Are you aiming to break into the exciting world of fashion photography? There are many paths you can take—from starting your own street fashion photography blog to pursuing a career with world-renowned fashion houses. Success requires hard work and dedication to your craft. Here are seven fashion photography tips to follow to make your pictures stand out from the crowd.
7 Steps to Success in Fashion Photography
- Choose a Specialization and Fashion Photography Aesthetic to Explore
- Select the Right Camera
- Understand Lighting Techniques
- Learn About Poses and Camera Angles
- Choose a Concept for Each Fashion Photoshoot
- Use Lightroom Presets to Enhance Every Fashion Photo
- Build a Portfolio to Showcase Your Work
Even if you are a beginning photographer, you can explore the world of fashion photography. The initial fashion photography equipment you’ll need doesn’t have to be top-of-the-line or expensive. A good quality camera and lighting equipment, along with access to editing software like Lightroom, can be all you need to get started. The creative techniques of fashion photography can be learned by every photographer—from the least experienced to the most advanced experts.
Fashion photography seems like a dream career for aspiring photographers. Today’s most famous fashion photographers travel the world, attend exclusive events, and shoot images of top models. If you reach this level, fashion photography salaries can be quite substantial.
Even if you don’t attain the pinnacle of the fashion photography world, you can still have a successful fashion photography career. The Internet has made it possible to launch a lucrative fashion photography blog and attract a huge following—right from your home. Or you can pursue fashion photography jobs. Many photographers work for stores, publications, clothing lines. You can even invest time in volunteer activities or pursue DIY fashion photography to gain valuable work experience.
1. Choose a Specialization and Fashion Photography Aesthetic to Explore
Images of cover models on women’s magazines may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about fashion photography. However, this type of high fashion photography is not the only path you can pursue.
There is an ongoing need for experts in men’s fashion photography and child fashion photography. And there are many specializations as well—including everything from outdoor fashion photography to wedding fashion photography to underwater fashion photography.
You could also consider cosplay photography, vintage fashion photography, or black and white fashion photography. There are specific techniques you can learn to make vintage-style photos look moody and rustic that are very different from approaches used in high fashion photography. It’s a good idea to focus on an area or two of interest and deepen your skills.
You also need to think about your photography aesthetic. You can understand your personal aesthetic by reviewing collections of images on fashion photography sites. Spend some time figuring out the qualities of the ones that appeal to you the most. Look at characteristics such as lighting, color intensity, and contrast.
You can strive to emulate your preferred aesthetic in your fashion photos to develop your own signature style. By sharing your unique fashion photography aesthetic on social media platforms, you can gain attention as a creative photography expert.
2. Select the Right Camera
If you’re serious about fashion photography, you need a quality camera. Over time, you may need multiple cameras to suit the specialized needs of varied photo shoots and fashion photography locations.
When you are starting out in fashion photography, you may find a budget-friendly DSLR camera that suits all your needs. Look for a fashion photography camera with key features such as dual slots for SD cards, high-quality autofocus performance, 100% viewfinder coverage, and shutter speeds from 30 to 1/8000 seconds. If you expect to pursue any outdoor fashion photography or rain fashion photography, select a camera that is resistant to dust, water, and weather.
You may find you need to have a lens—or several—to enhance your ability to take high-quality fashion images. One of the most versatile lenses you can buy is a 50mm lens since you can use to capture both close-up portraits and surrounding environments. For fashion portrait photography, an 80mm lens may be the best investment. If you aim to tell stories with your fashion photos, a 35mm lens is a good choice. Ultimately, your aim and style will help you select the best lenses for fashion photography.
3. Explore Lighting Techniques
In most cases, natural light isn’t going to be the best choice for fashion photography. While you will need to add lighting to your list of fashion photography equipment, you can start small with just a few items.
In your earliest forays into fashion photography, having a single moonlight can be adequate. You can learn to use it as a single light source and in combination with other available light. Once you’ve learned how to control your light to capture the feelings and nuances you want to convey, you can upgrade or add other lights to your collection.
Another simple and inexpensive piece of fashion photography equipment is a white shoot-through umbrella. You can often find this lighting modifier available for less than $20—and use it during shooting to feather and diffuse light.
Light stands are also essential to support and position your lighting gear. You don’t need to spring for the most expensive ones right away but be sure the ones you select have high build quality.
