Fashion On The Cheap
Select an image above for clothing info and costs
For the summer of 2014 I wanted to do a series of images that proved that you don't need an extravegent budget to create some photos that are creative and appealing in the fashion department. I set out to find clothes that were inexpensive and fashionable with a goal of spending less than $40 per look. I found some great items and averaged around $15 per look.
Thrifting is fun. I much prefer it to shopping because you NEVER know what you're going to find. There can be great vintage pieces or bizarre off the rack clothing and sometimes one of a kind items that will really set off an image or emotion you're looking to convey in your final composition. The key however to successful thrifting is time, and objectivity. You need to really go often and be diligent, don't pick up an item with the intent to "fix or repair" it. I've left so many great things behind because I knew that I am not a seamstress and the idea of repairing that zipper in that dress was going to never actually happen. Unless you're savvy at that sort of thing, move on to the next item that catches your eye and is in great condition. There are a few exceptions to the rule if the deal is too great to pass on, as was the case with the mink coat I purchased last year. Covered in spray paint at the bottom I cleaned the coat with brush cleaner meant to remove paint from natural hair. It was time consuming but the effort was well worth it. I now own a beautiful vintage black mink coat that's unique and for only $35.
You really need to be a scavenger at heart and have the time to dig for wonderful stylish things, but that's the best part - digging for treasure. My current thrifting schedule is Tuesday and Thursday. I spend about 3 hours a week looking for beautiful (mostly vintage) items that I can photograph on models for clients and personal work. This time of year is the best for Vintage shopping as some of the charity and thrift shops tuck away vintage items and wait to put them out for sale until the Halloween season. This usually means a mark up for items, however the pricing should still be very reasonable. Smaller sizes will be more abundant so keep in mind what size your model is when purchasing.
Professional cleaning is a must for some items as well. If you've not taken anything in to be professionally cleaned I recommend calling and checking pricing. Some items can be very expensive to send out to be cleaned while you may be able to clean them at home for a fraction of the cost. Here are some quick tips for cleaning items at home:
Vintage whites and lace can be cleaned in luke warm water and Ivory Dish soap. Soak the item overnight if serious yellowing has occurred. Use a small amount of the soap, while applying directly to heavily soiled areas. Rinse and line dry, repeat as necessary.
Vintage colors should be washed in cold water and Woolite. The same for silks. Line dry and steam for wrinkle removal. Never put vintage in the dryer! If you don't have a yard to line dry, use the curtain rod over your tub.
Stains can be removed out of delicates with Fels Naptha (read the warning label and wear gloves) and baking soda. Both items are found in the laundry section of your grocery store.
Thrifting can be fun and inspiring. Bring a friend and wear comfortable shoes. Remember, the best part about Thrifting for photo shoots is you're helping out the community you live in. Don't forget to donate and receive coupons for your favorite shops. Happy hunting!
instantly take the years off
There are just 6 simple things you can do to ensure your make-up isn't actually aging your face or appearance in photos. A lot of my clients opt to do their own make-up for their portrait sessions, follow these tips to get maximum impact from your beauty products.
1) Shimmer shadows. Chelsea to the left has on a gold tone shadow that only extends to the crease. This highlights her eye without overwhelming her face. Full shadow application in high shimmer or pearl colors only make you appear older if the shadow isn't properly applied with a good base and falls into the fine lines around the eyes.
2) Loose Powder. I'm not sure why anyone would use colored loose powder anymore. Not the kind you push into the pores of the face with a fancy Japanese brush but you remember... the kind that you would just dust over your thick chalky foundation? This really adds the years to the face. To set your concealer or foundation try a very light dusting of translucent "photo finishing" powder to ensure that your make-up stays on through your portrait session. Better yet is to get a "dewy" NOT matte finishing spray to lock in your application and still have a fresh youthful glow. I recommend a tinted moisturizer only in summer months and a setting spray again in "dewy". This will prevent overly clogged pores and summer breakouts. Make sure whatever you're using has at least an SPF of 10 or higher!
