A well styled photo tells a story

Day two

Today is the second day of my IG challenge #upyourvisuals that I wrote about here. Today we’re going to talk about styling. Some say you either are or you’re not –a stylist. I actually think you have it in you or you don’t. You may have to devolop it and of course experience will improve your work. I mentioned once before we cannot do it all. If you are a good text writer or have created an awesome product it doesn’t mean you know how to present it and photograph it. Many creatives do it all and some try and fail. I tip my hat to those who do it all. I respect those that reach out for help in the community. Station Seven has a piece on finding resources for your blog on Creative Market which is a great place for creative resources.

Are you styling your own photo’s than this post is for you.


Tell a story. Styling is something that comes into play in every photo you click. A well styled photo tells a story. If you’re photographing a recipe don’t forget to show some accessories and the process from start to finish. Add movement to the photo; for example pour something or stir something. Using a tripod you can do this on your own. Otherwise find someone to help out. If your baking cupcakes or there is chocolate involved I doubt you’ll have trouble finding help! 🙂

Remember even cake crumbs on a napkin, table or plate suggest movement.

A well styled photo tells a story


Real vs. Perfect. This one is especially for bloggers. Tidy things up, style things so that they are aesthetically pleasing. Yes it’s true that we don’t always have things picture perfect when we’re baking. Just watch an episode of the Great British Bake Off. Did you catch those aprons in the final? Especially from Jane and Candice 🙂 .

It’s okay to have a bit of a mess if it tells the story you want. We can curate our visuals so that they don’t loose all their charm. If you want a lifestyle look then there is such a thing as too perfect. Authenticity comes with photos that show imperfections. If you’re shooting food than sometimes a photo with just the crumbs tells a story. A slice out of the cake shows someone couldn’t resist. Ordered chaos is what an art teacher told me when I was studying at FIDM. If you want to show ‘real life’ it’s okay to show the imperfections… –but they need to pleasing to the eye.


Props + Backgrounds are absolutely necessary for almost every post. I’m going to use baking as an example because it is where I personally love props the most (and gardening photo’s). I bake using modern pans and a food processor but I would rather show vintage accessories in my photographs. I am after all telling a visual story. It doesn’t have to be a true story 😉 Some of the best locations to find props are at secondhand shops.

If you’re using a busy printed background or piece of fabric try using a subtle or neutral complimentary coloured plate or plateau. This rule could be applied to all types of photography, for example food + products. Sometimes less is more but not always. Minimalism photo’s are stunning but sometimes a playful photo full of blooms is also exciting. Play around and look for inspiration if you get stuck.

Sometimes unexpected items work so well in photographs. Old chairs, suitcases and doors for example. I find myself always scouting for props and backgrounds.

Making your own backgrounds is sometimes more exciting than purchasing them. I try not to always use my white walls as backgrounds. It’s a habit I’m trying to get out of. Like with writing, while styling you sometimes need to kill your darlings. A lot of times you can find items around the house that will work well as backgrounds or undergrounds if your’re shooting lay-flat photo’s. Fabrics work well… I always am looking through the fabric discount bins.

A well styled photo tells a story

below the images cropped + edited

A well styled photo tells a story A well styled photo tells a story

Items that have a link with the subject can be added into the composition, for example pieces of fruit, nuts or chocolate. If it’s your work space some staplers, scissors or pencils. Gardening prints I like to photograph with potting ground and flower bulbs.


Cohesive colour palettes help create a professional overall appearance and strengthen your brand. While styling your photos, use objects with colors that co-ordinate and flow well together. For a business I think it’s important to choose a colour palette beforehand and make sure to stick with it as much as possible, this will ensure that all your photos align with your brand and look cohesive.


Have a focal point as opposed to having objects thrown together. Have an eye-catcher / special piece that you can create around. Try to avoid having objects competing for attention. They should accentuate each other and not distract.

#upyourvisuals and have a nice day 🙂

Teresa Micheile

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