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Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Importance of the Right Attire

When I first opened my business, when clients asked what to wear, my standard reply was: jeans or khakis, solid-colored shirts, no logos, stripes or bold patterns. I still think this is solid (general) advice, especially for large groups, but I have to admit, after awhile, it makes me yawn a little. In reality, I love color! I love funky patterns, striped skirts, wild tights or hats on kids and bright colors, ripped jeans or trendy dresses on teenagers…I love whatever it is that shouts: this is ME! I love those character-identifying pieces that give me a glimpse into the person I’m photographing – that show me their fancy side, their down-to-earth side, their wild or outrageous side, their funny side, their wistful side or even just their wishful side – something they wouldn’t normally wear but positively float in during our session.

These are the sessions I open in post-processing with a sigh of anticipation, wide eyes and a giggle or two of pure delight. And, more often than not, these are the sessions I find parents doing the very same thing when viewing their images later. The truth is, clothing can make or break a session. It can bring out true character, promote fun and laughter, bring color and light, or it can distract, overwhelm, or turn what could be a beautiful image into a flat, dull reflection. I didn’t understand this when I first started out. I thought by telling people to dress by a set of standard rules, I was obeying one of the basic principles of portrait photography which is: the subject is/should be the focus. While that’s true, what I didn’t realize is that clothing is as important to bringing out the character of the subject as the subject themselves. Therefore, in my opinion, clothing should be looked at as an extension of the person.

Again, with large groups, coordinated color or the old solid-colored shirts with jeans or khakis is a good rule of thumb to follow…unless you enjoy going cross-eyed while viewing a family photo of fourteen who all choose different patterned shirts to wear. But with babies, children, seniors, individuals or even small families – toss it out! Have fun! Be bold! Find out who your client is – what colors they love, what outfits they adore, what funky accessories they harbor in their closet. Have a list of recommended stores for shopping or for collecting outfit ideas. Encourage them to have fun too and help you create images that will color their world for years to come!

Below are a few photos from a recent session in which I think mom totally rocked the outfits and accessories.

Written and posted by Laura Stetser of Laura Lynne Photography.

1 comment:

Julie M said...

Thanks for sharing this Laura! It's awesome!

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