3) Frosted Lipstick. No. Just please don't. Please. In fact if you show up for a portrait session with frosted lipstick on I will actually hand you a tissue and ask you to please wipe it off. I'm doing this because I care, and I like you.
4) "Scouse Brow". This is a term used by the British to describe overly darkened brows. To properly darken your brows select a shadow or pencil (matte of course) that is one shade LIGHTER than your NATURAL hair color. For Chelsea in the photo above I used just a shadow... Urban Decay's "Buck" found in the original Naked Palette to fill in her natural brow line and extend it down to meet the reverse cat eye. This frames her face and accentuates the eye without aging her appearance.
5) Cool toned lipsticks. These are lipsticks with color bases in the blue family. They look good on no one. If you don't know how to tell the difference, ask someone at a make-up counter to assist you. They may be able to recommend other brands even if you're unable to throw down $18-$36 for a lipstick. A good lipstick however is worth the investment, if only you FEEL prettier - you'll look younger too.
6) Messiness. Make sure you're in order when you've got a full face of make-up on. Practice a few times prior to your session with your application and experiment with products or colors that you typically wouldn't. You want to look like yourself for your portrait, only better. Giving yourself a proper once over correcting little smudges that occur over the day also ensure you're looking your best.
Are you "warM" or "cool"
Choosing the best colors to wear for your photo shoot can be simple if you know which color palate best suits your skin tone and coloration. There are just a few simple questions to ask yourself to figure out which colors will work best on you. Once you know if you're a "warm" or a "cool" tone you can expand that into your makeup and bring out your features in the most natural and cohesive way.
If you're "cool" jewel toned makeup and clothing will suit you best. These colors include blues, purples, turquoise, greens, magenta, and deep blue with red undertone shades. Your foundation should have a bluish or pink undertone. Black mascara will make your eyes pop. Heidi pictured to the left is cool toned.
If you're "warm" Earth tones will flatter you the most. Colors for you should include yellow, orange, brown, orangey-reds, and yellow-green shades. Your foundation should have a yellow or golden undertone. Deep red lipsticks will make your skin look amazing.
color tone quiz
Look at the inside of your wrist, are the veins there more bluish or greenish?
If you chose blue, give yourself one point under "cool". Green, one point for "warm".
When you wear an orange or yellow shirt does it make you look like you have a glow or do you look sickly?
If you chose glowing, one point for "warm", and sickly one point for "cool".
Which precious metal looks best on you? Gold or Silver?
If you chose gold, one point for "warm", silver one point for "cool".
What happens to your skin if you're out in the summer sun without sunscreen?
If you burn easily give yourself one point for "cool", and if you tan easily give yourself one point for "warm".
What color group does your eye color fall under?
Golden brown, green, blue, hazel with gold flecks. - Warm tones
Black or deep brown, gray, steel blue, hazel with gray or blue flecks. - Cool tones
Tally up your score and see where you fit. Now that you've narrowed down your fashion and makeup search for what will help you stand out in your photos, experiment with some of the colors you haven't previously thought of or tried. The best way to look good however is to feel good. A positive attitude and genuine smile will always outshine whatever it is that you're wearing.
photo: tony duran "Blue" Australia
The photo pictured is a tear from my portfolio. I am pictured with Jon and Matt of Elite Models Chicago. I started modeling professionally at the age of 16, signed with Eleanor Moore (Now Moore creative).
Modeling wasn't what I expected. I was a student in art school, taking photography classes myself. I didn't think about ever being in front of the camera. It wasn't until I was booked for this shoot with photographer Tony Duran that I really understood what was so appealing to me about "Fashion" Photography.
Tony sat me down while we had breakfast and told me that I was an actor. I was invoking a feeling to create a moment, an image that was pure fantasy. Everything fashion stood for was image creation. We get up in the morning, dress ourselves and project to the world the character we want to play. It is essential to our lives. As a woman I can put on a dress and play demure or sexy, throw on some jeans and be simple and pretty. I was in control of the image I projected. I was the player. He was just there to observe and capture the moment as I projected it. I took his words to heart and began to compose in my mind the person I wanted him to capture.
