Fall into Fashion Week

It’s Fashion Week in New York and while most of us won’t be going, you can get a glimpse of what goes on and how it works in a piece that appeared in the New York Times on Sunday.  http://nyti.ms/Qv4EDS

My friend, Barb Lupo, who owns Gary’s Men’s and Women’s Wear in downtown Bellingham, usually attends to check out the new designs and order her inventory for the next season.  And although all the shows and parties sound pretty exciting, I know from her own experience that’s it also very exhausting.  (Gary’s stages its own fashion show in October. Details can be found here:  http://bit.ly/OBG3bR

Although many have asked if Tessa is a professional model, she’s not. But she was easy to work with, comfortable with taking direction and open to trying out different ideas during her senior portrait session last fall.

For everyone in the industry, it’s a hectic time, particularly for the runway and showroom models who hop from show to show with little time to spare.  Throw in a traffic jam or two along with all those in town for the big event and tensions run as high as the excitement as everyone tries to get to where they are supposed to be on schedule.While a career  in fashion modeling certainly has it share of  glamour, it’s a lot of hard work, long hours and requires considerable luck just to “break in.”  But you don’t have to be a professional model to look like one in photographs, if you have a skilled and talented photographer behind the camera.

Besides knowing the technical aspects that will make you look your best in the lens, there are also “trade” tricks that will bring out your best features.  When photographing my clients,  I’m constantly giving instructions and directions about how to position the feet, the hands and the head.   This is what professional models learn to do.

A simple change of clothing and placement on location produced an entirely different ‘look’ for her senior portrait.

Take Tessa, for instance, who came to me for her senior portrait  last year.  I can’t tell you how many people have asked me if she is a model.  She’s not.  Yet her images have that quality of a “fashion shoot” because we planned it together ahead of time.   During her one-hour session,  we managed to capture several different “looks” that conveyed her different moods.  And she took instruction well from me when I asked her move one way or another,  tip her head a certain way or cast her eyes in a particular direction.

A simple bend of the knee, for instance, makes a huge difference in the look for a woman.  The tilt of a shoulder can change the way a guy comes across visually.  These are little,  but important, things that professional photographers must know to produce top quality images,  whether for the fashion industry or for your home.

Yet another clothing change, the addition of the instrument, a slight change in location and dramatic lighting created a completely different feel to her senior portrait.

Like fashion photographers, my intention is to create a mood indicative my client’s unique personality. Unlike fashion photographers, the emphasis is not on the clothing but on the individual.  Whereas the job of fashion photographers is to convey a message about the clothing–romantic, exciting, trendy, classy–as a portrait photographer,  I want my portrait to say something about you.

Tessa has moved on, not to New York, but to Washington State University, where she’s studying microbiology.  But she and her parents will forever have  those images to remember when she had her own “fashion” session as a high school senior.

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