How to Choose the Perfect Piece in Your Next Shoot

August 3, 2017

I’m going to give you my exact process and guide for how I choose props I use in my weddings and editorials. So I can go into more depth, I’ll be talking specifically about how I choose table vessels, but the same principles can be applied to every styling choice you make.

I love to talk about my containers using the word “vessel” because I’m kind of a literature nerd. But believe it or not, just by calling them that and thereby assigning an almost sacred weight to their duty on the table, my vessels feel more beautiful on my tables, add something special, and feel like they just fit.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to how I choose the perfect vessel for my table and how you can too: 

  1. The word “vessel” has this almost sacred weight in our language that reverberates and echoes around literature and art.
    • Think ships carrying royalty. Portraits of women at wells. Mary the mother of Jesus. Frodo carrying the ring. To be a vessel means you have the capacity to carry precious things. My kitchen is full of anything we can find to fill up with tap water for the table like mason jars or cheap-o plastic pitchers that my babe won’t break. But a long time ago and places in the world where wells aren’t close, vessels are imperative for life-sustaining water. And each was hand made. 
  2. Because being a woman has the anatomical capacity of being a vessel, look for ways the shapes speak to you and where the curves are.
    • I feel like I’m always running the risk of sounding like a creep when I talk about styling, but I think the appeal of especially pitchers and vases lie in their similarities to a woman’s figure. When you look at a pitcher, it feels like it has a personality. It could feel a little stuck up, really warm and welcoming, a little quirky. And the easiest way to talk about it is through a woman’s shape. A pitcher with a large, round body will feel comfortable like folding into a hug with your curvy aunt who cooks amazingly buttery desserts for you and has old worn-in furniture. Contrast that with a handle-less straight vase without curves. It feels less comfortable but perhaps more clean, sleek, and minimal. Handles can feel like a generous help or unnecessary  clutter. When you’re really intentional about this, that’s when the magic happens.
  3. Look at the clothes for your model.
    • If you’re still struggling to choose which vessel, look at the clothes your model will be wearing. Do you want to accentuate her curves? Or do you want a sleek, straight cut or drop waist? Mirror this in your vessel choice. 

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