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COSTUMED PORTRAITS – 5 TIPS FOR MAKING CORRECTLY

Over the past few years, interest in photographing costume portraits has grown markedly. Starting from movie displays and ending with inspiration from historical canvases, there is no end to those types of shots that could not find a place in your portrait portfolio.

Shooting a person playing a role can bring a whole new dimension to your images – adding a special depth and vibrancy. People often feel more relaxed, forgetting about complexes and internal clamps, when they are in front of the camera in some kind of alien image, in a kind of “mask”. Photographer Charlie Moss (Charlie Moss) shares his best practices for creating portrait photographs in suits worthy of any professional portfolio.

Costume portraits – how to shoot. Photo by Charlie Moss

Get inspired by the story

Fairy-tale costumed portraits were created throughout the history of mankind, both in photography and in other forms of art. Julia Margaret Cameron, for example, was a British photographer born in 1815 who shot people dressed as Shakespeare characters. Her contemporary, David Wilkie Wynfield, photographed his friends in fancy dress in the style of the great 16th-century Venetian artist Titian.

Do not stop only to draw inspiration from the work of photographers – besides this, there are still thousands of years of painting portraits on canvas! For the shot above, the photographer was inspired by a painting by Leonardo da Vinci called “The Beautiful Ferronier.” Think of the Rembrandt lighting, which is also popular among photographers and is a great idea to get started!

Costume portraits – how to shoot.

Never be afraid to try taking selfies while experimenting with different lighting and clothing inspired by historical portraits. It may take a little practice to get the hang of it, but you will almost certainly become your most patient model!

Costume portraits are a great reason to step away from the lighting that you usually use and try something new for yourself. If you always use studio lighting, then how about trying natural this time? So basically artists would work in the past, we all see the result, which means it’s probably worth a try! Similarly, if you usually work with affordable light, then maybe this is a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and try a more tight light that you can control?

Costume portraits – how to shoot. Photo by Charlie Moss

Check suit for compliance

No need to become a victim of excessive meticulousness in the context of history or cinema during such a shoot. However, you should carefully think about each element that is worn on your object, as well as the environment and props.

In the costume portrait (even more than in the usual one), every detail of the costume and any props contribute to the story narrated by the final image. Ideally, there should not be a single detail on the final photograph that would not be intentionally placed in order to become part of the story, so if you are shooting a portrait inspired by some historical period or, possibly, a movie or comic book, spend a little time studying of your source before planning a shot.

Make sure your costume, accessories, and props do not conflict with the story you are trying to tell. In this case, it would be useful for you to work with designers if you are new to modeling costumes. Their experience and advice can ultimately save you a ton of time and save mental suffering.

Of course, you can always rent costumes (for example, in theaters) – this may turn out to be, surprisingly, a cost-effective option.

Costume portraits – how to shoot. Photo by Charlie Moss

Arrange the appropriate scene

Think about the scene in which you would like your character to dwell. Could it be a member of the royal family sitting on a beautiful throne, or a post-apocalyptic warrior tracking down danger in the forest? Finding a place and the right props can be half the fun when it comes to staging a costume portrait!

You can find great locations in the most amazing places. Charlie filmed on the territory of industrial complexes, in forest thickets, which in the last pictures resembled a fairytale estate, and against the background of an old stone wall in the garden. With proper lighting, lens selection, frame construction and subsequent processing, the most unexpected locations can look great on portraits.

But, of course, there is always the opportunity to just go to the studio! Shooting an object in a studio on a simple background can truly emphasize the story you are telling. So you can focus exclusively on the subject. When you shoot a costume portrait in the studio, it remains…

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