Curious about how to style product photos or working with a photo stylist? You aren’t alone! Many of the makers and product designers we work with at Lucky Break struggle to capture the product imagery needed to put their best foot forward as a brand. We often recommend hiring a professional photographer to help kick things up a notch, but working with a photo stylist can catapult your product imagery to the next level.
Working with a photo stylist
I’m thrilled to introduce you to LeJeanne Capers of soon-to-launch Atlas Candle Co. I’ve had the honor of working with LeJeanne on several projects dating back more than five years, and I’m especially excited about this new venture. When I connected LeJeanne to Melissa Schollaert, one of my favorite Atlanta-based photographers, Melissa recommended that she consider working with a photo stylist to assist with the shoot.
LeJeanne was delighted with the results, and she raved on how much the photo stylist helped her coordinate the shoot. I asked if she’d share some of her insights about working with a photo stylist here on the blog, and I’m honored that she took me up on the offer!
LBC: Tell me a bit about your business. What kinds of products have you been designing? And where you are in the brand development process?
LeJeanne: Atlas Candle Co. is an Atlanta-based luxury goods brand. We produce premium scented candles that inspire and celebrate self-love. We also host candle-making workshops and offer private label services.
Our product range includes 4 large candle tumblers, a trio votive gift set and a digital candle-making workshop series. Our photo gallery was just released a few days ago, so our brand development is 98% done. We’re eager to share the final outcome with our customers.
LBC: Which photographer did you hire and what were your goals for the shoot?
LeJeanne: We hired Melissa Schollaert for the shoot. Her worked has been featured in Style Me Pretty, Martha Stewart and Food & Wine Magazine to name a few. The main objective was capturing imagery for a library of cohesive photos for our website, blog, emails, social media, branded site, and media kit. We love how Melissa captures brands. Whether it’s a service-oriented business or product-based, she tells the story beautifully.
LBC: What led you to consider hiring a stylist for the shoot? And who did you hire?
LeJeanne: Our photographer, Melissa recommended that we hire a stylist. She laid out the pros and cons of having a stylist. Professionally our founder’s background is in media and advertising. She’s seen good, great and phenomenal photo shoots. The common thread was an Art Director or stylist. We reached out to both of the referrals that Melissa provided. Tristan Needham Design won our business!
LBC: How did you connect with the stylist? How did you know it was a good fit?
LeJeanne: We reached out via email and submitted our creative brief and brand guide. A few days after submitting our brief we connected over the phone. It was apparent right away that she had read our brief and understood our goals. Tristan provided samples of her work and walked us through her process. She asked very pointed questions during our call that lead to an inspirational mood board. The mood board was detailed and encompassed 100 percent of our goals.
LBC: What was the styling fee? And what did that include?
LeJeanne: The styling fee for our shoot was just over $1K. We hired Tristan for a Brand Editorial design which included: consultation, concept formation, custom mood board, design plan, vendor recommendations, access to all TND tabletop and styling props, day of coordination, day of timeline, day of styling, unlimited email support and phone communication. The design work was used for our video shoot as well.
LBC: How did you and the stylist prepare for the shoot?
LeJeanne: We were literally glued at the hip with Tristan for several weeks. We collaborated via a Pinterest mood board, Google Doc and over email and phone. She made wardrobe suggestions and offered to pick up all the items, which went above and beyond my expectations.
LBC: How did you feel about the collaboration? Was this a wise investment for your brand?
LeJeanne: We saved untold hours and money by leveraging her expertise. We would hire TND again and again!
Without a doubt, this was a smart investment. As brand owners, our vantage point is subjective. Having someone with an objective viewpoint work alongside us during this process made all the difference. We asked several brand owners about hiring a stylist and all of them told me not to. They told us they pinned images and ripped magazine pictures as inspirational guides to style their photos. At Atlas Candle Co. Brand Editorial is not our expertise. We knew our main focus should remain on product design. Our decision to hire a stylist was an investment that will differentiate our brand from other candle and home fragrance companies.
LBC: Would you recommend that other brand owners consider collaborating with a stylist?
LeJeanne: Absolutely! Having an expert on your team to advise you on areas outside your comfort zone is vital to success. More now than ever, an on-brand digital presence is necessary to sell products. Tristan literally took our vision and brought it life.
LBC: What do other brand owners stand to gain from the collaboration?
LeJeanne: Confidence! Working with Tristan and seeing her approach to our vision was validation that we knew our target audience and how we wanted our brand to resonate with them. As a brand owner, focusing on your product(s) or service(s) should be your first priority. Partner with someone else to help you develop your brand identity.
LBC: Who might benefit from hiring a stylist?
LeJeanne: Anyone selling a product or service should seriously consider hiring a stylist or Art Director.
LBC: Is there anything else you’d like to share about the project?
LeJeanne: Yes, hiring a photographer that actually sees the value in having a stylist is a game changer. Melissa and Tristan worked seamlessly. We had several conference calls and stayed connected for weeks leading up to the shoot. While the shoot itself was a half day, many hours of work went on behind the scene. The connectivity comes through in each image captured during our shoot.
Aren’t these images g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s? I’m so excited for what comes next for Atlas Candle Co. and I’m deeply grateful to LeJeanne for sharing her experience with us!