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A vintage dress with yellow, and some thoughts on editorial style outfit photos

vintage dress and yellow

black coat

vintage bag

vintage dress and yellow

random cat

vintage dress and yellow

bluebells

yellow

vintage dress and yellow

brooch

tree

* dress – vintage shop * vintage bag – swap * shoes – hush puppies * coat – zara * brooch – I made it*

Remember when I used to do outfit photos all the time, and take them documentary style in the living room in front of the sofa? Now that I only post three times a week and only one of them is an outfit post, I feel like I want to make an extra effort with outside locations. So I’ve found some places where I can set up my tripod and pose undisturbed in front of a variety of backgrounds. And then of course I have to take pictures of all my outfit details, and the pretty flowers and sky and the cat slinking about, and then we end up with mammoth posts like this. And this is leaving out 4 more outfit pics I have edited and uploaded to my flickr photostream.

I’d like your views on this: People are forever complaining about outfit bloggers that post too many pictures of the same outfit, but then this is staying on the right side of that line isn’t it? It’s only when the pictures are identical that it becomes annoying, right? And surely if I only do one outfit a week, its preferable for that to be in an editorial style setting, n’est-ce pas?

It’s funny, when I used to take outfit pics all the time, I strongly came down on the side of outfit documentation. I thought people who wore spiky heels in the forest and posed with balloons and elaborate camera tricks and editing in a fashion editorial style were just a bit odd really. Well, not odd, but it seemed very far removed from what I was doing. It was about what I actually wore on a given day. And I still subscribe to that philosophy.

And I did wear this outfit to go for a nice meal (and to record my vlog). But: there is no way I would have worn those shoes if I had actually spent time walking about on wet grassy ground. I spent a good half hour walking to and from some shop’s back yard and arranging myself artfully, and I keep thinking its only a small step from this to actually getting dressed up especially for the photo, and just abandoning any attempt for the outfit to be a real life one.

It does feel more self-absorbed to do editorial than documentary things somehow, to go out especially to take picture in a completely artificial situation. But then again, I’m not really thinking its a bad thing. I’ve found blogging (and prior to that, outfit picture taking for wardroberemix) and the whole process of thinking about getting dressed so interesting and fun and I love the appreciation of a great outfit you can get from the blogosphere, and I totally appreciate the role of the outfit as creative expression, and the outfit photo as a work of art, or at least a creative artifact. All outfit blogging is to some extent a performance, and the editorialness just makes that performance aspect more explicit.

But at the same time I occassionally share some of the feelings Waves expressed in her fantastic recent post, that as fashion bloggers we may be overthinking and overnarrating our clothes just slightly. And because editorial style pictures are more openly narrated, more openly a fantasy, this is where sometimes I think it’s tipping over.

So as you can see I don’t know what I think really. But I’d love your thoughts, as well as your feedback on whether you are enjoying the more editorial focus. I hope you are!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rhianne 4 May 2011, 7:28 am

    love the yellow tights, I wanted some for ages and then never wore them when I finally got them – I'm going to have to do something about that…

  • Vix 4 May 2011, 8:52 am

    That dress could have been quite formal but with those pretty yellow tights, quirky bag and corsage you've transformed it into something quite wonderful.
    Photo-wise it all depends on the blogger in question, some people put lots of pictures and others don't, I prefer at least a couple of shots of an outfit so that I can admire the detail and the way it's been put together.
    I love an editorial, visiting a blog regularly is a bit like visiting a friend, I want to know the person as well as their wardrobe. What I don't enjoy is someone talking about how they put an outfit together. Dressing inventively is a kind of magic and by giving the formula to how the outfit happens takes away the artistry. xxx
    PS Have you stolen my cat?

  • oranges_and_apples 4 May 2011, 9:37 am

    I had never even thought about that! I've talked about how I've chosen
    outfits a few times, but it's never felt right so I stopped doing it. I do
    think lost about getting dressed, but in a sort of diffuse way, not rules or
    trends or anything like that. Maybe its because myself I'm not really
    looking for outfit advice, it feels quite presumptious to give it out,
    particularly when mainly it would be 'seep in inspirtation, think about it,
    but do what you want'. Like you say, it's magic!

    This is one of about 5 black and white cats hanging out near me!

