What to Wear to A Couples Photo Shoot, and Other Ideas to Help You Rock Your Pictures

Stylevise Couples Photo Shoot

There is probably no type of photo shoot as fun as a photo shoot for couples, especially an engagement or other special occasion. Without small kids, there is little hassle – and nothing looks sweeter than two people in love! But sometimes, figuring out what to wear or bring to that photo shoot can be stressful and time-consuming, bringing the fun factor down big time.

Oftentimes, it is not easy for couples to pick out what to wear or what to bring to the photo shoot (if they even thought of bringing anything at all). It is difficult enough to figure out what one person wants to wear, let alone find a coordinating outfit for the “better half”!

The stress of it all is compounded by the fact that couples often use these photos for a lot of different purposes, including save-the-dates, wedding invitations, holiday cards, and thank you notes, as well as putting them up to decorate their new home. They want something that is going to look great and be useful for a number of purposes.

Sometimes photographers help with photo styling or prop styling, but many times they do not (or prefer not to anyways). Of course, most people do not have wardrobe stylists or prop stylists, like celebrities and big time magazines do (although, there is an exciting new and affordable alternative to that, which we hope you know about already!)

But overall, a little effort can make a big difference when it comes to “styling” your portrait session. Even if you want a more natural look, you can save a lot of stress by figuring out what to wear to the photo shoot early…and what to bring. And bringing some simple photo props that are unique and special to you can really bring your couples photos to life.

It only takes a little preparation to make a big difference. Below are a few highlights and lessons learned from a recent photo shoot styled on the Stylevise platform. We hope you will find these tips helpful as you prepare for your upcoming couples or engagement shoot – whether you choose to use a stylist or not!

Importantly, thank you to featured favorite photographer Ashlee Burke for so beautifully capturing this moment and talented stylist and Stylevisor Jessica Wilcox, as well as our lovely clients Jana and Sean.  And without further ado, our very best style and styling ideas when it comes to expert styling of a couples photo shoot!

STEP ONE: GETTING IDEAS FOR YOUR PHOTO SHOOT

Jana and Sean pick a Bon Voyage theme

Jana and Sean collaborate with Stylist Jessica and pick a Bon Voyage theme

1) Think about the “look and feel.”
We think it is always a good idea to think about the look and feel you’re going for with the photos. Consider finding a few examples of photos online that may help communicate your vision and desired “look and feel” to your photographer.

Given the location of the photo shoot can sometimes play into the “look and feel” of your photos, your photographer may want to brainstorm some specific locations with you. Sometimes there is a special location that just speaks to the vibe you’re going better than others – like “Mountain Chic” or “Urban Cool.”

2) Consider a theme!
We also think it is fun when people get inspired to do something potentially new (or maybe a bit more unique from what they’ve done before) and look to more styled shoots in magazines and online for inspiration.

Jana and Sean, featured above and below, are already married – but a young married couple headed off for a new adventure to a new city, including grad school at Carnegie Mellon University and a new job! For their “theme,” they were excited to do a fun “bon voyage” shoot to capture this moment in their lives, before departing the city they’ve lived in for the past five years.

3) Choose a color palette! 

Sean and Jana loved this modern color palette, with a hint of nautical about it!

Sean and Jana loved this modern color palette, with a hint of nautical about it!

This is sometimes the most challenging part, but can also be the most fun and exciting once decided. A specific color palette (usually 3-4 colors), chosen by you or with the help of a stylist, can be a really fun way to determine what to wear and bring to the shoot. It makes deciding what is in and what is out much easier. You can try and create a color palette yourself by using a tool like this color palette generator here. Above you can see the awesome color palette for Sean and Jana’s photo shoot, suggested by their stylist Jessica.

STEP TWO: SHOP SMART FOR YOUR PHOTO SHOOT

A photo shoot Style Guide makes it easy to plan - and shop!

A photo shoot Style Guide makes it easy to plan – and shop!

1) Start with comfortable classics.
Feel good in what you are wearing. No matter how styled the shoot is going to be, we love starting with a “base layer” of some comfortable but stylish basics.  In this shoot, basic blue jeans on Sean and white jeans on Jana make the shoot relaxed and fun.

When it comes to classic pieces, we like to stick to stores that are tried and true like Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic.  These stores have great return policies and very fast shipping. There are often sales and free shipping to take advantage of, with and without a Gap or Banana Republic card.

Don’t forget your own closet too!  Often the best place to find basics you feel really comfortable in is at home. Start with the pieces you love, and find some fun, new, colorful pieces to then complement them.

2) Add a little “flair.”
The problem with most shoots is that people are so scared that their looks will “clash” they never move on from the comfortable classics and it leaves everything just looking a little boring.  With a little help from stylist Jessica, you can see that Sean and Jana have no such problem. With the tricks here, you won’t either!

The comfortable classics they started with are smartly complemented by strong, exciting colors and some really awesome shoes (all within the color palette approved upfront). We love Jana’s coordinating pink necklace and pink loafers! Adding some complementary color and style to the shoot really makes the pictures pop.

When it comes to finding those “fast fashion” items, go outside your comfort zone and look at inexpensive retailers like H&M, Forever21 and even Zara (we especially love Zara Kids!)  Just watch the shipping time and return policies – these can be a little longer and trickier than places like the Gap. (For example, H&M doesn’t have an express shipping option and also doesn’t allow online purchases to be returned in local stores.)

