Session • Caitlynn & Siggi • 1980's-Inspired Portraits
who says eighties glamour has to stay dead?
Anything is possible when you’ve got a pink backdrop, some glitter, some hairspray, & subjects this cute.
I love being presented with an opportunity to put a new twist on an old concept, so when my friend Caitlynn asked me if we could do an 1980’s inspired “family portrait style” shoot with her & her Corgi, Siggi, I was instantly excited to start brainstorming creative ideas.
Most people get a very specific image in their heads when you say “80’s Portraits” or “80’s Glamour” - & it’s almost always a ridiculous one. Big hair, big shoulder pads, garish makeup & brightly colored outfits, ghostly disembodied faces floating in corners, & supremely awkward posing are the qualities at the top of the list. If you google “Awkward 80’s Photos”, you’ll get quite the assortment of uncomfortable yet somehow very entertaining imagery.
But was that signature 80’s flamboyance really all bad?
The answer is no, of course not! Color is great, character & personality are great, & a little quirkiness definitely makes for a unique & unforgettable set of portraits. We decided to keep a few key elements of 80’s glamour in the mix & came up with a version that would still be fun & full of color & character, but would end up looking a tad bit more modern & reserved.
So I pulled out my flamingo-pink backdrop, my makeup kit, & my tiny hair curler & we did our absolute best to create some looks that would get a laugh & yet still be worthy of printing out & hanging on the wall.
Hair & makeup was all done by yours truly, & we decided to go with a purple eye shadow & a little glitter eyeliner over the top to create a light sparkle. Magenta lipstick, too? Why not. And of course, you can’t do the 80’s accurately without big hair - so we did some tight curls as well to complete the desired aesthetic.
Wardrobe-wise, we chose a turtleneck & highwaisted jeans for look #1, & a brightly colored, ruffled floral dress for look #2. A little dated? Maybe - but that’s the exact look we were going for. Siggi the Corgi had her own wardrobe to add - a special pup-sized T-Shirt in coordinating pastels that says “It’s my birthday, I’ll bark If I want to!” on it. Perfect.
just the right amount of awkward.
#awkwardfamilyphotos, but make it fashion.
So much of portraiture is about facial expression, & this shoot certainly did not disappoint. Siggi was very excited by the lighting flashes & by all of the attention she was getting… the below shots showing a sequence with her range of different facial expressions is truly priceless. When it comes to shooting with animals & children, there’s only so much directing you can do. Generally, the best strategy is to just roll with the unexpected & to keep a sharp eye out for quiet moments here & there so you can hopefully end up with a good variety of both calmer & also some more energetic images.
I did my best to pick a favorite image from this shoot, but in the end it proved too hard - hence why I chose to dedicate an entire blog post to these hilarious shots. All in all, we were delighted with the end product - a few of these images went to print & now have a permanent, framed home on Caitlynn’s wall. Traditional family & pet portraits definitely have their place - but don’t forget that you can have some fun with your portraits, too!
You won’t regret getting a little creative & trying something out-of-the ordinary now & then - we sure didn’t.