DALLAS KIDS HEADSHOT PHOTOGRAPHER
Ashley is a Dallas-based freelance fashion and product stylist represented by The Clutts Agency. She also offers personal styling and virtual styling sessions. Her clients include Neiman Marcus and JCPenney among others, and she loves styling kids/teens!
IG handle @ashleynstyling
Kids portfolio: http://www.ashleynstyling.com/kids/
How long have you been styling?
I have been a stylist since the fall of 2017. So, nearly 2 and a half years.
What does it mean to be a represented stylist?
As a represented stylist, a talent agency represents me and my styling services to their clientele. They serve as the middleman between myself and the client. They talk with the client about what they’re needing for a job and then pitch artists for the job based on skillset and experience. After the job is done, the agency bills the client and the stylist gets paid from the agency. The agency makes money by charging a service fee on top of my rate. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
How did you get into styling?
I first interned as a web apparel styling intern at the Anthropologie headquarters in Philadelphia. We had to do an internship as part of my Merchandising degree at the University of North Texas, and I was very fortunate to get that one. I assisted on e-comm sets, supporting Anthro’s in-house stylists and working with some of the top models and hair/makeup artists in the industry. After that, I knew I wanted to build up my own portfolio of test work, and get signed with an agency. I returned to Texas and focused on doing that during my senior year at UNT. I signed with Clutts in the fall after I graduated. My first freelance job was styling products at the Neiman Marcus studios.
What are your favorite types of photoshoots to style?
I love to style lifestyle campaign imagery. For example, a new collection of jewelry shown on-model (like Kristen Cavallari does with Uncommon James). Or, perhaps a new collection of clutches/makeup bags and the wardrobe is entirely styled around them. I like the strategy involved in making sure the wardrobe matches the product’s brand.
How did you get into styling children?
My agency does kid/teen headshots several times a year, just to keep their roster fresh and up-to-date since they’re all growing. We often shoot about 18-20 kids a day on these jobs, so It’s much easier and faster to have a stylist dress the kids for their photos as they come in one after another. It’s about speed and efficiency. A stylist will be able to create a nice outfit out of whatever is available to them and make sure it’s wrinkle-free, age-appropriate and not boring. My agency had me style one of their shoots as the lead stylist, and I’ve been doing them ever since.
What is a headshot book?
A headshot book is something that Texas agencies often create to provide to their clients, in addition to their website roster of images. It’s just a small book they can send to them with headshots of their youth talent, so the client can review it and see if any particular kid/teen will fit the brief for their project.
What are the headshot book photos used for?
It’s just another way for the agency to get their kids’ photos out there and get them HIRED!
What clothing is best for auditions?
For a general audition, for girls, you can’t go wrong with a fitted top in a jewel tone color that compliments either their skin color or eye color. Preferably, choose a solid color with no logo. I love a top with some visual interest at the neckline of shoulders (like ruffles or a lace-up detail) to draw attention up to the face since jewelry isn’t preferred. For bottoms, slim-fitting jeans are great either in blue or black denim without much distressing or holes. You could also tuck a top into a skirt to showcase the legs more if you have great legs. Flats or Converse are always a great shoe option that works regardless of age.
For boys, I love a jewel tone t-shirt with a patterned button-down layered over it. Tie the colors in the button-down back to the tee. Layering makes the look a little more special than a plain t-shirt. For boys, also opt for a pair of slim-fit jeans in black or blue with minimal distressed or holes. The client wants to see your shape, even with boys, so try to avoid any pants that are too baggy. Often I see jeans that are too long as well. In that case, you can roll them up a bit to disguise this and also add some stylish flair. For shoes, Vans of Converse are great go-to’s.
Sometimes clients will request a self-tape filmed at home or want you to audition in front of them for a specific character. In that case, you can experiment with a more specific wardrobe that would best represent that character. Shea and I thought it would be fun to share examples of some common female character archetypes that you may audition for sometimes.
