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Wardrobe can make or break a photo, the choice of color and design should complement the model and her figure. In the photo at left the bikini the
model is wearing compliments both her eye color and the background providing color harmony to add impact to the photo. A pink top in the same setting would have been very distracting. Color should either be in Harmony with the background or a contrasting color. When wardrobe and the background are of the similar color it is up to the photographer using lighting techniques to make sure there is tonal separation , this is especially problematic with a black wardrobe and a black background!
For any photo shoot is important to bring a wide variety of clothes, especially if you have not had an opportunity to meet with the photographer or stylist (if any see Cast and Crew of a photoshoot). You can have the perfect outfit but if it is at home it is not of much use. The photos throughout this web site demonstrate good wardrobe selection so look over the portfolios and other accompanying photos, the trend you will see is simple designs, unobtrusive patterns and designs that flatter the figure and do not draw your attention to the clothes but to the model!
The "I have nothing to wear" complaint is something that frequently comes up and of course a shoot is always a good excuse to go shopping! There are alternatives to buying new clothes for a shoot. Long term when buying clothes think about what the garment will do for you; will it make you look thinner, accentuate your figure, highlight your legs and complement your coloring, as opposed to looking for colors and patterns you like but may not accomplish any of the objectives mentioned. Take a critical look in the mirror before you buy and bring a friend along with whom you have discussed your wardrobe objectives. If the soot is in a couple of days shopping may not be your best bet, especially if the budget is tight that week. Borrowing from friends is a tried and true solution. I am sure you have friends that have a dress, sweater or shoes that you know will look great on you so see if you can borrow it for the shoot. Buying/ borrowing clothes especially for a shoot by teaming your credit card with a store's return policy. Start with inquiring about the store's return policy, some items may have no return or can only be returned if the labels are attached and if there is no damage to the garment ( like makeup), if you do not use it then you can return it! Just make sure you can pay for it if you cannot return it.
At workshops it is important to minimize the amount of time spent changing clothes so select undergarments that can be worn under several outfits
In the above photos notice how the wardrobe alters the models appearance and how the two tone outfit divides the model and lacks overall unity and how in the upper right photo her legs seem shorter. While it is difficult to judge her height without some scale of reference this model is 5'11" .
The most common mistakes models make in selecting wardrobe are :
Not bringing enough variety:
For a normal private portfolio session you should have had a discussion with either the photographer, a stylist or someone from your modeling agency prior to the session as to what to bring and you should bring a couple of variations on that theme. Depending on the extent of the shoot it would normally last between one and two hours and be limited to headshots, bodyshots or lifestyle shots. Workshops on the other hand last about five hours and will cover several different types of shots so the wardrobe requirement are greater. At most workshops you will get at least three or four changes. If you only bring one dress that limits the opportunities so you should bring one or two long dresses one or two short dresses. If you are bringing skirts and slacks then you should bring a variety of tops to go with them. Do not forget to bring a swimsuit etc, the more variety you bring the more likely you will get some great pictures.
Shoes are extremely important for they set the foundation for all standing poses and most other poses. Today there are a wide variety of shoes on the market and most are much better for the feet than the stiletto (or spike) high heels that were the standard of years ago and are great if you have to stand on your feet for long periods of time or have to walk long distances. From the photographers point of view there is no other type of shoe but the stiletto !
Look at the shoe on the left, it is a work of art in and of itself ! Three of the main rules of composition in art the are the rule of thirds, leading lines triangles and flowing curves( see great composition) . Great composition repeats the same theme throughout the work so the theme established at the base often are repeated and reinforced in other parts of the composition.
In shoes, like bikinis, less is often more. The minimalist use of material in the upper part of the shoe allows color harmony by continuing the leg line all the way to the toes thus lengthening the leg line. You do not need a closet full of shoes for modeling, just one or two pair should be sufficient.
The height of heel realigns the entire body and ads shape to the calves and thighs and alters the thrust of the hips, no matter how tall the model she should wear at least a 3" or 4" heel. A popular shoe today is the platform high heel which may have a 3" platform and a 7" or a 9" heel. The shape of the shoe here is very different and not as effective and often indicates the model is petite. The only time I like that type of shoe is where you have several models of greatly varying heights say a 5'1" and 5'11" both wearing high heels or a 5'3" female model with a 6'+ male model. A neutral color such as tan or black will work for both dress up or casual looks.
Some times the best shoes are none at all. In many sitting kneeling or reclining poses the best shoe is barefoot! Sometimes the wardrobe and local dictates a barefoot look, for example swimwear on the sand. The need to elongate the leg and set the body correctly still exists so the model should get up on her toes to replicate the effect of a 5" heel.
If you have any doubt about the effect of high heels find a full length mirror and see for yourself, front , side and rear view flatfooted or on your toes.
Lingerie can add to a shoot's success or create lots of problems.
Lets start first with the problems. First and foremost unless it is a lingerie shoot or a Madonna video only the effect of lingerie should be seen not the garment itself. Bra straps should never be seen, this is really a problem with summer styles where a top may have about 1" straps and the bra 1/4" which in normal life is not a problem, but posing often makes the top's straps not stay where they should and the bra strap becomes the dominate focal point of the photo as the eye always goes to the brightest and sharpest area in the photo. Second problem area is the arm hole where the side of the bra may become visible and distracting. Depending on the model any one of a variety of bras will solve the problem sometimes a no bra or a paste on bra may be the best solution. Check Victoria's or Frederick's for some of the versions that are available. (we have a Victoria's Secret right across the street from where we have our studio workshops) With sheer garments the labels themselves become a distraction and should be removed prior to a shoot. When wearing short skirts regular pantyhose may allow the heavy reinforced part become visible, this alters the look of the leg by segmenting the leg (especially with inappropriate shoes) making is took shorter. Solution is nude to the waist, theatrical pantyhose bikini pantyhose or a good tan .
Second problem after the garment being seen is the lines created by the lingerie that are visible through the outerwear. Panty lines can be easily eliminated by choice of undergarments.
Third problem is the red marks left on the body by improperly fitted garments that can take hours to disappear.
On the plus side is that they help correct less than perfect bodies. Photographically the purpose of bras is to increase bust size and create cleavage. Not every model is a C or D but today thanks to the WonderBra, the Water Bra and others almost everyone can look like one. Remember the cover girls on the magazines often do not look like that everyday and are helped by the tricks of the trade as well as Photoshop! Body stockings and wraps can often take off a few pounds and smooth out slight bulges for a smoother line . If you have shapely legs but they are not real firm and you have a little "cottage cheese" this can be solved with hosiery.
Wardrobe what to bring
Plenty of Variety of clothes /swimwear
Appropriate style/color bras
Nude color thong
Nude to the waist or bikini pantyhose
For outdoor workshops
Most of our outdoor workshops are held at the Jersey shore. This provides the perfect setting for both casual beachwear as well as swimwear. The shooting posibilities at the shore are endless for we shoot both in the water as well as on the beach. In addition to shooting swimwear in the water for the last several years we have been having the models wear dresses in the surf , which creates a really great sexy look.
The main wardrobe element for shore workshops are swimsuits, bring several,the more the better. Simple plain designs put the emphasis on the model rather than the suit and pick ones that flatter your figure. For a casual look avoid clutter and make sure that colors go well together. Dresses are best if they are short or if long have a slit.