If you are looking to get into the fashion photography industry, this article is your ultimate guide. It has all of the information that you need from what equipment to use and how to set up a shoot, to lighting techniques and post-production editing. Fashion photography is one of the most difficult types of photography out there; however, when done correctly it can lead to some truly spectacular results!
Table of Contents
What is Fashion Photography?
Fashion photography is a kind of photography that captures clothing, accessories and other fashion related items. Fashion photographers are usually commissioned by magazines or commercial clients to take photographs for their use in the magazine/client’s own advertising campaign. There are many different types of techniques used in this type of photography; however, manipulation (including digital enhancement) is often heavily relied on when capturing images as it can be difficult to capture what you want with just natural light occasionally available.
First off, it’s important to know what the difference is between fashion photography and just regular old photo taking. Fashion photographers only take photos of models wearing clothes from a specific brand or clothing line in order to promote their products. This means that they need to have an understanding about how each piece fits with the others as well as what colors work best for different seasons. A lot of people also think that all you do when being a photographer is point your camera at someone who looks good enough on film and snap away, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! In reality, there are many steps involved before even getting into post-production where those finely tuned images come together.
Fashion is a game of looks. It’s about creating the best possible impression and manipulating human psychology to create an interest in products with clever use of light, color, composition and styling techniques. Fashion images are cool because they’re trendy, sexy or vibrant but these don’t stand up on their own without careful consideration for what will make buyers feel drawn into your work so that they’ll want more from you than just one image.
Fashion photographers are always trying to come up with new and creative ways of telling a story through the medium. You might be thinking, “what could it hurt?” Well for starters you need amazing talent that can create something gorgeous like beautiful models or avant-garde modeling poses in exotic locations; but what about those everyday people wearing every day clothing?
The ‘everyday’ person is subject matter which many fashion portrait photography enthusiasts fail to explore because they believe there isn’t much creativity involved. But just think: all your favorite street style bloggers have taught us how surprisingly chic an outfit from Forever 21 looks styled on Instagram!
This is exactly where graphic design artist, Michael Gajda finds inspiration: shooting everyday people wearing every day clothing to create beauty!
“I don’t want my work to exist solely on photo paper or an online blog,” says Michael who has also created some beautiful art prints of his fashion photography. “I like it when they are available as tangible objects, too.”
Fashion Photography History
Fashion photography might be a relatively new invention, but these images have been around long before the early 20th century.
The first fashion photographs were created in the court of Napoleon III during 1855-1870 and they served as an extension to his imperial propaganda machine. This art form became popular again at about 1910 when it was used by companies such as Vogue magazine for advertising purposes that helped society’s expectation of what is beautiful develop along with their expectations on how people should dress themselves from day to night.
In 1922, the first color fashion photograph was created by Edward Steichen for a Vogue magazine article on Parisian design. He made this photo with three exposures of his subject in different colored dresses and then combined them together to create one image. This technique is now known as ‘color separation photography’. It took another forty years until color photographs became more common among fashion photographers who used it for their editorial shoots.
As these images became popular in magazines like Vogue, they became even more prominent through television commercials and billboards too which we see today across all cities around the world.”The power of advertising has always been very strong,” said Jessica Hermes, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter school who studies how ads influence.
In the early 1900s, Harper’s Bazaar was revived by Edna Woolman Chase and The Design Laboratory for a new generation of American women. The magazine published articles on fashion design in America as well as abroad, while also providing tutorials to ease readers into sewing their own clothes. This led directly to an economic boom in retail stores specializing mainly in clothing manufacture with designers such as Claire McCardell leading the way.
In the mid-1950s, Harper’s Bazaar was acquired by Carmel Snow and she led a complete transformation of the publication. Her first act as editor was to take away all fashion illustrations from both editorial pages and advertising, which gave her more latitude with advertisers that might have been uneasy about being associated with anything so frivolous or commercial. The magazine is credited for giving birth to the “American Look” in womenswear during this time period due to its coverage of designers such as Ralph Lauren (who founded his own label in 1967) and Anne Klein (born 1936). It also became very popular among Hollywood celebrities—Jessica Lange remembers having stacks of copies delivered direct from Paris every month throughout her childhood.
Avedon’s work during this time period is often contrasted with his earlier, somewhat more esoteric pieces. His images of the American West became iconic; most notably “Migrant Mother,” a portrait taken in 1936 that was included heretofore unseen footage for Ken Burns’ documentary The Dust Bowl and captures Florence Owens Thompson surrounded by her children as she tells them to keep their faces covered so they don’t get dust on themselves while picking cotton near Nipomo, California.
