5 Minutes with...A Stylist!

'5 MINUTES WITH...' is a new regular feature on the LPA Blog offering a glimpse into the lives of professionals from all areas of the commercial photography industry. From Photographers to Producers, Art Buyers to Designers, Stylists to Bookers, don't miss out on some top tips and insider secrets! This week we spent 5 minutes with the very talented Natasha Freeman, LPA Stylist!

This is Natasha on the set of a big LPA Campaign, The Big Poster Challenge.

What does being a commercial stylist involve? Being extremely organised! I must admit that having a Producer's head sometimes does come in handy when taking on commercial jobs as I find myself needing to think quick and act fast when sourcing items. I also know that being able to understand a brief is about understanding the brand, that's why 99% of the styling I work on tends to be 'real' - I'd almost go as far as saying that sometimes commercial styling should go unnoticed in the final image as if something stands out, its clearly doesn't look right. How did you become a stylist? Well, initially I worked as an Art Director in advertising for several years and knew that directing photo shoots was to me, the most exciting part of the role. One thing led to another and I started to art direct, style and produce shoots on a freelance basis having left advertising. The styling side slotted in naturally with the other roles I was carrying out and I now love the balance and satisfaction from working with great clients.

It must be fun being a stylist, all that shopping! What the best and worst thing about your job ? The best part of the job is endless - being in the shops all the time, creating and making props, styling the final look along with hair and make up on the shoot and generally being the creator that helps towards it all coming together. However, styling always sounds like a glamourous job, especially to my friends! I guess it is to a certain extent, but the worst part is transporting large quantities of clothing and props around - it can strain on your back a little!  I also forgot to mention returns... I won't go there!

Have you had a busy year so far? I have had an extremely busy year so far, I'm actually shocked to know where we are at in the year already as there is so much I want to work on this year.

What are you working on at the moment? A number of projects as well as commissioned jobs. I have some exciting projects coming up with photographers such as Julian Calverley, Kelvin Murray, Cormac Hanley, Howard Kingsnorth and David Ryle. As well as commissions in the pipeline for Head and Shoulders, Argos, P&O Cruises and DFS.

What one photographer would you love to work with that you haven't already? Gregory Crewdson. He is my photography hero and it would be an absolute dream to work with him.

What's the trickiest styling request you've ever had ? I can always guarantee that the most simplest of props or even basic clothing essentials are always the most difficult to find especially when you need them the most. Once a shoot has been and gone you will always see a million versions of what you are after. I have struggled however to find a particular union jack teapot and a vehicle speeding tracker device used solely by the police force.

What cant you do without on a shoot/what do you always carry with you on a shoot? I have 2 kit bags that come to every shoot with me, 1 for wardrobe and 1 for props - inside is a multitude of essentials and tricks of the trade that there is no way I could be without. If I had to pick one thing it would definitely be my trusty pink steamer.

For any budding stylists out there, what advice can you give them of ways into the industry? To gain as much experience working with as many Stylists as they can - and most importantly to always show willing. People will always remember someone that was willing to help with anything and keen to be involved.

What is your favourite blog or website? Tricky as I have so many!

www.ffffound.com www.adsoftheworld.com www.aphotoeditor.com www.chictopia.com www.ted.com