Clothing Review - Step 2
When I first started photographing children I followed the firm rules of clothing um have any of you guys ever looked up the rules of clothing when it comes to portrait sessions? Yeah, what what is somewhere would have seen what you've seen I'm just curious what you guys were hearing it's like right out of the gate you're looking up what the rules of clothing are uh no logo's er no patterns, no patterns yet? Um no jeans okay, um trying to think of some other things those were like the main ones obviously like no patterns and stuff I read something about like two colors and I like a pop of color is it it's just overwhelming there's like a lot of rules if you look up the rules of clothing that's perfect it's overwhelming it looks like there's pages and pages of what you do and don't do it with portrait sessions and when I first started photographing kids I followed all those rules okay, you're going tohave toe wear long sleeves for sure and no patterns no no patterson hello there's no tr...
endy jewellery let's make sure that if everybody is wearing one outfit we try to get you to if not match which would be great that's how that is how I started then to just, you know, somewhat make sure you're coordinated and alistair stuff those those rules of clothing have changed dramatically for me as I've actually gotten out and photographed and then scene with the images looked like after clothing will make or break a shoot it's that big of a deal um the rules however, can make a break the mood and the feel of them it could make everything look homogeneous and boring and stayed and overly formal so I have adapted a new kind of set of rules which I'll go into after the break but the biggest thing I want to emphasize here as it relates to clothing is you want to think about a couple things one the clothing that they were in the chute doesn't have to be the clothing that we're each and every day so another school of thought is where whatever you're comfortable with and you'll shine that's not true because some people are very comfortable in sweat clothes and a big you know dear dear one of the john deere john deere has and no shoes and etcetera etcetera you want them tio I would rather the client the child be slightly like comfortable but slightly uncomfortable and look fabulous and then I work him through it then to be totally comfortable and it just kind of drab and takes away clothing you can have a massive impact on the way a shot looks I also go consistently for layers so I say you know make sure it's like dressing for san francisco like I want two or three different layers and under thing and over thing and then the sweater and we'll take it off if you're hot will move around, but I can change the whole look while they don't have to do one outfit change just in a series of ten to twelve shots on dh, then we go into an outfit change and traditionally for many years the rules about portrait clothing have changed a lot. It used to be things like and I'm going read off to a list of what I remember reading I'd ask our audience here to say some of what they know things like you wear long sleeves only because showing any skin will distract the viewer from seeing the face and that's a no no with portrait you don't ever wanna wear shorts in a portrait like ever because again the skin on the legs distracts when you're doing a three quarter full length shot from the face, you don't want any overly bright colors like fuchsia tomato reds, neon tones, no hats to distract, no patterns on the clothing, no logos, no shiny fabrics, shining fabrics are a big no traditionally because of strobe lights and any sort of flash, which would pop the light in a shiny fabric and no trendy jewelry on and there's I've got two thoughts on that, but in general, no trendy jewelry whatsoever and initially when I went in a photography I first I went with the rule of following all of those things I will do all of those things like you told me and so I would advise my clients accordingly what I morphed into was going the complete opposite way saying you know what? This is ridiculous so I went with thing where whatever makes you comfortable and that will be great and then when I started seeing is people show up in outfits that looked terrible my god this is not gonna work I'm glad you're comfortable but you look terrible uh s so then I found a way to morph it into something that I think really does works there we're gonna work through it we're gonna walk through all that first and foremost the idea that no shiny fabrics no mixed patterns and stuff this was the first from my very first class on creative I've which was two thousand ten creative life has changed exponentially like exponentially since then the very first course we did was there like I think five photography classes that whole year in two thousand ten um and this was we went out on bainbridge island with a remote camera shoot and did a pre shoot and it was raining and freezing and I was having this little girl jump through puddles but clothing wise she broke all the traditional rules but what do you think of her clothing? It was awesome looks funny shook spirited kind of adds it was a bright pop of color on a dreary day these air, the clothing choices that I now advise things like this mix patterns have bright colors as long as you're all kind of coordinating and weaken layer on and off if some things are a little more distracting than others great, I love it the idea behind layering clothing means I have a lot of options in terms of what I can move around based on where you're looking you'll see this on the urban shoot I had the little girl had a little jacket on a kind of a nice dressy jacket and then I had to take it off and I had a whole different look when I went in for a close up, I love the ability to have that that sex ability of a shoot um the other thing was