Before we get into our main topic of this article let’s first take a look at fashion photography and let me give you a short introduction on this article:
What Is Fashion Photography?
Fashion photography is a genre of photography which is devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items and accessories, for example: shoes. Fashion photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour or Elle.
Fashion photography is all about making the images more vibrant, trendy, beautiful, and sexy to attract the attention of the viewer. Fashion photography has developed its own aesthetic in which the clothes and fashions are enhanced by the presence of exotic locations or accessories.
Now, that you know what is fashion photography?, it is also important to know there are also different styles of fashion photography such as: Editorial Fashion Photography, High Fashion Photography, Catalog Fashion Photography, Street Fashion Photography, etc. This is important to know because your client will hire you depending on your style of fashion photography and expertise.
In this article, I will be sharing you “10 Most Important Tips For Fashion Photography You Should Know” especially if you are a beginner fashion photographer. These 10 tips will help you regardless of what style of fashion photography you choose to do because the basics are the same. Also, make sure you read this article till the end as I will be proving you with “Three Bonus Tips”.
All of these tips will help you throughout the process from getting prepared to shooting photos to post-processing. So, let’s get started!
10 Most Important Tips Every Fashion Photographer Should Know
Below is the list of 10 Most Important tips for Fashion Photography every Fashion Photographer should know:
- Understand The Fashion
- Make Sure You Have An Appropriate Background
- Use Proper Lighting
- Become A Director
- Always Tell A Story
- Use Different Types Of Composition Techniques
- Keep Moving To Get Different Angles
- Consider Using Props
- Complement The Subject
- Capture In RAW File Format
Now, I am going to explain what each one of those means and how will it affect your fashion photography skills as a fashion photographer.
1. Understand The Fashion
First and the most important tip to remember as a fashion photographer is that you should understand the fashion. Now what I mean by that is, for instance: You are hired to shoot by a womens clothing brand which specializes in making new trendy clothes. So, the first thing for you to do is understand that trendy clothes, for example: what kind of clothing it is, is it a party wear? Or is it a casual wear?
What this will do is help you create a concept for your fashion photography. It will help you get ideas that you can use during you fashion photography photoshoot. This will also help you to visualize your photos even before you clicked it.
Bottom line is that by understanding the fashion, you will be able to get ideas which will help you to visualize what your final output will look like and because of that you will also be able to get creative if you choose to.
2. Make Sure You Choose An Appropriate Background Or Location
Photography in general, background is a very important element of your photograph. It also plays an important role in your composition of your image. While placing a model at different locations might help, choosing an appropriate background will do wonders for your fashion photography.
While choosing background for your fashion photography, consider how the elements in the background would affect the balance of your image. Your composition style should adapt to the subject you’re photographing. For instance, you can’t use a background that’s similar to the color or the pattern of the clothes. If an outfit has complicated patterns, then look for a background that’s neutral. If it’s plain, feel free to look for an elaborate backdrop that compliments it.
It is also the same with location if you choose to photograph outdoors. Getting the right location is important if you want to convey a narrative within your shot. For example: if the clothing and beauty styling are edgy, hard or provocative you may want to consider an urban setting , alternatively for spring/summer and natural fashions find a rural environment like; a field, meadow, beach, woodland or river bank.
3. Use Proper Lighting
Generally speaking, it doesn’t matter what genre of photography you are doing, lighting will always be the most important element which will help you create a boring photograph to a good quality professional looking photograph. That is why every photographer should know the importance of lighting in photography.
By using a proper lighting you will be able to add depth to your image. It will also help to draw attention to the subject for viewers, which is the main goal of fashion photography, to be able to attract the eyes of the viewers. A proper lighting setup will do wonders for your image.
Bottom line is, using proper lighting will help you achieve that good quality professional looking image you desired.
4. Become A Director
This is your show, and you need to own it! Direct the staff on set to get the perfect shot. You can even instruct the model(s) to create the look that inspires conversions. Fashion photography should convey an essence of authority, showing signs of anxiety, stress or lack of direction will invariably be reflected in the performance of your model that is why your direction of the model(s) needs to be confident and self-assured. Also, make sure you make the subject feel comfortable and involved and be sure to take control of your shoot.
5. Always Tell A Story
This is one of the mistakes most beginner fashion photographers often make which is not including a visual narrative in their shoot. When you browse through some well-known best fashion magazines such as Vogue, you’ll notice that there’s a theme that connects the photos. Although they don’t necessarily have words describing what’s happening, they often provide clues about what’s going on.
