Styling: Real Life vs Styled Shoot – possibly the most challenging shoot I’ve ever done

You’ve all seen the beautiful pictures of styled shoots.
Perfectly placed glasses, wrinkle free tablecloth, neatly arranged canapรฉs and perfectly poised models.
Heck I do them for a living.

Enter real life.
A real life party, in my experience is nothing like the styled shoot.
Yes I get that styled shoots are meant to be inspirational. They are supposed to show “what can be done” They also usually involve a whole collection of people from florist to stylist to make up artist, each contributing and collaborating, arranging and rearranging to get The Perfect Shot.
For this reason they are very misleading.
Real life has wind, and smoke (if you know my husband , you will know that he insisted on a braai) and a budget, limited time for “faffing,” and in my case, a dilemma.

Torn between the desire to be what all stylists wishes for, ” the don’t hold back client” who gives carte blanche and instructs ” G O B I G and throw everything you’ve got at it,” and being true to my own values and those of my family, I struggled more on this “shoot”/ party than any other.
I preach ( sorry FB friends ) a message of reduce, reuse, recycle !
I follow a LCHF / anti sugar – anti GMO diet.
I loathe ostentation and pretentiousness.
Balancing all these things became an ( unexpected ) exercise in restraint.
Restrain myself from spending a lot of money on the decor details which would likely just go in a cupboard or landfill afterwards.
Restrain myself from enforcing my diet and eating practices on my friends.
Restrain myself from obsessing over Every.Single.Detail.

Fortunately my hubby was there to keep me focused:
My daughters birthday is a celebration of her life; it’s about HER and not me as a over-achiever mom or hot shot stylist.
Food fascism has no appetite appeal; and inflicting my beliefs on 2 year olds is a waste of time.
Snobbery is gauche; simplicity and authenticity is what I’ve come to value and appreciate in people, living this out and extending it to our friends and community has become of utmost importance to me.

I want my daughter to grow up valuing people more than presents. I want her to know that parties are not about performance ( mine or hers) and mostly I want her to have pretty pictures and happy memories !

I think it was a very successful “shoot” after all. Thank you Vanessa Lewis for the pictures.




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