Studio Portraits: Then and Now

The taking of studio portraits at regular intervals in an individual or family’s life has been around a long time.

Way Back In Time

There are still many sepia-toned images of ancestors stored in attics. These are often studio photographs from when photography first came into fashion in the 1800s. Then there were the flappers in the 1920s. The swinging in the 1960s. The groovy seventies, and the big hair portraits of the 1980s. All were particularly big decades for studio photography booms.

Reflecting on the Lens

Looking back on studio portraits is a great thing to do, and not just for a laugh.

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  • Facial expressions can say much about the times of the day too. Many millennial’s have perfected a selfie pout now. But in some eras, a full-on smile or direct gaze into the camera lens was not the style for a studio photographer. Or it was, and it was intense and an attempt to be sultry.
  • Sometimes you realize that your nose has not come from the milkman after all! It is actually a genetic throwback from a few generations before you.
  • Other times you look back at the fashion of the day and think what were they thinking! Only to see it worn again in another ten years by another generation.

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  • Studio portraits can also say a lot about the country or region of their origin. Fake scenery backdrops, faux wooden walls, heavy velvet drapes, you will see it all. At some stage, most studio photographers use things to cover their walls. Props often include the furniture fashions and fabrics of the day too.

What Now?

Thankfully, these days studio photographers often follow the trend for creative, relaxed, and natural looking shots. They will use swish lighting setups to create different mood effects and get you looking your best.  Props and backdrops are still around, but they are better used to tell a story or capture a theme or memory for the shoot.