Behind The Scenes: Meet Stylist Kerry Scanlan
At the recent GLTC photo shoot, I, Rachel, was lucky enough to grab five minutes (while she was ironing bedding, would you believe … this lady never stops) with photographic stylist, Kerry Scanlan. With steam filling the air, I managed to fire a few questions at her before she had to rush off to prepare even more handmade props for one of the gorgeous room set ups.
Interested in what a photographic stylist does? Then, read on.
What is your main role on a photo shoot?
On the shoot itself, I can be involved with many different things but my main role is to dress the set and make sure that the chosen theme, colour or season shines through. To do that, I source and make props that will help tell the story and bring the products to life.
For example, GLTC’s customers don’t just want to see a bed. They want to see it in a proper room setting, fully made up as if it could be in their own home and belonging to one of their children. It’s my job to imagine the child that would live in that room, what they would like, how they would use it, and then style the room in an appropriate way.
How long does it take you to prepare for a shoot?
It depends on the size and scale of the shoot but for the GLTC autumn/winter one, it took about 10 days to two weeks to source and handmake all of the props and order the clothes for the different models.
And what are the main things you take in to consideration?
Normally, I’ll receive a brief from the art director explaining the vision for the shoot and the story they want to convey. All of the props I source will have that vision or theme in mind. And then I have to take in to account when the photos will be used. There’s no point dressing a set with spring or summer accessories if the photos are going to be used in December.
What will we find you doing on an average GLTC shoot?
Styling, ironing, dressing models, popping books in bookcases, choosing soft toys to coordinate with the different styles of bedding, hanging curtains, making beds. Basically, anything and everything to help the shoot run smoothly.
What’s the main difference between setting up a room for a photograph compared to how you would style it in real life?
Dressing a room for a photograph is a very different process to how I would style a room in my house. The camera sees things differently to our eyes. And I’m setting the scene for a single moment and not for everyday life. Accessories can be placed ‘just so’ when we all know that the reality of children’s rooms is very different.
How did you get started as a photographic stylist?
I did an Art Degree and then worked in the prop hire business. From there I moved into assisting on many different photo shoots, films and TV commercials. It’s been a natural progression.
What are the key skills needed for your role?
You have to be able to translate a concept in to reality. Styling is visual storytelling. You need a good eye, fantastic planning skills and the ability to think on your feet.
And what advice would you give anyway wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Start by assisting on shoots. Whether that be assisting the photographer or the stylist. Work experience is essential.
Which has been your favourite GLTC product over the years?
I think the book carts are great, they’re practical, adaptable and a lovely accessory for any interior. Look out for the new designs!
Finally, what makes a happy home for you?
A happy home is made by the people in it, so it has to be my family!
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