Work // What’s In My Styling Kit
I recently had to re-stock my styling kit for a few photo shoots, so I thought I’d share what I keep in my bag, which is currently a glittery Victoria’s Secret free-gift-with-purchase tote that coats everything in stripper glitter and sorely needs to be replaced. I’m looking at one of these.
Until then, here’s what stays in my kit:
- Flathead pins and safety pins – have several sizes on hand (long, short, thick, thin) so you’re not poking huge pinholes in delicate materials. 80% of my kit is things that hold other things together.
- Sewing kit – a basic needle and thread make it easy to replace buttons, baste hems, and tack up sleeves.
- Portable steamer – handy for on-location shoots.
- Clear monofilament – for “invisibly” suspending items.
- Instant Tac – for creating height to prop things up; it’s also useful for making rings smaller and acting as an earring back in an emergency.
- Zots – clear sticky dots that can be used in countless ways.
- Lint roller – no photographer wants to clean up tiny specks of lint in post, so roll baby, roll.
- Clamps and binder clips – to fit clothing, to hold down backdrops, to prop up foam core. Get them in different sizes to suit your needs.
- Hairspray – for hair, of course, and as static spray for fabrics.
- Scissors – small enough to cut threads but large enough to cut foam. I also keep a seam ripper in my sewing kit because you DO NOT want to accidentally cut a hole in a garment with too-big scissors.
- Nipple covers – to conceal the indentation nipples create in clothing, NOT to cover nipples under sheer garments. Use a camisole/bra/nothing (if the model is OK with it) for that.
- Lotion – because ash is never a good look, on-camera or off.
- Stain stick – because you will be a DIY dry cleaner. A Tide stick and Shout wipes make it easier.
- Foam-backed tape, double-sided tape, gaffer’s tape – All the tape, all the time. Stick things together, tape stuff down, and protect shoe soles.
- Topstick – to avoid wardrobe malfunctions and hold down small areas of fabric.
- Polishing cloth – to clean glasses, sunglasses, and other smooth/reflective surfaces, and quickly buffing shoes in a pinch. I keep a separate polishing cloth for jewelry.
- Toothrush – to brush small stains out of suede, to clean grit off the bottom of shoes. It should not be currently in use for brushing teeth.
- First Aid Kit – for the inevitable on-set boo-boo. Alcohol wipes also come in handy for disinfecting earring posts.
- Converter – for turning a 3-prong plug into a 2-prong plug, very handy when shooting in older buildings.
- Febreze – to keep fabrics fresh.
- Tag gun – to replace tags removed from soft goods.
- Ziplock bags – for everything from storing all of the above to keeping removed tags together.
FOR PROP STYLING, I ADD IN:
- Soft foam padding – to keep dishes from cracking against each other.
- Quilt batting – for stuffing bags, hoods, sleeves, anything that needs more volume.
- Glue gun – because who doesn’t like hot-gluing tabletop sets together?
- Chopsticks – for moving necklaces and chain handles into the right shape.
- Long-handled tweezers – for moving small objects without disturbing the things around them.
- Mini toolkit – because sets don’t build themselves.
- Floral wire and wire cutters – to mold everything from flower stems to watch bands.
- Paintbrush – for getting dust out of tiny little crevices.
- Individual superglue packets – so you don’t have to worry about gluing your scissors to your steamer.
- Goo Gone – for those darn stickers they put on the bottom of drinking glasses.
FOR ON-FIGURE STYLING, I ADD IN:
- Camisole – in black, white, and taupe, these basic layering pieces come in handy more often than you think.
- Stick-on bra – I always ask models to bring a flesh-colored thong and strapless bra, but sometimes stick-on cups are a necessity.
- Chicken cutlets – for when the model’s cups runneth under.
- Body makeup – to even out the models’ skin–veins and mottling take time to remove in post. Be careful not to get any makeup on the clothes!
- Nail polish & file – for taming janky hands and feet. Plus, I inevitably break a nail.
- Makeup cover hood – to keep models hair and makeup in place and off the clothes. Anything from a silk scarf to a breathable cap will work.
- Hangers and garment bags – for when shops and designers just hand you a pair of pants or a dress. Keep garment bags handy to protect their stuff and your sanity.
- Pantyliners – to protect bathing suits, underwear, and the bottoms of shoes. They also serve as underarm sweat absorbers.
- Makeup remover towelettes – to remove makeup and wipe down any, uh, odorous body parts.
- Shoe horn – because a lot of models have big feet. Just sayin’.
Between craft shops, office supply stores, hardware stores, and the usual drugstore suspects, you should be able to find pretty much everything you need. And of course, Amazon (Prime, holla!) has your back in a pinch.
One last thing: When you’re shopping for kit supplies KEEP YO RECEIPTS. These purchases are business expenses and should be recorded as such on your taxes.
Questions? Additions? Let me know in the comments!