We also like the idea of going super glamour and fun by renting a designer look from RentTheRunway. Who wouldn’t want gorgeous pictures of yourself in couture to show your future children (and grandchildren!)?

3) Don’t forget accessories and props!  

Add a little personality with some vintage props!

Add a little personality with some vintage props!

Most “normal” people don’t think too much about accessories or props when it comes to a photo shoot. But trust us, these small touches can make a big difference in the final photos.

Playful accessories and props add life, laughter and uniqueness to a shoot.  They can be super functional, like a throw blanket that keeps you dry from the wet grass. But they can be really meaningful too, such as the vintage suitcases and “Bon Voyage” banner Jana and Sean used to commemorate their next big move to another city, embarking on life’s next new adventure, together.

For one-of-a-kind accessories and customized photo props, we can only think of one go-to place: Etsy. But there are many, many more. Etsy can be a little hard to shop if you don’t spend much time there, but with a little effort (or the help of a Stylevisor) you can find some really amazing things.

Depending on how much time you have before the photo shoot, it can be so much fun to hit up a vintage store or two or even your friends’ houses to find new and interesting pieces. This vintage book featured in one of Jana and Sean’s photos was borrowed from a friend who loves coffee table books and also helped throw a library-themed wedding for a friend.

How sweet is this?

How sweet is this?

Adding some personality does NOT have to be expensive!

STEP THREE: FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR YOUR PHOTO SHOOT

Ask a friend to help = you can help them out next time in return!

Ask a friend to help…you can help them out next time in return!

1) Keep track of your outfit and accessories.
After you order all those items, try to keep everything in one place until the day of the big photo shoot. We like the idea of writing out a list (or even creating and referring back to a Style Guide and checking off that you have all the items in place a few days before, and again the night before. No need to add to the stress on the day of! Also, think about laying out your clean clothes the night before. Please, don’t forget to iron. And don’t be scared to dry clean select items so they look extra crisp!

2) Allow time for hair and makeup.
Life can get so busy it is hard to remember to leave yourself time to do hair and makeup, or better yet, get your hair and makeup done. If you are in a bigger city, you might want to consider services like The Glam App or The Dry Bar (one of our personal faves). But even if you don’t go anywhere to get hair or makeup done, there are so many resources out there, including great videos on YouTube that walk you through the steps to take in order to get a specific look for hair and makeup perfect before the shoot.

3) Ask a friend or family member to be your “photo assistant” and schlep around the props and accessories.
It is super hard for the photographer to worry about the location, the lighting, and everything else. Having a spare set of hands to schlep around any props, to help adjust your collar or accessories, remind you if you’re smiling in a quirky way, or to just keep an eye on things while you pose, can be super helpful. And you can offer to do it for them next time!

TO STYLE OR NOT TO STYLE?
Honestly, we think your photos are going to be amazing, no matter what. But we know it can be stressful and time consuming to get everyone prepped for the photo shoot, and we hope these tips can help.

Plus, isn’t it a little bit fun to work actually style your photo shoot, with ideas, outfits and props that really express who you are?! And get photos that have you shouting from the rooftops you love them so much?

Here you can see a picture of Jana and Sean first without a “styled look,” and secondly with a more styled look (via Jessica and Stylevise).  Both looks are absolutely gorgeous (and we love Sean’s jacket!), but you can see how stylist Jessica gave them a little more edge and “pop” in the second look – which makes for a fun and different style than they might have chosen themselves.

Jana and Sean try a more subdued palette, and then have fun with a pop of color!

Jana and Sean try a more subdued palette, and then have fun with pops of color!

Thinking about booking a photo session? If we can help you with your photo styling needs,  or any other styling needs, we’d love to hear from you. But no matter what, HAVE FUN on that photo shoot and remember that this time spent taking a moment out to enjoy the one you love – and recording it – is so important. You will cherish these photos of the two of you for a long time. So cheers to you!

PS – if you or someone you know is a talented photo stylist who would have interest in working with more clients on our platform, please send them to us!  We always love meeting new, talented people.

Getting Ready for the Wedding: 10 Tips to Easily Create a Stylish Bridal Suite

Photos Photography via the talented Kate Headley

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, for in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” ― Kahlil Gibran

This week’s highlighted project is about getting ready for a very classy, fun wedding in Washington, DC.  The bride was considerate enough to make sure the guests were staying in reasonably priced hotels very close to the incredible church and the lovely reception venue. To keep it easy, she wanted to stay close as well – in a hotel directly across the street. And she wanted to get ready right at the hotel, with her wedding party.

The hotel was lovely, but her maid of honor really wanted to make sure the hotel room was a beautiful, comfortable place to get ready (and stay calm!) before the big event. The wedding was late (7 pm) so the wedding party would be in the hotel for a long time prior to the big night. The guests in the wedding party were not from DC, and didn’t know the space or local vendors well. So, she needed a game plan for creating a festive, fun bridal suite that was easy to execute in a rather small space.

Luckily, it was easy (and fun!) to turn to trusted Stylevisor Melissa on Stylevise (who also blogs) to get a well thought out plan on how to make the room as functional and beautiful as possible – with easy execution. Lucky us, because we love wedding projects at Stylevise – check out this post on Planning a Wedding, One Step at a Time. We have many talented Stylevisors who can come up with wonderful ideas at the fraction of the cost of a full-service wedding planner or stylist.

This “beautiful bridal suite” project inspired these 10 easy ways to transform a typical hotel room into the perfect bridal suite for the bride to comfortably (and beautifully) get ready for the big day.  So here we go!

