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Basic Considerations

In almost every shoot, there are some basic considerations that the prop stylist must address:

  • How many shots are there?

  • Do the pictures have to match a style that is always used for a particular product, client, catalog, or magazine? If so, then the stylist will need to obtain as much information as possible from previous shoots. He or she should ask the client for tear sheets, or track down the previous photographer for information.

  • What are the proportions of the shot—a partial or full dish, a meal, a table setting, or a complete room set? A meal shot might include lasagna with salad, garlic toast, and drinks for one person. This might be on a table with minimal props or simply the dish on a surface. A table setting would include plates or portions for more than one guest, and may also include serving dishes with full table dressing. A complete room set could show a table setting with dining furniture, wall units, and lighting.

  • What is the budget? This should be firmly established. If not, the prop stylist will need to provide the client with a realistic estimate of how much the entire prop expenditure will be. Be sure to take into consideration the expense of having multiple choices for each prop, as well as delivery of props. Once you have a definitive estimate, discuss whether all the planned props can be obtained, or if items must be removed because of budget constraints.


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