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OP spaketh up and said, “When I’m charging I’ll do whatever they want but I am really trying to avoid all the tacky cliche stuff. ”

Are then such a good photographer that you cannot put out an improved and superior ‘cliche’?   Avedon certainly wasn’t the first fashion photographer, nor the first to make use of high key.   The fact that you are doing ‘pro bono’ and such for practice says it all…you are NOT a journeyman photographer, and therefor need more experience.  When you can improve on a cliche, then ou might well make the statement I quoted.