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24 Mar

So garnet, cherry, wine colour, sea or bottle green, light and dark orange, and slate colours are all excellent colours to photograph.

But pure white is bad, and lavender, lilac, sky blue, purple and French blue take very light, and dresses having bold patterns upon them, should never be worn for a picture. What is extraordinary, in a way, is that there are cartes-de-visite photographs of Victorians from Britain and their aspiring contemporaries overseas, taken at photographic studios abroad in Europe and indeed all over the world, from Montreal to Calcutta, and they are testimony to the strength of the British Empire, and the Courts of Europe, in influencing fashions down to the last detail, and for being surprisingly up-to-date, especially in the period 1870-1910.

Hence there seem to be few 'white wedding' photographs as white dresses were difficult to capture well, and dark colours and plain designs therefore predominate.

Here follows such an example of a photographer's instructions, presumably based on his bitter experience:"Very few ladies know how to dress so as to secure the most pleasing photograph.

The cardboard is thicker and stronger (less flexible than a playing card) and the printing on the back is typeset with fonts but usually one large word, and perhaps a border, and the rest small and coloured inks may be used and a logo may appear.

Changes in men's fashions have generally been more subtle, and less sensational than women's, and photographs of even the most well-to-do gentlemen are therefore far more difficult to date accurately by dress alone.

The back of the card is quite filled with print, with medals, famous customers, branches, and could be artistic.

Studio furniture and chairs look as if from a fine country house.

The best materials to wear are such as are not too glossy, and such as will fold or drape nicely, as reps., poplins, satins and silks.

A black silk dress looks well on almost everybody, and if not bedecked with ribbons or lace, which will take whiter, will photograph satisfactorily.