Carley Page Summers: Styling for Photoshoots vs. Styling for Living

Episode 8 February 24, 2023 00:49:43
Carley Page Summers: Styling for Photoshoots vs. Styling for Living
The Interior Collective
Carley Page Summers: Styling for Photoshoots vs. Styling for Living

Feb 24 2023 | 00:49:43


Show Notes

Carley Page Summers: Styling for Photoshoots vs. Styling for Living


Episode Details.


The reality is that styling a home for your clients is different than styling for a photoshoot. What looks beautiful in person might not exactly translate over camera. If you want to put your best foot forward on camera, online, and in-person, today’s guest has mastered it all. Carley Page Summers first explored her love for interior design through photographing and styling spaces. Now, she brings her refined editorial eye and skill for crafting a visual narrative to her interior design projects and her work is simply unmatched. Today, Carley is walking us through the key differences between styling interiors for photo, video, and lifestyle applications. 


In this episode, Carley and I discuss:


Mentioned in This Episode:


Virtual Design Services on The Expert

Book - Sacred Spaces

River & Bord Collection


Thanks for listening to this episode of The Interior Collective. You can listen to our episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or access all the show notes on our website.


You can follow along with Carley on Instagram, and discover more of their work on her website.



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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:09 It's shoot Dave for your latest completed project, but what looks great in person isn't quite translating on camera. Can you relate? The reality is that styling vignettes for photos and videos is totally different from styling the space at the time of install. For a client to move in, sometimes you need to move furniture around or add a few decorative accents or really oversized branches to a scene to make a place look its best on camera and really highlight all the work and detail you put into the design. Joining us today to talk all things interior styling is the incredible talent. Carly Page Summers this top tier interior designer first explored her love for interior design through photographing and styling spaces with a fine arts degree in photography and painting an extensive previous experience in styling and photographing interiors. She now brings a refined editorial eye, the ability to create a visual narrative and an understanding of how to create the most emotive vignettes within her interior design projects that simply unmatched her upcoming book, sacred Spaces Releases April, 2023. Speaker 1 00:01:11 Sacred Spaces showcases Carly's Dual Love of Photography and Meaningful Interiors and we cannot wait to get her hands on a copy. We already know that it's going to be a masterclass that we referenced time and time again for interior styling. Inspiration. Add to all of this, her exquisite custom furniture collaboration with River and Board and her extremely successful interior design studio in North Carolina. There's nothing it seems this woman can't do well once she sets her mind to it. Today Carly is drawing on her current work in interior design and her former experience in styling to walk us through the differences between styling, interiors for photo, video and lifestyle. Some of the unglamorous but totally impactful items to keep in your styling toolkit and where to source styling items. With so much more. Hello Carly. Welcome to the Interior Collective. We are chatting a little bit before the show started here, but I'm just laughing because it must have been four, maybe even five years ago that you were standing in my kitchen photographing my house for me, out of the goodness of your heart pre-renovation when it was freshly moved into and just what a journey it's been since then. Speaker 2 00:02:22 It really has been. It's been neat because I remember us just kind of like talking about our aspirations and our goals and all the things that we wanted to accomplish and the fact that we're like kind of doing those things and running wild with those like ideas and goals that we had for ourselves is just really neat. Speaker 1 00:02:41 It is so exciting. Congratulations on motherhood. Congratulations on the new house that is looking like it's pretty much wrapped up. I'm sure there's always projects that are lingering always, but the kitchen was just an arc digest that's huge. So exciting. It was spectacular and congratulations on that. So we are all dying to hear all of your tips and tricks. When I posted a little teaser this morning about you being on the show, I literally got 300 dms saying how excited they were to hear from you <laugh> everyone. Speaker 2 00:03:12 So Speaker 1 00:03:13 Cool. Everyone is pumped to have you. So let's go ahead and dive in. As we mentioned, I have a pleasure of knowing a little bit about your backstory and I'd love for our listeners to hear how you found your calling. Can you share a little bit about that journey? Speaker 2 00:03:28 Yeah, I mean I've been doing what I've been doing probably like full-time for the past eight years and my journey started in photography when I lived in Porta Prince Haiti as a missionary actually. I went there straight after going to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. I've been sober 11 years. It'll still get me teary eyed talk traumatic cause it's just so cool to be where I am now. And I started my photography journey there documenting stories and ended up going to a small university in Florida and that's where I got my fine art degree. I focused on painting and photography and all those types of things. I ended up working in different career fields that were just not my heart. I ended up quitting those and as soon as I quit them, a week later I got hired to go to Morocco to style and photograph for someone who sold rugs and carpets in the United States. Speaker 2 00:04:21 And it just really started off my career. People saw that you know, I could travel, I was willing to do it, I was styling and photographing sets for whether magazines anybody really who wanted me. I had the opportunity to speak at Southern Living Summit, you know, to teach other designers how to style and photographs. So it's just been this really cool journey And about five years ago kind of when I met you is when I started doing interior design and offering those types of services more virtually. It was more interior styling because I didn't have some of the interior design tools underneath my belt because I mean huge kudos to people have gone to school for it. You know, sometimes it's hard to even call myself that because I know the education it takes. I