January 25, 2016

my favorite photo styling props

I think / hope / pray we all know by now that celebrities don’t actually look like their magazine photos. Are they gorgeous? Absolutely. Are they flawless?  Of course not. Everyone has a minor — and, in the case of supermodels and Hollywood’s leading actresses, very minor — “blemish” of some sort. Maybe it’s a freckle or a hair out of place. But that’s what PhotoShop is for, right? Oh, and they were also made up, coiffed and styled within an inch of their lives. Trust me, I am not judging. This girlfriend will take all the help she can get!

Traci Zeller Lake Wylie Breakfast Room

But did you know that the same thing is true in interior design? Here’s a shocker for you:  That dog did not jump into the basket. Au contraire. There is so much that goes into making a beautiful photograph. Sometimes what works well in a room looks awkward through the camera lens. You may need to scrunch furniture together or move it farther apart, make a lampshade crooked so that it appears straight, and so on and so forth. Plus, interior designers and magazine stylists often add props and other accessories before a photo shoot. Those props and accessories shouldn’t change the look or the feel of a space, but they might add that final layer to help a room pop off the camera.

Juliska Harriet Vase

Now that I have more than a few photo shoots under my design belt, I’ve developed a bit of a rhythm. What made me laugh, however, is when I realized that I had a decorating “tell.” In poker, a “tell” is some change in behavior or demeanor that gives your opponent clues about your hand. Or at least that’s how I understand it; I don’t play poker. Work with me here, m’kay?  

Traci Zeller Designs Breakfast Room Hydrangea Arrangement

So what’s a decorating “tell”? In my case, it was a vase. Namely, this Juliska vase. Floral arranging is not my strongest suit, but anyone — and I mean, anyone — can make flowers look good in this vase. Gather stems together, tie with clear rubber band, cut to appropriate length, plunk in water, done. See? Four hydrangea stems et voilà!

Six Top Styling Props1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6

Fortunately, I realized my decorating “tell” … and I stopped using that vase in photos. But there are several stylish essentials that I either pack or buy before almost every photo shoot. Why? Because they look great in photos, of course — and they are realistic for a homeowner to use and enjoy. Not-so-coincidentally, I use many of these same things at home. It’s how I style my everyday — and my photos.

How do you style your everyday?


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