Why use styling? One model, three ways

Mar 14, 2017

Portraits are all about authenticity, and about letting your inner self shine. So it’s natural to wonder whether styling by picking out special outfits and having professional hair and makeup applied might go against that. Luckily, we don’t have to give up any of those wonderful things to craft a shoot that’s as authentic as you are.


To prove it, I want to share some photos I took of my beautiful sister, Emily. All of these were taken on the same day, and each one represents her personality, even though they’re very different. The first set, above, were taken in the studio. The beautiful, crisp lighting shows off Emily’s personal style through the purple streaks in her hair, her intricate lace collar, and of course, her facial expressions.

These are images that could be used on a professional networking site or on any public-facing social media and they give Emily a self-assured, classic aura. These things are all true to her personality—she’s a hardworking pre-med student with a glowing future.

Below, though, we see a different aspect of Emily’s persona. She’s always been an athlete, since she was just a few years old and started gymnastics classes. In high school she competed against athletes from all over the world in cheerleading, and today she’s still in constant motion.


Finally, my sister has an amazing, creative spirit. She loves to read fantasy novels when she’s not coloring her anatomy coloring book for class, and she has a whimsical fashion sense. So for our final shoot, I imagined her as a runaway princess. While not a literal expression of her personality, it shows a very real side of her—as well as the possibilities that open up when we open our minds to creatively styling portraits.


Of course, the key to styling that’s authentic and genuine is the collaboration between model and photographer. That’s why the consultation is so important to my photoshoots—I need time to get to know you in person so I can learn what you like, how you spend your time, and what you dream about.

So, what will we create together? Get in touch and let’s start brainstorming.



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