mean I'm sitting right next to one of my senior designers and I know the education that she's gone through to have the skillset that she has, but it's where I've landed today. But my original career was interior photography and styling where designers would hire me, I would help them complete that vignette, complete the shot, styling, all the good stuff and then you know, hopefully pitch it to publications. So that's kind of where I am now and kind of living in a fantasy dreamland and getting to design homes and at one point in my life struggled with not having a home. So it's just this full 180 kind of Cinderella story. So I'm blessed. It's kind of, Speaker 1 00:05:42 It's been incredible to watch your journey and I feel like I can speak for everyone listening that we are very glad that you've made the jump from just photographing and styling to designing interiors cuz your spaces are just so evocative and incredibly narrative and I just have such a passion for following every space you design. But I'm super grateful for your willingness to share how you get to that level of emotion in your images of the spaces you are capturing for your own portfolio. So for years you worked as an interior photographer with your incredible mastery of styling. Tell us a little bit about how your photography background and your painting background really shape and inform your interior design spaces today. Speaker 2 00:06:35 Yeah, I mean I think this is probably one of the toughest challenges I think in this field is I think so many designers put so much heart and design into those minor details, tiles, flooring, transitions, finishes, all of that. And then when it gets down to the nitty gritty of the styling, you know, it can be sometimes overwhelming. And so that's where I felt like I could feel a need back then when I was doing that and now I do it for myself. But I think kind of where my background came from and before I ended up going to treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, I actually was at a fine arts college local to where I live now in my hometown and I started a fine arts degree there and that's where I started my painting. I did textiles, ceramics, things like that. So I was able to really study some of these high-end crafts and learn the art of composition and finishing a palette and color palettes and all, all these types of things. Speaker 2 00:07:31 And I think once I was able to finish my education and painting and all those types of things, I was able to really learn the art of finishing and it's, it was so much easier to become a photographer than it was to be a fine art painter cuz that is a very hard road to take. So I realized that I could take my eye for composition and the skillset that I learned there as a painter and an artist into photography and make a career out of it. And so I think it's really just that fine tune in how you place elements into a photo to what you kind of said where it evokes whimsy and emotion and light and contrast and shadow. And that's what I've tried to focus on throughout my interior styling and photography career is like evoking and emotion when a lot of times homes don't really evoke, I mean they can evoke emotion like when you're in them but as accomplishing it in photography you're styling and the way that it's lit and all that can be very important. So that's kind of where that history came from. Speaker 1 00:08:34 So let's talk a little bit about the specifics of that referring to your historic knowledge. Talk us through the different skillsets required for an interior designer and a stylist who specializes in interiors. Because I personally feel the way you design for a space and for someone to live in their home is going to to be a little different than in that moment when you're capturing it. So I'd love to get your insights into those differences. Speaker 2 00:09:01 So I think you can have both. So I think you can have that perfectly styled vignette while also having like extreme function. And I think a lot of that came from me learning how to be thrifty with, you know, creating type of, and I know we might get to it, but like an inventory of product and kind of showing my clients and showing designers like how to make things like that we would style with items and they're, we could actually leave them for their clients to use. Now I know that on my most of my clients' kitchen islands we're not gonna have this huge massive arrangement that blocks all views of the house, you know, but in my house I, I do have that because that doesn't bother me, you know what I mean? But some people don't want design over function but you know, it's really just when you're starting to curate that shot and starting to curate styling, what are elements that you can bring in that? Speaker 2 00:09:53 And I think that's what's gonna transition a photo as well and be more approachable to people because there are these exquisite homes that we see all the time and you're like, I don't feel like I can touch that. So, or like I don't know if I can like put my spaghetti on that kitchen island <laugh>. You know what I mean? Yeah. And I think it's how do we bring those two things together? And that's kinda what you're asking like, so for me I think about like what are things that I use on day in and day out, you know, it's creative pottery to put fruits and vegetables in things that can constantly be left out. Like if they, you know it. And the thing is, is making them not super expensive so they fall off and break. You know, whether it is you know, a dried floral arrangement or I have dried hydrangeas on my kitchen island and I have a dried one stem stand sitting right beside me. Speaker 2 00:10:44 You know, it's just how do we bring in those types of pieces that are functional while still pretty, you know? And I think it's hard, it's, I think it's just trying to find that balance of like what works for each person. But I will say I just did one of my client's houses and we photographed and styled it and I brought this huge arrangement of faux magnolias and they loved it so much and they wanted to keep it on their kitchen island and we bought vintage bowls and they keep all of their fruit and vegetables in it and every time we go back over to my client's house it's still on their counters. So I think it's just making sure that we're using things that for styling in these photographs that make it feel like they're actually actually usable. I don't know if that answers the question but Speaker 1 00:11:26 It does. And thank you cuz that's a perfect transition to my next question. Let's walk through an example. So at the time of install before your client like moves back in or whatever that looks like, to what extent do you style for instance, the kitchen for them to