Styling Rules from Veronica Halim

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Veronica Halim is an invitation designer who creates opulent and romantic suites. Below, she shares a few rules to help photographers and stylists create usable and meaningful invitation photographs.

How did you start your business and what is the meaning of “Truffypi”?

I was professionally trained as a graphic designer. In 2006 I established my branding studio with my husband focusing on corporate branding. Being in the corporate world, you don’t get a chance to do experiment. After 7 years, I felt that I needed explore something different which lead me to try pottery, painting, and calligraphy. I fell in love with the world of calligraphy and decided pursue it further as one of my meditative activities. It’s a time when I can keep myself and my mind away from client work, and have ‘me’ time.

Truffypi started from my calligraphy journey, I posted work and on Instagram which is how I got my first wedding invitation inquiry. At first I wasn’t sure if I want to take the job, because calligraphy was just a hobby. However, the client seemed to have so many things in common with me, so I decided to take the job. My business allows me to create so many different designs and explore many possibilities with each couple. Also, it is the greatest joy to be able to collaborate with other creatives such as florists, planners, and photographers.

The name Truffypi is an accidental nickname. I love truffles and the name came from “Truffle Piglet.”

“I fell in love with the world of calligraphy and decided pursue it further as one of my meditative activities.” Photo by  Erich McVey .

“I fell in love with the world of calligraphy and decided pursue it further as one of my meditative activities.” Photo by Erich McVey.

“I often think that styling is similar to how you cook. Let the main ingredients be the star of your dish.” Photo by  Erich McVey

“I often think that styling is similar to how you cook. Let the main ingredients be the star of your dish.” Photo by Erich McVey

Are there any compositional rules that you use when you style your own paper goods?

I don’t always have rules when I style my paper. But the rule of thirds always helps.

When I style, I always start with the biggest piece. The secondary smaller items come after. I place them around the main subject matter. When I do style, I often think that the steps are similar to how you cook and prep. Have all your ingredients and tools ready and lay them beside you. Let the main ingredients be the star of your dish; sprinkle and pour in the spices and herbs. Let them simmer and boil and Voila! Cooking take practice, so does styling. Don’t be afraid to move things around and try different variations and ideas.

What do you wish photographers could do better when they photograph your work?

This is a good question! Often when I receive stationery images, the photos are overexposed and it is impossible to see the written elements. Photographers tend to focus on the overall elements around the paper, such as stronger, colorful props, and florals, instead of what’s on the invitation itself. When the subject matter is stationery, photographers should capture those details in the best possible way.

“Improvise and use difference conversational pieces and props to tell a story instead of using template looks.” (Photo by  Erich McVey )

“Improvise and use difference conversational pieces and props to tell a story instead of using template looks.” (Photo by Erich McVey)

How can photographers make their flat lay invitation photographs more interesting, or more editorial worthy?

I understand that during the wedding day photographers will not have much time to style invitations - there are so many other things that need to be captured. Photographers can ask wedding stylists to help so that they can concentrate on what they do best. Stylists should plan ahead and prepare the right props that need to be used for flat lay. I always believe that in order to have editorial worthy flat lays, there needs to be detailed planning. Improvise and use difference conversational pieces and props to tell a story instead of using template looks. Also, use props that are in line with the theme of the wedding, mix in elements inspired from the venue, things that the couple likes.

What type of styling props and tools should photographers consider bringing to their weddings?

A great backdrop is a must. Also, bring blue tack, acrylic blocks for levels, and stamps, silk ribbons, or small trays.

To see more of Veronica Halim’s beautiful work, visit her website.

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Elihu Bogan