Glamour Shots Deconstructed 12 Ways

The year was 1982 and I was a 14-year-old with a heavy financial decision to make.  Do I use my hard-earned $16 of babysitting money for that red corduroy prairie skirt from Hit or Miss?  Or, do I go to Model Shotz next to JC Penny’s at the King of Prussia mall for a glamour portrait?

This was my Sophie’s Choice.

My mother kept nudging me towards to the prairie skirt, largely because she thought it was vain to have a portrait without reason, but she also didn’t relish the idea of her 14-year-old wearing nothing but a lot of make-up and a feather boa, mugging for some unknown photographer.

But to me, it wasn’t just about the picture, it was about the future.  The possibility of a life I thought I could have once I moved away from the restraint of suburbia and parents.  A life where I could blossom into a famous fashion designer (or architect, or CEO, or actress, or astronaut, or whatever) and marry some fabulously wealthy man who would unconditionally love and support me in all my endeavors and put up with the drama I create.  A life like that of Charlene Tilton’s on “Dallas”, Sammy Jo on “Dynasty” or any role that Morgan Fairchild played.

I was pretty sure their lives began with a glamour portrait from Model Shotz.

’80s role models Charlene Tilton and Morgan Fairchild

Ultimately, the red prairie skirt won out because I wanted to look good for my freshman year in high school.  And eventually, Model Shotz turned into an Orange Julius, which turned into a Claire’s, which turned into a Starbucks. But I will always wonder “what could have been” if early 80s me had been frozen in film by Model Shotz.

Which is I have to thank Whitney Jefferson over at Buzz Feed who wrote the original post, pictures, headlines and so elegantly deconstructed the art of the glamour shot in 12 Ways To Achieve The Very Best Glamour Shot (I added additional color commentary).  It’s like my own personal Hot Tub Time Machine, right here.

So, in tribute to all who have ever thought “what if” after passing a glamour shot studio, this one’s for you.

1. Hold on to your collar.  A small gesture that says so much, like “hold on camera, gorgeousness comin’ your way at 100 MPH”.  This doesn’t work if you’re wearing a T-shirt though because you’ll look like you have a twitch.

via sexypeople-blog.com

2. Wear silk gloves.  No one will ever second guess your socio-economic status again.

via onceuponamiracle.com

3. Wear a feather boa.  The feather boa was the 1980’s stylist weapon of choice because Spanx didn’t exist yet.  Feather boas cover EVERYTHING except your head.

via photos.ellen.warnerbros.com

4. Play up your hands.  Tease and tantalize with your hands to imply you’re spontaneous, totally comfortable with your body and sexuality despite the fact you’re covered in 50 lbs of feathers.

via photos.ellen.warnerbros.com

5. Expose those shoulders.  A suggestive tease that says “Under my clothes, I’m naked!”.

via jeanniesobsessions.blogspot.com

6. Make sure your hair is awesome (read: big).  Hmmm….I’m pretty sure 1982 me would have seen this and thought yessss, bring on the Sebastian Ultra Hold.

via flicker.com

7. Try combining as many of the above options as possible.   It’s like the braces aren’t even there.

via lu_la_belle.com

8. Opt for a cool hat.  I love hats and look especially good in cowboy hats.  If I didn’t live in Manhattan I would wear one all the time, like Larry Hagman from Dallas.  I like that it implies I might be a sheriff or packing heat.

via photos.ellen.warnerbros.com

9. Add studs to your favorite jacket.  Heck, add studs to anything!  It was for moments like this I had always yearned for a Bedazzler.  1982 me would have approved, not matter what I was wearing.

via childrenoftheninties.blogspot.com

10. Make use of props and accessories.  Today, my favorite prop is a pillow or my child.  Kids are great for taking family pictures because not only are they part of the family, but they can hide things like a slightly paunchy post holiday pot-belly.  But hey, a deck of cards might do and it says you’re a formidable “Go Fish” card shark.

via photos.ellen.warnerbros.com

11. Bring a friend.  That friend can also be a bottle of wine.

via jenefur.wordpress,com

12.  Don’t do a Granny Glamour shot.

via fuckyeah-glamourshots.com

Have you ever been tempted by a Glamour Portrait??