Carrie Ellis’s first beach session at First Landing – Part II.

Why you should know about “The Basic 6” before a session.

Well, here it is – the much anticipated second half of images from my recent session with the stellar Carrie Ellis. The session went so well that I had to break the set up into two parts to give it justice. I honestly can’t wait to go again as her and I hit it off so well.

In the previous entry I talked about how outfits can make or break a session. In that one I talked about how pre-planning helped immensely as I knew exactly what she was bringing and could plan for certain shots beforehand. Here I want to broach another area of outfits. I call them The Basic 6.

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No matter what we are shooting, a person should always bring The Basic 6 outfits with them to any session. This has been a rule I’ve had for years and it’s never failed me. I’m a firm believer in being ready for anything and this goes a long, long way towards that belief.

So, what are The Basic 6 outfits? Simple. Every time we shoot the person should have:

-A pair of jeans that fit well and a white shirt, blouse, or tank top.

-The Saturday Night Special. Something that you would wear out on a Saturday night to knock someone’s socks off. Ladies – The Little Black Dress comes to mind or something like that.

-Business. Something professional. Slacks and a blazer, suit and tie, skirt, et cetera.

-Dressy casual. Not a hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants. Khakis, polo shirts, et cetera.

-Seasonal. An outfit that matches the season. Fall outfits for the fall, spring outfits for spring. You get the point.

-The Unexpected. Something off the wall. A prom/bridesmaid/wedding dress. A costume (Halloween, cos-play). That little thing you wore to the office/going away party. The more off the wall the better.

And then any outfits we are planning on using for the session. Fitness outfits for fitness sessions, beachwear for the beach and so on.

Why should you bring The Basic 6 with you? Well, to be honest, I can’t plan everything. Sometimes something wonderful happens unexpectedly on the way to the location we are planning to use. A once in a lifetime moment that will never happen again. A shaft of light against a split rail fence along the road, for example. If all we have are business outfits then that won’t work and we’ll miss a once in a lifetime moment. However, if you have the jeans and a white shirt then I’d have you put that on and let’s roll.

Maybe we’re on the way to a fitness session and something wonderful happens in Town Center. If all you have are yoga pants well, then, we’re toast. If you have the Saturday Night Special outfit with you then put it on and let’s roll with that.

I can’t stress enough the importance of being able to take the opportunity to use these rare, fleeting moments. They will never happen the same way again. Either we use it or we lose it forever. I want to use it and, if we’re prepared for it, we can.

So always pack The Basic 6 for any photo session you have planned along with the actual outfits you need for the session. I promise you, if an unplanned, magical situation arises with another photographer and you can pull out the appropriate outfit, they will kiss the ground you walk on. I know I would.

Carrie brought a prom dress. To a beach session. Talk about unexpected. It took her and a friend 15 minutes to get into it. All those clasps and laces. Meanwhile the sun was setting. You can’t stop that so it was a race. All the time I was thinking “What am I going to do with a prom dress out here?”

Well. as it turned out, it was an amazing choice. The wind was blowing so the dress was blowing in the wind. It was amazing. I was yelling “yes, yes, YES” after every shot. It was the perfect way to end a perfect day of shooting.

Mark Knopp is a Virginia Beach-based portrait photographer covering the Hampton Roads community. Contact him today at for your senior portraits, couples, model portfolio, model experience, engagement, corporate, headshot, et cetera, needs.

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