With the exception of the ubiquitous selfie, I suppose costumes have been a staple in photography for decades. Even in the days of flash powder and box cameras, people put on their Sunday best when the photographer came to town. Parents asked us to wear nice clothes on picture day at school.
Currently, there’s a strong tendency for photographers to use costumes in their work. Google mermaid photos and there are thousands. Gladiators, Terminators, Faeries, and Star Wars characters. You’ve seen these and more. The costume and makeup artists are mainstays of modern photography. We all use them. Many people let their “identity” show through costuming and adorn it every day. Sometimes permanently (tattoos and piercings). Others have alter egos or simply good skills as models or actors and can wear a costume convincingly.
Thank goodness for creativity. I’m not so sure that the “creative” shots that photographers copy from one another are all that creative. Nor am I so sure that they really capture the subject. In fact, I guess you are making a concerted effort to capture not the subject, but the created identity. I have done it just like other photographers, but it is never my favorite.
I am sure my style will change over time, and what fascinates me one year may be less intriguing the next. At this point in time my interest in costumes is minimal. My primary interest is to find the subject in the photo. The person. I suppose that is not too strange for a clinical psychologist (I practiced 20 years, and keep my license, though my nursery has consumed the most recent 20 years). I still am interested in people and what makes them tick. Finding the core. My photography interest is in capturing an expression that introduces the veiwer to the subject.
So if you’re a model and you have this amazing costume, I’ll be glad to put my technical equipment and knowledge to work to get a good set of photographs of that theme/costume look for you. But expect that in the session I am also likely to want to get shots that are actually you, with makeup fairly natural and ornamentation minimized. Occasionally there’s a location that is so magical that you have to share the spotlight with a setting, but I want you to be primary, not lost in the scene.
That’s who I look for in photography. You.