The New York Times Styles section is asking amateur fashionistas to submit photographs of their own fashion or the fashion of someone else that meets the criteria for that week. For instance, last week’s theme was all-black and the best all-black looks submitted were shown on the section’s homepage. What will this week’s theme be?

Admittedly, it acts as a great game for fashion lovers. It’s sort of a scavenger hunt, encouraging us to be on the lookout for the ways others are dressing, and helps us establish common style themes we’d otherwise be failing to notice.

Amateur FashionistasIn addition, having your photo selected for the New York Times Styles section is as validating to a fashionista as catching a significant other browsing engagement rings online is to someone in a serious relationship.

But how do you increase the chances of your snapshot of someone else’s look making it to the final short list of examples?

First off, always make sure to follow the criteria that the New York Times Styles section has dictated. No matter how awesome an outfit you come across is, there’s no way they will include it.

Don’t bet on them someday including it in a week where it’s applicable either, since they aren’t likely to file it away for future consideration.

Secondly, use the environment to accentuate the outfit. Chances are you will be using your smartphone; so you’re going to need to make the best of an otherwise ho-hum camera.

Do this by asking your subject to stand against a background that makes their clothing stand out. Brick walls and bold colored paint work best with light hued outfits, while white walls with some texture help make dark clothing stand out.

Thirdly, it’s important that you frame your subject accordingly. Capture them from head to toe, with a little bit of headroom for aesthetic purposes. Since shoes are almost invariably essential to any outfit, it’s critical you include them in your photo.

If you find the right look and take the right photo, chances are good you’ll end up seeing your photo featured on the New York Times Styles section homepage at the end of the week. How cool is that?

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