no shiny fabrics clearly she's got glitter all over her skirt and I had a pretty sure for this shot I was using a little bit on camera flash and what I don't know but we could go to the tape if we needed to um and and I don't think having little shiny specks hurts this image at all it doesn't distract me from the movement in the field another fabric fi shirt, shirt, skirt and actually some little glitter all over the shirt she's that shine all over her a cz well as trendy jewelry the rule behind trendy jewelry why you want to avoid it is it dates a photo it khun data photo hard, especially like if you look at some of the earrings from the eighties and stuff, although that's now back in fashion, but in general, you want to talk to try to take anything out that ruins this image from being a timeless one. You don't want it being date stamped and that's what jewelry can do? Trendy jewelry, trendy hairstyles, so in general, I do follow the rule of I don't want anything that's just so so current and it's gone in two hours like the justin bieber necklaces that I had to take off of a lot of kids for a long time or justin bieber charm bracelets or one direction trying place bracelets. Now you could get every little boy on his own little charlie, um, and an out and actually neil because your name looks like it's fell denial when my daughter we were looking through the guest list because he's here now from one direction, maybe s o reflective fabrics. One of the big changes is I used to shoot with strokes and when strobes have come on and have a high power pop and things that had reflective surfaces with, then shine back with constant lights, which is what I use all the time now I use just uh and you'll see this inner shoots I used the westcott um spider lights, the td sixes with the constant lights what you see is what you get when I turned them on I can see exactly where my shadows fall I can see what the reflections will do if they'll impact the photograph or not I don't have to worry about the fact that it looks all perfect and then and then I have my strobe flash and suddenly everything goes wonky. I like the fact that we can have reflective fabrics and it makes no difference whatsoever because we're the nice, constant study light and not this big burst of power that will trigger a reflection that's a big shift to I used to work with strobes and, um and one of the joys of technology is constance warrant there the first time I ever used a constant light in my studio was maybe five or six years ago and I was like, this is so weak unless I'm having them stand in one position I don't have enough light for this um one of the reasons you want a lot of light is for fast moving subjects, the faster moving your subject, the more light you want to be able to freeze expression and not get unintentional blur in this case, my lights with two td six is coming down. Give me everything I want for jumping and twirling and dancing. And I have no problem, especially with an ioc eso sensitive camera where I can turn up the I s a little bit if it's getting kind of crazy. So the reflective fabric thing is out the window for me. I don't worry about that whatsoever. I also noticed by the way, on on these two images, you see quite a lot of variety, right? These air probably taken seconds apart. This is one of things I wanna talk about as we go through the shooting is I want to show a lot of spectrum in expression. I want to get different fields. And even if everything set up the same way, I want to move back a little bit in this one where she's clearly moving and turning a little bit away from the camera, I can take two seconds to pull the light over right in front of her. Just tio just so she's. Not too out of the light it's not dropping off too far off her face. Uh, but other than that there's very little change in this except for her expression, and obviously, remember what I said when you move, arms, hands, move so I unintentionally get that on but I also get that same look of having the hips one way and the chest back another way which is a nice rule of posing I get that by simply telling her to turn but priest you know that by freezing something into place or acting like it and cement or something I can I can get that look without having to over pose and over say words and lose just fantastic expression also how much you guys love freckles uh I love freckles and I love dimples like if I can find those I will try to find a way to deep in the shot in terms of get a lot of dark contrast a light and really let that pop I love that um sleeves we photographed this little girl the other day this was from our urban shoot this sweet little face and this you know obviously I mentioned the little girl had the jacket on you took it off we took it off and she just had a simple black undershirt but it totally changed the look and did a little shift to her hair totally changed the look um sleeves do I feel that looking at this image that her arms distract me from seeing her smile in her eyes? No not at all I understand the concept behind it but I think with children it doesn't matter it doesn't come into play the other thing of course with arms one of opposing rules that we didn't really go into too much detail on when I was talking about arms because we're talking about children is that you want to hold the arm away from your body especially when you're turned this way you want to kind of pull the arm away for about a little bit just so it looks thinner as opposed to squashed up against your body with children the easiest thing to do that is just telling tilt and their arms just go you know, that's another thing I do a lot is just tilt and the arm will go out if I even need it with kids I often don't it doesn't really matter um and of course you know the idea of not showing skin sometimes that's all you want to show right with children like you want