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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.

The main task of fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phy is to present the prod­uct in a prof­itable way, to show the view­er the per­fect pic­ture, of which he wants to become a part / Source: unsplash.com

Gather references

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?

The more accu­rate­ly you select ref­er­ences, the bet­ter oth­ers will under­stand you — every­one has dif­fer­ent ideas about what is beau­ti­ful, and what is strange, bold, bold / Source: unsplash.com

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.


Read also:

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?


Read also:

Shoot­ing ideas: how to find your style as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er


It is impor­tant to under­stand what you like about the work of oth­er pho­tog­ra­phers and why you think it is good / Source: unsplash.com

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.

In this genre, you can try the most dar­ing ideas and play on para­dox­es / Source: unsplash.com

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.

Study light: what is hard and soft light, pulsed and con­stant, what noz­zles are and how they affect the appear­ance of the pic­ture / Source: unsplash.com

Fash­ion often works with beau­ty dish­es, strip­box­es, reflec­tors and mas­sive octo­box­es — if you don’t know where to start, focus on them.


Read also:

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.

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