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September 9th, 2016

The Life of a Stylist by Gretchen Bell

Posted by liveBooks

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Gretchen Bell is a wardrobe and prop stylist based in Seattle. Her client list includes Kraft, Levi’s, Target, Chevrolet, Amazon, Omni Resorts and Tommy Bahama. To see more of her work, visit: www.gretchenbell.com

In some ways, I feel I was destined to become a stylist. As a child, I was always wearing fashion trends before anyone else and modeling in local fashion shows. When I was about 13, I remember reading an article in Seventeen Magazine about the woman who was the stylist for The Cosby Show and thinking that would be my dream job, little did I know!

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Photograph by: Christopher Bell

In college, my major was television Communications, so my career began working in video production as a production assistant and doing graphics for the news at the NBC station in Minneapolis. I then spent several years working as a modeling agent, before taking a job as a studio manager and producer for a successful advertising photographer, Craig Perman. It was there that I began styling commercial photo shoots for many large national and international clients and really learned about all aspects of production. So my whole career has really been about seeing things in a visual way.

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Photograph by: Greg Montijo

In a great photograph everything matters, the color of a shirts, the kind of coffee cup, the style of the shoe, the position of the elements to one another. Everything in a photograph is helping to convey a client’s message or tell a story and that is my job. That is the fun and the challenge of being a stylist. What is going to make a photograph funny or moody or nostalgic and how are my props and wardrobe going to help do that? People don’t realize I might spend hours looking for just the right underwear that will be funny on teenage boys or searching for the perfect feathers for a still life shoot because it all matters. That is why stylists bring so many choices to the set for every shoot, so we can figure out what best helps tell the story.

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Photograph by: Christopher Bell

It is very much a collaboration to tell a great story and it’s not always successful. Everyone is bringing something to the table at the shoot and when we all have a clear and concise vision, I think then it makes for a great photograph. As a stylist, I am coming to a shoot with my interpretation of what my client wants, but also run through a filter of my personal style. If a client wants playing cards, there are lots of playing card options out there. It is really fun to see a shoot come together successfully and see how elements from each member of the crew helped create that moment.

To me being a stylist is really about being part of a team; I can’t do my job without the rest of the crew. My props and wardrobe are only as good as the talent booked for the shoot, the lighting, the photographer, the makeup artist, the vision of the client and the layouts. Again, everything matters.

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Photograph by: Melissa O’Hearn

 

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Goran Kosanovic is a commercial, advertising, and editorial photographer in the Washington, DC area. We are excited to share his story and a bit about how his career and liveBooks 8 site came to life with you today:

I am originally from Serbia, and while growing up, my father was in charge of taking our family pictures with an old Czechoslovakian camera. Back then, black and white photos were only available in a format size that was a little bit bigger than a business card. I always wondered: “Can they be bigger and in color?”

Once I came to the US, I chose to change my studies from mechanical engineering to photography. I went to the Brooks Institute of Photography and moved to Santa Barbara, CA. While in school, I managed to assist many great photographers from the LA area. This experience being with commercial photographers while watching them create amazing images was priceless. Back then, everything was on film, so there was no margin for error. Everything was done in camera – lighting, composition. That was the way I learned and is how I continue to create my images.

Upon graduating, goranfoto was created, and I slowly started developing my brand with a website, business cards and a logo. As I love to cook, food was a natural subject choice for me, so I focused my work mostly on hospitality and food photography.

I currently call the Washington DC area home, where I live with my family. It was the perfect place to expand my hospitality and food photography business. The city offers cuisines from around the globe, and for me, it was not very hard after leaving the West Coast, except the weather of course!

See more of Goran Kosanovic’s fantastic images on his liveBooks 8 site at www.goranfoto.com.

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Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

GK: Easy to use. I always knew that I needed something very simple.

Q: How often do you typically update your website?

GK: I do it very often. I try to update it every week, either with new gallery images or with some blog type of news.

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Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?

GK: I try to rotate images that will attract jobs and potential clients. My greatest hope is that visitors to my site will understand my style and what I am all about.

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Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks 8? 

GK: Simplicity. I do not want to waste my time creating and re-creating pages and pages of my website. In today’s world, it should be simplified so the time used is minimal for me and for the viewer.

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Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?

GK: At this point, I think picking the right images, while making your site easy to navigate are the major things to having a great website.

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Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at social@livebooks.com.