to know what I like taking off show many about it um I love that I love that look and in this image specifically when we're talking a little bit about lighting we're gonna we're gonna be talking about available light and natural light uh this image was shot in front of in a wide open window she's literally on a little bench in front of a wide open window leaning against a pillow and I have a reflector on the other side bouncing all that light back and, um you know, oftentimes with lighting you want to avoid too much light coming around a subject because it will end up coming into your lands and giving a little bit of a milky or look with children photography especially babies I covet that milky look, I want it. I want to create that kind of lighting and that kind of look and and having a really brightly lit background where you throw out all the exposure so you just know that you're gonna let go of any detail in the background by having this really strong silver reflector popped back up like back up that's what you end up getting an error in lighting works in your favor offered for babies. Um another big thing when I talked about the sleeveless is you want to avoid this, you see how her arm comes down and wraps around them and that's bad that's bad because it's just all arm and if you if you look at an image and you squeeze your eyes dry, it goes to the point of most contrast. And so if you do that look at this image right now and wait even audience camp um if you go and you look at this image of you, squeeze it a little bit if your ideas most the point of most contrast, it actually does kind of go here, doesn't it? Is that what you guys were saying? And that's an error in terms of posing rules? Because you want the viewer's interest eyes to go right to the subject of interest, which is your people, which is those people that you do not hate. You do not hate people. We need to clarify that, by the way, she does not hate people. She wanted to hold a sign up and say, I do not hate people. I love people. Yes, I just find them difficult. Um, um, eso in from my opinion what I started finding with images of children together, siblings and parent child relationships, what I started finding was that the arms actually were kind of a third subject because it symbolized relationship. And instead of wanting to eliminate that, I actually wanted to show it. I actually don't mind that when you squint a little bit and look, you see the arms, because I think that showcases so much about belonging and togetherness. And and that is the big thing I learned about family photography. I did not enjoy family photography very much when I first started out, um, and the more I started having personal experiences building my own family, I have three children if you ever read my book in vision family, which we're gonna be giving away here, um you know, I kind of detail us out, but when I built my own family and that meant for my our daughter who was born right here in san francis schou um but then we adopted our second child and he came home from ethiopia and our third child who came home from ecuador, we had such experiences in africa and in south america in terms of what it was like to be in an orphanage and to be around children to understand what it is really was like to not have a family and not to have that belonging to not have those relationships where you are, a family that changed my whole mindset about what family was and what used to seem like a burden. Family portrait photography became an honor like an honor to see these relationships and see people who belong to each other and who connected in this way and this third subject, this relationship of just you're my brother, I'm your sister and even though you drive you crazy times, I love you like I love that, and I love showing that that to me clothing can have an impact there because we lose a little bit if she were dressed in all black, we lose a little bit of that so it's that counter intuitive thing of how clothing khun work for what you're really trying to show in an image and then hat you know, the world was no hats I often request hats I request hats because I think that they changed the look that changed the field that changed cut up with swagger, you see that, especially on babies, you know, like it changes the whole look of a baby when you throw on different hats and and the and the look, you have an adult hat on a child it's just interesting to me and they get it adds a level of intrigue, esso I like having hats as an option, so I've kind of negated that rule together. Um, in terms of working with clothing, oftentimes you can give every piece of advice in the world that dan on and so good and you're like, I nailed those setting expectations they know what to d'oh we're going to show up and it's going to be like fashion runway and then they show up and you're like, oh, I didn't say that uh, so, um a couple of things I do one is I always ask them to bring at least two to three other outfits I want three outfits in general, but if I could only get two that's great, give me some other choice and then we also have the layering right, so within that with having two to three layered outfits I have eight or nine choices right there with her without hats moving on sweaters, living off sweaters I like that for a couple of reasons one if what happens isn't something I can work with I have another choice if something happens that I love how it looks but now I want something different for marks for a variety I have all those options in front of me one of things that's very interesting that I may not have even known that much until four days ago was that the style in which I like to shoot is open options open options open options that's where I feel like I could do my best work and that means I can go to any location once I can change any clothing I can go with any mood we can