As a stylist Susie helps create beautiful and inspiring editorial and advertising shoots for some of the world’s leading interiors magazines and brands. Susie has been ‘shopping, propping and making things look pretty’ for more than 15 years.
Her passion for interiors has a strong basis in design. Susie studied both furniture and interior design before working as a buyer and trends forecaster for a leading Interiors brand. This background led her naturally into the world of styling and she established her own business.
Alongside Styling, Susie has now curated an online shop, being out and about all the time means Susie can spot the most amazing things in the most unusual places.
Props and Location
Prepping & Propping: The day in a life of an interior stylist….
The planning for the Alternative Flooring shoot is a detailed and thorough process, and is just as important as the shoot itself.
Once I have the brief from Lorna Haigh, head of creative and marketing at Alternative then the planning can begin. Lorna appoints a bespoke team comprising the stylist, photographer and art director.
For me, the first and most pivotal part is the selection of a location to shoot in, which reflects the themes of the product and the brand well.
After making a selection of suitable location houses, I will go and recce them and then choose the best location that suits the style of the shoot. This time it requires something, calm, eclectic and homely. I found this house through Light Locations – a photo location agency providing beautiful, inspiring lifestyle locations to the film/TV and photographic industry.
Location hunting is great fun but the trick is finding original gems that haven’t graced the pages of every magazine. This black cladded forest house in East Sussex is different and has fabulous open plan spaces filled with natural light.
Locations have to be spacious for a flooring shoot and have good stairways. I look for large windows, paneled walls and in this case rustic floorboards. It may look white but this is a location house that allows us to paint and decorate. The only condition is that leave it as we found it.
Whilst searching for the location, I am constantly thinking about Alternative’s new collections and which furniture and props I am going to use as part of the shoot. These extra incidental items will create the environment to hero the product within the shot. These items will enhance and present that product in the best way possible.
Whilst searching for the location, I am constantly thinking about the selection of which furniture & props I am going to use as part of the shoot. These extra incidental items will create the environment to hero the product within the shot. These items will enhance and present that product in the best way possible. Two of the ranges that we are shooting are Wool Crafty from the eco-friendly all wool carpet collection and the luxurious new Barefoot Ashtanga Silk designs.
Swatches – Big Jute Herringbone Bagel, Wool Crafty Diamond and Cross
Swatches – Barefoot Ashtanga Silk
The props may need to reflect a certain trend or feeling, for this shoot I needed a mix of vintage and natural props to create the overall look.
I use a mix of sources, some props I would hire from a dedicated prop house – where they stock a large variety of furniture and accessory pieces and then to mix with these, a few key pieces from the high street and then a good handful of vintage pieces.
I shop a lot! I find pieces everywhere. Once I’ve been properly briefed for a project I keep my eyes peeled wherever I am. During weekends away, driving around, I am always on the look out for vintage shops and little independent boutiques. Mostly the products I am shooting are direct from my clients’ new ranges, but I do add in incidental props to help the shoot have a real-life feel.
Each shot for the day, is planned and sketched out, so on the day the whole crew, photographer, client, assistants, know what we are doing, where & when.
I decide within each shot what items of furniture, product and props we are using, and where in the location we should set up.
On the shoot day, from the start we are busy receiving the delivery of props and products, unpacking all the props and setting up the product to shoot. There is a lot of unpacking and packing, it does feel like you are moving house everyday.
Photographer Ben Roberston of 7am Creative works his magic helping me direct the shoot and capturing Alternative’s new designs on camera.
Being on a shoot is hard work but gives a great sense of achievement, once the day is over and the shots have all been done. Packing up and loading the van and car is a great end to the day and then it is on to the next and doing it all again!