live in it? So when you're doing install, you're likely doing your photography right at that time is do you style for the shoot and then restyle it for them to get there? Or do you leave it the way it's styled for the shoot and and let them break it in? How do you kind of differentiate, differentiate those two? Speaker 2 00:11:58 So my last client, we styled it and they have two children under three years old and we left everything the way that it was. And what we do is we leave it that way and then we say, okay, come in, see how you like it. And then they are just honest and they say, we love this, we don't want that, we love this, we don't want that. And then what's awesome for me is that a lot of those styling goods are part of my personal inventory and if they want it, I sell it to 'em and then that's just another great markup for me. That's another great income for me and my business. And so I think why not allow them to be inspired by like the grandness of it and like, because most of our clients are hiring us because they see these types of things in our houses and a lot of times people think like, can I have a huge arrangement and can I have all these branches and can I have this on my coffee table? Speaker 2 00:12:52 And the flower arrangement on their fabric ottoman in their living room didn't stay like the tray did with the coasters and the books and all those things and their kids pick up the books and throw it on the floor and their antique books from a thrift store that were $5, you know what I mean? So it's just making sure that when they walk to the space they love it, you know? So we do, we style it fully and then we leave it there and if they want it they can buy it and if not we just take it away. Speaker 1 00:13:18 Amazing. So you launched your spectacular collection of bespoke furnishings with River and board made in the US at an incredible price point. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, how do the finishes and materials of those pieces add to a spaces ability to evoke that emotion that you are so known for? Speaker 2 00:13:38 So that furniture collection comes from actually original sketches from my grandfather. So my grandfather was a very timid walk in nature kind man who did not care about success. He loved being just a craftsman and a designer and he was a mid-century furniture designer in the fifties, sixties and seventies. And he worked for a lot of other people and so he never got to truly make a name for himself. And a lot of times people would take advantage of that sweetness and that kindness that he had. So I knew that when I was approached about this furniture line with a local handmade furniture company here, I knew I wanted to recreate those. And some of them are pretty odd, you know, some of them I kept very original to his designs, but I knew I wanted to have the influence because I know that it means a lot to have max Stout furniture, but I think people want also like what I would envision for MySpace and what I would want for MySpace. Speaker 2 00:14:34 So what we did is took a lot of those mid-century lines, incorporated them with a little bit more European and French designs, added fringe on the bottom, really great performance velvets at an affordable price range. And it's not for every price point I do know that's, you know, it is, it's not super high, it's not low, it's kind of in that middle range kind of with where our age is. And what I really wanted to evoke with the furniture line and placing it into spaces is for it to be this curvy luxe looking piece of furniture but like one that like you sit on every single day and they're cozy and they're comfortable. And I get videos from my clients cuz all my clients buy the furniture collection, which is so awesome. And I mean their kids are spinning around in swivels, their kids are jumping on the chaise lounge but they're throwing the feather pillows across the room. You know, it's this really cool vibe that we're able to put into the space of like this kind of mid-century history of my grandfather with like a European French twist of mine. So it kind of evokes this little interesting space and I saw that there was a market where I wasn't seeing well-priced fringed furniture and I knew I wanted to create something along those lines because it wasn't something I was able to find myself. Speaker 1 00:15:51 Well we are so grateful to you for creating it because it's exquisite. Carly, thank you. Another hallmark of your designs is your ability to make every space feel light. And I know light is so important to everything that you craft, even when you're using a really dark and dramatic paint color. Can you let us in on your secrets to that? And I think it has to do with the finish, but I'd love for you to get into how you make that work. So Speaker 2 00:16:18 Well yeah, I mean recently we just posted a super dark like almost chocolatey green room of our Jordan project and you know, it is super dark but there's these light moments that come in it and that is from high gloss or a lacquer. And a lot of our clients and a lot of our contractors are very terrified of it. They're like, you want us to paint everything high gloss or lacquer? And I'm like, yes, yes I do. And you know, I think that this isn't like a new trick of mine. Like I've, you know, there's designers who do it all over, people have done it for forever. But I think it's this way of making sure that when even when it's dark outside, there's still going to be light coming in through the windows. And what it does is when it bounces off that high gloss or lacker, it brings this light and airiness into the room to where sometimes like it could feel like if it's a matte pink color, it can feel a little bit too dark, but when it has that high gloss it like picks up a machine like a mirror. Speaker 2 00:17:18 So I mean that's kind of how you're gonna invoke that light into a room. Speaker 1 00:17:21 It's amazing and it captures so beautifully when you photograph it as well. So speaking of photographs, let's get back to photo shoots. You always design style and photograph your own projects, but for those listening, what are tips you have for a positive and productive collaboration between designer stylist and photographer? Speaker 2 00:17:40 I, when I saw this question beforehand, I actually really loved it because I've gone through such interesting experiences being hired by so many, many designers to photograph and style a project. And normally I would say that there's normally a photographer and a stylist, they're not normally like coexisting in one. That's why I tried to fill that market. I think the one thing, and this is gonna be interesting is the photographer is always credited during photo shoots but the stylist is not. And I think