Nowadays, a client closet (also referred to as a client wardrobe) is a convenient and popular service for family and portrait photographers to offer. I totally get it – you won’t have to buy new clothes or worry about your outfit choice. Plus, as the photographer, I would have control over how you present in the photos. Win-win, right? Yet, I feel very strongly about my decision to stay off this bandwagon. Here’s why I don’t have a client closet and have no plans to in the future:
I want you to be comfortable
The outfit you wear during your session should be one you have worn at least several times beforehand, and one that you know for a fact is comfortable. It should be an outfit that you feel confident in and that has made you feel great when you have worn it in the past.
If I chose a random dress out of a client closet I have collated for you, there is no guarantee that it would fit your sense of style and your personal level of comfort.
Client closet – or costume department?
You may not know this, but before I become a photographer, I trained as an actor. Client closets remind me A LOT costume departments. And yes, costumes can be a lot of fun and dressing up can certainly be a good time. However, at the end of the day, they are still costumes. And you know who wears a costume? Performers. People playing make believe. I am much more interested in documenting your reality and to do that, I require your honest, authentic style. If you like to wear polka dots or jeans, I would be doing you a disservice by dressing you in what I want purely for aesthetic. I would be wiping your personality away.
I want to document authentic memories for you
When you look back at your photos in years to come, I want them to reflect the real, honest version of yourself as you are right now. What does that person wear day to day? If you never curl your hair or wear dresses, your photo session is not the time to start doing so.
Take a look in your wardrobe and figure out what you like wearing most. What makes you feel good in your skin? What is something that fits comfortably, that you could happily wear to dinner or an event AND wear casually? Finding something that fits some of these boxes will help you gain a better idea about what you enjoy wearing, and that comfort will make for better and more authentic portraits.
Of course, if you really feel you don’t have anything that ticks any of these boxes (although, I can almost guarantee all of you will), you have full permission to partake in some retail therapy and splurge on something that WILL tick your boxes. Ultimately, that is why I don’t have a client wardrobe – because that would be ticking my boxes, not yours. And it is you and your memories that I am here to serve, after all.
If you need more guidance with outfit planning for your session, I’ve written another blog post here with detailed tips for choosing what to wear. I’m also available for one-on-one guidance during the planning stage of your session, where you can send me pics and ask for feedback. When you’re ready to start planning together, hit the button below. I look forward to hearing from you!