I studied him as he worked. Watched him move and create an image. I asked him questions constantly wanting to know his process. Never tiring of my inquisitions he spouted terms and phrases in my direction I didn't understand completely as I drank in his passion for the medium. He checked his watch cursing the time of day, and explained how he wanted his shots "in the best light" explaining the "golden hour". We rushed from location to location racing the sun and he sang his demands while the three of us eagerly complied. The images from this shoot are timeless.
Tony still inspires me today. I look to his work and strive to demonstrate the same level of fantasy in my images. The fantasy and connection. The trust the models have for him and his work, knowing that he will make the ruse a little more real in that captured moment. His work continues to be timeless and beautiful. Please check out more of his work here:
You've decided to book a photo session for your family. You want to commemorate the year and who you are with a beautiful boutique image. But what to wear?
I am not a proponent of matching outfits as pictured. To me this is a dated, if not silly look that makes the photo less about your family and more about a ridiculous matching shirt.
If you decide to dress alike in your portrait session, you will no longer appear to be individuals within a family. Yes, it will be easy to identify you as a "family unit" but you are most likely issuing these photos to people who know you. Don't give them a reason to tease you during Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of one matching family outfit... I recommend outfits with complimentary colors, that exemplifies your personal style. Be yourself, you are already unique without the matching shirts.
Inspiration for styling your Family Portraits, Fall 2013
For men think, classic tailored pieces that are either new, or vintage. Vintage shopping can be light on your wallet, leaving you a little extra money for tailoring. Why tailor a shirt or jacket? Because it will fit to your body only. Ready to wear items found on the rack are generally sized. If you're spending money on a jacket that isn't trendy but something you will wear for several seasons tailoring it to fit you ensures it looks absolutely perfect on you. You will look polished, and professional.
Chambray shirts are big for 2013, but I do not recommend pairing it with jeans. Flat front Navy pants are always flattering. Pleated pants, if still in your closet should be donated. They do nothing for the frame of the body, male or female. Press your shirt and pants but only use light starch. Pleating your pants and shirts will make you appear rigid or stiff. You want to be comfortable, and look relaxed and natural. I recommend boots if you're wearing jeans for your session. Dress shoes won't match your jeans, and sneakers are too casual.
For the ladies:
Women's fashion can be tricky. There are many more options offered to women, and this can actually set you up for making more mistakes in planning your portrait outfit. The first rule should always be "Be Comfortable". Once your feet start to hurt, no matter how hard you try - your face starts to show it. If you're not wearing 6" heels daily already opt for a more comfortable heel height or a fashionable boot. Your feet and family will thank you for it!
Wear a color that is complimentary to everyone else's outfits. A pop of color is great! Keep it a solid color that again matches the tone of everyone's outfits. Monochromatic shades of red and burgundy look great with browns and blacks. Orange is one of my favorite colors for fall, paired with jeans. A classic color scheme is tans and ivories with your jeans and looks great in photos!
When in doubt look to Kate Middleton. Her style is classic, and elegant. She is always polished and poised and wears things that photograph beautifully. Her clothing fits her appropriately and is tailored to her frame. Most dry cleaning shops will have someone who for a very small investment will take in, hem or correctly size any item of clothing. Even an off the rack jacket can look couture - the difference really comes from the tailoring.
Kate's hair is always simple and unpretentious. Loose curls and a side part is really all you need for portraits as well. Keep makeup clean and fresh. Make sure to darken your brows, but if you don't have experience with doing this yourself skip it. A professional make-up artist is always recommended and I work with several so if you are interested in having this service provided for you please ask.
I hope from these examples, tips, and tricks you will be comfortable and confident in choosing the best outfit for your session day. Style consultations are always free and I welcome questions about what is and isn't good for your photographs. Please feel free to email any questions you have about what you've chosen to wear! Remember, classic cuts and dresses will never look bad, that's why they're "Classic"!