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• RULE NUMBER ONE : Every studio portrait was taken for a reason. 

 Consider these possible reasons a person would incur the expense of having a photograph taken. 

School prize [books, certificates, ribbons, colours]
Scholarship [new school uniform]
Sports Prize [cups medals badges] or [Sports equipment and kit]
Fancy dress Competition [costume]
Dance Competition [shoes & costume]

Life's Milestones
Sitters of the right age for:-
Uniform [Military or job related]
Bridesmaid [dress/bouquet]
Confirmation [suit/dress]
Engagement [couple/pose]
Marriage [Not always obvious]
Seventeen [Girls of that age]Senior Prom equivalent
Twenty-one [Voting age at this time]
Apprenticeship [clothing?]
First Job [Age/Clothing]
Birth [Always a baby]

Annual Events
Holiday [clothing/backdrop/seaside photographer]
Near Christmas [photo to send to relatives]

Other Reasons
Group of Youngsters [shared the cost]
Pair of Friends [split the cost]
Whole Family [Mum Dad & kids]
Sent the money [by a relative who wanted a picture]
Special Offer [Photographers often had special rates]
 The list is endless and unless something is written on the print or there is a clue in the picture you can only guess.

The silent sitter of every photograph knew the reason it was taken but they are not speaking.