that that like can sometimes be like a dagger to the chest for a stylist. And I think that's why you don't see as many stylists out there. They're more undercover, they're working for magazines, things like that. But I think bringing in that collaborative thing, like tagging your stylist and not taking credit for it because you didn't do it, I think is so important. Speaker 2 00:18:33 And I might be pushing some buttons, you know, to some people, but you know, I think it's, it's such a valuable tool because some designers have like the most incredible eye for finishes and overall touches for a home, but styling might not be their skillset. I think it's a lift as you climb type of business because the more that you bring in in a stylist and you're lifting that stylist up and tagging them and crediting them, like the more that they're gonna grow business. But then also the more you know, your business grows as well because you're bringing in a specialty specialist in this area to elevate what you've already created is something that's so beautiful. And I think just to continue that collaborative effort is, you know, you're shooting tethered, always shoot tethered at shoots, have a huge prop table, include everyone in the conversation, but allow each person to do their job. Speaker 2 00:19:24 And then the one thing I do think that's so important that makes shoots go super well is that the person who's hiring the photographer and the stylist to come in is, I'm not gonna say the boss, but the designer is the one that has the overall vision for the space. And so making sure that that designer has communicated the mood that you want it to evoke the way you want it photographed looking at a photographer or a stylist work and saying, Hey, I love what you did here. I want to do that, you know, in my space as well. And so having extremely clear communication beforehand so that when the final products is done, you're, whether you're let down or not, you didn't communicate what your needs were and that's gonna just make the whole shoot just extremely collaborative. And then even in the moment you are working together, you're getting excited, I can like go back to shoots like where I, we would like say okay this branch isn't working, this one's not working. You know, we'd go and we'd find that perfect thing and then we'd all just kind of feel like, woo, this is it, this is that money shot. And that's what's like so exciting about working in this field together is like creating something beautiful with other people and not feeling like you have to take credit for all of it. Speaker 1 00:20:29 I love that you touched on really good communication leading up to the shoot. So let's break that down a little bit further. What is involved in preparing welfare shoot and as a photographer slash stylist back in the day, what would make, like what deliverables would you really like to, to see from a client? Is it literally a mood board, is it a shot list? Like what are those items? Speaker 2 00:20:51 So what, I'll just give you an example of how I would, how I've done this in the past. So for a client that I had in California, or ones that I've even had in Texas or wherever New York. So what I require is, you know, typically people hiring me six months out, you know cuz at one point I was traveling two weeks out of every month to go travel, so I was very booked. So I would say these are the things that I need from you. I need videos of the space beforehand so I know what I'm working with. I wanna see the type of light, I wanna see what your actual space evokes before I even put my touch in it because I wanna be inspired by what you've created first. Speaker 1 00:21:27 And those, those can just be like camera videos. Speaker 2 00:21:30 Yep. Camera videos. And a lot of times my I'll schedule FaceTime and they'll walk me through it or they'll do a Google drop, Google drive and they'll just drop in a folder and say this is this project, here's this room, here's this room, here's this room. And so I'll look through those videos, then we will schedule a call or a FaceTime and we will go through each video and I'll say, now this is depending on whether you want me to provide props or you're providing props, it's far more expensive for me to provide props than it is for them. So what I'll do is I'll say, this room needs this, this room needs this, this room needs this. So I'll give a detailed list of what each room needs. And a lot of the rooms, because it's the same type of emotion in each, in the same space, you can use the same styling goods, you know, in individual spaces, put in different bosses and cut shorter or different books or turning them a different direction. Speaker 2 00:22:22 But what we'll do is I'll send a shot list and say I need this for each shot. Now a lot of times a designer might have, you know, they don't have time to go thrifting, they don't have time to go shopping for those things beforehand. So a lot of times they will fly me in or you'll have your stylists go a couple days before the shoot, we'll go pick up all the things that we need, we'll cut branches off the side of the road. And so we just have a total inventory of styling goods before we even show up to the space. So making sure that you're seeing the space beforehand I think is so important. I think mood boards are great as well, but I think that if you're like a natural stylist and photographer, you can see a space and go, I know exactly what this needs. Speaker 1 00:23:08 Yeah, that's so helpful. I haven't even thought about sending videos of the space ahead of time and giving yourself a little time to source what's needed for that when working with a stylist. So let's talk about the anatomy of a perfect shot list. Like how specific does it get and what special vignettes are almost always included on yours. Speaker 2 00:23:28 So for me, when I have initially created this design, I have sat through hours and hours of meetings with my clients and it's those spaces that they have discussed with me over and over and over again that are very important to them. Those are the things that, like when I'm designing them, I know that's gonna be my money shot because it not only means a lot to them, it meant a lot for me to design it for them. So like I already start curating for that, like buying things for it. Like right now we're designing like an apothecary pantry for one of our clients and like we're like getting Pinterest pictures and like now I'm gonna start getting mason jars and like with lids and antiques, you know. And so it's creating that vignette that's centered around that that money shop for you, that's going to be the thing that's reposted multiple times that's going to get you traffic on social or TikTok or wherever you want it to or