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Lou Bopp is a talented photographer, director, and producer that is currently based in New York City and St. Louis. Recently, Lou has worked to craft a new director’s reel. With years of experience in the field and wonderful insight, Lou details the struggles and successes of creating a great production below. 

To see more of Lou Bopp’s fantastic portfolio, visit his site at www.loubopp.com.

It’s all about the croissant.

My new director’s reel is long overdue. Creating fresh work and sharing it with prospective clients is vital. Curating said work is not the easiest – I would much rather be shooting. However, I work with awesome people and having others to bat around ideas with, from the perspective of great editors, makes a world of a difference. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, The field cannot be seen from within the field. 

When it comes to my directorial approach, whether I’m working off a creative brief, a board or run & gun, I’m always on the lookout for serendipitous moments. As I am often hired to shoot both motions & stills, I direct in a manner that compliments one another. The train of thought and overall conceptual vision are about the same. However, the implementation is a whole other ballgame. Screw it up, and you risk losing the brand message and the project becomes discombobulated. Finding the right DP is paramount and pivotal. Same with producers, location managers etceteras even the catering. Because at the end of the day, no matter how great the final piece is, the client may only remember a stale croissant. Great producers are key.

In this reel, you’ll see projects from Hershey Chocolate, The Aalsmeer Flower Auction in Holland, which is the busiest floral market in the world, Mississippi tourism, a disaster mitigation firm, CSpire, a telecommunications firm, a company called USG that probably made the ceiling tile that you’re sitting under, Traders Point Creamery, FM Global, a huge solar farm on the Mexico border and more.

I’d like to thank the awesome folks at rukus post who were instrumental in making this cut. I hope that you enjoy!

Posted in Multimedia / Networking / Video / Videos

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Jill’s interest in photography began in high school and continued into college. Taking elective photography classes soon led to picking up photography as a hobby, which has since turned into her career. This is her story:

After college, I travelled around the world for seven months before returning home to San Francisco to find a ‘real job.’ I took photos with a point-and-shoot camera to chronicle my time abroad. The positive feedback that I received from my photographs when I returned home encouraged me to submit my work to a variety of photography exhibitions, invest in a better camera, and figure out a way to continue traveling while improving my portfolio. Eventually, I decided to enroll in the Academy of Art University in San Francisco to pursue a master’s in Fine Arts degree in photography. For my Master’s thesis project, I chose to spend nine months documenting life in the Himalayas. I travelled throughout Nepal, India, Kashmir, Bhutan and Tibet, working with a variety of non-profit agencies. In 2009, I won a National Geographic YourShot photography contest, and I had my first photograph published in National Geographic Magazine. This was the opening that I needed to move my photography career to the next level. Since 2011, my photography has been represented by National Geographic Creative. In 2012, I received my first assignment from National Geographic Books and was sent to Sydney, Australia for five weeks to photograph the National Geographic Traveler: Sydney Guidebook. Following that, I became an intern and then freelance photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Since 2011, I have been spending my summers teaching photography to high school students in countries all over the world for National Geographic Student Expeditions.

At home in San Francisco, I photograph events, editorial, lifestyle, architectural and food-related shoots. I also provide private/group and corporate photography workshops, mentoring and portfolio reviews.

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My style is my own personal vision of stories I am drawn to, that are unique to me. I photograph issues and iconic places which I find compelling. My goal is to create a visual of places in the world many people may not have seen while exposing them to the beauty and reality of cultures they may not have experienced.

Check out more of Jill’s recent work on her liveBooks8 site at: www.jillhsphotography.com.

Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?

JS: Bright, colorful, exotic

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Q: How often do you typically update your website?
JS: I typically update my website every few months, after any trip that I take, or whenever I have new work to show.

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Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?
JS: For my homepage, I typically pick photos that I am particularly drawn to. No specific formula. I choose photos that are vibrant, colorful, thought provoking or unique moments.

Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?
JS: I love the new liveBooks8 platform! It is very user friendly. I particularly like all of the new design features. It has a very clean and modern feel. There are more options for easier search optimization, as well. Now, I am anxiously awaiting the capability to sell my images from my website.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website? 
JS: Take your time and have patience. It took me a couple of weeks to design my website. If you have questions, call the liveBooks customer service, as they are very helpful. Show your best work…quality over quantity. A editor once told me: “you are only as good as your worst photograph on your website,” and while this may sound harsh, it always stuck with me. Try to leave people wanting to see more of your work, rather than getting bored and moving on from your site.

 

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Have a website you’d like us to feature? Email us at social@livebooks.com.

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