Anne Klein’s fashion photography became more diverse and daring during the late 1950s. This included nudity in her photographs, such as for “The Nude” series designed by David Sutton (1963).
Avedon again collaborated with Klein on a photo session in 1965 which resulted in one of his most famous images: “In the American West.” Avedon had been commissioned to shoot photos illustrating author Norman Mailer’s book The Deer Park and traveled across America photographing models wearing Western clothes made by designers like Lenny Bruce, Bonnie Cashin, Laura Ratheau-Lautman and Oscar de la Renta. He took many pictures that are now iconic representations of the ruggedness and vastness of the United States;
The 1960s and 1970s are a time of great change in the United States. The decade is characterized by tumult, as young people protested against war while their parents fought for civil rights at home.
1970-1980: New trends in fashion photography. The 1970s was a decade of high-speed change in the fashion industry. The trends were more dramatic than ever before and new ideas for photography emerged, such as black backgrounds with white clothes that let every detail stand out.
The changes to fashion magazines during this time period allowed photographers unique creative license which they never had before; what resulted is some of the most iconic images still used today by companies around the world!
Today, fashion photography is changing and becoming more creative. The boundaries are blurring between commercial work that pays well versus artistic work that doesn’t pay as much but allows for greater creativity. Mario Testino uses surrealism in his art- combined with celebrities like Beyoncé who want something different from the ordinary world to see behind their everyday routine- while Ellen Von Unwerth focuses on unconventional subjects such as pregnant women or teenage girls posing nude in an almost documentary style of shooting them without any glamour involved at all.
Today’s photographers use digital manipulation which offers people a chance to escape reality through the glittering modern day life.
Types of Fashion Photography
The four types of fashion shoots are: Editorial, High Fashion, Catalogs, and Street Fashion Photography.
Editorial Fashion Photography
If you’re looking for a great way to tell the story of your career, look no further than editorial fashion photography. These shoots typically follow a model through daily tasks and capture their every move on film as they narrate the day’s events in front of you – all while wearing designer clothing.
The type of photography used for a fashion shoot depends on the overall goals. The photographer may have a specialty, but if not then publications and designers will seek them out to execute their vision with the materials they provide.
An editorial fashion photo displays mood, personality and is used as inspiration for various readers or viewers who find themselves drawn to it’s unique style. It might not be from any specific brand so that these buyers are inspired by all sorts of brands when they’re browsing through magazines at their local grocery store but still feel connected with its featured designer behind it.
Extra Tip: If you want to be a fashion photographer, it’s important to know the different types of photography. Take your time and do some research on what is used for portrait versus editorial shoots so that you can determine if this job would align with your skillset or not!
High fashion photography is a type of image that we all know and love. These shoots usually involve celebrities like supermodels or glitterati, but the styling for these pictures are what make them so interesting to watch! There’s always crazy poses with over-the-top outfits designed to grab anyone’s attention, from location design down to makeup and hair designs. With every element in high fashion photography being chosen for maximum impact, there will be no chance you’ll look away once it hits your screen!
In this type of advertisement, it is important to catch the viewer’s attention. Models and exotic backgrounds are used in order for people to pay closer attention. There are many tricks to help you capture the essence of a high fashion photo shoot.
The catalog shoot is the fashion photographer’s way of photographing everyday people in a neutral setting. These photos usually take place with an average studio background and are intended to show off clothing in their most commonplace form of wear – as if they were things that anyone could be wearing on any given day, or week even!
The key to this type of photography is not just the clothing, but also in how it can be worn and styled. This means that instead of having a model strut down a runway wearing an outfit, they will show you what you could do with the same clothes – or different ones!
It’s important to note that catalog photos are very popular because they give everyone access to high fashion without going broke trying to buy expensive designer items.
This style of fashion photography is marketed towards people who want all the benefits (style) without any of the hassle (price).
Street Fashion Photography
Street Fashion Photography is a type of fashion photography that captures people in their natural environment or “on the street” usually wearing clothes they are currently fashionable, such as jeans, t-shirts, hoodies etc. Street style shoots can be used for catalog or editorial purposes but also serve as an entirely new form of art. Photographers must dodge pedestrians and other obstacles when shooting this kind of photo with little time before the subject changes outfits again.