1) Upgrade to a room with a sitting area, with space for the whole wedding party to be comfortable.
It is really nice to have a big, uncrowded place where everyone can gather before the ceremony. Often there are lot of ladies going getting their hair and makeup done at the same time, and there needs to be enough space for everyone to sit comfortably. In this case, the bride upgraded to a Serenity Suite Room, that had a separate sitting area with sofas and coffee table.

Lots of room for everyone!

Lots of room for everyone in the hotel turned bridal suite!

2) Get the day started right with an in-room massage for the bride.
Everyone knew it would be a long day. The bride wanted to start her day with a run, and thought that a massage after her run would be the perfect way to begin her perfectly “pampered” day. And we can’t disagree – it simply is the perfect start to a blissful wedding morning.

Having the masseuse come directly to the hotel room made it easy for everyone. The bride mentioned that she wished she had remembered to turn the heat up a few degrees before sliding onto the table!  A good tip to pass on to you, dear readers!

3) Bring some easy decorations to make the bridal suite look even more lovely.
Stylevise can help get a lovely decor plan together quickly – with simple bridal suite decorating ideas customized to the hotel interior and the client’s preferences. Decor items are all listed in a “shoppable” Interactive Style Guide so that the hostess can click through to order desired items and have them shipped directly to the hotel (or other desired location). Stylevisor Melissa came up with a great theme and color scheme, and then found an amazing source at Acme Party Supply for some special touches that were super beautiful and easy to order and set up. This amazing “jumbo confetti” and ombre napkins were so pretty and chic – and simple touches that made decorating the bridal suite easy and, no question, brightened the room.

Festive treats for all

Festive treats for all

4) Order in fresh cut flowers and candles to make the suite sweet and relaxing.
Always, flowers and candles.  So easy to do and makes such an amazing difference. Stylevisor Melissa found this amazing florist in DC that sells all locally sourced flowers, and delivered the bouquet, in a vase, directly to the hotel.  It brought everything to life. Amazing what flowers can do!


Melissa also recommended this brand of candles called Nest.  It was easy to buy this set of votives on Amazon and ship them to the hotel in DC.  It added the perfect light scent, to make things a little more personal and cozy in the room. The candles were also something the bride could take home with her – allowing her to look back and remember her special day each time she lights them at home.

5) Order some light bites for the bride and the wedding party, to keep energy up and even.
Next up, food. Stylevisor Melissa had combed through the hotel room service menu and offered some suggestions, but she also had the great idea of just using Instacart to order cheese, crackers, grapes, apples, pretzel chips, and a few other light bites.

Thanks to Melissa’s suggestion, the front desk agreed to send up white square platters and other service pieces to use.  It proved to be the perfect inexpensive and perfect snack option for everyone to nibble on.  Clean, energizing, not too smelly or messy. And easy!

6) Don’t forget a special treat for the special guests. Nothing says “I appreciate you being here” like a little something sweet!
A special day calls for a special treat!  Stylevisor Melissa had combed through the best bakeries that deliver in DC, and found the most scrumptious, and highly recommended, macaron shop called Olivia Macaron.  It was easy to customize the flavors. Ultimately, the maid of honor chose raspberry, salted caramel and vanilla, to match the color scheme provided by Melissa. These cookies look so beautiful and delicious!

7) Create a specialty cocktail (as well as some hydrating beverages!) for the bride and attendants.
Stylevisor Melissa found the recipe and ingredients for a very cool drink called “The Blushing Bride.”  But, since it was a long day, having non-alcoholic beverages on hand is also key.  So ordering cute glass bottles of San Pellegrino, mini-cans of Diet Coke, and Smartwater is a great idea too.  Perfect choices to keep everyone energized and hydrated!

8) Offer some distractions for the wedding party – getting everyone ready takes a lot of time!
With a bunch of ladies sitting around for an afternoon getting hair and makeup done, and trying NOT to get to nervous about walking down the aisle in front of everyone (!), fun magazines are a must.  It is easy to pick up a thick stack of the usual suspects – InStyle, USWeekly, PeopleLucky, Self – nothing too taxing, just all fun.

Waiting between hair and makeup

Waiting between hair and makeup

9) Bring in a chair for hair and makeup, and put it in an area with the best lighting.
Remember to set up stations for hair and makeup!  It is easy to call the front desk to help, and maybe ask them to bring up a couple chairs or bar stools from the lobby. Position these strategically in good light and near tables so that the makeup artist and hair stylist can easily set up all their tools.

How glamorous is this?

How glamorous is this?

10) Pick the perfect, ready-to-go “getting ready music.”
Stylevisor Melissa had some great solutions for music, including figuring out that the hotel room had a radio with an iPhone 6 hookup.  She suggested a number of great playlists already on Spotify!  Genius.  This one is amazing to use as a bridal suite playlist: The Ultimate Wedding Morning Playlist by PopSugar.

Great music on the i phone dock

Great music on the iPhone dock

If Stylevise can help you with any upcoming events, including those for your wedding day or other special events, we’d love to hear about it. Submit your details for a free proposal, today!  And please share this article with friends who might find it useful.  We’d be happy to send you an example of a party guide or two, and work with you to see if we can help you plan a little festive gathering filled with special, thoughtful touches.

Happy Stylevising! xo, Megan & Kaycee

The Stylevise Edit: Freshly Picked Florals for Spring 2015

April Showers Bring May Flowers….or, better yet, our Stylevisors’ favorite things in all things floral! See what florals our stylists are loving by checking out this month’s Stylevise Edit.

