Family style: Local photographer takes a fashion edge to portraiture

Photo: Joel Codiamat Photo: Joel Codiamat

Joel Codiamat has always had an interest in fashion (“It’s the reason I got into photography,” he said), but his take on family portraiture is giving him another opportunity to do what he loves: styling.

Codiamat started doing fashion photography when he first moved to Charlottesville four years ago, but this past year, he began fielding requests for something a bit different.

“More people I know were asking if I could style their family and photograph them with a fashion edge. Not the standard family portraiture,” he said.

Here’s how it works. Once you contact Codiamat, he’ll set up a meeting to get a sense of how grand you want to make the shoot and, based on that, he creates a storyboard with several concepts. Then he starts styling. Most of the clothes are borrowed from local stores, which requires a fair amount of measuring and fitting before a final selection. But it’s all part of the process.

“I want the family to have the ‘experience,’” Codiamat said. “The experience of being treated like stars for an entire month—a fashion stylist at their disposal, make-up artists, hair stylist. I want them to feel very special.”

It usually takes three to four weeks altogether, so he’s currently only taking on one of these types of clients a month. Pricing depends on the scope of the project, but it’s generally broken down into two costs: the styling and the photography.

Certainly, Codiamat’s happiest when he gets to push the family out of its comfort zone.

“I want the photos to look aspirational and out of the ordinary,” he said. “I want them to look at those photos years later and say, ‘Wow, we look really fabulous.’”