6 in 10 members of the population in the U.S. are overweight and 5 in 10 members of the population in the U.K. and Spain are overweight.  If the latest health statistics for the general population are true for photographers, than probably at least half of you reading this are overweight.  So why are dignified, overweight models an endangered species in stock?

You might contend that our societies prefer to show men and women with impossible bodies (literally, in the case of some photoshop touch-ups) on the covers of magazines, etc.  And you might be right.  But that doesn’t explain why photographers don’t make photos of overweight models.  Believe it or not, clients are looking for those photos.  See these excerpts from real researcher/client requests:

“We are always looking for overweight people…”

“Please note, they want an overweight man doing all sorts of typical, everyday activities like eating breakfast at home, leaving his house, getting in the car, driving to work, stopping for coffee, maybe working near a window, eating lunch on a park bench, coming home to his hyper and/or loving kids, watching a little league game outside, riding bicycles with his wife, or roller blading with wife and kids, etc...”

“Also, some slightly overweight people doing everyday things i.e. not on the scale, or eating but just living…”


Please note, they didn’t request photos of obese people on the scale, in bikini on the beach, or stuffing their mouth with fried snickers at the state fair.  So, let’s forget about those immature, stereotypical images and move on to show slightly (or less slightly) overweight people living, working, laughing, and loving just like the rest of the population.  Like in these images...

 


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It´s always summertime in stock…

That´s what editors think sometimes when they see hundreds of photos of women wearing tank tops, spaghetti straps, and short skirts while at work.  Is there a need for season-specific, summer (and winter) imagery?  Yes.  Will “season-neutral” or “between season” imagery have a better chance of selling?  Big Yes!  Many advertising clients will not even look at images of professionals wearing the clothes listed above. 

If you are producing lifestyle images of professionals, you might choose to shoot a super-hip, “edgy” office every so often.  For those shoots, you can disregard our advice and go crazy, but in all of the normal, professional lifestyle shoots, keep in mind our Top 10 Wardrobe Do´s and Don´ts.

  1. Do lighten up. Use lighter, fresher colors and classic looks.

  2. Do be natural. Use tasteful, subdued make-up and hairstyles for models.

  3. Do cover up. Use short or long sleeves for models, not tanks tops or other skin-baring options.

  4. Do cover up part 2. Skirts or pants should cover models' legs adequately.

  5. Don't shoot Hairy at Work. Do use clean-shaven male models.

  6. Don't be busy. Avoid clothing with busy patterns or extreme/dark colors.

  7. Don't be loud. Beware of trendy clothes that will become “so last year” next year.

  8. Don't bling.  Please no flashy jewellery or piercings.

  9. Don't even go there.  Please avoid suggestive poses and looks.  Even if your models are drop-dead gorgeous.  Models in office environments should express and communicate attitudes such as confidence, friendliness, and responsibility.

  10. Don't get the wrong idea!  It's not that we want your great-grandmother to style the shoot... Just try for simple, stylish, tasteful and natural. 

A few careful wardrobe choices can allow you to get much more mileage out of your photos. 


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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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