This Bird was rummaging through the Jaunty Wardrobe recently, setting up the next collection of Inspired outfits and shooting photos. I realized how funny it was, my little "home studio," and all the little tricks that I need to rely on to get these posts done. As I've said before, I don't use online collage software and the items being photographed are actual pieces I own and regularly wear. That means you see things show up multiple times, but hopefully worn in different ways. Taking cues from magazines who put together outfits on their pages, I wanted to do the same, but with a working wardrobe and a very limited budget (I hardly clothes shop anymore -- criminal, isn't it?), and because all these articles of clothing come from different sources, there's no way to use the internet to find existing photographs of pieces, so I knew I'd have to shoot every piece either individually or layered as an outfit. I've been doing this now for almost two years, and luckily I've been able to reuse photos of individual pieces when creating Inspired-themed posts, but I'm always reshooting or re-layering things in different ways, so I'm constantly reshooting items.
I thought for the last round of outfit shots, I'd take a few of my glamorous "studio." When I say "studio" I mean "bathroom." Why the bathroom? Because the lighting is bright and easy to control, and I have a row of hooks normally used for our bathrobes, but it's the perfect height to hang items on a curved suit coathanger. I don't have a dress model which would give the clothing proper dimension (but if anyone wants to donate one to the Jaunty cause, give me a holler!). For now, I use a curved-shoulder suit jacket hanger works pretty well to at least get the upper structure of a shirt or blouse, and putting the clothing on backwards on the hanger actually gives it better volume for photos. If something's too flowy, I use hairclips to pinch back excess fabric from behind. For pants or skirts, I can usually put them on wide hangers to mimic the stretching of hips. For the most part, the pieces are shown flat and it doesn't have to show volume. And the most helpful tool of all is, of course, Photoshop. It helps even out lighting issues, balance colors, and get rid of the background that clearly shows I shot everything against a bathroom door. I'm also a big fan of the tools that let you push and pull the shape of items; sometimes you don't realize a shirt was shot in an uneven way, so it's nice to have a hefty post-production tool to really fix up an image. You can see in the above "before" and "after" work on a striped Eiffel Tower t-shirt I just got ($4 find!) -- from bathroom photo to potential Inspired post. Voila -- like magic!
What about you, when you're styling an outfit to be shot for your blog, what are your tricks and tips for making it look magazine-ready?
Jaunty Fine Print: photographs by Denise Sakaki