published. You know, it's gonna be that headline page on ad or el decor or veranda, whatever. So that must have vignette for me is really that I call it that sacred space for that client that that space that meant the most to them and how I designed it for them. Like that's how it, it follows through. Speaker 1 00:24:41 I love that Carly. Thank you. Speaker 1 00:24:47 One of the first impressions prospective clients have of your brand is your website. If you don't have a strong online presence to show off your work though you're losing out on potential clients. ICO Studio offers a selection of limited edition website templates designed specifically for interior designers just like you. If you're looking for a more hands-off experience, you can add on implementation and professional copywriting and we'll have your new website up and running within a few short weeks visit to choose your favorite before it sells out. So we heard this on your recent episode of Business of Home podcast. You had mentioned that you had an intern that you hired as a videographer to your team and so that's been a new addition who you work closely with to capture your projects. Video is something we're gonna talk a lot about on this season cuz it's Speaker 2 00:25:36 Big, Speaker 1 00:25:37 So big right now and honestly kind of I think forever after it doesn't feel like it's gonna go anywhere. Do you shoot video and still photography on the same day or separately and why is Speaker 2 00:25:48 That separately For sure I, because I'm the one doing the photo and she's the one doing the video and so she's also a talented photographer but like the interior photography is like my bread and butter. Like no one's gonna photograph my spaces better than me. And I mean I'm sure they would but that's just my ego speaking. Speaker 1 00:26:07 You're not gonna let anybody <laugh>? No I'm Speaker 2 00:26:10 Not. But I think it's important to separate those because videography is, you need to be in your videos, you know, and most people aren't photographing their own project, which that wouldn't be a bad skillset to learn but it's important to separate them because even styling for video and styling for photography is like completely different because a lot of times the way that it shoots with a video, it looks much different than it does with a camera. And I think it's too many people like crossing over trying to get the same shot. You know I think that if you have to do it, you do one half of the day day you know for video and then the other half For photography, I think photography is more important in the sense of getting like that light, that that evoking light where in video a lot of times like Moody Light can be very interesting and like darker light can still work in video where in photography like you get that one moment, you know to capture it. So it's for me we schedule on two separate events. Speaker 1 00:27:10 Carly, you just touched on something so important to everybody who's listening. I couldn't agree more. You need to be in your videos and you can look at Carly's Instagram to see how beautifully she incorporates herself into her feed while still really focusing on those sacred spaces. But she does a great job of not necessarily talking to the camera, she doesn't have to be front and center, it's just little magical moments of doing the mundane tasks around the house that feel so special in such a frozen moment of time. Are there any key preparation or styling differences? I know you talked about the shooting differences between a video shoot or a photo shoot. We talked a lot about scale earlier when it comes to those branches, do you have to pivot that at all when you're going from a still shot to a video or can that oversized scale still work and translate well in video? Speaker 2 00:28:01 It just depends. So whether you are shooting wide angle or more vignette style, so your photographer is going to need to have a stabilizer, your videographer is gonna need to have a stabilizer. So like they're able to like move back and forth from the shot so that in photography you have the ability to zoom in and out with a still camera and video they're holding there it's called like a gimbal and you see this, you're in your videos too to be able to maybe push back and go forward. The one thing with video, like if the whole branch isn't in the shot, it's kind of okay where in the photo if you're missing like the top of that point of the branch, like you missed the moment <laugh>, you know. So I think sometimes video is more directed towards the detail of things where photography is more focused on like the wide angle shot in my opinion. Speaker 1 00:28:55 Yeah, absolutely. So let's go back to props a little bit because again that's just what I think is the hallmark to what you're able to capture and what your spaces look like. So you have your own prop inventory that you go and install during installation, you shoot it, you leave it, the clients come back in, most often they choose to purchase most of it. And then there's other things that you take back for someone who is not necessarily going to style their own project and are hiring a stylist and a photographer because again most likely your photographer is not doing the styling. And I wanna make sure people are prepared for that so that they have a stylist on the day of the shoot who is in that case responsible for bringing those props or how do, do you have that conversation to ask your photographer to find out who's responsible for that? Speaker 2 00:29:46 You know, I think again it's having clear communication. I think as a designer, like no matter what shop your house, you know, be willing to part with things or there's some things that I take from my house to photo shoots that I know will make a shot look amazing and I just take it away when it's done and I say this is not available to you, you know, in a nice way. But I think it's important, I think mainly to even help that conversation if you're hiring a stylist that's local to you and they do not have props and, and I'm not saying this in a negative way that might be a more non-experienced stylist, but I think as a stylist, like you have to have whether a storage unit or shelves and props and you know, wooden spoons and crafts and just even small things to even contribute. Speaker 2 00:30:33 But I think majority of it would be the designer to be make sure that they have that which you see all these huge designers with their own product line and that's what they're styling with. But not everybody in this design realm has the affordability to be able to have their, a huge product line for them to pick from. But it's really just like going to local antique stores, things like that and be like, this would be a great prop from