When do you need to hire a product stylist?

You might be wondering what exactly a product stylist does.  Seeing stylists post beautiful pictures all day long - what for?  Well it's pretty simple:  engaging images sell products.  Many brands (big and small) have invested countless dollars in stylists to ensure that the images they are publishing are news worthy.  These images don't just ...  happen.  They take careful planning, set up and execution.  So if you are confused as to what a product stylist can do for you and your business, then keep reading - Im about to break it down for you.  

As a first step, it's worth starting with the question: What is a Product Stylist?
A product stylist is a person who styles and creates an image or video of a product / brand / range which will eventually be used across various marketing platforms: from print ads to social media, websites and press releases.  Some product stylists might take the photographs as well while others will simply style the visual and leave the photography up to someone else.

I am a Product Stylist and Photographer - so I do both as part of my process.

So now that you know who we are, it's important to look at how we do what we do.
We make use of various props to create a story around the product in the image.  These props range from the backgrounds we use (a wooden table, a window ledge, a kitchen counter, etc) to the textures and accessories that are used to effect a mood or look (from flowers and table cloths to cutlery and tea towels).  We source all of the pieces that will be used in the image, style and arrange them as required to create a cohesive look and ensure that the product is the hero of the piece.
If you hire a stylist that photographs as well (like me), we will work the lighting and camera angles to get the best vantage point of your product.  We generally shoot a ton of images from various angles.  We'll then edit the images in an image-manipulation program like Lightroom or Photoshop to bring out the best features of the product and image.

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So now that you know who we are and what we do - how do you know when it's time to hire a Product Stylist?
It's important for brand and product owners to know that the images you put out into the marketplace of your product or range will either make or break a sale.  Having a beautiful product is great, but if it's shot in poor lighting or at an awkward angle, you could put prospective buyers off.  Having beautiful imagery of what it is that you offer will be the thing that converts a person from being a bystander to becoming a buyer.  
So my suggestion is: get a product stylist the moment you start working on your product offering:
- Starting a new business and need imagery for your Social Media / blog / website / online store
- Relaunching an existing business and want to appeal to a new market / customer
- Relaunching an existing product and needing updated images of the packaging / product / end use / etc
- Launching a new product or offer
- Expanding your current customer base
- Upping the game on your current product range: it's never too late to get beautiful images taken
- When you are doing a media send out and need impactful imagery to accompany your press release

But, not all stylists are made alike. There are some things to look out for when choosing who is going to style up your images:
- Choose someone who gets "you".  Are they on your same wavelength?  Do they know what you're trying to achieve with your new imagery? Do they understand your strategy and future plans
- Choose someone who gets your product.  Do they understand what it is, what it's for, how it makes your customers feel, why people need it in their lives?
- Choose someone whose previous work you can relate to.  Do your research and look for someone whose portfolio inspires, intrigues and engages you. Chances are if you do, your customers will too when they see the new images you are commissioning.
- Don't skimp.  This isn't one of those times when you can cut corners and go cheap.  If you don't have money to invest in getting a product stylist for your shoot, postpone your plans.  Don't commission a stylist simply because they are cheap - I guarantee that you will have buyer's remorse. 

Hopefully this answers any questions you may have and helps you identify if you need a product stylist for your next project.  If you'd like to chat, get in touch: info@shoutandco.com - we're always up for a chat!