Okay, style hounds, maybe florals for spring isn’t a groundbreaking idea … but we’ve gotten crafty and brought you some really creative ways to get your floral fix this spring and summer. For example, how cool is this beautiful floral temporary tattoo? Or the creative floral keyboard decals? The florals print record player? And don’t worry, we have some spring fashion floral classics in there for those of you just looking for some more traditional, spring floral outfits…how lovely is the floral dress below?  Or the amazing lace wedges!?  Or those awesome spring rompers?

Scroll below for details on each item in our Spring Florals Stylevise Edit, or simply click the image below to view the collection in full.  Enjoy these spring picks – the very best in springtime floral, freshly picked just for you!

Stylevise Edit: Floral Favorites (May 2015)

Floral Ice Cubes1. DIY Floral Ice Cubes. One of our favorite springtime floral ideas! Such a thoughtful and beautiful floral decoration detail you can easily incorporate into drinks at your the next party or get together you’re hosting. What a beautiful way to bring a spring floral tablescape to life!  Your guests are going to freak out, you know it. And we can think of about a million springtime cocktails to pair it with… yum!  (DIY, Maxine Brady)

BlueRomper2. Liz Floral Romper by Yumi Kim. Designer Yumi Kim always has fabulous prints. We simply love this floral romper from the spring collection and have already packed it away for a trip we are taking in a few weeks!  Seriously, we are in LOVE with this designer.  With the wrap top, this spring floral look is kimono -like while being totally modern at the same time! Great when you are looking for something a little different than a floral dress! A little sexy, but just as sweet. ($229, Kate Maroney)

3. Affordable Removable Wallpaper (Blossom Mint Print) from Etsy. Simply loving this DIYRemovable Floral Wallpaper removable green floral wallpaper (with its modern floral print) for the home in mint green. Temporary wallpaper is about as in demand as florals right now, so the two of them together seems like the perfect match!! Beautiful way to incorporate a seasonal floral trend into your life until you’re feeling something else catch your eye! And, it’s also super affordable. ($20-$125, Kate Bendewald)

Floral Temporary Tattoo


4.
Beautiful Large Vintage Floral Temporary Tattoo from Etsy. Perhaps we’re feeling non-committal lately because we just ordered these romantic, floral temporary tattoos. Yep, that’s right.  Again, such a great combination of sexy and sweet, right?!  Great styling is all about the contrast… ($12, Kate Bendewald)

5. Pretty Roses Keycals. Now here is a creative floral!  These keyboard stickers simply brighten our day. Not to mention, we get tons of compliments on them. EveryKeyboard Keycalsone just smiles and smiles when we open up our laptop!!  Now working during those beautiful springtime days doesn’t seem quite so bad… especially if we have a springtime cocktail in hand!  ($20, Emily Blomquist)

6. Cutout Floral Print Romper. We just love when the sun comes out and you can sFloral Rompertart showing some skin. Forever 21 has a great selection of cute, and cheap, floral rompers and dresses for summer. Another great floral dress alternative and one spring floral trend that looks super cute in spring and summer photos!  This floral romper can be dressed up or down depending on the look you are going for. Plus, rompers are so comfortable. ($17.90, Jessica Wilcox)

Lace Wedges 7. Rezdah Crochet Wedges Sandals by Lucky Brand. Our favorite spring floral shoes!!! Laces on wedges sandals in shades of white and ivory are so light and refreshing to see after the winter months. These ivory wedges sandals also give you the height of a pump or stiletto, but are so much more comfortable (great for summer outings and dancing the night away at weddings). Seriously, hooray for spring wedges.  ($89, Sarah Larson)

Floral Dress8. You Haute to Be There Dress by BB Dakota. Who doesn’t love floral fashion? We love this cream floral dress because it says spring and is versatile – you can wear it to work or it is a great idea for a spring floral to wear to a wedding! ($94.99, Mandi LeCompte)

Floral Record Player 9. Crosley X UO AV Room Portable USB Vinyl Record Player. How cool is this floral record player? An Urban Outfitters exclusive, this stylish turntable is easy to use and allows for deck and MP3 player integration. And it’s on sale for almost half off. Floral fashion doesn’t get more fun than this! ($99, Mandi LeCompte)

Floral Inspirational Art Print10. Worry, Be Happy Artwork from Rifle Paper Co. This floral art print is so beautiful and inspiring.  The yellow and the color palette are quite fantastic. It totally brightens our day and we hope it brightens yours too! ($24-$50, Melissa Guedes)

Have you spotted a great spring floral trend that we’ve missed?  Please leave it in the comments below!  We’d love to hear about it and share with our readers! Happy spring you cute chickens.
Please note that at this content uses affiliate links.

Easy, Awesome “Style Hacks” for the Time-Challenged

MANHATTAN (2)

What do you do when you have A LOT of appreciation for stylish people, places and things – but very little time to figure out how to actually become one, get there or acquire them?

Well, our company, Stylevise is actually all about finding style advisors who can help you with just that. There are SO MANY talented, awesome people (like Svetlana and Julia and more!) who are so excited to collaborate with you. So if there’s a specific problem you are stuck on, and you’re the kind of person who doesn’t have enough time to figure it all outcheck us out.

But in the meanwhile, we’re going to share our favorite short-on-time, long-on-style “hacks” to show you how to get started finding and living “your style” with minimum expense or time commitment.

