We’re firm believers that as photographers we have to keep growing and changing with time. One way we have grown lately is we’ve heavily updated our styling kit! Some things we’ve added, some we’ve tweaked and some we’ve kicked to the curve. So, today we wanted to update you on what our styling kit looks like now!
First, if you’re asking yourself what a styling kit even is, don’t worry! To keep it simple it’s props and products we bring to every wedding to help us up-game our detail shots. Having it with us ensures we’ll be able to deliver every #KAcouple with a phenomenal, consistent experience no matter their budget or the amount of details they have.
We have a few must-have detail styling kit items that we couldn’t work without:
These are a HUGE lifesaver for styling invitation suites! Having a little dimension between the invites and envelopes looks so good and keeps your images from looking flat. We use these handy little acrylic blocks off of Amazon to help us achieve that! Of course, there are all kinds of shapes and sizes of these blocks but for the price these work wonderfully!
When we first started out, we used to use bridesmaids dresses to create a backdrop for details photos. It was difficult though if they were wrinkled, had slits, etc. So, we started making our very own styling boards! They were phenomenal for the time, but they were bulky and took up a lot of space in our car. Not to mention they were hard to carry.
Now we have mats from both KISS and from Olive & Oak that we adore! The best part is, they roll up so they don’t take up too much space! We’ve got two gorgeous suede ones from KISS and a linen double sided from Olive & Oak. The KISS ones are more expensive and only one sided even though they’re bigger. We have to say we’re more partial to ordering from Olive & Oak in the future. (You can see 4 of ours in the background of these images). As a bonus tip, we bought a mini lint roller to keep on hand to make sure our mats always look pristine.
Ribbons are one of the easiest ways to add a touch of luxury and texture to your detail photos. We always find ours on Etsy or Amazon and tend to go for unique colors and textures. We couldn’t recommend a high quality silk ribbon enough!
This is a simple trick to help you nail ring shots! We all know how slippery 3 little rings can be and the wax can help hold them in place! Plus, it costs less than $2 at most stores and lasts forever and a day. You can even reuse it.
We wish every bride showed up with a custom hanger, but lets be real… more times than not we show up to the cheap plastic hanger the dress came on. Having a plan white hanger in our bags is a simple way to step up wedding dress photos in a cheap way! We get all of ours from At Home and can get a pack of 5 for less than $5. We actually bring enough for up to 9 bridesmaids dresses to for a larger dress shot. Here’s the pack we get!
A small clamp can save the day for dress photos. If it’s not wanting to lay right or looks way too big on the hanger the clamp is an easy fix. We’ve even used them before when a dress won’t stay up on a specialty hanger. We bought some cheap but fabulous ones from B&H linked here for you.
We also bring some bonus items we’ve included over time that aren’t essential but make a huge difference. If you’ve already got your basic styling kit down, these can add to your images even more and take you to that next level:
White Ring Dishes
We got ours from Olive & Oak where we got one of our styling mats. They’re small, sturdy and super versatile. Be aware though, they aren’t cheap. We know some photogs make their own but honestly we didn’t have the time or skill to make our own. Plus, we wanted something made to last. Here the link to ours, we did the “raw” option with 2 sizes.
Marble & Silver Trays
Alec and I love to go antiquing and have had our best luck finding gorgeous trays at local shops or even on our Facebook groups. Our favorite tips is to not be afraid of a dirty and aged tray. A lot of times they just need a little TLC to be brought back to life. Silver polish is super cheap too 🙂
You may be asking what the heck we’re talking about… a floral frog is a little pin cushion that you can jam a flower onto. It can hold them up in unique ways to let you make the most of fresh flowers for photos. All we use is a super small set we got off of Amazon for less than $10 for four of them! Here is the link!
We’re all about creating a luxury experience for our brides. A lot of times they mention how they love the velvet ring boxes they see in our photos but they can’t afford $80-120 for a Mrs. Box. We actually have invested in 15 different boxes to help our brides out! All they have to do is tell us which color and we make it happen! They’re a big investment, but they add a high-end feel to your photos. We also always watch out for sales on their website and have saved a ton by doing that!
If you’re more a fan of a vintage feel or need something more cost effective, the Styling Mat has tons to choose from too at a lower price. Plus, they have a changing inventory if you can’t seem to find the right one.
A lot of times our brides bring their invitations by themselves. While that’s helpful, it adds so much more dimension when there’s an envelope to go with it. We buy a pack of cream and pure white ones from Hobby Lobby whenever we run out and use them! More often than not one of those colors will match our bride’s invitations.
These are a cost effective way to add a little umph to your images! We ordered a pack of multicolored stamps for less than $5 from the Brown Pear and love them. We like using them especially with invitation suites! You can get a ton of variety for so cheap!
No matter where you’re at in the process of building your own styling kit, we hope this is helpful! Don’t get discouraged if you still have a long way to go until you build up to the size ours is. Remember, we’ve been doing this for over 6 years and have added things slowly over time. You don’t have to have any of this to be a successful photographer and for the longest time we just used what we had on hand. Don’t forget a bridesmaids dress can be just as effective as a styling mat until you save up the money to buy one!
Katie & Alec
Want to get more tips & tricks for photographers? We have an entire blog series dedicated just to you! Check it out here.