somebody. I'll tell you, I bought art all the time once a week knowing that one day that piece of art is gonna go into my client's house and I can upcharge it, you know, so it's, it's just making sure I'm curating that so that you know, if I was a designer and hiring a stylist, I know that I have this inventory of props that I personally love and I know that can be used and transitioned throughout many properties. Speaker 1 00:31:20 I think it's so important that you're touching on that too, even if you are bringing in a stylist to have your own backlog of inventory because it is such an additional revenue stream, especially when you get to that final bit of invoicing on a project to just get that little pick me up. So use the markup, especially if you've had fun sourcing from Goodwill or you know a great antique mall near you that you have real opportunity for profit margins there. Um, you Speaker 2 00:31:48 Do, you have a great opportunity for profit margin and, and sorry to interrupt, I think about like those products that you were able to find because you had the eye for it, which is why they're paying you to go into a space like they're paying for your eye to have found that, to have curated it what no matter what cost you paid for it, it's how it made that space feel and how your eye curated it. So it's, it's important for you to, you know, to mark it up because it takes you time and you study. I mean I'm studying pictures all the time. How can I grow? How can I get better and be like, oh that's an object I've never seen before. I'm gonna find one like that and I'm gonna use it in my project. So it's just, it's that how we've trained our eyes to like find these types of things and put it into our client's houses. Speaker 1 00:32:33 So Carly as a designer now, can you talk to us about the logistics? Where do you store your props? How much inventory would you say you keep on hand? I'm sure it's always evolving but like where do you keep all of it? Speaker 2 00:32:45 <laugh>, I have a storage unit, I think it's like a 10 by 15 and it's just full to the brim of things I've collected. And then what I'll end up doing is a lot of times the things that I've bought and I've sorted that storage unit, I will like go to antique stores all the time and thrift stores, not as much anymore with the baby but when I'm there I make sure I stock up and then a lot of times my inventory will get really small because I've sold it all to that client. And so once I know that I have another client coming, I'll make sure, you know, we typically have three to five clients at a time but all their projects aren't going and installing at the same time most likely. So once that starts to dwindle down, that's when I start to pick up back my inventory. Speaker 2 00:33:27 And then I will tell you if you are a designer, going to high Point market is really awesome. They have these offsite places that are cash and carry and they have those beautiful ceramics that everybody likes and little wooden stools and all of that good stuff and they're very inexpensive and again it's another markup. So every spring and fall I'm typically at high point markets stocking up on my styling goods that I know that are gonna be pieces that are never gonna go outta style. It's a better caliber than what you're gonna get at like home goods or things like that. So that's what we do. And then we have a storage unit and then I do have a storage shed at my house and then every closet in my house is full of the rim of lamps and lampshades and bowls and it's a hot mess but that's just who I am. Speaker 1 00:34:16 Yep. It's just a constant evolving door. Things come in, you love it for a while and it goes to find its new permanent home with someone else. Speaker 2 00:34:23 Exactly. So Speaker 1 00:34:25 Technical question, when you're designing a home, how much budget do you dedicate to procuring these final decor styling touches that will remain with the client? Like are you including these final pieces, a percentage of that in your head as you're talking about your client's overall budget or is this really like the icing on the cake that you come in at the end and then maybe you get another few thousand dollars out of it? Speaker 2 00:34:50 So the latter. So it's the, that kind of icing on the cake. So what I do, it's once so, but before I even go into that realm, the first conversation I have is when we send out our proposals of how much this project's gonna be, we ask them, do you want us to put in that final layer of styling? And you know, I'll tell them it can be expensive, especially after you've been hit with hundreds of thousands of dollars of invoices from contractors, you're like, I don't wanna spend another dime, I just wanna sit on a sofa with no pillows and like it's expensive. So a lot of times clients are like, I need a break for six months cuz I can't financially afford this. But some clients don't have that issue and they're like, I want you go full monty and do it all. Speaker 2 00:35:36 So I have that that in mind. So I'm constantly shopping for them like what I was saying. But at the end what I do is I'll typically ask a client what is your styling budget like for each room? How much money can I spend on items for each room? So like I sent an email to a client while we were about to go video and shoot it and I knew I needed a lot of books but I know you can't do all antique books and vintage books cuz then it looks a little too old. You need that new, those fresh coffee table books, you need that good mixture of old new. So I told her, I said it's gonna be over a thousand dollars of brand new books. I said, but it's only gonna be about $200 in old books. And she said that's fine, that budget's fine with me. Speaker 2 00:36:21 And it was, I was able to help finish the space. So it's having that communication with your clients and making sure that they're okay with price point and that they're setting it and me working within it and or I'll tell them they, they said I'll give you $3,000 per room for artwork and I said in your main living room, that's not enough money. And so I'm very honest with them, I'm like in your main living room in that formal you need grand large pieces of artwork. I can't get that for three grand while also thinking about I can't make a profit off of that and I'm taking time outta my day to source and find it and find that perfect piece for your space. So that's where you have to be honest. And then they'll say, I can't afford that right now. That's totally fine. And you know, sometimes it takes time to fully photograph and finish a house, you know it, we're doing it in stages and seasons right now as our clients continue to buy and procure product for their houses. Cuz it is, it's, it's just interior design is a