Photo Styling 101

Photo Styling 101

Barry Wooley Designs

When people can readily recognize a brand by the consistent composition of an image, you’ve hit your target.

Barry Wooley Designs

Photo Styling 101

by Skye Squires


Ever considered what goes into creating a beautiful interior image or product photo? If not, it is A LOT. Rarely do random photos convey the messages we intend as well as the thought out images we nurture and produce. It can be somewhat overwhelming for new comers or those without the natural knack for it, that’s why we have compiled a brief guide to styling striking and cohesive photos for your brand.

  • Choose one hero item as inspiration for the theme. Let’s call this the “outfit”, if you will. As opposed to having multiple impactful articles jumbled together, choose one significant piece from which you can create a mood for the photo. Prop it up and give it the best lighting. Other objects surrounding the hero item, the “jewelry”, should accentuate the focal point rather than distracting from it. Accessorize to accent, not to overpower. Aim for accessories to look random, but strategic.


  • Keep the color pallet consistent. Creating a cohesive color story is aesthetically pleasing and easy for the viewer’s eyes to follow. When interior and fashion designers create mood boards, they intend to evoke a certain emotion with colors and textures that aligns with their brand or aesthetic.


  • Back it up. The last thing you want is for the background to compete with or distract from the hero item. Experiment with wood, stone or fabric as backdrops to add subtle texture and warmth without overpowering the product. Creating contrast from the foreground to the background highlights where you want the viewer’s eye to focus. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily want to use a Carrara marble backdrop with a white hero item.


  • Bring in natural elements. Wood, foliage, flower, fresh fruits and even people. I use this rule of thumb when designing a client’s house as well—bring a little piece of earth into each space. This translates to photography as well. Look for items that have interesting and organic shapes, textures and tones that work within your story. These objects create a sense of tranquility and peace to balance the visual noise of other elements.


  • Natural light, natural light, natural light. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using natural lighting. Artificial light can taint the colors and finishes of objects and makes your image less appealing overall. You will find yourself spending less time retouching your images when you use natural light to create true-to-life beauty.


  • Composition and cropping. Be sure to consider all visible planes when layering your elements. Varying the heights and positions of objects will keep it from falling flat. Cropping is another great skill you can sharpen with practice. Some photographers naturally have the eye for it and others come by it through experimenting. Not every hero item has to be perfectly centered, nor does every image have to be symmetrical. When people can readily recognize a brand by the consistent composition of an image, you’ve hit your target.


  • Aim to evoke emotion. You want your images to be relatable more so than perfect. Adding a quirky personal touch humanizes your photo and allows your character or brand to shine through. Remember—always aim to tell a story!


Still feeling overwhelmed? Call us! BW Designs also offers photo styling services for you or your company to achieve strong and successful imagery to build your brand image. Allow us to beautify more than just your home!


Location and Hours

The Portland area, off of 10th Street, is the new home of Barry Wooley Designs’ flagship location. Its convenience to downtown, ample parking and proximity to the areas top restaurants make it a great location for a wonderful shopping experience. The BW Design Team operates out of this hub of creativity.

Operating Hours
Monday - Saturday - 10am to 5pm

Barry Wooley Designs
116 S 10th Street
Louisville, KY 40202-2612



Whether you are looking for something comfortable and sophisticated, or rich and relaxed, you've landed in the right place. Our team is looking forward to connecting with you and creating a space that inspires.