Our Favorite Home and Office Style Hacks

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 2.53.38 PM(Image via our lovely Stylevisor Kelly Rogers at interiorsforfamilies.com)

We believe that you absolutely deserve to love the spaces you live and work in. Don’t second-guess it. It is completely worth it to be comfortable and inspired.

There are jobs we haven’t taken because the ceilings were too low in the office. Seriously. And we just cancelled a membership at a co-working space that was really just not conducive to good work…primarily because of how dim, uninspiring and downright ugly it was.

You just feel better, and create more and better output, when you are in a lovely, functional space. So our first “style hacks” are quick-fixes to “style it up a notch” when it comes to your home and office.

1. Plant life.  Seriously, this is important. Nothing makes a place look, well, more life-like and lived in than actual living things. Genius, right? We were on this French-inspired kick of actually buying cut fresh flowers every week, but abandoned it because it was getting way too expensive, they died so quickly, and it was just depressing to bring dead flowers to the compost four days later. Too much effort and not enough return. So how to get that look without the money and time?

Our absolute favorite tricks are plant-of-the-month clubs (okay, it sounds hokey, but they actually stick around for the while, are seasonal and feel just right for each new month), forcing bulbs in the winter/spring (these are seriously so easy and people love it), and putting orchids or ferns in our steamy bathrooms (they love the steam and live a long time too!). Orchids are definitely worth the money given the lifespan, and they look so classy! By the way, we are also not against fake plants every once in a while. As long as they aren’t too obvious, a fake plant can be the right solution for the right situation. Just don’t tell anyone.

2. Vignettes. This is something that designers and stylists probably think about all the time, but the rest of us don’t even understand what this means. When we say “vignettes,” we are talking about those little areas of display on a bookshelf, console table or coffee table that incorporate great vases, books, or other accessories. 

With the right items and the right placement, a boring or purely functional area of your home can suddenly have the personality, composition and sense of aesthetic that “style” is made of. The best part is, these items are often super cheap! It’s just about figuring out what you want your vignette to say, grabbing some great items (or let us help you) and quickly setting it up. Easy…and now even your console table has a point of view.

3. Quality details. Invest in small, unexpected luxuries. For us, this means buying L’Occitane hand soap over the generic grocery store brand, or new white flour sack towels for the kitchen when our old ones start to grey. It’s the equivalent of the $5 coffee. Okay, maybe it isn’t the most practical decision as there is certainly a cheaper substitute, but it somehow makes a difference. Every time I wash my hands with that lovely favorite soap I feel lucky, and happy, and grateful for my day. And everyone who comes over thinks they are in a special place, too.

4. Room scent. We have a feeling that those of you who were rolling your eyes at fake plants might be rolling your eyes at this one too. But there are a lot of lovely linen sprays and other room scents that can make your space feel a little bit more special, pulled together, and “yours.”  In fact, smell is a sense that we probably don’t indulge enough. It pulls you into the moment like few other experiences. One podcast we listen to says it’s a sure-fire way to pull more mindfulness and happiness into your everyday. And, it helps create and cement memories of your home. We always think that our children will be transported back to this sweet time with the help of lavender, sprayed each time the bed is made.

5. Collect something you love. We remember seeing so many Martha Stewart features about the beautiful collections that stylists and designers had in their homes.  And it is true, some of the most stylish people we know indulge their tastes and passions by investing in a collection of something that speaks to them.  Maybe it is vintage cutting boards, milk glass platters, mercury vases, or birdhouses. But it’s something you love – and thus, de facto, representative of your unique style. Collecting that theme over the years, piece by piece, makes you happy and lets others see a piece of you that they otherwise wouldn’t know about.

6. And throw everything else away. Just kidding – sort of. Those rooms that look so great on those makeover shows on HGTV? One primary fix is used in all of them – decluttering. We know it is super hard, but it is well worth the effort. Everything looks better when it is given its chance to shine. So clear out the stuff you are not in love with, and let the stuff that gives you joy shine through.  There is so much in the media right now around this idea, and we’re totally jumping on board. Also, there are about a million cool apps now to let you sell that old stuff you don’t really like quickly and easily… again, saving you time, money and sanity. 

Our Favorite Party Hacks for High Style, Low Effort Events

Cured in Boulder, Colorado

(Image from Cured, one of our favorite little takeout secrets in Boulder, Colorado)

There’s nothing we like better than an awesome, easy party – equal emphasis on the awesome and the easy. A party gets un-fun fast if you’re super stressed about getting it ready or pulling it off.  We like event styling hacks that make you look great and make you feel at ease.  Here are a few of our top picks, in hopes that they help you at your next event or party!

7.  Pick a hip, seasonal “house wine.”  How fun is this? The trick of a good friend of ours and one we totally have adopted. It’s impossible to learn about a million great wines every year – but it is possible, for example, to learn about one really cool, new, good one for the season, say something like this, and make it your “signature wine” for every time there’s a play group, book club or other gathering at your house this summer. Or step it up with interesting variation like a kir. Everyone will totally get a kick out of something special and new (to them), but you don’t have to stress about it (at all.) Plus, most stores offer a discount when you buy a case (12 bottles or more) – so it’s saving you money, saving you time, and making you into a pretty awesome host, all at the same time. 