do anything we can roll down this hill and then run across the highway and then jump off that cliff and it's going to be great like I want that kind of open options. And when I said it and realize this two four days ago we came into the set and we were picking out spots to do the life shoots and I'm like but that's hardly any space at all I just I need more room because I know that children come alive when they have more room which is why one of our shoots is on the roof with some sort of safe walls um so but you know, if you you lay out your whole ideal like I want all of these things and and then something still happens that wasn't what you chose how do you work with it? So here's the sweet too cute little faces these newborn twins love them a little bit older newborn but still little babies and and mom bought these outfits because they were so cool their little thermal unders and the stripes and almost or stuff I am not a huge fan of matching matching I get it with twins it's so good. But sometimes when you try to think about how to make an image more visually interesting you can feel a little bit stuck with exactly matching outfits do you mean yeah. So even though it's again it's the difference between what's really cute in real life and then maybe what you want to show creatively with a photograph on a shot like this? I had these two little boys and we were shooting down and this was just literally like fabric on a carpet on what I did was I scratched him over a little bit too some window light I saw coming through in these brakes coming through the window and then I change the mode I wanted to shoot this one I knew I wanted it to be in black and white and I pulled out to make the composition more interesting and then I end up getting this so it's a small shift right it's a small shift but suddenly now we have leading lines we have these stripes that look kind of cool and interesting we've got this break that somewhere around the rule of thirds line I like how much more interesting that looks to me as an image and you guys see kind of the difference in the field it just suddenly becomes mohr um it more it catches your eye a little bit more and there's a few more layers a few more things going on and I like the shadow play the dark and the light and how that that changes things um what do I deliver to the client both both um I have this question come up a lot what happens when the client wants you to take these photographs that aren't the style that you like my answer to that is you take them and you take what you like and you give them both and what I often find is it's a mix of what ends up happening in the sales consultation they end up getting either the stuff that you liked that they wouldn't have expected to have liked and it's this revelation of your creative artistry and you feel empowered and like you high five yourself behind you know and then the other way which is they still buy everything that they said they wanted but then you've got a couple great images that you wanted to put on your website for future shoots or they end up getting a mix say you know I never thought I would have liked that but I am going to get a few of those as well but either way you don't do it either or you don't only shoot what you want because that's not really fair to the client hired you and you don't only shoot what they want because that's not fair to you and it's gonna make you feel stifled it's gonna make you hate your job so you kind of do a combination of all of it um the other thing about pairing clothing one thing that's works really well with twins or close siblings is tohave a pattern mixed with a sala in some sort of fashion that coordinate together and I like that a lot with twins that's what I request when I have siblings that are similar age or twins I say well you know would be great is to have some pattern where the tones were offset with a solid on the other that goes together so well and then we can even change outfits and really freak people out but I like that look quite a lot another big thing to consider is um you know, overall we're talking about colors and style and patterns and coordination that that's what we're talking about we're talking about clothing um this is a shoot that I did in the client's home and a little if you've seen the left you see on the right on the little girl wore one thing the mom or another thing how striking is that? What dad's wearing in one image to the next your eye goes the port point of most contrast if you squint your eyes on the image on the left what do you see first the little girl who's supposed to be showcased now dad's hot of the picture um so what I did is I asked him I said, do you think there's any way you can go and change clothes and come back with a dark shirt and he grumbled and didn't like it and that was a terrible idea um and then he's like slowly came back and something that was like all striped and kind of like what russ is wearing dresses wearing which he felt like, hey, I change shirts it's darker it's got dark stripes on it like men in now and there's a ah you're kidding may and then and by the way some people feel like to get great images that means you must have clients who don't resist you that's not true I have clients resist me all the time you just say come on, it'll be great it's gonna be five minutes change of clothes and so then he comes back with the darker shirt, and then now that everybody's in a similar pattern, her face stands out it's a big difference between here, where your eye goes, and she's background she's background, even though she's in front and here where since this is background, this is background, this is background. This all goes her face, pops and that's what you want, that's? Why clothing could make a significant difference, the brightness of it big time, and then, as well as the pattern it's in the style of