  • Penny Dreadful 4 May 2011, 10:47 am

    Love the bag and yellow tights, so cute. I don't like it when someone posts a succession of almost identical pictures, but there would have to be loads to really annoy me. This isn't at all the same. And I guess I don't have a problem with either way of doing things, because to me fashion is about being creative, and if people choose to be creative with their setting too then that is fine. Personally I just can't be bothered, so it is entirely due to my own laziness that I stick to my own loungeroom! xx

  • oranges_and_apples 4 May 2011, 10:51 am

    Good! That's what I was thinking, but people complain about the multiple
    photo thing so often that I was getting worried!

  • Jen 4 May 2011, 12:10 pm

    Really interesting post. I agree with your notions on outfit documentation – I prefer to see real outfits and less stylised photos, rather than ones that look like the came from the pages of Vogue. If I wanted to see that I'd buy Vogue. I can't relate to that kind of high-end, luxury fashion. That's why I don't buy Vogue.

    All my outfits are real and I usually post in my garden, down the street against a nice wall or somewhere I've visited for an actual reason, not just to go take pictures. I think there's a very fine line here – some of my favourite blogs have gorgeous photos in stunning locations, but their outfits are still real and believable (like yours!). The blogs I find hard to connect with are the ones who wear spike heels in the mud or open toes in the snow.

  • Jen 4 May 2011, 12:12 pm

    *pose in my garden, not post!

  • Mojca_stefanic 4 May 2011, 12:35 pm

    I love how you're posting now, even though I was very fond of your 'in-front-of-the-sofa' pics – I've come to love detail shots of the outfit as well and sometimes I don't even take a pic of the entire outfit, I just post parts of it and the most important (in my view, of course) details. I'm not fussy with other bloggers, though, if they feel they need to post a zillion pics of the same outfit, I don't mind – creativity can be expressed in oh so many different ways!

  • Yo Ladies Mag 4 May 2011, 3:59 pm

    Gorgeous outfit – love the pop of color from the tights!

    I think that your photo layouts are beautiful and they really show off what you're wearing. That's not to say that the in-front-of-the-sofa type pics are annoying…but your editorial pics show your styling as an art form. It seems to me, as a non-outfit blogger, that the different ways of presenting on blogs just depends on the lifestyles and personalities of the blogger and I personally like the differences, whether someone does the same setting or not.

  • Mrs. J 4 May 2011, 4:27 pm

    I like that dress and the pop of yellow is something I love to add with black and white pieces. I love the accessory shots and the background you choose for picture #6.

    When I take pictures I usually try to limit myself to 4 for one post.

  • WendyBrandes 4 May 2011, 5:31 pm

    I like these photos…there's a variety here and they're visually interesting. The boring ones are of the gals wearing miniscule shorts who just want 10 or 12 sex-ay "model" type photos to share with the world :-O

  • annimal 4 May 2011, 6:14 pm

    Loving the sunny yellow tights, accented wonderfully by your handmade brooch and cute bag! Some outfit posts show too much of the same thing over and over, and it gets old. I like how you change it up and show other stuff, like your tuxedo cat!!

  • Cat 4 May 2011, 7:13 pm

    For myself, I'm still very much in the documenting my outfits camp as I grow my style and self-confidence, and I don't really have the inclination to seek out locations etc. But, when it comes to the blogs I read I'm much more flexible. I'm not a fan of dozens of pictures of the same outfit, but a few different shots showing different perspectives are interesting. Really, it's about the words, though – and yours are invariably well-crafted and interesting.

  • BetweenLaundryDays 5 May 2011, 12:02 am

    As I've blogged more and more, I've erred more and more on the side of editorial-style shots. But to be honest, it's because they're really fun to shoot, and have given me an excuse to explore cool other places. Though both your and Wave's comments are very insightful and hit on some really good points.

  • northwest is best 5 May 2011, 12:34 pm

    I like seeing outfit photos in a variety of locations… it's like seeing not just what people wear, but the places they wear it. That said, heavily stylised photos like Sea of Shoes or Fashion Toast put me off. I don't believe they really go anywhere, just play dress up.