luxury. I mean it's very expensive and we're blessed that our clients like give us the opportunity to do it. But yeah that second we we kind of, it's the icing on the on the top. Speaker 1 00:37:27 I love how you said you segment it by room cuz I feel like that is a little easier for a client to a digest but also just comprehend. It's like okay this percentage of it is going to like our main living spaces where we'll be hosting our family and hosting guests. Exactly. And then maybe in this private bathroom we don't need to have as much of an art budget. And so I love that you don't just give them, here's the total number I need to go ahead and finish styling this out. Speaker 2 00:37:54 Yeah, exactly. Speaker 1 00:37:55 I'm wondering if there are instances where, you know, sometimes what looks right in real life does not translate really well to photo or video. Do you have any of the more common scenarios like that that you could share? Speaker 2 00:38:10 Yeah, I think that a lot of times, you know, whether even furniture, you know like the way that velvet or fabrics, the way that it feels in person feels, you know, right or it feels wrong and you freak out and then in a photograph it's absolutely phenomenal. So it's just, there are those instances where things just like don't work in the space and you have to work around it. You know, I think with styling, you know, a lot of times we'll put some really kinda avant garde looking pieces into a space and you must believe I would not live with it like that. You know, that's just that that like that realism, you know what I mean? So yes, I mean there is gonna be some of that. Speaker 1 00:38:57 So I've heard you say that when you design a space, you know exactly how it's going to look in photographs. Can you really break that down for us? What does that look like in your design process when you're thinking about what that finished shot and how you're going to capture that space? Speaker 2 00:39:13 Yep. So me and my senior designer Leah, when we walk through a brand new space, whether it's being renovated or it is, you know, a new build, which those are two different things and I'll explain how we do that for both. So when it is a remodel and we are walking through the space, what I do is I stand at pretty much every room has four corners typically, unless it's a round room. I stand at each corner of the space and I look at it and I take a photo and I think how can we fill this space without being overwhelming? How will it look for my eyes? So I'll automatically take a photo and kind of see how this space needs to be filled in a way. You know, we make sure we take measurements and all of that. But one thing that has been super successful for us is we do 3D rendering for all of our clients. Speaker 2 00:40:03 So if it's a remodel, you know, we measure, we get their floor plans, blueprints, whatever, and we show them, you know, what this space is gonna potentially look like. And you know, that helps me, you know, visually as well. But I would say from the very beginning when I walk through a space, I know how I want like a curved sofa and an arm and I want how I built tend to look and I know I want a piece of art here and I want a Scots here because I'm looking at it as a vignette and then as a full scale and how this room is going to just kind of envelop you in a photograph. And I think that's where like my painting composition comes from. Like you see this empty void space and you know how you wanna fill it for a new build. Speaker 2 00:40:42 It's way harder to do that. You know, there's literally nothing. It's just ground. So the 3D renderings help with that so much, you know, because what we do is we build that up and uh, 3D scale and we're able to, what me and my senior designer do, she'll build up the walls and what we'll do is we'll have like a one to two hour meeting and we'll go through each room and I'll go, okay, this needs this here, this needs this here. So when they get to see their 3D presentation, they get to see that. Like we put a really large olive tree in the corner and they're, we had a meeting last night and they were like, you put a large tree in my space. I'm like, that's exactly what I wanted. You know, and we put that in the rendering. I mean we're not, it's not simple. I mean there's books on every shelf, it's pretty high tech and that helps so much. So like if you're an interior designer, you know, I think if you're not doing 3D rendering, hire someone out to do 3D rendering cuz it's super important for the client to be able to see it it, especially if it's a new build. But that's kind of how we envision that from shot to shot. Speaker 1 00:41:37 Amazing. So Carly, I'm curious, when you're shooting your own projects, how, what is the ratio of horizontal versus vertical that you're capturing? Do you have mastered Instagram it feels like, and I'm just wondering how much weight do you put on those landscape images that you end up sending to press versus how much is gonna go on social? How do you break that down? Speaker 2 00:42:02 So this is just being fully honest. A landscape horizontal image is not gonna hit as hard, slap as hard on Instagram as a vertical. It doesn't have as much showtime. A vertical is longer screen time on it. It's easier for the eye to go up and down than side to side, you know, so I'm obviously trying to make sure that, um, photographing vertical shots for Instagram. But the thing is, is horizontals are very important for landing pages are very important for press. That's just, you have to make sure that you're getting those types of photos. And then for me, I, I know you're sweet, you said I've mastered Instagram. I, it's not like I've given up but I just post whatever I want. I think I'm trying to stay up with the trend as much as possible. I hired a videographer, I'm doing high-end reels, I wanna make it feel romantic and like how I feel in a space and truly who I am. Speaker 2 00:42:55 But I'm posting horizontals all the time and they get 800 likes and I post a vertical and it gets 20,000, you know, so it's just you have to, but the thing is is I have people coming to me and they said, I saw that full room shot on your social media, I want that. So it's making sure that you're giving people the perspective of that full room, of that full kitchen with the hood, the range, the island, all of it in that month's space because you know it to the normal viewer, not like people who are paying us to design their houses. They wanna see full scale design, which you are gonna see majorally through a horizontal shop. Speaker 1 00:43:27 Amazing. Couple rapid fire questions as I get ready to let you go. I know you've got a baby waking up soon. So what is in your styling toolkit? Like the practical unglamorous things, tape, zip