How to hire an Interior Stylist

This post is also available in: German

Emma Morton-Turner – Founder of Inside Stylists and Interior Stylist for 20 years. 

If you’re looking to create amazing photography that will send your brand and new season’s collection to the next level it’s time to hire an Interior Stylist. 

It’s never been easier to find someone who’s perfect for setting-up your shoot. Whether you’re a small independent shop selling eco cleaning products, a big high street brand or a little company that sells unique cushions, hiring an Interior stylist will add that something special to your shots.

Why hire an Interior Stylist in the first place? There are so many roles that an Interior Stylist plays but in a nutshell – we come up with the creative ideas for your shoot and pull it all together. 

Once we’ve been given a brief – ie how you want the shots to look, how many shots you want, what the set should ‘feel’ like so your brand, product or feature looks the absolute best it can be – we can get to work. We know how to arrange objects, furniture, and products to tell a story, enhance a brand or make an item the absolute hero in every shot.

In order to create the perfect shoot, we curate props for the set – be that surfaces, backdrops, furniture, paint/wallpaper/fabric or accessories. On the shoot, we can also Art direct when needed. Interior Stylists are adept at working closely with photographers to get the right shot. We can help find locations, assistants, set builders and couriers. We’re masters of logistics.

With so many stylists to choose from where do you start when hiring one? Here’s how to find the best Stylist for your shoot. 

What’s their personal style? Interior Stylists are pretty much able to turn their hand to any look you might want – just check out their portfolios, but there are always “styles” that they are well known for. You can often see this on their social media channels. Some are big on colour, others neutrals. Some may be super modern and minimalistic others into retro or vintage. Search for someone who’s into the same vibe that you’re looking to achieve with your shoot and they’ll do a fab job as it will be natural to achieve to get that look.

What’s their experience If it’s a large shoot you’re planning you’ll need someone who has experience. The longer the shoot the more planning, props and logistics come into play. The more experience a stylist has the better they will be at handling any situation that comes up. Experience also makes us a very talented bunch at problem-solving – something we’ve all had to learn when things don’t turn up or go wrong on shoots. If an Interior Stylist has shot magazine features or two to three day-long commercial shoots you can assume they can handle anything you throw at them.

Are they well connected? 

Not an essential but if you’re looking for photographers, locations, set builders and assistants the chances are your Interior Stylist will be able to help with this and recommend the best in the business. In general, we’re a well connected, resourceful bunch.

What’s their day rate? Although most stylists’ have similar day rates, some charge the same for prep as shoot days, others charge for travel and some will be VAT registered. Ask what their day rate is before you book them and confirm everything in writing (an email will suffice) so everyone knows where they stand. If you agree to a fee for a two-day shoot with two prep days and then you change your mind about the look of a shot or the props you want when the stylist has already started working you’ll invariably add time to the stylist prep work which will end up costing you more. Plan once and well, prop once is the motto to live by here!

Have a prop budget ready. Interior Stylists will need to buy a lot of props for a shoot whether it’s food, flowers or accessories. What most brands don’t realise is Stylists are working on a few shoots at a time so it’s essential to have a prop budget ready for the stylist before they start getting your shoot together. Once you know what the budget is the Stylist can invoice for the amount. It’s good to know that most stylists won’t start propping till the budget is received. 

Where do they live or do they travel. All Stylists are happy to travel whether they live in the Midlands or Brighton. So don’t worry too much if the shoot location is miles away. We can get there no problem. 

Do you like them. Of course you will. Interiors people are a very friendly bunch, but if you’re going to be doing a long shoot and possibly need to have an overnight stay it’s a good idea if that person is going to be fun to be around. Shoot days can be long so being with like-minded people is always a plus. If you’re booking someone for the first time it’s a good idea to have a chat on the phone or by Zoom/Skype to see if you think they’re the right fit for your shoot.

So there you have it. The checklist you need to find the right person to style your photoshoot. If you want to source great Interior Stylists in one place check out where there are tons of profiles and examples of stylists’ work and experience as well as all their contact details.

About Inside Stylists

InsideStylists is aimed at stylists and writers having a place to promote themselves, along with assistants who need to be easily found along with recommendations. It’s also ideal for PRs who would like to share all their contacts in the directory, which is specifically for the interiors market and reach all us freelancers who fall off mailing lists.