Alton Hetariki, Stylist

Industry EML UK
Originally from New Zealand, Alton began his career interning at Esquire Magazine. Alton has styled fashion shoots for Vogue, l’Officiel, GQ, Glamour and campaigns for Puma, Nike, Dove and l’Oréal, and is now Fashion Director at 5Eleven Magazine. As well as styling the Finalist portraits, Alton tutored the class of EML UK on what stylists do on set, taking them through the wardrobe of their portrait shoot, and what stylists look for in a model.

As a stylist, I remember the models who bring personality

For me, the most important thing in a model is versatility, someone who has a few different looks, someone who can move, and who has a bit of attitude. If I get the chance to meet the model at a casting, then I like to see models express themselves confidently, someone who will draw me in and make me think, “yes, they are going to work hard”!

Rest hard, play hard

Before a shoot, models need a good night’s sleep. I think it’s always good to be positive and friendly when you turn up to a shoot, especially in front of clients; a smile goes a long way first thing in the morning!

Find out first what is expected from you as a model

Before shooting, ask for direction from the photographer or stylist on set, even if it isn't given at first; it’s super important to have an idea of the mood for the shoot. I am always happy to show the moodboard to the model to explain the inspiration of the shoot. If it helps the model understand what the shoot is about, it is all the better for them to have a visual reference.

Models who are superstars are the ones inspiring others

They bring their own unique style which they've finely crafted over their career. Another thing I'd have to mention is a strong work ethic, because the best models work hard to stay on top of the game!

Prepping a shoot is stressful, but when it comes to shooting, I always have fun

For our latest issue, we shot one of the stories on a beach. It was sunny but windy, so we were racing around fighting against the elements, building sets, dealing with the sand, and trying to keep the model warm who was dancing to her favourite songs to keep moving! But we were laughing until the end, because we knew the results would be worth it. 

Not all shoots are the same

The night before a shoot, models should flick through the Instagram of the photographer, client or magazine you are working with, so you have an idea of their style.

Models should listen to the photographer’s direction

In front of the camera, ask them if you’re not sure what they mean. I appreciate that starting out it will take a bit of practice to get the poses right, so having patience is important. Showing that you are focused on getting it right makes a big difference to us on the other side of the camera.

Off-camera, models should be friendly and engaging

Try to take onboard any critical comments and think of ways to improve. But most important is to soak it all up and enjoy the experience!

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