Janel Peyton – Featured Photographer

About Janel:
Boy mom. Doctor wife. Modern hippy. Photographer by chance. Lover of light. Passionate about people’s stories.

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Easy Ways To Set Up a Styled Session:
Several years ago, I was a wedding planner. I had my own business and controlled each and every aspect of people’s weddings. For months, for a single wedding, I coordinated vendors, handled meltdowns, set up receptions, cleaned up messes, filled my car to the brim with decorations and then the day happened and was gone in what seemed like an instant. Then I decided to leave that profession for photography, because I wanted a change. And what did I do? I began doing styled sessions and you know what I figured out… I was addicted. Addicted to the coordination, addicted to picking out clothes, addicted to getting models styled, addicted to setting up the backgrounds and props. Addicted, I tell ya. So for those of you who are addicted to the craziness as well, here are a few tips on setting up your own styled session:

1. Choosing a theme. This doesn’t just mean picking an idea. It means thinking about the season: Will this shoot be a fall session with autumn leaves? Will it be a summer sessions with bright colors? Will it be a winter session with falling snow?; It means thinking about the purpose of the session: Are you doing this merely for yourself or to be published somewhere? If it is to be published, choose a theme appropriate to the publication; It means choosing something you are passionate about: Do you love photographing kids or couples or dogs or landscapes. If you aren’t passionate about it, it will show.

2. Coordinate the vendors. You’d be amazed how many vendors want to be a part of your sessions! Reach out to local clothing designers, prop companies, estheticians and rental companies. Let them know what your plan is and see if they can see your vision and want to be a part of it. (Who knows, maybe they’ll even give you a discount or provide something for free! — Who doesn’t like free stuff?)

3. Choosing a location. You hear it all the time: “location, location, location.” This is true, but it’s funny– the places you least expect to take pictures can be the best. All you need is the right angle at the right time of day. So keep your eye out for unique, unchartered territory. Maybe it’s a farm on the side of the highway, maybe it’s a friend’s backyard, maybe it’s a small section of the right street, maybe it’s a secluded area of the river. You never know. So go out and explore.

4. Choosing your models. Depending on what type of session you are doing, the right model can make or break your session. Find a model that has something interesting about them, something intriguing to the artistic eye. But also, a model who looks good in the styling and who is willing to bring something special to the styling: a certain look in his/her eye, a certain pose of a shoulder, a certain release of emotion from the model can make all the difference.

5. Remember to have fun with it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the coordination, the framing of the shot, the posing of the models, the stress of the editing and deadlines, but if you have fun with it, in the end you’ll feel like you are submitting a little gift – a little part of yourself.

So get out there. Style it up. And share your gifts with us.

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The artist: Janel Peyton
The biz: Janel Peyton Photography
The location: St. Louis, Missouri
See more of Janel:
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