“Can I Style My Own Shoot?” || What It Really Takes to Be a Stylist

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a stylist? There’s a lot more to it than simply having a great eye. Joy Coakley, Soft Goods Stylist for Poppy Creative Agency, studied photography in school, worked with photographers and stylists, and spent years interning, assisting and training before going out on her own. Suzie Holmstrom, a stylist for over a decade, had a similar path, starting with photography and working her way up. Want to learn more about making it in this tough industry? Read on.

Styled by Joy Coakley

Styled by Suzie Holstrom

Styled by Suzie Holstrom

What does a stylist do that I can’t?

Stylists handle a host of tasks, big and small, many of which you may not even know you need! These include:

  • Creating a concept that can be developed from scratch
  • Connecting with various resources for every step of a shoot
  • Buying or renting props for the photo shoot
  • Finding the perfect lighting and colors for the shoot
  • Styling and arranging tabletops
  • Working closely with a photographer to create the right mood and tone
  • Presenting items in a certain way so they sell
Styled by

Styled by Joy Coakley

Read our Stylist Spotlight on Claire Mack: Production Designer & Prop Stylist for Poppy Creative Agency

“You must obsess over design and detail. You need to be somewhat OCD. Never get stuck. Everything is always changing, and things change from client to client, and you have to have flexibility to succeed.” – Suzie Holmstrom, Stylist

Styled by Suzie Holstrom

Styled by Suzie Holstrom

It’s all so glamorous, though! Why shouldn’t Ihave all the fun?

That’s a common misconception. In reality, being a stylist appears more glamorous than it actually is… which makes sense, because our job is to make things look chic and polished! Being a stylist takes a lot of hard work, along with patience, talent, creativity and solid experience.

“My advice that I would give to anyone thinking about making things look good for photos is first and most importantly: do not let your head get big. Ever. This advice was given to me by a very talented and well-known stylist (and trained photographer), and I regard this as very important. You may be talented, but you also have to be liked to be hired, or at least continue to be hired. Your reputation is your livelihood.” – Joy Coakley, Prop & Soft Goods Stylist

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Styled by Joy Coakley

The stylists at Poppy Creative Agency — Claire Mack, Joy Coakley and Suzie Holmstrom — have a unique ability to combine 15+ years of creative experience and professionalism with an easy-to-work-with temperament and a sensitivity that clients need. Together, they’ve worked on everything from catalogs and magazines to large ad campaigns.

Styled by Suzie Holstrom

Styled by Suzie Holstrom

To hire a stylist in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Poppy Creative Agency.

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