beauty shoot

How to shoot in cluttered space

It wasn't until a year into photographing that I realized too many details could really detract from the photo.  OR -- how beautiful simplicity can be in a beauty shoot.  Sometimes we're lucky and the cluttered space is actually beautiful.

Let's take for example this particular commercial shoot I did for Leidan Mitchell...

And even with the space being so beautiful, I focused on tighter shots that would tell the story, cleanly.
Focus on very, close up details rich with color to tell your story if the space itself isn't pretty.
 Story shot:
But what if you are with a bride and the room is horrible? What if you want to convey a simple beauty?  Well, let me share a little secret.

FIND A CURTAIN.  Or a sheet.

I saw these sheer curtains in their salon and immediately moved the model and stylist over there.  I had the stylist hold the curtains around her so that it would create a "room" around our model.  I wanted to take shots of her putting her dress and jewelry on so she was literally facing the curtain as I took a few shots like this:
Isn't it incredible what a little change of scenery can do to set a mood?  This time it was a curtain, but next time -- I might need to put them in front of a doorframe.  Study your space and use it well.

A little peek at the curtain action...
I also took some of her with the salon in the background since the space had beautiful coloring.
Difference in tones:
One of my favorite things that Jose Villa said in his workshop was "one for thee, one for me." Basically, when you are in a situation that requires specific shots for a client, get one for them, but then get one for you as an artist.  And this one, was definitely for me ;)
Think about your style, the tones and colors you'd like to portray in your work.  This is how you begin to achieve a consistent style, no matter where you are.  Find them in your space and remember that subtracting details isn't always a bad thing.  Hope this helps & let me know if you want more of these! :)