Fashion photography or fashion photography is a genre in which the emphasis is on style, emotions, the pose of the model and a thorough study of the image. This is the most creative branch of commercial photography. Fashion shoots are published in magazines, on websites of glossy publications, brands are used to advertise their products.
Now fashion photography is also a genre for self-expression of the photographer. It is not necessary to have a contract with Gucci to organize such a shoot — you can do it for yourself or at the request of your clients. We tell you what a beginner needs to know how to shoot a fashion photo and prepare for a photo shoot.
Just come to a photo studio and “shoot something” in fashion photography will not work. You need an idea and an opportunity to show your team exactly what you want to see.
Why abstractly describe to the makeup artist what eyeliner and lipstick color you want on the model when you can provide a sample? Will the set designer understand what exactly you see the future location for shooting if you just said “I want cyberpunk”? Does it make sense to spend time showing the model the right pose and giving her arms, legs and head rotation, if before that you could just send her a couple of pictures or screenshots from the movie?
References can include more than just model poses, as many people often think. Collect a whole collection of samples for all participants in the shooting: how you want to set the light, what hairstyle and makeup the models need, what colors and style to choose clothes, how to decorate the set.
Think everything in advance
The following advice follows from the above: in fashion photography you are not only a photographer, but also an organizer and manager who must monitor everything at the same time so that the result of collective work is not reset due to some trifles.
It is up to you not only to work out the idea, search for a location, select references and search for color combinations — you need to think through literally everything in advance.
- How much light do you need?
- What kind of light shaping attachments should these be?
- Will you have an assistant and, if so, what exactly should he do?
- Throwing rose petals, throwing flour at the model, directing a fan or spraying smoke?
- How long does it take to rent studios?
- What time does the makeup artist have to be on site to start painting the model?
Complete the list with your own questions. Not a single detail should escape you.
Find a team
Do not be afraid to use the services of other professionals and trust them. Yes, perhaps a photographer can be a little makeup artist at the same time or create a little props for shooting as a hobby.
But it is impossible to be a true professional everywhere at once — there is not enough time to develop in parallel in photography, retouching, follow trends and new products in makeup and improve your skills in makeup, understand fashion, styles, fabrics and clothing combinations, make props, and at the same time create flower arrangements as a florist. Meet, collaborate and look for your people with whom you will be on the same wavelength — this will take your projects to a new level.
Gather a team for a photo project. 7 answers for those who are tired of shooting alone
Learn the history of art, fashion and photography
The golden rule that all photographers, videographers, designers and artists are talking about: the higher the visibility, the better. The more films, paintings, photographs you have seen, the easier it is for you to come up with something new and get an aesthetic result.
If you understand the styles of painting, understand what fashion trends were in different eras and are now, how the best photographers of the past and present shoot, you will be able to feel the most winning and stylish combinations.
Look but don’t copy
When studying the work of other photographers, analyze them, and do not try to repeat them exactly. Understand what you like and why. Color correction? Model pose? Cropping? Selected props and location?
Shooting ideas: how to find your style as a photographer
The next step is to try to bring it into your work. For example, you liked shooting with a minimum of objects in the frame, but very bright, flashy colors. Why not do something similar but with your own colors, props and composition?
Create comfort on set
Everyone in the team should feel good and comfortable working. Give people a detailed plan of action, describe in advance the tasks and areas of responsibility of each. Do not leave “blind spots” and omissions that can lead to misunderstanding and tension. The main thing is not to forget to communicate. Talk to the model and other team members, make an atmospheric playlist, joke around.
Don’t be afraid to be weird and experiment
Recycle ideas, combine them and always think about how you can make sure that the result is not like everyone else. Very often, fashion photography is something strange, defiant, on the verge of aesthetic and unpleasant.
Think of a plan B
What happens if the makeup artist goes missing the day before the project? What if you are planning to shoot on a sunny day, and suddenly it started to rain? What to do if the decorator did not find the required props? Always think about what can go wrong, and also draw up an algorithm of actions in case of such force majeure.
Get to know the light and camera settings thoroughly
A fashion photographer who does not understand why he changed something in the camera, and now because of the flash half the frame has turned into a blank black sheet (the answer is that the shutter speed has become too fast), looks unprofessional. How can such a person be entrusted with the organization of such a large-scale process? Will he be able to justify the time and resources spent by the team and produce cool shots? In addition, such hitches take invaluable time when renting a studio, and the photographer himself feels insecure.
Therefore, before you go into the fashion genre, give up shooting in automatic modes and fully master all the camera settings. Understand why you need ISO, shutter speed, aperture.
Fashion often works with beauty dishes, stripboxes, reflectors and massive octoboxes — if you don’t know where to start, focus on them.
Bad lighting on set: what to avoid, how to fix
What is a stripbox and how to use it
Soft light: how to create outdoors and indoors
Learn retouching and follow its trends
Once upon a time, brown, warm tones were in fashion, even earlier — licked faces almost to the point of plasticity. Now naturalness is in the retouching trends.
Even if you do not touch the photos yourself, but leave everything at the mercy of a third-party retoucher, you must understand what and how he did, how high-quality and accurate his work is.