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Understanding Style

One of the most important characteristics of a good prop stylist is a keen understanding of style. The stylist can choose an array of props to evoke many themes such as modern, contemporary, traditional, ethnic, futuristic, or surreal. They can also use props to stimulate emotions—serious, dreamy, romantic, or playful.

Once the style of a picture is decided, work begins on design. Each shot has a key element, which is why no two shots are ever the same. The key elements are affected by how the shot is going to be used in the layout—vertically or horizontally, how the camera will “see” the set, and how the food will be placed on the dishes. To achieve the desired design, the prop stylist needs to understand how the elements of color, size, texture, and patterns in the food are affected by the dishware, silverware, flowers, glasses, plates, and backgrounds.


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