It's almost January, which means wardrobe posts! What are wardrobe posts, you may ask? Wardrobe posts originated from the EGL Community on LiveJournal - every January, community members would post images of their lolita fashion collections. It was a great way to engage with the community, share your collection, and document your hobby year after year. Nowadays, LiveJournal isn't the main hub of lolita activity that it once was, though some users return every year just to post and see wardrobe posts. However, the tradition has expanded beyond other platforms and mediums - and even now people still document their wardrobes on personal blogs, Instagram, YouTube, etc., during this time of year.
Recently, I've been thinking about attempting to complete my first wardrobe post since 2017. I've started the arduous process of pulling out my dresses and finding the right background and lighting - here's hoping that this year I may finally complete a post. So, while I'm on this journey, I'd like to share my process & tricks that I have learned along the way! LIGHTING & LOCATION
While we no longer own the potato phones that were used in ye olde LiveJournal days, finding good lighting is the easiest way to make less work for yourself in your editing process. I don't own any professional lighting, so I do what I can with natural daylight, which I think looks better than most indoor artificial lighting. Since wardrobe posts happen in January, this can often prove difficult if you live in the northern hemisphere and it starts getting dark fairly early on, so I've learned to just stop taking pictures after a certain time of day.
In terms of where to take the photos, this depends on you! You can choose to use a plain backdrop or piece of fabric, or use a corner of your home that looks nice - I've even seen some people take their photographs outdoors. It's usually preferred to stick to one background for a wardrobe post, for the sake of cohesion, but I'm not the boss of where you want to take pictures.
I know nothing about photography, so while I cannot advise on any equipment to use, I will say that nowadays a regular smartphone will get the job done. Many people choose to shoot their items on display mannequins, which, in-general, can be useful for lolita for coord-planning and display purposes. This year is the first year that I am attempting to shoot all my items on a mannequin, and contrary to my initial worry about it being more difficult than floor shots, I am actually finding the task less strenuous, since you have to work much less to position the garment.
You'll also want to have tools for prepping the garment to be shot, such as an iron and lint roller. Steamers can be very handy, but if you have a regular iron with a steam button, this can be used just as easily to quickly get rid of a wrinkle. If you don't have a lint roller on-hand, in a pinch you can use tape to rid a garment of of any hairs, visible dust, etc.
If you happen to be photographing your items on a mannequin, there are many tricks you can use to make a garment look more flattering on a mannequin. Especially in the case of display mannequins, garments may not fit in the same with they would on your own body. I like to use clips or pins on the back of the garment to hold things in place or have it look more flattering.
If you are photographing an item with longer sleeves and don't want the arms to look so limp, you can roll paper up into tubes and stick them into the arms of the garments. From there, I like to sometimes pose the arm (for example, a hand-on-hip pose) and pin it in place for visual interest.
If you want to display a print or skirt detail that is difficult to see when the skirt is draped naturally over a petticoat, fishing wire or some other type of invisible thread can be utilized to slightly lift the skirt. You may recognize this display trick from Atelier Boz stock images. Simply thread the fishing wire through a needle and attach to the hem of a skirt (I like to stick the needle in between a seam so there's the least chance of leaving a hole), and attach the other end to a wall or other kind of anchor.
If you've ever wondered how brand stock images have such puffy skirts, the answer is that it's just a lot of petticoats stacked on top of each other. If you have multiple petticoats, layering them over each other for photos may help you achieve that ideal level of brand puffiness. Since my dresses tend to have a-line silhouettes, I use an old Classical Puppets and Malco Modes stacked on top of each other. Since I have a variety of skirt lengths, rather than switching out the petticoats every time I shoot a garment with a longer skirt, I simply pull the petticoats lower over the mannequin's hips to create a better silhouette without the odd bump that happens when you wear a too-short petticoat with a long skirt.
If you don't have Photoshop (because it's expensive and why pay for it?), there are several free editing tools you can use to edit your images. GIMP is a free downloadable program, and Pixlr is an in-browser one. If you don't mind editing on your phone, you can always use the free Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Express apps.
At the end of the day, the way you choose to display your items is up to you! I find that oftentimes the most interesting thing about a wardrobe is how it reflects the wearer, not only in its contents, but in the way that it has been displayed, shot, and styled. I am not a professional or even necessarily very good at wardrobe.... photography. I just really like wardrobe post month and hope that people continue to do it!
Since wardrobe posts are mostly dispersed across many platforms, last year Seams_Witch compiles a master list of wardrobe posts. If you are planning to make a wardrobe post or video this year, she will be making one for 2022, so be sure to submit yourself to the list! Additional thoughts: I was taking to Emma and she asked if it was ok to do just a partial post, which the answer to that is, yes, of course! The last year I did mine, it was just a 'purchases of the year' post, and some people may choose to highlight a specific portion of their wardrobe (some examples of this are Tealmeangerie's Gathered Chiffon Collection post or Purestmaiden's Old School Collection post.) But also, there is no right or wrong way to post! Do what works for you, share what you are comfortable with sharing.