Today I’m going to share a little bit about my feelings on inspiration boards. We all know how important inspiration boards are, and chances are, you fall into one of two categories: like to build or like to find them. From a stylists perspective, boards are critical to the success of any shoot. A well-done board has the brilliant ability to corral all of the creative energies from a number of different people into one cohesive look, while still allowing each person to create freely. I’m going to talk today specifically how a board helps in a styled shoot, and why the one heading up the shoot should make one. Remember this board from my contest a few months ago? It turned into a seriously amazing shoot that I can’t wait to show you!
It’s important that an inspiration board have many different elements represented. This helps to clarify and refine. When I’m designing stationery for a shoot, I look first at the board as a whole. What’s the overall mood it creates? Then I look for little nuances that I can incorporate. For example, do any of the images show hand lettering? What is the shape of the bouquet? The texture of the fabrics? All those things spark ideas and help me form an idea, for example, of what sort of menu design would compliment the look of the table. Sometimes I’ve designed an entire suite based on what would look good on the table.
No creative person likes or wants to copy another person’s work, so putting too many images of a single aspect makes it very difficult to be inspired, and instead has the opposite affect and stifles creativity. So, for all of us visual people, this is a poor board for a wedding or styled shoot. It shows yellow and flowers, but that’s it. There’s a slight vintage element, yet no real direction. While the images themselves are gorgeous, this would be a tough board to get creative with.
To contrast, this is a great board by Breanna Rose. It gives a mood, shows colors, patterns and textures. It offers direction without dictating.
Another thing to note: boards don’t have to look a certain way. Everyone has their own idea of what makes a board look good. I get a little OCD with mine; I also have different layouts for weddings and shoots than I do for branding clients. In either case, I do have a few required elements in my boards, the first being that there must be white space between images. Second, I make sure my margins (lines, white space) create a nice flow; that they don’t line up perfectly on one side and not at all on the other. Another thing that I like to do in my boards is to not always show an entire image. I often crop images to give an idea and to avoid a specific requirement.
To show you what I mean, I threw together this simple Instagram-esque board for a styled shoot I did with Sami Jo Photography and Flower Afternoon for my Shoestring Wedding series. Click here to see the shoot and see how the board came to life.
As you begin your board, it’s often easiest to find one inspiration piece. Take this photo, for instance. I adore it. Clean lines, soft textures, muted tones, minimal…those are the things I would look for in photos to complete a board from this image. The first step is to take note of what appeals to you about the image, and then gather images that fit those criteria.
Wondering how this becomes inspiration for a wedding? Have a look. What do you think? I think I could get married here. Inspiration can come from anywhere and anything.
Read more in this series here, and stay tuned for the next installation from Sara of Burnett’s Boards.
Image credits clockwise from top: blush colored gown photo by Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty | sweaters | minimal table setting | bouquet via Sullivan Owen | tan suit via Mountainside Bride
Image credits for yellow example board: flower crown photo by Britt Chudleigh for Salt Lake Park City Bride and Groom Magazine | invitation via Southern Weddings | flower crown | bouquet via Style Unveiled | yellow bouts