The Business of Style

Last week when I posted about the photography of Michael Partenio many of you commented on the fabulous design and styling of the rooms in the photos.  Lo and behold, I got a note from editor/writer/stylist/ extraordinaire Stacy Kunstel alerting me to the fact that she herself has styled most of those shots.  I’ve been following Stacy on Twitter and reading her blog since finding out about her months ago as I am totally enamored and intrigued by her job.  As I work on styling a spread for Boston Magazine Home I am becoming increasingly aware of how much work (and fun) goes into finding all the right components to create an enticing shot.  In my past life when working for another designer I remember being sent out to scout accessories for photo shoots- even though we had completed the design work.  No matter how much the client has let you go to town on a project, when it comes to the photo shoot, additional styling beyond the interior design is always needed to make it spectacular. Whether simply bringing in flowers, throws and a re-hanging some art to borrowing a different rug, coffee table and statement mirror for the wall!  These before and afters from Stacy’s blog illustrate what she does (and the impact it has).






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  1. so true…we just did a shoot with a national publication and the photographer remarked that magazines should show the heap of stuff removed from the room that’s always piled just out of the shot or in a room that’s not being featured. these are great comparison images showing what the rooms ‘really’ look like.

  2. The transformation is pretty drastic for the lack of effort spent in transforming the room. Goes to show how a different eye can cast the same room in a different light with just a few added picture frames, lamps, etc.

  3. I find this so depressing. Why don’t magazines feature homes that are already styled and decorated to the nines? Isn’t that the point?? To feature people who already live stylishly? I feel like this is cheating. Especially when items that aren’t part of the home are shipped in just for a photoshoot.

  4. erin,
    stacy is a fantastic stylist(she did our house for country home..the photos were so great) and it is so nice to see you featuring her work. we should get you two together, you would love! she too is a design saloner!

  5. Erin,
    I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful surprise this is. Thank you for all the wonderful compliments and for sharing my work with your readers. Someone on Twitter was nice enough to alert me about it!

    I have something to share with Alania who lamented the lack of reality played out in magazines. There was a time when I worked a lot for the now defunct Country Home. We really strove to use what was available at the house, bringing in as little of our own imprint as possible. More magazines now have to present a certain “look” as much to their advertisers as to their readers. I find myself having a heavier hand in styling these spaces, but I always try to tailor it as much as possible to the homeowners’ likes. I would never put something in a photo that a homeowner doesn’t like.

  6. eep…I hate to be the only negative voice, but while the composition and styling of these shots is great, the washing out of the black levels in the photography is not. They look faded like they’ve come from a cheap scanner. Still, great styling!

  7. I’m curious to find out where I can get the dining room chair covers in the first photo. I’ve been searching high and low for dining room chair covers in a modern pattern, and can’t find anything.

    The photos are great, very talented!

  8. Things aren’t always as they seem. And I am again reminded, that when something looks easy and effortless, it means that a TON of work went into it behind the scenes. Thanks for for a great post!

  9. I’m always so amazed at what styling and great photography can do in a space! I’ll definitely be adding her to my reader – what an amazing job!

  10. While I can tell that the photographs and the styling are much better in the after shots, I always hate seeing how many things have been changed in magazine shots. No wonder my house can’t look like the magazine. I don’t have that much stuff and if I did nobody could live the way they are showing it, chairs in the middle of hallways, desktops so covered in stuff a pen couldn’t fit and no matter how hard I try my throws never look oh so casually thrown on my sofa. It is like taking a beautiful model in beautiful clothes and photoshopping her until she looks like an alien. No one can achieve that look either. Don’t get me wrong, if a stylist would like to come here and fix my house I would be all for it and if someone can take my picture, even out my skin tone, stretch me to 5’11” and whittle me to 110 pounds I would have it blown up and hung in my foyer and the stylist would have to just work around it!

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