As fast-paced as the world is getting, the domain of fashion is also catching up quite fast. Fashion photography has become a very happening profession, which is hard to undermine. It is everywhere!
Daily, hundreds of pictures are spotted with people dressed up, displaying various pieces of art. Fashion tagged along with photography has peaked as the most profitable business.
Photography representing fashion revolves around terms like lighting, posing, locations, and portraiture. This genre allows emerging photographers to discover their aesthetic form of art.
Here are tips and tricks you should learn if you are planning to enter this profession and wish to hit it off like a pro!
Knowledge About Fashion
A person loyal to his profession will ensure that he has a complete understanding of the industry before even placing that first step. This includes not just the latest trends but the evolution of fashion; it’s past, and future.
It is vital that you understand different fashion eras. You will have to study about famous designers, photographers, hairstylists, make-up styles, clothing, and accessories. Discover your personal style, as even fashion photography has variety.
Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, and Cosmopolitan are magazines you should spend time on, as they will be your role models. Bookmark your favourite sets of moods and captures to enhance your creativity. This will also allow you to decide which magazines to aim at. Every magazine has its own selection criteria.
Master the art that the past masters of photography possessed. They are the real teachers. They were the ones who introduced fashion to the world, in a way, unique to their era.
For example, Mario Testino had a reputation for mixing up beautiful colors with high-class products and models. Helmut Newton made his name by introducing great lighting techniques and incorporating shadows creatively into his white and black captures.
Visiting The Fashion Capitals
The world’s four fashion capitals are the dream destinations for all fashion photographers. If you want your career to jump start in the best way, explore these places. New York, Milan, London, and Paris are the home of various designers, magazine industries, editors, and photographers. These capitals are the foundations of the gazillion dollar fashion trade.
These are the ultimate places where you should think about starting your career in fashion photography. Such cities have ample street style. Fashion is the norm there. However, these cities are costly. Hence, it will not be easy to kick-start your career there.
Initially, you might have to work without pay but do bear in mind that these are the jobs that will provide the recognition, creativity, and freedom that you have always longed for. You might have to do a side job to generate those revenues in the establishment phase.
Nonetheless, it does not, at all, mean that you can’t choose a career in fashion photography if you can’t afford to shift to these places. You will just have to be better at the game than anyone else to succeed where you already reside. It will be a bit easier to reach the top even with average creativity; which isn’t so bad.
Build A Portfolio
At the beginning of your career, it is vital that you fashion an attractive portfolio. Find colleagues or friends who have a good fashion sense and ask them to do modelling for you. It is always flattering for people who don’t belong to this industry to be asked to model. Utilize your friends and produce a portfolio that will help you in the long run.
It’s Okay To Be Number 2
For beginners, specifically, it is a great tactic to start by taking on jobs as assistants to someone who has been in the field for a much longer time. Assisting is a great way to learn how shoots are done and meet useful people in the industry.
Your job would not be to link up with the successful person directly. Your job would be to take advantage of learning all the tricks, understanding techniques, learning to use tools, linking with other assistants so that you can grow with them. The stylist won’t be the ladder to your success; the inferiors will be the steps to that ladder.
Camera Selection for Fashion Photography
The fact that this profession has so much scope for creativity; you can own a digital Hasselblad, a DSLR or just your iPhone and still be the best. However, if fashion is a part of your career not just your passion, you might have to invest in a better quality camera to step up your game.
For a beginner, you should start with a regular digital camera because it provides user-friendly features and unlimited storage of pictures.
Developing films is also not a good idea as that can limit your experimentation.
A tool that one should keep at hand is a tripod. It helps when you are busy creating the perfect pose, set-up, and lighting, and you need the camera in place.
When you are ready for commercial fashion photography, you can purchase an expensive DSLR so that your photographs are clear and flawless. The low noise factor, clarity, lighting features and additional factors help produce masterpieces of the fashion industry.
While purchasing an expensive camera, ensure that your investment includes the following specifications.
- Resistance against weather and dust
- SD/CF cards dual slot
- The viewfinder of 100% coverage
- A 7 frame/sec shooting speed
- A performance with superior autofocus
- 30 – 1/8000 secs shutter speed
Lighting is an unavoidable aspect that is crucial to perfect fashion photography. It is essential that you learn the basics of lighting modifiers that can assist you in developing great shots.
This equipment is quite popular in fashion photography. This tool is great because it can be used alone due to its large size. They help spread the light evenly. This feature is good to even out the tone of the whole bodies of models. Additionally, it enhances the details and colors of the clothing, which is the primary goal in commercial jobs.
