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Welcome to the fifth in our series of blogs about how to understand and interpret your old family photos.
In this series, Jayne Shrimpton, internationally recognised dress historian, portrait specialist, photo detective and regular contributor to Family Tree, Your Family History and Family History Monthly magazines, dates and analyses different types of photographs and helps you to add context to your old family pictures.
There are pictures that used daguerreotype, glass plate, cabinet card, and the thickness of the cabinet card can also tell the age of the picture.
Looking at a picture and dating it, takes noticing all of the clues possible.
Having learned in the previous blog how photograph compositions and studio settings changed over the years, we now look closely at what our forebears are wearing in old photographs.
In any kind of portrait it is often the subject's clothing that engages us most: fashion history is a fascinating topic and recognising the modes of different eras is an invaluable tool when trying to date unlabelled photographs.
Family historians often wonder whether their poorer forebears would have been able to dress very fashionably.
Fashion in photographs It was understood that clients visiting the photographer's studio (or, less commonly, those inviting a photographer to their home) would be dressed in their best quality, most fashionable clothing. See also: Safely store, display your old family photographs.