There are different characters but today the main 3 we’ll cover are:
• Girl Next Door
• Mean Girl
• Quirky Girl
GIRL NEXT DOOR: You’ll want to wear pieces that convey a sense of innocence and optimism. These characters are super relatable in the sense that they make mistakes, but they’re generally good-natured with pure intentions. Think of characters such as Lizzie McGuire, Gabrielle Montez in High School Musical, and Teddy Duncan in Good Luck Charlie. They are likable and honest, and often learn lessons that all of us do at some point in our lives. Unlike other types of characters, they accept their lessons with humility and kindness and do not get angry when they realize they’ve messed up. The last thing this type of character would do is step on others to get to “the top”.
Considering the wardrobe, I recommend wearing pastel or bright, sassy colors for this type of character. Pastels or a hue of pink is great for conve
ying friendliness and innocence. Small to medium-sized floral prints are also ideal. Avoid wearing black at all costs, as this color is better embodied by edgier character types. Try wearing a dress, or a blouse with pants or a skirt. A fitted top layered over a cami is also nice.
In terms of details, try wearing pieces that feature bows, lace, ruffles, or hints of embellishments. If you are going all out for the audition, a girly headband or bow clips are cute accessories. Each of these details suggests an aura of sweetness that is perfect for this character.
One thing to remember is not to go overboard with anything too sparkly or low-cut. These characters do not insist on being “the star” so keep the look lighthearted.
MEAN GIRL: These characters are all about “me-me-me!” so it’s important that this self-absorption and inflated confidence comes across in their look. These types of characters are often manipulative and okay with hurting the feelings of others, as long as they get what they want. Think about characters like Sharpay Evans in High School Musical, Kate Sanders in Lizzie McGuire, or the mean girlfriend and twins in The Cinderella Story. Inside, these characters are often jealous and insecure. An extravagant, well-thought-out outfit that looks shows they care a lot about being judged. Only that kind of person would look absolutely perfect every day. Also, a polished appearance conveys that they do not want to be messed with and are rather snobby. This often makes the audience assume they are wealthy, too.
When putting together an outfit, look for hot pink pieces, or pieces with loud bling on them. Pearl and jewel embellishments are great! Also, anything hot pink exudes those diva vibes that you’re striving for. To convey that stuffy, snobby attitude, pieces with collars and turtlenecks make the character look “buttoned-up” and untouchable to those deemed lesser-than. Another look you can try is a monochromatic look like the twins in The Cinderella Story. For example, a perfectly matching all pink outfit serves double duty. It looks immaculately-planned and conveys the mean girl’s self-concern, but it can also make the mean girl look ridiculous (something you want the audience to think).
As for details, you can’t go wrong with metallics, sequins, or fur, as this character is confident enough to pull all of those off in everyday life. Hair accessories like berets or plaid headbands also exude that preppy, mean girl vibe.
QUIRKY GIRL: These characters often come to the rescue of other nice characters, helping them overcome obstacles with their supernormal intelligence, charm, and quick wit. Consumed with learning and experimenting, they don’t really care about what others think of them. They simply care about being there when others need them and being their best selves. Think of characters such as Miranda Gomez in Lizzie Mcguire, Lola and Quinn in Zoey 101, and Raven Baxter. They are each rather odd and unique, but they embrace their quirkiness so that it doesn’t hold them back as characters.
In terms of wardrobe, it’s important that this character comes across as experimental, free-spirited, but also confident. A great way to showcase this is by mixing bold colors, prints and patterns in the outfit, and also layering. For example, you could wear a short sleeve graphic tee layered over a solid long sleeve tee, with leopard print pants. Boho prints like anything tribal-print or bright floral print can also work well. These characters sometimes have an edgy streak too, so you can pull in some black with this character.
These characters are often overloaded with jewelry accessories to convey their curiosity and obsession with “cool things”. However, if you must forgo jewelry for your audition you can instead focus on just the hair. These characters showcase their quirkiness through hairstyles like braids and hair colored-streaks. For your audition, you can showcase the length of your hair by adorning it with a couple of braids and maybe some mismatched barrettes. Wearing a pair of glasses is also a quick way to embody a quirky girl character.