Elena (partner/stylist) always talks about keeping styled items in photography to odd numbers such as 3 or 5 items, not even numbers like 2 or 4. I had that in mind when I photographed this South Florida beach at sunset: an umbrella, a lifeguard chair, and one bird. My goal was to capture a sense of loneliness. I was first attracted to the abandoned and falling umbrella (who left the umbrella?), then framed the empty lifeguard chair at dusk, and while thinking of how to set up the shot better, the bird completed the trio. Each one alone but each ties into the theme. If you would subtract any of these 3 objects, this image would not convey the same feeling. I enhanced the image with Adobe Photoshop filters (ink outlines and textures) to enhance the forlorn mood.
Another shot, different beach, same idea: three items that help create a “styled” forlorn mood.
Often people forget that your camera can do the styling for you. By adding or more often the case, subtracting items from your viewpoint, you can create a “styled” shot. So next time when you are looking at “styled” shots in magazines, books, Web sites, notice how often you will find “odd” objects in the frame. Even though it might be odd, it all evens out in the image.