it, and how everything coordinates four dozen and when you're taking a family photograph or a group photograph and everybody's in this nice gray ish tone or coordinated great tone and the one person in a bright purple, they stand out in a way that's usually not, uh, that makes them feel like they don't belong like they're not part of it. The other big thing about clothing was you don't ever want anything too trendy or two sillier, too goofy or too costumey, but to me, this comes down to rules versus personality. If I know that one of things I want to showcase his personality, I will absolutely want that for some of the shots for a few of the shots. That's a cute image and then we take the jacket off, we throw the hood back and we change the look or we take the jacket off and we just have a shirt or anything and we change the look, but a couple of them showcase what she's into right now, and a lot of times you guys probably had this it's, the pirate outfitter, it's the cape or it's, the jet I sword or that's the you know, I want those things for a few of those images, but I don't want them for all, and I've had that I had an associate once who photographed a little boy who was a jet I, um and he never let go the sword or the little jetted coat for the whole shoot, I'm like not the whole shoe like because that's only a trend for a little while and that and that back to that idea of winning images to be timeless. I wouldn't necessarily want to get a huge portrait of my son when he was in a phase for two weeks like a nimitz would be fine, but not the whole thing. The other big thing about clothing, of course, is small little shifts I'm talking about these layer is in this quick shifts if you can shift clothing and you can shift expression and you can shift hair with a hot or not hair muscle pair of restricted within two seconds you can have a lot of different looks and this is literally like probably four minutes across these images were taken uh shot in the studio in a dark background industrial light back dark background but I changed the lighting toe look lighter and then right out front and you know we've got little eyes odd a little suit tie and then his little hoody on actually another one with his crazy hat pulled completely over space but you know what you're doing is you're producing different moods and different looks and you're then saying to your client which one are you most interested in? She may like one of the other, but it's not like she's going to choose between them they're all so different and they may suit different purposes worst case scenario is that everything they bring nothing fits it all looks kind of garish and tough and rough and you don't quite know what to do that's when you go to silhouettes, you just say, you know what? You're not even gonna put you in there uh, but or more seriously do more full frame or close us like I can't really work with the clothing you're wearing, but I can work with what you've got up here and so we'll do that or of course you just take it off um and this works too like I've done photographs with toddlers and four and five year olds with your shirt off and just little khaki pants or something and it's fun it's cute and up until a certain age after a certain age against this whole different type of photography but up to start made you could get away with a lot of that and I do that often, especially with toddlers and babies I don't remember the last shoot I did with the other baby where I didn't say let's try something naked or shirtless or you know something fun and cute because you've got some leeway there and there's something about and I'm sure you guys know this in your own practice there's something about just flesh but it's just so cute and live like I would not want to miss that I wouldn't want to take photographs that didn't show just that yummy freshness you um okay so any questions about clothing before you move onto location? Yes, yes niall from one direction yeah, I moonlight as a thief answer on stage s o I was curious about the clothing consulate to full like the clothing council like how do you literally technically go about it with the conversation you have, whether it's a person or phone or skype or whatever and then how do you do with clothing and clothing, logistics and changes and things on location so I'm constantly working out in a park or in a forest somewhere and it's like, you know, the truck in a stroller like all this stuff, you know, which is now a clothing rack, you know me. So how do you like how do you handle that and set the expectations for it? And, you know, what do you tell people to plan for that kind of logistic? S o I literally will say if we're gonna be, we're going that's part of setting the expectation is in knowing like so all this is happening for the shoot starts, right? We know about the clothing, what to think about, we know about the location, and so what I'll say is if I know I'm gonna be in a garden setting or a field or something like that, which is all a lot of my chutes, I will say there's, probably not a bathroom around for a while that I actually we're getting a second that's part of what you think about, but what I'll say is if you could bring a big old blanket, we can hold it up and wrap it around to do outfit changes that's that's a big go to uh I know there's gonna be a big tree there, I will use that tree and let's go to the clothing tree a lot the other thing in terms of the stroller that becomes the clothes thing, I see that often, and I actually have a wish I had that I have a photograph from a chute where they had a double stroller that had ste I mean, they had so many cause there's five kids and all these clothing outfits, and they were just trying to navigate it looks so funny, but I think what you do is you pick your locations and you have to set the expectation that that's where we're going