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Accessories Are Important

Details are important. Accessories are details. Therefore, accessories are important. Logic says that if you accept my two premises then you also have to agree that my conclusion is both valid and true. But hey, even if you aren't really sure what in the world I'm talking about, that's okay. I admit, I'm kind of a nerd. But I'm a sociable nerd. So I'm more than happy to explain what it is I'm getting at.

The two photos in this post are from a recent business portrait session. The subject isn't a big jewelry-person. She dresses in a clean and understated style. She has a warm personality and likes to use words like "cozy" and "snuggle." However, she's also a very capable realtor who doesn't mess around when closing a business deal.

The challenge: create two clean business head-shots that say, "Hello, I'm a friendly and understated person who's capable and prepared to help you find a warm place to call home." The images would be used in various situations, so they needed to say the same thing in different ways: one needed to shout 'warmth' and whisper 'serious,' while the other needed to shout 'serious' and whisper 'warmth.' Yet, they both needed to be anchored by the same underlying personality and the same sophisticated minimalism.

To meet that goal, I focused on the details, because it's the details that show personality, character and emotion. A slightly upturned eyebrow can show things like softness, vulnerability, apprehension, or fear. A downturned eyebrow can show things like toughness, anger, or confidence. It's all in the subtleties and the interactions between the light, the eyes, the angles, the mouth, the posture, the hair, the...everything. Think about it: how can you tell an angry glare from a loving gaze? It's all in the details.

That means accessories work the same way. A watch, a necklace, a hat, a pair of earrings. They're all small when compared to the overall person, but those little details can make pretty big impressions. Two very similar photos of the same person can have two really different feelings, and can highlight two very different sides of the same personality; all by doing something as small and simple as exchanging a bright scarf for a pair of dark eyeglasses.

- Breighton