Meet your Mentor: Gina Ciancio
Gina Ciancio from @stylecuratorau has a beautiful interiors aesthetic that is not only stylish but so homely and cosy. One look at her images and you’ll find yourself wanting to cook in her kitchen, relax on her couch or take a nap in her beautiful bedroom. You just feel at home in Gina’s images.
Gina is very generous sharing her interior styling tips and encourages others to DIY and develop their own homely interiors. Keep reading to find out more about Gina and her journey to becoming the Style Curator.
Q&A with Gina
Hey Gina! Thanks for joining us for a Creatively Squared challenge during our Interiors month. We are absolutely thrilled to have you mentor the community. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how you came to be creating such fabulous interior inspo.
I’m excited to be here, thanks for having me!
I’ve been obsessed with decorating and DIY for as long as I can remember but when it came to ‘picking a career’ in highschool, I decided to go down a marketing and business path. I worked for many years in PR both in Australia and overseas, but I reached a point where I wanted to do something more creative and that’s when I started my blog Style Curator stylecurator.com.au We were about to embark on a knock down rebuild project and I thought I’d blog about that journey, as well as use my writing skills to share latest interior trends and profile experts in the design industry.
Five years on, I now spend my days styling for clients, blogging, and tackling reno and DIY projects for ‘work’!
Can you tell us about your creative process, how do you come up with ideas for what to share next on your Instagram account?
Wherever possible, I like to create content for key dates (eg Christmas, Easter etc) and other seasonal content. Thinking about these topics often starts a creative journey of different scenes or types of styling I could do, colours I might like to use or particular products and things quickly take shape from there. Being a mum of 2 young kids, I’ve learnt ‘batching’ content is the only way to get things done so I’ll plan 5-15 different spaces or scenes I’d like to shoot and get them all done on one day.
Who or what inspires you the most to create your images and share your journey?
It sounds cliche but I find inspiration all around. Sometimes at a cafe, I might see something cool that I want to incorporate in some way, other times I might be inspired by something I’ve seen on Pinterest or Instagram. Often I’ll be creating images for a client, like a brand, and they will have a set brief and it’s up to me to interpret it and put my own spin on things.
This challenge is all about your home interior and the feeling of home. What are your three top tips for making a house a home, and conveying this homely feeling in your images.
Colour - injecting pops of colour immediately creates that feeling of home. Personally I don’t do colourful feature walls, instead I use artwork and then pick up on some of those colours in the cushions or other decor in a space.
Layering - one of my favourite tricks to create a warmer or more lived in feel is to layer items. Perhaps on a sideboard you could have a stack of books with a small decorative item on top. On the sofa you might drape a throw and then place a cushion or two on top. Even with artwork, you could lean a smaller artwork in front of a larger one to create more depth.
Personalisation - what makes a house a home is YOU so don’t be afraid to inject more of you into the space. Displaying photos, trinkets you picked up on your travels, and things that reflect your hobbies are just a few ways you can personalise your home.
Do you have any hacks, tricks or tools which help you create your interiors imagery?
I use a lot of apps! I always wondered how people achieved cohesive Instagram feeds and using a planning tool is the answer! UNUM and Planoly are free up to a certain number of draft posts and are really helpful with this.
Rather than using the editing tools in Instagram, I like Lightroom but this has a monthly fee. Otherwise VSCO has some good filters you can buy at a low cost.
For Instagram stories, I find Cutstory helpful as I can just take a regular video on my phone and then this app will cut it down into 1 minute clips that can be uploaded to Instagram (way better than stop starting and creating disjointed videos). Or if I’m just doing an image/text story, Unfold looks beautiful and has loads of templates.
What equipment do you use?
I have a Canon 5D Mark IV camera and use a few different lenses depending on whether I’m shooting close up details or full rooms. For editing, I prefer Lightroom but sometimes have to fudge things a bit with Photoshop too. But many of my photos are taken by a professional photographer who I collaborate with on most of my client work i.e. when I’m working with an established brand.
I have two tripods - one for my big digital camera and a smaller one I can use for my phone (for example, when I’m doing a timelapse of me styling a space). I also bought a light ring but this only comes out for videos when natural light isn’t good.
What is your favourite image that you have created? Can you tell us why it is special to you?
It sounds silly but it’s one of the first pics where I felt inspired by the finished image rather than frustrated that what I’d styled wasn’t translating well on camera. The depth of field and colour palette are probably two of my favourite aspects.
We can all relate to falling in and out of love with Instagram, how has your account evolved over time?
Ha ha, yes! Similar to my blog, in the first few years, I felt like I should only share other people’s work. But over time I realised people were engaging more with spaces I’d styled or things I was working on around my own home so I began generating more of my own content. Now my Instagram account is 90% or more of my own images and only a few of other people’s pics that I repost or brand lifestyle images I occasionally share. I try not to look at the likes and focus instead on real, authentic engagement and creating quality content that people will enjoy.
Gina is the guest mentor for our October 7 - 13 creative challenge ‘At Home’ and will be featuring her favourite entries and feedback on the @creativelysquared Instagram account. You can find Gina at @stylecuratorau on Instagram. We invite you to join Gina and the rest of the Creatively Squared community to put things into context. Hit the button below for entry information and full resources.