A Quilt Picnic, in the Michigan Woods (styling by Rebecca Ittner)

Elena Morera writes:

Six years ago, I fell in love with photo styling during a photo shoot for the book, Collaborative Quilting by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. We were at Gwen’s house in Beaver Island, Michigan. Gregory was the photographer and Rebecca Ittner was the stylist. I was mesmerized as she made photo magic before my eyes. I was so impressed with her skills I asked her if I could follow her around and be her assistant. Watching Rebecca style quilts for that book, making them tell a story using props, was like watching Houdini; it was magical. On that beautiful Michigan Island, I decided to pursue photo styling.

After that photo shoot, I read everything I could get my hands on, and I searched high and low for classes, workshops, seminars, anything that would teach me all the “magic tricks.” After a long search, I found Susan Linnette Cox, a professional photo stylist who had just written the first book on the subject and was teaching a class in San Diego, www.photostylingworkshops.com.

Sparkle Bright, AccuQuilt

What I have since discovered is quilt and textile photo styling is the wise use of props to create a “back-story” featuring the quilt/textile as the star. Beginning stylists usually make mistakes of adding too many or too few items to create a “story.” All the items (“props’”) used in a shoot should be both color and thematically consistent with the featured quilt/textile, and must not compete with the “star” (the featured quilt or textile). And make sure that EVERYTHING in the shot serves a purpose, otherwise take it out.

Blazing Star, AccuQuilt

Above are several quilt examples that we’ve styled and photographed for AccuQuilt. The first image, “Sparkle Bright” is a Holiday oriented styled shot. Note the red chair and red reindeer, the warm fire are just enough props with the quilt to let the viewer know that it is a Holiday season quilt image. Note how casually (read: carefully) the quilt is laid on the chair. The second image, “Blazing Star”is a good example of how all the colors in the non-quilt items (props) closely match the colors of the star (quilt). All the chairs are carefully arranged.