to do if you have a child that feels wildly uncomfortable, that and some children do, most are like whatever, take it off. But if you have a child that is wildly uncomfortable, that you should know that ahead of time, and having this conversation ahead of time makes a difference. So if I know that's gonna be the case and I'm not going to get a clothing change, I either will request a lot of layers, like a lot of cool things that we can easily shift out or I'll say let's choose it if the location so we can make that a more comfortable experience and have a lot of variety, you set the expectation that we're going to be trucking this stuff out there that's part of the deal? Yes, absolutely. Yes and that and that's part of when I say set expectations I say tell them what to expect the whole way because the last thing I wanted a client showing up and I say we're gonna go out like we're gonna walk about a quarter mile if this really awesome space and shoot along the way and she's like uh not with these heels okay, well we'll just shoot her in the parking lot that's what makes it really you know that's why expectations make a big difference and then having his conversation helps to set location yeah, you know and I definitely have had the location is something that changed a lot for me. I learned a lot about location because I used to just say I'll pick the location you just meet me there and that was it. And then I realized you know what? There needs to be a lot more thought put into it cause location could change so many factors brooke has a question that pertains a little bit more to older children um she's asking how do you handle parents who put their heavier children an unflattering outfits and how do you kindly and gently deal with this? So we talked up front about clothing options and then one of the things I say is that even though we could have a lot of patterns in solids and mix it patterns and fabrics and mixes up I also flexes up you know to mix it up uh we also want definitely at least a couple solid colored pieces and then I say that and that makes a big difference to because if that's one of the things that were combating we've got the solid color outfits and then we can work with posing a lot when we get there that answer the question I think so yeah yeah because there are certainly times that where people will show up and then they have an unflattering you know? And I'm not even just saying this all pollyannish it's really hard to unflattering child like children there's just so much once you get the life when you're tapping into what you're photographing that life in that spirit that is so flattering but you know you can shift posing to better to better suit that and then certainly outfits if you've got someone showing up in a big bright white stripes across or this that then I would just say let's do a couple like that and then this change clothes but I would never do is say that does not look good that is not working for your sister you know I would make a point of always shooting what I see and I do the same thing for poses when people say I really want this pose and you're just like oh, I shoot it anyway and I so great now let's try mine you know and the reason for that is I have be very mindful of of how they're feeling inside and the last thing I wanna do is shut them down in any way about appearance about posing about anything and so I'm constantly thinking how do I keep them open and how do I avoid shutting them down in any way? So why? Because I have digital I'm not counting my clicks and film I have the luxury to do that one more here from pro photographer what about prescription glasses and sunglasses? Do you ever ask children to take them off if they're wearing them great questions so we just had this? Yes, two days ago we did our urban shoot the little girl had glasses that turned into dark glasses in the light I see that a lot it's very common. Where are your glasses? You took them off. Yeah, so rebecca's apartment we brought we planted her back just for this to be ableto say this thing so she forgot you for at your glasses but you've got really cool sunglasses that happens a lot on shoots kids will come up my youngest wears glasses and I have to say it like this she wears glasses we could never find her glasses like ever were on her fifth pair glasses she's got the little string she'll come home some days with a string and new glasses what are you doing? Uh, so I'm very familiar with that somebody showing up and then either not having glasses or can't see or do have them, I think the biggest thing, so I have a twofold answer that the biggest thing in terms of do I have them where their glasses, if that's who they are and that's who they are every day, it would look weird to take the glasses off, I want their glasses on, and then I will pose them accordingly always reflectors they don't have light flashing into their eyes or, you know, big smearing further words glass no, not cash lights know that when you don't want them, reflections in the glass is reflections just seem like a lame word, but that's it yeah, I do when I don't want reflection in the glass is then I have to make sure use my fill differently, or if I'm using phil flash, I have to be more mindful that, uh but if you have somebody in natural light shooting and urine, even shade it's, not a concern. Um, and in terms of when they have the classes that turned dark, I will either say let's, get a couple of those, but then let's, take it off because you miss so much when you miss the eye and and that's. One of things about setting expectation and talking about clothing and asking if there's anything. We have to think about andi. I've had adults show up with the glasses and that's. All they had like that only had those. And then they went dark, and they would say, can we do a couple of them off? Teo, just see of choices later.