Street fashion photographer is a person who takes photographs where streets meet high fashion (i.e., taking pictures of people at intersections).
Camera Equipment and Settings
Fashion photography is an art form that requires a unique set of skills. While it’s true, there are many different types and styles of fashion photo shoots to be found in the industry today, you can take some creative liberties with what equipment you have on hand for your shoot as well!
Photography is an art that requires a great deal of precision. It’s important to have the tools to make your work perfect, and in order for you to do this it would be wise if you chose carefully about what kind of camera best suits your needs.
In the world of fashion photography, there are two major types of cameras: digital and film. Film is outdated these days (with only a handful of photographers still using it) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some around for certain projects!
This type of camera was originally used by professional photographers in order to make high-quality images before the invention of digital technology. It has since fallen out of style with modern day professionals due to its inability to produce instant feedback on exposure or focus during shooting time. The old school look from films gives your photos an artistic flair though, which cannot be found anywhere else today – so this may be something worth considering if you’re going for more traditional shots.
A pro needs to be prepared for any hard-to-capture opportunity on the go. But, these opportunities seldom present themselves in an environment that’s conducive to lugging around heavy equipment like DSLRs and big lenses with high ISO capabilities. The best option is a camera capable of shooting at lightning speeds with images as crisp and clear as possible – one you can easily slip into your pocket or bag so it won’t slow down when you’re racing from subject A to B.
A professional photographer needs gear they don’t have time (or space) carry around while traveling across town or country but still need set up quickly enough for capturing fast moving subjects without sacrificing quality assurance standards such as shutter speed, aperture settings, focus accuracy etc., all of which can be controlled via the camera’s onboard computer.
It doesn’t take a professional photographer to know that we’re not living in the 1950’s anymore, and all cameras have limitations – even those with high ISOs- so they must choose wisely what works best for their specific photography needs. And this is where you come into play as your mission: find the perfect gear match for your lifestyle, subject matter and preferences!
The right lens choice can make or break a picture. With fashion, you have complete control over the composition of your photographs – and most fashion photographers prefer to at least start with prime lenses. Find the best lenses that are available for your camera; these should include both wide aperture options (at 35mm-70 mm) as well as zoom features so that you’re able to shoot in any environment during photo shoots without having to switch out equipment too often! The perfect starter kit would likely consist of one 50-70mm prime lens and one 135 mm more telephoto option, both with widest possible apertures accessible within budget range.
It’s easy to frame a shoot with wide-angle lenses. This gives the photographer more flexibility and control over how they want their work to be framed, but this can lead to distorted features of models if not careful. Fixed focal lengths give photographers much more versatility in shooting fashion shoots, which are often shot from far away due expensive zoom lens prices and bulkiness that comes along with them (which is less than desirable).
Fashion Photography Tips
A fashion photographer must be able to create the photo aesthetic that a production manager is looking for, no matter what conditions. Most people associate high key lighting techniques with very bright and vibrant images but this isn’t always the case in low key photography as shadows need careful attention when shooting black and white models.
A good fashion photograph has many components – from styling to editing, location choice, wardrobe selection (and of course talent).
To pull all of this off, experienced photographers should have access to and experience with as many lighting options as possible. Use a selection from the following list:
– A variety or reflectors like umbrellas, bounce boards etc.,
– Cords for stringing light up high in your studio space without breaking through ceilings – I recommend using an extension cord taped to the ceiling so you can plug it into any socket and then use directional cords on either side that point down at 45 degree angles (or whatever angle is appropriate),
– Light stands are also very valuable when working indoors because they keep lights more stable while shooting by holding them up higher than arms would typically provide support. They come in different heights which makes spacing out multipliers and light sources easier to work with.
– Softbox kits that include a variety of softboxes sizes typically come in handy when you need more control over the quality of light while shooting.
This is where I would start experimenting with your camera settings as well. There are various setting on cameras such as ISO, shutter speed and aperture which will affect how much emphasis there is on different qualities of light coming from your photography set up. These can be manipulated by adjusting them accordingly until they reach an agreeable ratio for all types of lights being used. Experimentation makes it so easy to find out what works best!
If you’re going for maximum saturation or crispness, keep those three levels close together (between 100 and 160).
Always Remember the Basics of Composition
The Rule of Thirds is just as applicable to fashion images as it is with any other type. And like in a photography, the rule can be broken if done tastefully and for good reason.
