A friend of mine once said, of eye color or maybe nose shape, God knows best. I do see her point. The people who look the best are typically the ones inhabiting a version of themselves that doesn’t deviate too far from the original. Nothing drives this point home as resoundingly as watching the tragic disintegration of the face of a plastic surgery fanatic.
A proponent of tuning in to our inherent beauty is Color Your Style author David Zyla. In his book, Zyla articulates a system for identifying one’s best colors. He teaches us to refer to the color of our eyes, the tones in our wrist, and the palms of our hands for the clues to our ideal eyeshadow shade or blouse color. We’re instructed to pinch the tip of our pinky finger to find the shade of our most complimentary lipstick.
I believe portrait environments are analogous. Even the wildest patch of woods likely has more abundant, dazzling light than your thoughtfully architected home. No matter how classic your sense of interior design, on a long enough timeline, from a certain perspective, it will look dated. Unlike, for example, the beach.
Your furniture, artwork and belongings all crowd around you in your home, competing for the visual attention in a photograph. In comparison, even the most remarkable field, salt flat or mountain vista is effortlessly subtle.
If you need any more proof of my argument, I give you this beautiful family I photographed riverside in Old Sacramento.