Saturday, September 13, 2014

How to Create an Inspiration Board & Laydowns

As promised in my August 22 post titled Fashion Styling Class Final Project, I said I'd give more details about creating inspiration boards and laydowns. So here we go! First, I'll review what an inspiration board and laydowns are.
The inspiration board is a simple board on which you gather images that inspire your photo shoot and fashion story. These are basically fantasy images that you will translate into everyday outfits when you put together your laydowns (summarizing my styling professor's words).
Here's an example of the inspiration board I created for my final project. I found the various pictures on Pinterest and did the color palette myself.

A laydown is a simple still life arrangement of clothing and accessories that you'll use during a photo shoot for a fashion story. A fashion story is an editorial style series of photos featuring a specific theme or look.
Now more about laydowns. When you're gathering the items for laydowns think about how well each piece goes together. It's so important to consider how items go together so your laydowns looks cohesive. That way your fashion story will look cohesive as well. Look at the laydowns I created to go with my inspiration board. Notice how the looks fit together?

To get you thinking even more about laydowns look no further than your fave fashion mag. Have you ever noticed when items are placed on a plain white background in a magazine? That is a laydown. Very simple looking but they can be very challenging to actually shoot.
For instance, when I was shooting the laydowns for my final project I ran into some big trouble. I shot the two looks on my dark brown blanket (I know, I know, very bad!) but at the time I could only use what I had available. The dark brown blanket totally washed out the black skirt and shoes in both looks. The other issue was lighting. I have one huge, harsh florescent ceiling light in my room that did not do me any favors. It also made my laydowns look dark and dreary, which I tried to correct in editing but to no avail.
To get around the background issue in the future, I researched a bit and found two background options. One option is seamless paper, which is heavy duty paper that comes on rolls of various lengths and widths. It is used by professional photographers for photo shoots. It's usually always hung from an adjustable stand or even the ceiling and people can walk on it without ruining it. They have good deals on it from Adorama,
The second option is butcher paper, which comes on a roll too and is less sturdy that seamless paper but stronger than regular paper. I've seen it used a lot as backgrounds on school bulletin boards and art projects. Best thing about it is that it can be cut to specific sizes unlike seamless paper. Both types of paper come in a variety of colors.
I'd recommend getting 1 roll of seamless paper in white to start out and as your budget allows get another roll in light grey. The seamless paper can be used for laydowns using coats and other large clothing and accessory items for big spreads. It can be hung and used as a background when photographing models when you're ready. Plus, a roll of white and light grey butcher paper for smaller laydown projects is good to have too.
The second issue I had was the lighting so right now I'm researching lighting options. I'm pretty sure I want to get two soft box lights that have adjustable stands. But more about that in a future post.
Tell me about your experience creating inspiration boards and laydowns in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, take care.

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