and varied that it hardly fits into its one word category, “Styling.” How many young art students long to call themselves a NYC Stylist? Meet Shannon Gini, a successful and sought after stylist with industry expertise and an eye for styling fashion for retail, people, interiors, and (lately) beds! Yes, even beds are styled before they are photographed.
“A good stylist is true to her subject. I didn’t choose the color palette for Archer Hotel New York; rather, the client chose. My job was to see that a white orchid was a complimenting and true partner to one guest room shot, and to use it. A stylist should edit, edit, edit, and then add back in if necessary. My critical eye is useful there – but I hope I turn it off well enough in my personal life!”
Shanon Gini, stylist
Retail Visual Display and Merchandising was the starting point for Shannon’s career after she received her degree in Art from Colorado State University. Yes, she is a real live person who has truly worked on window displays for Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s in New York, and later for Macy’s in Atalanta. She calls this her time working in “old school visual design,” and looks back on those years fondly. Now based in Atlanta, Shannon’s visual styling experience is layered with studio catalog work in fashion product (handbags, for example), table top, soft goods and editorial food for national brands.
Years of experience and professional versatility enabled her to start her own freelance photo styling firm, LookRite, inc. Now Shannon styles people, things and spaces for clients and photographers all around the country.
“Solid working relationships with talented photographers are key elements to every stylist’s career. When I decided to base my business in Atlanta, I spent months “testing” with photographers and interviewing with studios. The relationships I made then are part of my success today – and I am glad to say that I gained lots of experience during that time, as well.”
Preparing beds to be photographed sounds like a simple task. Not so. Shannon says that a week of shooting photographs for a hotel usually includes up to two bed shots per day. Other shots of food, public space, bathrooms, etc. fit around the work time which go into styling and preparing a single bed. Ironing and steaming, felting (covering a duvet with felt before layering with its cover prevents stitch lines from showing through in photos), applying hundreds of T-pins, perfecting angles from the client’s list of must-have shots, ensuring that all visible patterns and textures compliment each other, propping (knowing when props will enhance the story of a photo & where to get them when on a remote shoot), and keeping the look true to how the bed appears in person. Doing it all well takes time, patience, and a bit of grit. To meet Shannon is to meet a possibly deceivingly tiny dynamo. She is known for her stamina and attention to detail.
“Stylists play a part in much of what you see in print and online today. When you read an article about a celebrity or see images of their home, you are seeing the result of detailed planning by a photographer/stylist team. Often, the items on a coffee table or on the counter in a kitchen are either props or have been edited down from what the person usually keeps there on display. A stylist’s job is to find the best of a person’s or item’s style and showcase it. And again, our job is to edit, edit, edit.”
Types of styling include: Home Interiors, propping, fashion with models for photography or live shows, clothing for in-person or online retail, wardrobe (to assist in wardrobe development and/or preparing for events), and “Off Figure” styling (like the images seen on retailer websites in which items and clothing lay flat on a static background – usually white).
“There is an enormous world of experience to be gained working in live retail, with models, and on locations. It’s difficult to build an artistic career if you only style items on a white background. Stylists should vary their experiences to develop a rich skill set.”
And that’s what Shannon brings to each photo shoot. Richness. Richness and good editing.