8. Find a few go-to takeout secrets. We’re pretty sure they exist in every town. We have three amazing take-out-don’t care options in Boulder, CO, including insanely good empanadas (great book club solution), a deli that makes amazing fried chicken (great for groups), and a little cheese shop that makes picnics to go (easy peasy summer celebrations). Don’t be scared of it and don’t feel guilty! What is worse than take out? You as a sweaty stressed out hot mess before your guests arrive. In Paris (we’ve read) it’s the cool thing to buy the cake (from a fabulous patisserie, of course), not make it. Our rule of thumb? Make one or two things – acquire the rest.  One of our glory moments was our MIL’s friend secretly calling us to find about where we got our partial-takeout Christmas Eve buffet dinner (hint), so she could use the same source for her gourmet book club. Her secret is safe with us!

9. Go AWOL. This one comes from our talented Stylevisor Erica Fredericks Jones who just helped with the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (not too shabby), suggesting a few different takes on how to have a very stylish dinner party al fresco (i.e. outside).  Not enough room around your dining room table? Try turning your outdoor furniture into deliciously different outdoor dinner seating. That’s it – move the sectional outside!  Now, it’s “mix seating” like those super stylish lounges you see styled at glamorous weddings.  Or, is there a local park nearby? When guests arrive surprise them with a packed basket and blanket. Bring the wedding china (ever since we stumbled upon the Diner en Blanc one night out in Paris, we know nothing is more glamorous than fancy dinnerware outdoors). Now you are having a delightful dinner on the green, and since you are reusing items you have, the expense is minimal.

10. Find some killer pre-mixed music playlists. Music is everything. But you’re time-pressed, and you’re not a professional DJ – that’s okay. Make friends with Spotify and find simply awesome music mixes for every social occasion you could think of. Pandora is great too, of course, but we find the mixes on Spotify to be a lot easier to work with and it’s easy to find just the mood music you are looking for!  Girls’ night, rehearsal dinner, pre-wedding prep music… you can find pretty much anything! PopSugar even made this awesome one channeling NY Fashion Week!

11. Have a go-to game to play.  We strongly believe that taking the time to figure out just one little activity can make a party go from “ok” to “awesome.”  For example, Stylevisor Julia Wester has told us how popular her handmade “Jumbo Jenga” set is in her backyard.  We believe it, given we are a huge fan of throwback lawn games, especially with a cocktail in hand!  This lawn version of Twister might not be simple to create, but you’d definitely get a few parties out of it, and you could always just buy the regular version to set out as well.  When it comes to game night, we love standbys like Cards Against Humanity with an easy prize for the winner(s) – like mini bottles of fancy-ish scotch for the winners.

Our Favorite Fashion and Photo Styling Hacks for Really “Fast Fashion”

Awesome images and article on a stylish sneaker roundup via PopSugar 

Sometimes it feels like you just have no time to figure out something cute to wear, even though you would like to look and feel beautiful, unique, interesting – in a word, stylish.  Especially when it comes to clothing, style is intensely personal and is developed over time.  But below we’ve noted a few tricks that can help you feel excited and comfortable about what you wear in life (and in photos!)– with minimal effort and expense, to boot.

13. Develop a “uniform.” This one is all over blogs and social media right now but it’s totally true. The true style icons all had a “signature style” – which for us normal people, just may mean a go-to look that feels comfortable, looks great and simply makes us happy because it’s a real expression of us. You can substitute in trendy items now and then, but it’s great to start your day with a base formula that you know you feel good in. I mean, we know how it worked for Steve Jobs. Some examples from our lives: we almost always wear the same simple stud earrings instead of fussing with changing earrings each day. The challenge is to make it a uniform for you but that stands out vis-à-vis others, so it’s not just a boring default (sorry!).

14. Commit to an expensive-looking, high quality, go-to bag. Unless you are a celebrity or an heiress, we don’t think the time to get trendy is when it comes to expensive hand crafted leather. So pick one great, high quality bag without a logo plastered all over it. Love it, take care of it, and embrace patina (patina looks good on expensive, well-crafted things)! And in the name of keeping it easy and cheap(er), here’s a great blog post from StyleCaster on where to get designer bags for less. And if you’re not into bags, may we suggest one really great pair of sunglasses? Just don’t lose them like we always do.

15. Buy into ONE trendy item a season.  Just pick one thing that naturally resonates to YOU. For us, we’d consider picking one of these currently trending items: jogger pants, midi skirts, tulle skirts, denim dresses or boyfriend jeans. Ignore the rest…especially clogs, emoji shirts (really?) and flatforms (yikes!). We’re not doing it.  Between this and a quick eye on what’s trending (for example, skinny jeans), you will look impeccably a la mode with minimal effort.  Really, it just takes one up-to-date piece in your wardrobe to take your whole look up just a notch, easily.

16. Commit to ONE makeup trend.  Again, you can’t keep track of everything.  And you know what, not everything is going to work for you anyway. So take a quick look and pick one. It might be as simple as walking into Sephora or Nordstrom and telling one of the girls you want one on-trend makeup trick that will work well for you. We are pretty sure those girls will love the challenge of giving you one go-to tip! Another quick style hack we love that makes us feel trendy, fast, is to pick an on-trend nail polish color that looks young, fresh and fun.  When it comes to the hottest nail colors for spring 2015, we like the strong primaries and the floral-inspired opaque glitter “petal” colors. Given metallics are totally in right now, we’re also loving this gold mani, thanks to the recommendation from our lovely Stylevisor, Jessica.