The purpose of this “rule” or guiding principle, among others such Golden Spiral, is to provide you with some creative guide that will help connect your work better with viewers from different time periods who are taking everything about these images within seconds. These rules make sure that eye-contact doesn’t get lost on anything but rather focus attention onto see whole composition which makes perfect sense considering how much information we absorb at once when viewing an image.
The next time you’re composing a photo, check out these tips for making your masterpiece more professional. Lead lines can be used as accents in the composition to bring focus to specific pieces of clothing or accessories such as watches and hats. Symmetry is important when modeling from both sides of camera frame so that items are balanced visually against one another on either side while still maintaining an overall sense balance within the image itself by using white space strategically between subjects.
Incorporate backgrounds that are complementary to the colors of clothing being worn.
Making sure these principles are well-versed will help you produce professional looking photos every time!
Your image is always going to be better with balance. Reflection shots are a perfect example of good composition because they’re both symmetrical and balanced, though sometimes if you want your audience off-balance an asymmetrically shot picture can do the trick as well!
Prepare Your Setup Simple
Some of the greatest photographers have their own signature style. It can vary from photographer to photographer, but it’s something that is immediately recognizable as theirs. So what does this mean for newbies? The best way to get your creativity flowing and find out who you really are in fashion photography is getting started with a simpler setup- one camera, one lens, andone light!
You can use any type of camera- it doesn’t have to be a DSLR. In fact there are many benefits to using an entry level or mirrorless option like the Sony A5000 (or even older models) because they’re cheaper and more lightweight than their larger counterparts–not to mention that you don’t need a ton of extra gear for your basic setup! The great thing about this set up is that if you choose not to go down the photography route in life (maybe you want to become a fashion designer instead), these cameras make excellent travel companions since they provide high quality photos without being bulky and heavy like DSLRs.
In any type of photography from simple equipment setups to complex, it’s important to start with the basics. It helps you learn fast and makes working on your feet more manageable while also building up a style easier. Once you have that down pat, then adding extras will become easy.
One of the most potent ways to create an entirely new feel is changing your perspective. Get down low and shoot up, or get high and shot down; tilt the horizon so that you can see through his view off balance. None of these suggestions replace good composition but a change in perspective can bring a fresh take on any ho-hum image!
Make Sure the Clothes Look Best
Posing is one of the most important parts in taking a photo. The way you hold your body should be mindful that it makes clothes look best, not worst! This is why fashion photography exists: to show off clothes at an angle that makes them desirable and not stiff or unyielding like they may be in reality. Posing for static images can make clothing seem stodgy, so try your best to capture poses with movement! If tight-fitting cloths are part of the outfit, consider action shots where models convey motion as it will create a sense of lightness without sacrificing form. For flowing materials such as trailing skirts and dresses, just remember that you want these items looking airy when photographed–having them moving through space while being captured on film helps achieve this goal beautifully by showing texture rather than capturing still fabric alone.
If you’re photographing clothing that has a repeating pattern, make sure to keep the subject of your frame fairly close before zooming in on the details. This will help maintain consistency and prevent clashing patterns from blending together or obscuring each other entirely. For those working with clothing that features complex textures and designs, try capturing it at different angles–close-ups can emphasize texture while long shots show detail best!
The Importance of Motion
It’s a common misconception that women models should be still in fashion photos. However, if the woman is wearing flowy garments and her hair or some object such as a scarf is flowing behind her, this will break up the feeling of frozen time captured by these images. A model can walk on their own to create an active photo with movement from head-to-toe for example but sometimes it might make more sense to have something else moving which evokes motion like waves crashing against rocks at sea for instance because they’ll help your viewer feel included within that snapshot you’ll capture through photography–a fleeting moment rather than just observing what appears static.
Use action-filled elements to add a dynamic edge to your pictures. For example, if you have an image where the model is static and crisply focused, look for other things that can be moving in the frame such as water or cars on streets which will then blur out naturally with long shutter speeds. Get creative! You never know what you’ll come up with until you start experimenting.
The Impact of Photography on the Fashion Industry
The fashion world would be nothing without photography! Shooting stills for runway shows or snapping candid shots backstage, photographers have been supporting the design and style industry from its early days. Here are a few of their contributions that you may not know about:
-Capturing models’ expressions in front of the camera to showcase trends like strong eyebrows on catwalks this season
-Supporting designers by capturing what they create so people can see exactly how it looks before having to buy something online.