ties, scissors? Are there any like hacks that we wanna make sure we have on set? Speaker 2 00:43:44 You have to have like branch cutters, whether you can't find that at your local flower market like branches or things like that. Like I literally go out into my client's yards and just chop it down. They're normally okay with it or I just don't tell 'em <laugh>, but that scissors, you know, trying to think if there's anything else. One thing that's really important, and this sounds kind of funny, is like I always have like a little either piece of cloth or my shirt that I'm always wiping off my cell phone camera with because it's always really murky and I think a lot of people sh start shooting and then their camera's really murky. So it's like really important to make sure that you're getting very clear behind the scene shots. I mean your cell phone is one of the biggest tools nowadays. You don't have to have high death video like reels that are shot on your phone or money, but just like that's probably one of the most important because you're being able to post it in real time and that gets people excited for the full reveal. So cell phone, clean it off, it's, it's a big key. Speaker 1 00:44:37 Clean it off. I gotta remember to do that every time. Okay, so that was one I'm gonna ask you for two more takeaway tips for an interior designer who's styling their own shoot. Speaker 2 00:44:47 Two takeaway tips for interior designer who's styling their own shoot. You know, I think make sure you're putting pieces into your client's home that you personally love. If that object doesn't feel like you, you should not put it in the space. You know, whether your clients don't want it or not. Make sure that when you're photographing and documenting your project that these projects feel like you because you can always strip those things away, take 'em away. But again, when you're putting these objects, they're a little bit more different than your client styles. You're opening their imagination to just a different type of creativity than what they're used to. So always making sure that the styling items that you're putting in the space is something that you would want personally in your own home. Second tip for styling would be making sure that when you are, because you're not the one photographing the project, that you have your cell phone out and you're taking photos at the exact same perspective as the photographer and make sure you like it. Speaker 2 00:45:44 You're typically going to be having that same angle. And if they're at a place where you're like, don't spend too much cuz you know some photographers are setting up huge lights, all that and you'd be like, you know what? I don't love this vignette in my space. I don't, you know, or the stylist, I don't think we need to focus on this. But making sure that you're making your time super efficient with your stylist and photographer and focusing on the spots that are your favorite and not ones that aren't gonna gain traction, aren't gonna inspire. Just really focusing on those money shots cuz that's all you really need for press and social Speaker 1 00:46:15 Amazing. So as always, I like to end every episode with something special. For our listeners, we know your incredible book Secret Spaces releases in April and it is available for pre-order now. Is there anything else in the works are happening this coming year that you can give us a little scoop on? Speaker 2 00:46:33 I mean definitely the book is big for us. We're gonna be launching new pieces in our furniture line coming up, which are gonna be really exciting. Hopefully one is going to be like almost a mid-century lounger that is inspired by one of my grandfather's pieces, which is exciting. We are gonna have a book tour, so that's gonna be exciting. It's gonna be a bit smaller, so probably New York, California and Texas. Cause I got, I've got a lot of things in Texas so you know that. And then you know, we're always having like calls with whether different television shows or things like that. Whether that ends up going into the works, I've definitely reclused more now as a mom cuz life is so busy. But I definitely feel like there's always something new on the horizon for Speaker 1 00:47:16 Us. Well, 2023 sounds like an incredible year for you. You've had an incredible few years and I'm just so excited to continue watching your success. Carly, thank you so much for your time today. This was amazing. We're recording this right before the holiday break, so have a very happy holiday with your fam in your beautiful house and we will talk very soon. Speaker 2 00:47:36 I'm excited for you and your new house. What an amazing adventure. I love falling along. Speaker 1 00:47:40 Oh, thank you Carly. We'll talk soon. Speaker 2 00:47:42 Okay Speaker 1 00:47:47 Carly, thank you so much for joining us on today's episode of The Anterior Collective. You bring such a unique and valuable set of skills to the table with your background in art, photography and styling. And we're just beyond grateful. You shared even a little bit of your knowledge and advice with our audience, whether styling your homes to suit your client's lifestyle or styling your projects to be captured for your portfolio press. I know every interior designer listening is going to walk away with fresh ideas and tools to make their work shine even brighter. Carly's journey is indeed incredible and awe-inspiring and we're so excited to watch her next chapters unfold. You can too, by joining her over on Instagram at Carly page, purchasing her new book, sacred Spaces on Amazon, perusing her furniture collection with River and Board, setting up a consultation with her on the expert or visiting her website, carly Speaker 1 00:48:40 I do wanna give a little extra shout out to her expert sessions cuz she did tell me before this recording that she has spent a lot of time on those expert sessions teaching interior designers how to better style their own photo shoots. So in the description of this episode, you can book a session with her. There you can find all of the resources Carly shared with us today, as well as links to her furniture where you can purchase her new book and the full episode transcript on our [email protected]. If you found the information in today's episode to be useful, please subscribe to our podcast and leave us a review. They are the key to ensuring we can continue to create this free educational resource for the interior design community. For topic suggestions, sponsorship opportunities, or to apply to be a guest on season three, please email [email protected]. I'm your host, Anastasia Casey, and this is The Interior Collective, a podcast for the business of beautiful living.

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