17. Put one more thing on. You know that adage, get dressed and take one thing off? Well, that might be for the more sartorially inclined among us. For those of us with aspiring style ambitions and little time, it might be more useful to put one more thing ON before we leave the house. The greatest outfits are usually simple basics with a lovely touch or two on top. Same recipe is often true for what to wear in photos – something basic, but with a fun hat, scarf or other accessories to play with and let the eye focus on, to help you stand out but not overwhelm.  So go one small extra step, grab one more accessory, and do that white t-shirt and jeans justice.

And for style dilemmas that are a little too complicated to be solved with a “hack?” Well, for everything else, there’s Stylevise.

Ok, so sometimes you can’t go to the easiest default option.  Sometimes you need something a bit more special, customized and thoughtful. So if you’re struggling with a style dilemma on something that is not obviously hack-able, check us out and see if one of our Stylevisors can help. You can read about other projects we’ve done to make people’s lives easier here on this blog, too.  Working with Stylevise is fun and, we promise, super easy.  So let us know how we can help you solve your next interior styling, event styling, or photo styling need!

If you have any great simple style hacks we missed or should know about, please share in the comments. Happy hacking! And happy Stylevising! 

6 Tips for Senior Pictures You Won’t Hate When You are 35

photo styling

The snow is finally melting (finally!), and we’re headed into the high season of senior photo shoots. We are completely impressed at the number of really beautiful, unique and non-cheesy senior portraits that are out there.  As we look through our favorites on Instagram, we can see how a few key choices in what to wear or what to do during the shoot can make a huge difference.  We thought we’d share these senior picture ideas for outfit, poses, backdrop and prop inspiration.  As you can see, it’s fun to take the time to plan, primp and really have fun with it. These pictures will be around for a long time. In any case, we wish we had this kind of inspiration when we were getting our senior pictures taken. Maybe then we wouldn’t cringe every time we see them on the walls at our parents’ homes!

Have fun with color!
We absolutely love how the color in this photo just works on every level.  It makes the picture sing, looks great against the subject’s skin, coordinates perfectly with the scarf behind, and just makes the viewer feel happy and optimistic.  As our wonderful Stylevisor Julia Wester says, “Everyone needs a little POP in life!”  It isn’t always easy to figure out which colors look best on you, but it is worth taking the time to find out – especially if it makes the end result look like this!

Wear what looks (and feels) good on you. A lot of people spend time and money buying a lot of new clothing items, but they don’t really love the items (or the way they fit). They just somehow think they will look good in the pictures.  But what really counts is finding items you really look and feel amazing in, so that your confidence and joy in the moment shines through.  We love the picture below because not only does it look great, but you get the feeling that this girl really loves what she’s wearing (especially those great shoes). Yes, the composition and color are on point (!) – but the subject just shines with happiness. The yellow color around just seems like a reflection of the bright future ahead of her. When a client works with Stylevise, we love to work with favorite pieces the client already owns and brands she knows and loves — and we always advise that clients try on everything a few days before the shoot…so they can rock what they feel really great in the day of pictures.

Have fun with backdrops.
This is about finding a place with a “personality” that matches yours!  We love the urban, carefree, slightly daring feel of the graffiti background here — and we love how it ties in with the ripped look of those favorite jeans.  You can tell the subject is in her element – and her upside down pose again echoes her “live life to the fullest” attitude. When all the elements of the photo can combine to reinforce this kind of statement on one’s personality, the perfect portrait emerges…one that really goes deep to tell a real, intuitively true story about its subject – and anticipates her sure-to-be-exciting, self-fulfilling future.

A photo posted by Amy Higgins (@higginsamy) on Apr 13, 2015 at 8:15pm PDT

A simple, no fuss prop.
Ahh, what to do with your hands?! And how to make a pose feel natural, especially for those who might be shy or fidgety in front of a camera?!? That’s why we love a simple, lovely prop such as the colorful bouquet featured in this photo. Sometimes when people think “prop,” they think cheesy or complicated.  But honestly, they don’t have to be.  Done correctly, a simple, no-fuss prop can bring movement, personality and fun into a shoot – in a very natural way. We think these flowers are the perfect example. Tell us what simple props you love in the comments below!

A photo posted by Allison Dennis (@allidennis) on Apr 13, 2015 at 6:00pm PDT

Engage with what you love (vs. posing with what you love)
And while we are on the subject of props, a lot of seniors want to bring in items they feel represent their time in high school…maybe an instrument, an athletic item, or other object that represents an activity that they have devoted themselves to while in school. While we think this is awesome, we offer the cautionary suggestion of not making the item too obvious or a “subject” in itself — this is a portrait, not a still-life, as you know. One easy way to avoid the object taking over the shoot is to engage with what you love to do, not just display it or pose with it. The photo below is an amazing example of just this principle…and what a lovely shot it is!

A photo posted by @villafanophotography on Apr 9, 2015 at 2:32pm PDT

Keep on moving, don’t stop no!
One last idea when all else fails — remember movement.  We love that this subject has the perfect pop of color, looks comfortable and happy in what he is wearing, and has found a great backdrop. We really love how he is doing something fun and childlike, experiencing a little rush, and doing something a little challenging but still climbing ahead… such a great analogy for this time in his life and such an optimistic perspective on what is ahead.  When the shoot starts feeling a little tired, remember to get up and play!  The smile that this kind of fun will put on your face is hard to beat, and the sense of spirit that will serve you well as you go on to your next adventure.