These types of images always grabs the attention of the viewers, they force the viewer to focus on the narrative you are trying to tell. Including a cohesive concept in your pictures will compel people to look at every image you show them. Remember that you don’t necessarily need to have a real story with a beginning and an end. Since you can’t rely on captions, you need to rely on your composition and focus on the small moments.
For instance, if you are shooting a street wear fashion outfit, you can direct the model to walk around the streets or visit a cafe something like that. Use the elements of the surroundings to provide hints which will help the viewer to understand the subject (model wearing street wear clothing in this example) about what the fashion is about. Just like in the image below:
6. Use Different Types Of Composition Techniques
Don’t settle for only one composition techinique for your fashion photography. Always make sure you try different types of composition techniques, what this will do is help you get creative and as mentioned above it will also help you to tell a story. Trying different composition techniques will make sure you didn’t miss any important details in your image. For instance, try placing the subject in the centre and also try another shot by using the rule of thirds by doing both will help you decide the best composition to choose for that particular image.
7. Keep Moving To Get Different Angles
Always make sure you keep moving to get different angles, what this will do is help you explore different angle and find out which angles work best to fully expose the garment. This could mean climbing a ladder, crouching low, working a slanted angle or you can move close to the model. Professional fashion photographers try to get high-angle shot, eye-level shots, use low viewpoint with an upward angle. Think about what the message is here and create a composition to reinforce it.
8. Consider Using Props
Props are helpful in creating a more coherent theme in your fashion photography. They not only work well in providing the context clues to your images but also add dimension to your composition and your overall image. If there’s nothing much going on in your scene, you can also use props to make it look more interesting. Bottom line is, props are fantastic for telling a narrative within a fashion shot. Using props will also help you to get more creative depending on what props you choose and your photography style and skills. It will also help you to complement the subject, which is the next tip:
9. Complement The Subject
By saying “Complement The Subject” what I mean is to use each and everything you have available to you which will help you to enhance your subject of the image. For instance, you are hired by a clothing company, so you can use make-up, hair styling, proper lighting (tip #3), different types of composition and as mentioned in the above tip #8 props. This will help you to enhance and complimate the garment you are shooting.
If you desire a provocative or seductive look opt for dark, heavy make-up and over styled hair; alternatively for an innocent or natural feel choose subdued pastel tones, gentle make up and soft flowing hair styles. This doesn’t mean you have to learn make-up or hair styling, just tell the model and make-up artist or hair stylist if available that what is your vision and what look you are going for your image.
10. Capture In RAW File Format
There are times that the colors of your image won’t be captured same as it looks in reality. The main goal of fashion photography is to display the fashion which also means a light blue denim jeans should look light blue not dark blue or something else. That is why it is important to always color correct your image. So, it is important to capture in RAW file format. RAW file format has more image data than JPEG’s. When you will color correct your image it will help you not to loose any quality in that process.
Now, as promised earlier here are three bonus tips for you just to appreciate you for dedicating your precious time in reading my article this far:
3 Bonus Tips:
- Teamwork Is Important
- Cheat At Home
- Find A Balance
1. Teamwork Is Important
While performing fashion photography, you should know the importance of teamwork. This is because, if you just keep barking orders to the model or any other person such as make-up artist you will never be able to get a perfect image you desire as it will make the work environment toxic and nothing good happens in a toxic environment. In fact, listen what others have to say and try it out for example: if your model suggests a pose for your image try it out, may be that pose is what will help you achieve your desired look for your image. Collaborative efforts are very necessary for achieving a good quality professional looking content.
2. Cheat At Home
If you can’t afford to hire a professional studio and all the pricey equipment there is a way you can cheat at home. Clear a space in a room that benefits from large windows and peg a white sheet, net or fabric across the window. On a bright sunny day you’ll have yourself a homemade soft box – ideal for flattering even light.
3. Find A Balance
Always make sure your image is properly balanced. Unless and until you are using negative space for artistic look and creative purposes make sure you don’t have any negative space in your image. Always find something to counter-balance. Counterbalance involves using another component in the frame to create harmony in your image. As mentioned in the above tips, you can use different composition techniques, different angles as well as props to achieve a conter-balance to get an overall balanced image.
You can easily apply many of the skills you already know as a fashion photographer when you start shooting fashion photography. Learn to adapt to the situation, and keep in mind that the fashion is always the star of the show. As long as you remember these fashion photography tips every time you shoot, you’ll see your images look better and better every time. Also remember, this are just guidelines for you to get a perfect image. You can choose to break any of these tips for creative or atistic purposes as photography in general doesn’t actually have rules.
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