  • Jessie 5 May 2011, 7:12 pm

    This is not like "those" posts at all, in my opinion. One somehow gets the impression that you've just stopped for a few minutes in a garden that you were walking past anyway, on the way to whatever you were doing that day and in the clothes that you were wearing at the time. By that I don't mean that it looks as if it takes no effort, just that it appears to be absolutely genuine.
    However, if you are posting outfits less frequently in order to cut down on the work of making outfit posts, then it might be counter that rather if you end up doing so much more in terms of setting up the shoot… Regarding what you say about wanting the outfit posts to be more substantial as they are less frequent: I wonder if sometimes just having your in-front-of-couch photos, but only 1 or 2 per outfit, and then having a single post with 2 or 3 outfits in it, might cut down your working-on-posting time (only one session of loading pics, writing only enough for one post) whilst not cutting down the outfit-content very much? I don't know if such a suggestion is PC in the blog-world, I hope you don't mind me writing it! The thought was prompted by your comments above only, I always love your posts and had actually I think just assumed that you'd moved on to outside photos as the spring got warmer! (although I was reading last summer, too). With admiration, Jessica.

  • Heather Fonseca 6 May 2011, 1:58 am

    First of all congrats on being chosen for the links a la mode!

    I love your post. I take a lot of photos of my outfits, and they're all pretty darn artsy and taken outdoors and it's a lot of work but I love it. I love seeing great photography in fashion blogs, and so it's what I try to do too. I love your quote "I totally appreciate the role of the outfit as creative expression, and the outfit photo as a work of art" because I feel just the same way.

    I've been reading so many places that people don't like seeing more than 3 photos in a post. What's the fun in that? My feeling is, if you don't like what I'm doing, why are you looking at it in the first place?

    Love ,
    Heather
    http://thestyleconfessions.com/

  • Nickienoel 6 May 2011, 1:58 am

    Loving the accessories of this outfit! RE: # of photos for an outfit post, I usually keep it between 4-6 & they have to be different points of view. For example, one detail of the fabric, one of the shoes, one full body, etc… That's me though. There seems to be several schools of thought on this.

  • Fashnlvr 6 May 2011, 2:21 am

    I love your outfit! The yellow tights against the green grass >Rock!! About editorial photos > I don't want to do "boring" shots of my outfits. I can't afford high-end designer brands. I seriously wear my outfits out and about town or to work. I have done a woodsy photospread before but I didn't put on the outfit just for pictures.
    I love beautiful pictures and I try to get creative with where I take them to keep it interesting. Oftentimes I have ended up in my yard but I still try to mix it up some. That was really difficult with the Winter 30X30 Challenge > outfit photo everyday during my lunch hour since by the time I was home from work for the day it was dark out.
    When I first began blogging I discovered VogueGoneRogue and decided I wanted my photos to have interesting backgrounds. I try not to judge where others take their photos > to each their own. I know which blogs I like for their authenticity and to which ones I can relate. Yours is one of those, regardless of where you are. I like it for YOU! I hope my blog says the same thing to others > like it for ME. 🙂

  • Pullyoursocksup 7 May 2011, 11:42 am

    I really love this editorial style of yours Franca, yes there are lots of pics, but each one makes me want to look at the next one. So much detail, so much wonderful texture and colour! I love outfit posts, I don't mind if pics are taken in the same place every time and I love lots of detail shots and the blogger talking about where they got this 'n that. It makes for a lovely story. Franca, you've inspired me to try and take my tripod out maybe once a fortnight for starters. xo

  • Fashion Limbo 10 May 2011, 6:08 pm

    While I do enjoy outfit posts, I'm one of those who doesn't see the point of several pictures of the same thing, when they become endless repetitions mostly. What you've done here is a clever congregation, if I may say that, of images, that inspired you while you were doing the outfit post, which is very interesting, and they are all nice images, so I liked what you did here a lot. Also, looking for different locations makes it even more interesting xx

  • Cloud of Secrets 12 May 2011, 5:01 pm

    I love editorial style photos, with several angles and pretty details of an outfit, plus images from the setting if particularly striking. I think, for the most part, my favorite editorial style bloggers only do them once in a while, maybe once or at most twice a week, for special occasions and outings, or simply to show fantasy ensembles in their own back yard. Other days, they're silent, or showing me their homes or cooking projects or more laid back picutres of daily wear. This is a good balance.

    Editorial photo posts do often involve an unnatural degree of thought, narration, and fantasy about a day's outfit, but some of us do like to work with clothes (and photography) that way. Once in a while. 🙂

    I love the fresh brights against black of your outfit, and how you've worked with the rain-washed natural brightnesses in your setting.