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When I had my senior portraits taken for the yearbook, I’m not even sure what I brought in for clothing. What I do remember was the the photographer humored me, the novice portraitist, in explaining all the lenses and filters (this was in the heavy handed era of cokin soft focus and diffusion). The last set of images he took, he draped a blue piece of fabric around my shoulders and I tucked the shoulders of my t-shirt out of sight. With the in camera crop, suddenly I was ‘wearing’ an off the shoulder gown! No matter than outside of frame I was in my regular clothes and had a giant piece of fabric clipped around my back. It worked. And looking back at it now, it created a lovely neckline for a my portrait.
Wardrobe, what to wear to your glamour or boudoir session, is nearly always a concern when I talk with clients before their shoots. I have a few things in the studio that can be paired with what you bring in – but the most versatile things aren’t exactly clothing – they are pieces of fabric.
Ivory crepe de chine – I bought this piece of fabric at the terribly missed Winmill Fabrics that used to be in Chinatown. I love the way this fabric looks draped on a body.
Black muslin – this is unreflective fabric and it’s inexpensive. It’s great for hiding a chair or raping over the couch if I want just the body to emerge from shadows.
Black spandex – I created two long back spandex pieces, with the help of my neighbor and friend painter Kelly Kerrigan and her serger. I can use these pieces to create a variety of “dresses.”
Black lace – Lace is nearly always a crowd pleaser. Here I’ve created what looks like a bodysuit out of a piece of lace and a belt.
Tulle – I love tulle for bridal boudoir. Sometimes clients come with their own veils, but if they don’t I have yards and yards of tulle that can be used to envelope the body.
When a client shows up to with a small bag and a few pairs of undies, I reach for the fabric. While I have some clothes (body suits, silk slips, robes), we can fashion what looks like more from the fabric, some clips and a little imagination. Many DIY solutions come out of problem solving in the moment.
I also use fabric, especially upholstery fabric, as backdrops. The thick upholstery fabric hangs well and doesn’t need as much steaming as other types I have worked with.
And then of course, there are pearls!