There was a time when my photoshoots were really over complicated. Lots of patterns and textures and accessories and unique styling, and at the end of all that effort, I maybe got one portfolio piece out of it. The problems with a “busy” look are:
1. it’s expensive to get everything right and looking good, and if you start cutting corners (like getting stuff from the Halloween store for wardrobe), the whole scenario collapses like a house of cards.
2. the less versatile the look, the fewer outlets the final image has- unusable as gallery images, unusable as stock or mixed media pieces or anything really.
3. Busy compositions are overall less appealing than simplicity. Think of “Norwegian Wood” by the Beatles vs. “Master of Puppets” by Metallica. What song can you actually hum? Or to put it another way: who wants to live in a house full of junk?
This takes me to shooting things very cleanly in an almost “generic” sense. It’s a lesson I learned from Richard Avedon, Man Ray, and other photographic heroes with a strong sense of design, and movies like Drive or Pacific Rim or Jaws. Start simple, and build it up, rather than get super complex and have it fall apart like a house of cards.
This particular image went on to be printed at 20×30″, emphasizing the physical cuts vs. the soft Instax resolution on the model. It’s currently up for grabs at Etsy.