My Top Styling Essentials

Every job has it's "tools of the trade", and photo-styling is no different! As my business and skill set has grown over the past couple of years, I find I'm constantly learning + refining little tricks to make life just a little easier. Some of these are pretty common, and others are just my little quirks- but either way, I hope you find them helpful. I'd love to hear what you find useful- leave me your thoughts in the comments below! :)

1. Wide Plastic Tote- Because I'm constantly toting around piles of random objects to shoot (outside to chase the sun, back inside under the lights, out in the garage to put things in storage), making trips with only what I can carry in my hands is a giant waste of time. Likewise, while a backpack would work, I want something with super easy access. Basically, an open box with handles. Once I discovered these plastic totes by SunJellies (bonus: they're really cute and double as a beach bag), I haven't looked back.

2. Painter's Tape- I used to be a huge fan of Zots (little adhesive dots) to anchor items in place when I was shooting, but after finding they WEREN'T removable one too many times (I still have props with permanent gobs of dirty, sticky gunk on them), I decided to try a little rolled up piece of painter's tape instead- and found that 99% of the time, it works just as well AND is always removable.

3. Popsicle Sticks- Ok, bear with me here... You know when you want to shoot a flatlay of something cylindrical, like a mug or a wine bottle, and it just keeps rolling away from center? Tape only works so well because usually, if the item has any weight, it will just rip right off. And yeah, maybe duct tape would work but usually I'm trying to preserve the life of my backdrops, so duct tape isn't the best choice. Enter: popsicle sticks! Wedge one right underneath the item on the side it wants to roll towards (or one on each side to make it really secure) and problem solved. They don't show up in the photo (unless it's a totally clear object), are reusable, and really cheap. Random, I know, but I've used them SO many times, I felt I had to share!

4. Ziplocs- In every. single. size. Seriously! People frequently ask how I keep certain things organized and really, most of my props are stored in clear ziplocs, labeled, and then stored in larger clear bins. It makes it super easy to find what I'm looking for, keeps it airtight (ideal for candy or food items), and helps minimize the space it occupies. Win/Win/Win.

5. A Journal/Notebook/Notes App- so I can write down my feelings. JK! No really, I am constantly scribbling down notes for photo concepts, prop ideas, color combos... everything! I think a common question for a lot of creative people is "Where do you get your ideas?" For myself, they seem to come in waves- sometimes there are so many, I could burst, and other times it feels like every good idea I could ever have is done and used up and gone. Work demands however, can't sit around and wait until you feel inspired again! It may seem like an obvious suggestion, but ever since I started making it a point to write down every single idea (even a little half-idea) I had, I've felt less stress with the creative flow. I think of it like cash-flow: taking a little time to plan ahead, write down ideas when there are surplus ones, helps give me something to reach towards when I'm feeling tight with them later.

Tell me! What are some of your creative ESSENTIALS? I'd love to hear!!

xx Natasha