4. Learn About Poses and Camera Angles
Working with models is one of the unique aspects of fashion photography. As you progress in your fashion photography career, you’ll find some models intuitively understand what you need them to do, while others need much more direction on how to pose.
One way to achieve the perfect shot is by sharing inspirational poses before shooting. You can find ideas from some of the best fashion photography magazines—like Vogue, GQ, and Glamour. Also, you can experiment with some classic poses—such as over the shoulder poses for headshots or an S-curve for full body shots. Sometimes you may want your model to look directly into the camera, while other times you can direct them to look off camera.
If you have experience in portrait photography, you may be used to taking images of your subject at eye level. With fashion photography, you can explore different angles. One popular approach is getting low to the ground and shooting upward. This works especially well for full body or three-quarter shots. You’ll need some time to experiment and practice to learn what works best for your photography aesthetic—and may need to adopt approaches when you work with different models.
5. Choose a Concept for Each Fashion Photoshoot
Fashion photography is about much more than taking pictures of models in various clothing styles. You should always have an idea of the theme or concept for each shoot—even if it’s one of your first casual experiments. You should have thoughts on lighting, clothes, poses, makeup, and styling before the fashion photoshoot takes place.
Once you move into professional fashion photography, you will collaborate on concept development with your clients or employers. You’ll need to elicit their ideas and make sure they are closely involved in the creative process from day one. Paying attention to your concept and key details before you start photographing models helps ensure the best quality fashion photos possible.
6. Use Lightroom Presets to Enhance Every Fashion Photo
After you conclude your fashion photoshoot, you can use editing software to perfect your images. If you’re new to using editing software for fashion, you can look for the fashion photography course that covers basic techniques. Many fashion photographers know how to use Adobe Photoshop for fashion photography.
You can also learn about specific Adobe Lightroom presets that focus specifically on the unique characteristics of fashion photos. When seeking a Lightroom preset, look for ones designed by professional photographers who understand the nuances of fashion photos. This way, you’ll know the preset will meet your needs. Seek out presets that are fully adjustable so that you can tweak settings as required. Ideal Lightroom presets work on both RAW and JPEG images and on both Mac and PC to give you maximum flexibility.
Another important feature in Lightroom for fashion photographers is the spot removal tool. With this tool, you can easily remove imperfections, such as spots or blemishes, to make sure every photo is exceptional.
7. Build a Portfolio to Showcase Your Work
If you are looking to make your mark in the field of fashion photography, you need an online portfolio. This is true whether your focus is lifestyle fashion photography, street fashion photography, or any other photography style. If you want to break into commercial photography or industrial fashion photography, your portfolio can help you land those important first fashion photography internships or full-time fashion photography job.
If you envision yourself as a fashion photography artist, a portfolio is just as essential. You can think of your portfolio as an online exhibition of your work and showcase your personal photography aesthetic.
To attract visitors and clients, you can share images directly from your portfolio to various social media platforms. Instagram is a popular venue for fashion photography of all types. And Facebook continues to hold stature as the biggest social media network with billions of users around the globe. Regularly promoting your work on social media will draw traffic to your site and help you reach your goals—whether they lie in commercial photography, high fashion photography, or another area.
Make Your Fashion Photography Dreams a Reality
Do you find yourself wondering how to be a photographer? Have you ever looked at a top fashion magazine and dreamed of being the person who took the stunning cover photo? Or do you have a unique personal style that you want to share with the world? If so, exploring opportunities in fashion photography may be a good career direction for you.
Before you embark on your journey, you should learn some fashion photography basics. First, you should consider which area of specialization and fashion photography aesthetic appeals to you most. You also need to select the best camera for fashion photography, learn about lighting, and understand model poses for fashion photography.
After gaining knowledge of the basics, you can set up your first fashion shoot. Remember that you should have a concept for each shoot to help ensure your vision shines through. After shooting, you can enhance your images using Lightroom presets and share them on your online fashion portfolio and social media to publicize your work.
By working hard, you can build skill and gain attention as a talented fashion photographer. This will open doors for a fashion photography job or freelance work with various clients. Whether you want to pursue low key fashion photography in your local area or become one of the field’s most respected fashion photography artists, you can make your dreams a reality. Start small, dream big, and keep working to realize your photographic goals.