Thorsten von Overgaard's Photography Website
  Get Newsletter & Free eBook  

The Story Behind That Picture - 10
      Thosten von Overgaard on Facebook Thorsten von Overgaard on Twitter Thorsten von Overgaard on Instagram Thorsten von Overgaard on Google+ Thorsten von Overgaard on Leica Fotopark Thorsten von Overgaard on LinkedIn Thorsten von Overgaard on BlipFoto Pinterest Thorsten von Overgaard on Flickr Thorsten Overgaard on YouTube Thorsten Overgaard video on Vimeo Thorsten Overgaard on Tumblr Thorsten von Overgaard on Exposure Thorsten von Overgaard on 500px
Bookmark and Share Clip to Evernote    
Atelier Bogelund-Jensen

The Story Behind That Picture: "The Cocktail Dress Experiment"

By: Thorsten Overgaard [In Danish]

How do you get the idea to invite 70-80 women to a party and require them to wear the same dress? That is this week’s quizz, but perhaps the answer if straightforward.

If you, like Signe Bogelund-Jensen does, design dresses for women which is supposed to distinguish the personality rather than cover them in gold logos like D&G, or well-known patterns like the ones of Burberry, then same dress for all shouldn’t pose a problem. Right?

Though the dress-code was more liberal than that. In fact the women could wear the dress as designed, or they were free to tear it, rip it, choose accessories, turn it inside out (as some did) – or whatever they felt like doing.

It was interesting to see how the different women had done it, as the starting point – except for the sizes – was the exact same. What does it tell about personality if you have the ability to wear the same dress and yet be yourself, or do you dare ‘ruin’ the design and make it your own?

It was exceptional entertaining as can be seen in the slideshow we made of the evenings guests: “The Cocktail Dress Experiment” [click on the text to view it in a new window].


The Cocktail Dress Experiment


I became part of this experiment because some friends decided to give her me as a gift. And so the designer Signe Bogelund-Jensen and I had a talk about the dresses and decided on a “red carpet arrival” though designed with soft and nice “beauty light” portrait photography style. It happens – in my opinion – on too few occasions that one validate the guests dresses when covering a party. Most often it’s concentrated on the marrying couple or something.

But a large part of a party is to prepare your look and dress up for it, often involving acquiring a few new items such as bags, suits, dresses and shoes. I’ve often taken a look over the guests at a wedding and figures there was for 20,000$ or more worth of dresses bought for that occasion.

So that’s what I do sometimes; photograph guests. And sometimes it can become nice thanking cards to send to the guests afterward. And for this party it was logical to do, to document the differences and personalities with a series of the same pictures. And then see if the personalities would shine through.

Judge for your self. See the slideshow.


Me as a gift
In fact this was the second time in one week I was given away as a gift. The other gift was me as a wedding photographer. At both occasions I noted that those who had hired me, had joined with other guests and that way I was not a lavish present from a single person, but a joint-together like when you decided to give a set of furniture or something.

In fact it’s not a bad idea. Having a wedding for example is expensive enough, so if you can get the photographer as a present, well that’s nice.



The technical stuff
To create a series of similar pictures where only the persons were changing I had my Leica R9/DMR on a tripod and used a Leica Digilux 2 for other things such as atmosphere photos. The light was set up with “beauty light” KinoFlo lamps that creates an even and soft light that make everybody look great and 10 years younger. But more importantly, it’s not blinking like flash but is soft, discrete light.

The pictures are also to be found on Getty Images and WireImage – I guess a fashion blog or two will have a go with this interesting story.

See more designer dresses at


Here you can see the setup. During the evening we managed to photograph everybody except fot two persons. And quite many was photographed more than once, with friends, colleagues, family and strangers. It turned out to be quite a fun party game!




- Thorsten Overgaard

    July 2, 2009

The designer Signe Bogelund-Jensen preparing "The Cocktail Dress Experiment" in the atelier.

See the slideshow.


Also visit:

Overgaard Photography Workshops
Von Overgaard Gallery Store
Ventilated Shades by Overgaaard
Leather Camera Straps
Camea Bags
Calfskin Camera Pouches
iPad and Computer Clutches
Leather Writing Pads
Books by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica Definitions
Leica History
Leica Lens Compendium
Leica Camera Compendium
Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon f/3.4
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4

Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25
Leica 90mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz Cine lenses
7artisans 50mm f/1.1
Leica Digilux 2

Leica M10
Leica M10-P
Leica M10-D
Leica M9, M9-P and Leica ME
Leica M 240
Leica M 240 for video
Leica M 262
Leica M-D 262
Leica M Monochrom
Leica M 246 Monochrom

Leica SL
Leica SL2
Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica R9 dSLR
Leica Q
Leica Q2
Leica CL
Leica TL2
Leica Sofort
Leica S digital medium format
Leica X
Light metering
White Balance for More Beauty
Color Meters

Screen Calibration
Which computer to get
Sync'ing photo archive to iPhone
Lightroom Survival Kit
Lightroom Presets by Overgaard
Capture One Survival Kit

Capture One Styles by Overgaard
Signed Original Prints by von Overgaard
The Story Behind That Picture
"On The Road With von Overgaard"

Von Overgaard Masterclasses:
M10 / M9 / M240 / Q / TL2 / S1R /





Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to for
advice, ideas or improvements.


  · © Copyright 1996-2019 · Thorsten von Overgaard


© 1996 - 2019 Thorsten von Overgaard. All rights reserved.


Web Analytics