A photo posted by Sara Knobel (@saraknobelphoto) on Apr 15, 2015 at 11:26am PDT

So there you go – some fun tips (and ideas) for getting senior pictures you will absolutely love and be proud of when you’re 35! To learn more about how you can work with your own personal photo stylist virtually, check out Stylevise.com. It’s free to get proposals from our talented roster of photo stylists and learn about all the amazing (and fun) stylists you could work with, all online. Happy spring and happy photos!!

Finding and Accessorizing the Perfect Big Girl Trundle Bed

Hi y’all!  Hope everyone is having a very happy spring.  The latest Stylevise project we wanted to highlight is a great example of how using an interior stylist for your home can save you time and money, while making that project you have been working on turn out just the way you’d hoped.

This project was about finding a new twin bed with a trundle for a young girl’s small room.  This little girl was transitioning from a crib, and so her mom wanted to get something that would make her feel special and excited.  Quality was also important, because the bed would hopefully last a long time! Also on the list: bedding, decorative pillows and a throw. This mom had a lot of very specific criteria including a bed that was “old school” but “updated,” bedding that wasn’t too girly, childish or “matchy match” (the coordinated sets at Land Of Nod were too much for her), and that everything would need to complement the custom floral roman shades already installed in the room.

Without help, the mom was going to have to spend a lot of time online, including Pinterest, looking for all these requirements… time she didn’t have or necessarily want to spend in front of the computer.  Enter Stylevise!  A great way to get just a little bit of expert help and create just the look she was hoping for.

On the Stylevise platform, it’s easy to submit this kind of specific request and get bids back from talented stylists with lots of fresh perspectives and ideas about new and unique sources.  The Stylevisors on the Stylevise platform have a lot of time invested in looking at decor items like beds (including trundles!) and bedding, so it is possible for them to quickly put together tailored options for clients, saving them a lot of time and money in the process.

The coolest part is that the “answers” are delivered in a “clickable” Interactive Style Guide, with products to purchase (as needed) and friendly advice.  It’s almost like having someone curate a special, tiny, specialized store just for you and your needs — rather than you having to shop the whole mall or heaven forbid, the whole internet. :)

Here’s a glimpse of what Stylevisor Kate provided, including a selection from the project’s personalized Interactive Style Guide.  We love it!  Kate found the perfect trundle bed (with a pop-up trundle) from Charles P. Rogers, the most amazing gold polka dot sheets from PBTeen (a great but unexpected complement to the floral shades), and the most enchanting duvet from Father Rabbit.  The result?  The perfect mix of whimsy and little girl sophistication, which this family can enjoy for a long time. Just lovely!

Toddler Bedding Styled Up

The Stylevise Edit: Spring Favorites

We asked our Stylevisors what they’re loving this spring! See what some of our amazingly talented designers and stylists are loving by checking out this month’s Stylevise Edit with fresh ideas ideas for spring. Scroll below for details and prices on each item, or simply click the image below to view the Stylevise Edit (featuring spring trends) in full and click on any item to view it online.

Spring Favorites April

1. Aries Print from Minted (in the whitewashed herringbone frame). Features a subtle metallic element. Makes for a perfect birthday or (spring) baby gift. ($52-89, Tess Canfield)

2. Majorly in love with all things poms and tassels, like this Moroccan wool blanket woven by hand with pom poms from Etsy. ($150, Kate Bendewald)

3. Egerton wallpaper. Seriously crushing on this beautiful metallic floral print available at Anthropologie. I’ve been obsessed with Cole & Son’s Fornasetti line for years (and used it in my former apartment). Such a luxurious, classic and cool wallpaper. ($248, Tess Canfield)

4. Love this wirework Canary yellow garden chair from Oliver Bonas, complete with a little bird on it. It’s so hard to find quality and functional garden furniture. This one will add a zest of color to your garden all year round. And at £59 each, you can afford to treat yourself in every shade. ($65, Maxine Brady)

5. Nothing quite says “Spring has arrived” until I change out my purse for something light and fresh. I am loving this Rebecca Minkoff “Leo” Envelope Clutch in Primrose. Classic in style. Beautiful blush tone. It’s sure to make a statement! ($95, Valerie Seiler)

6. Butler Vivienne 2 Drawer Accent Chest. ($262, Kelly Rogers)

7. Bright colored succulent pots. Succulents, bright colors…what’s not to love about this DYI flower pot craft? (Jessica Wilcox)

8. Beaded Tassel Necklace on Etsy, with five chunky bright tassels. Such fun statement necklace for spring. ($18, Kate Bendewald)

9. Majorly in love with all things poms and tassels, like these adorable pom pom shorts from Etsy. A must-have for the beach. ($29, Kate Bendewald)

10. Electric Orchid Print Swing Tunic from Free People. I love the subtlety of the floral on this tunic top. Wears perfectly with the front tucked into shorts or jeans. ($108, Emily Blomquist)

11. Watercolor Floral Tulle Skirt by Lauren Conrad at Kohls. This skirt is part of Lauren Conrad’s Cinderella collection, inspired by the recent movie release. It’s floral, girly and but a “grown up” look. ($45, Sarah Larson)

12. Wraparound leather sandal from Zara. Super versatile spring shoes for your wardrobe. ($90, Kate Maroney)

13. Posey Bouquet Petite Dress. Loving this on trend floral dress by Paper Crown + Rifle Paper Co. with its gorgeous navy blue and peach floral print. Available at Anthropologie. ($218, Melissa Guedes)

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