Styling and Storytelling: A Happy Union

February 24, 2016

This blog post topic is taking me back to the start of journalism school. Feature writing. A beloved college class. I’ve always loved writing with all of the senses in mind. Bringing to life not only what I see, but what I feel, hear and smell. I recall one of the first writing exercises in this class: listen to Eleanor Rigby (Beatles!), write down the details in the song and analyze the meaning and emotion. Now, this song is a tad depressing, but it served its purpose. Each detailed line – picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been or darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there – artfully paints a real picture of the subjects in the song, and evokes the senses and emotion. I could smell the old wooden pews and feel the chill in that church! When I listen to this song, I feel like I’m standing in that church, looking at the subjects and feeling their loneliness. This is masterful storytelling.

Joy Thigpen Styling Day-5

Fast forward many years later, I’m grateful to be pursuing my dream as a visual storyteller, capturing real moments for my clients on their wedding day. I’m a big believer in capturing candid moments. The ones that allow you to relive your raw wedding day emotions.

Joy Thigpen Styling Day-6

But what about the details? Ah yes, these are also oh-so important. Not just because they’re pretty, or perhaps tasty, but because they help formulate YOUR story.  The cake, the flowers, the food, the stationery, the shoes, the dress…all of these details bring your setting and senses to life in photography.

Joy Thigpen Styling Day-9

Styling and capturing details is certainly an art form. I’ve been looking to elevate this part of my photography, and this week I attended the Joy Thigpen Styling Day at Ceremony Boston hosted by The Little Things.

Joy Thigpen Styling Day-8

I soaked up Joy’s knowledge, and also watched her create. She spoke a great deal about the senses, and how the details in your images should be styled in a way that stimulate a full sensory experience, much like what I learned in J-school.

Joy Thigpen Styling Day-10

My biggest realization was that my photos don’t have to be only photojournalistic or only focused on styled details – they can balance both.

Joy Thigpen Styling Day-1

I can artfully curate and style wedding images while capturing meaningful visual stories. This makes me giddy, and to all of my 2016 wedding clients – I can’t wait for wedding season so I can start curating your beautiful stories.

Joy Thigpen Styling Day-3

Invitations: Gus & Ruby Letterpress, Florals: Sweet Annie Floral Design, Notebooks: The Romanticist Studios, Napkin: The Everyday Napkin


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