The Future of Fashion Photography
Fashion photography has always been an important part of promoting a brand or clothing line.
For example, many fashion brands hire photographers to take pictures for their catalogs and websites. However, with the rise in social media platforms like Instagram where people can post and share photos easily on any subject matter, there are more opportunities than ever before for amateur photo bloggers to be discovered by companies that may want them to shoot their products. This trend is especially true among high-end designer labels looking for influencers who have large followings on these popular apps such as: Kylie Jenner’s make up company; H&M hiring Kendall Jenner from Keeping Up With The Kardashians fame.
Fashion Photography Ideas
Frequently Asked Questions about Fashion Photography
How much money does a fashion photographer make?
A fashion photographer earns a median salary of $28,000 per year. The best paid make up to $90,000 and the lowest earn as little as $11,700 annually.
How do you become a Fashion Photographer?
I don’t know how much money You’ll be making yet but it is clear that becoming an accomplished fashion photographer takes years of building skills and portfolio pieces in front of clients for which they are often willing to pay handsomely for quality work.
The education necessary is highly variable depending on what type of photography one desires to pursue however there are many books available with great information about everything from lighting techniques to posing models. In my opinion reading these resources would greatly benefit photographers interested in all aspects
Is fashion photography a good career?
Being a Fashion Photographer is one of the most glamorous and creative jobs. Candidates who wish to keep honing their artistic flair, creativity, and skills find this job very rewarding in terms of personal fulfillment. The opportunity for fashion photographers can be lucrative if they are hired by top brands or recruiting agencies!
How long is a fashion photoshoot?
Photographers are often required to work with many different models in a day. They need to be able to quickly establish rapport and get them on set, posing for one or two hours at most. At the same time they have their own technical responsibilities like lighting – all done under pressure of an ever-changing environment where the model may not always stay correctly lit as planned by the director’s setup
How much money do Vogue photographers make?
The pay scale for a photographer varies greatly. Those who are more experienced and specialized will most likely be earning higher wages than those just starting out or going into the field without any qualifications on their resume. Range is $37,000 to 86,000 (estimated). Average salaries vary depending on experience level with an average salary of around 50k-60k annually.
How do you plan a fashion photoshoot?
There are a few important steps in planning a fashion photoshoot. There is the idea, creative direction and vision of what you want to shoot that will guide your photography session; then there’s wardrobe selection, makeup artists, hair stylists etc.; after these preparations have been made it’s time for shooting!
Find your inspiration. Create a mood board that showcases your creative talents, and then find other creatives to join you on the project. Develop a storyboard with locations in mind so everyone knows what they’re working towards; after all, it’s not enough just for one person to have an idea–you need people there who can handle the technical aspects of production as well!
Is fashion model a career?
Yes. The glamour and luxury of modeling is hard work. Fashion models are constantly on the go from one location to another, with each new setting having a different dress code that must be followed. All this moving around can wear down even the most enthusiastic model, but they have to stay strong because their faces will always find use in some fashion shoot or other!
Who is a famous fashion photographer?
Bruce Weber has been shooting some of the world’s most famous fashion photographs for nearly 70 years now. He utilizes a classic black and white style that makes him stand out amongst other photographers who utilize various color schemes in their images. His list of clients includes Calvin Klein, Revlon, Rolling Stone – all whom have benefited from his unique vision over time to capture striking imagery with an enduring aesthetic appeal.
Bruce Weber is best known for his iconic photos of the world’s most famous models, like Brooke Shields and Cindy Crawford. He has also shot some of Hollywood’s biggest stars in their hottest roles, including Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Justin Timberlake in Alpha Dog. His camera work with legendary fashion designer Ralph Lauren helped create a new standard for American style that made it fashionable to look preppy – which was not a word before Mr. Lauren entered our lives!
What are the best fashion photography books?
Chanel: Collections and Creations by Daniele Bott
A Man & His Watch: Iconic Watches and Stories, Matt Hranek
Dior: The Collection 1947-2017 (Catwalk) Alexander Fury.
Pam Golbin’s Valentino book provides a detailed look into the many themes that have been expressed throughout time with different variations of color palettes for each collections theme.
A lot of people are interested in becoming a professional photographer these days, but often don’t know where they should start with their passion. This is why we’ve compiled some content for anyone who wants to learn about how to become a fashion photographer from scratch or if you’re just looking into it as possible career option. We hope that you will find this post useful.