This is the essential tool in your photography kit that is used to help the skin glow. It is placed with soft and hard light modifiers. Another feature that this dish provides is the contrasting sculpting that makes shadows look smooth as well.
These modifiers give shadows and light smooth texture. In contrast to, softboxes, these provide less angular, and a more rounded color gradient, especially when you are not using background fills with it. It creates the effect that the light is more natural than it actually is.
This class of light modifiers is used to help spread strong outdoor lighting. It can also help provide the commercial beauty glow inside a studio. However, it is harder to set-up and works with, as compared to other modifiers. People tend to regret buying it without giving a rental trial. So, borrow or rent it from someone and experiment with it before investing in it.
Working your way through various light modifiers helps you understand which ones work for you. You can use them separately or make combinations. It’s all about trial and error. You can add v-flats, softboxes, flags, snoots or strips to play with the mood of the photograph.
Deciding On The Perfect Location
One has to consider various aspects before deciding which locations to use for his photoshoot. The types of clothing, the colors that you want to highlight, the story of your photograph, the collection you want to place the picture in, the target audience and the target brand are all factors that you must bear in mind.
A standard idea is a studio. It is the most flexible location for any type of fashion shoot. You just need to make sure you have the right tools for lighting and for props. However, it is expensive to rent a studio so early in your career.
Another option can be your own home. Look for spots inside your house that have good lighting and can be made to appear attractive in a photograph. Make sure the place that you choose has fewer aspects that can be a distraction from your prime aim, i.e., clothing.
Capturing fashion in a natural atmosphere is a given. Nature poses to be the perfect location for excellent lighting, less distractive backdrops, and beautiful setups. On the other hand, this is one type of situation that you might not be able to control but that adventure and suspense is a thrill of its own. Just ensure you have water-proof tools and that you are ready for any type of weather.
Learn To Lead The Way
If you are doing your own photoshoot, you are the executor of the whole act. You have to guide everyone and explain each one should do their jobs. You will have to master the art of multitasking and calamity.
The model will work as per your instructions. The pose, the look, the location, and the shot will depend on you. Making your co-workers and your model comfortable has to be a priority. The job will provide the adrenaline rush and thrill that you were looking for all your life if you do this right.
Organization, preparation, ideology and a plan are keys to smooth photoshoots. You have to be ten steps ahead if you want to get anywhere with your career.
Fashioning and Retouching
Majority of the photographers tend to do the editing of their photographs themselves. Some choose to hire people to do the retouching. Whichever way you choose, you need to learn this skill yourself, too. It is always better to finalize your work yourself to ensure personalization. The whole mood and story of the photograph can change by handing your work over to another’s care.
Many websites on the internet can help you learn how to retouch your pictures and maintain individualism. You can spend hours practising to perfect this skill because mark my words; it will come in handy eventually.
Quality cannot exist without quantity. Take countless photographs and experiment with your techniques, capture styles, the variety of clothing and camera angles to improve yourself.
Start with day to day captures, then progress to working with friends. Shuffle between various concepts and fashions, network with freelancers and websites, and do cheap commercial shoots. Each attempt, each capture will sculpt your skills into a high output.
Be Careful With Your Choices
Emerging photographers prefer being selective about their jobs. Some take whatever work is thrown at them. There is a time for each type of attitude. In the beginning, you should take as many jobs as possible because you need to develop and comprehend your preference. On the other hand, when you are in a stable position, you need to set a standard for yourself. You need to work to go above that standard and continue to raise it instead of making it fall.
Don’t Drop The Clerkship
- Make it habit that you organize your work into separate files.
- Ensure a system with different catalogs
- Keep clippings of relevant news articles
- Save significant contracts, bank statements, receipt, invoices, and model releases
- Register for copyrights
- Keep your CV updated
- Keep your network organized
Ensure that you develop the excellent habit of systemizing your paperwork because it will save you at situations you can’t even start to foresee at this stage.
Stay True To Your Profession
Learn to understand that you can’t excel in your profession unless you stay loyal to it. You cannot, at any cost, treat it as a side job and expect to succeed. Success is not achieved overnight. Consistency, devotion, and time need to be provided to your career.
Do well regardless of the job, workplace, and colleagues. Your value and quality will increase over time.
The fashion industry is a tough catch because of aggressiveness, rejection, and competition. A person can make a fortune or lose everything while surfing through these waters.
Find your soft spot for this industry, your reason to keep going, because that is only what is going to get you past the hard times.
Find the reason you want to do this right from the beginning. In your toughest moments, your goal is what will get you through.
Conversely, fashion is a fun field. You just need to find your role in this game and play it more creatively than anyone in the commercial market. And remember never to give up!