Do you want to know how to get started as a fashion photographer, what is the difference between commercial and editorial photography, where to find ideas for new photo shoots and much more? We have translated for you the most interesting moments of a video interview with New York-based fashion photographer Lara Jade, in which she shares her secrets of working in the fashion industry.
1. How to find inspiration as a fashion photographer
I get asked this all the time and the quickest answer is: go to Pinterest — it’s an amazing place because you’ll find tons of pre-made moodboards there.
You can search by keywords to find the right trend. If you think about fashion photography in general, then there are many different trends in it. Spring-summer, autumn-winter, fashion trends for resorts and so on.
Spring-summer and autumn-winter are the main trends for inspiration that you will see. Designers create these trends for every season, and we look for inspiration in them — what kind of story or concept can be created based on them.
For example, you can be inspired by the fashion of the 20s of the last century. And maybe this will lead to the idea of something more futuristic.
So I just do a keyword search on Pinterest, select images I like, open up Photoshop, and quickly make a moodboard out of them. Then I send it to the magazine I want to get into, the team or the model.
2. Understand how editorial works and how you can use it as a marketing tool
Many people ask me what is the difference between editorial and commercial photography.
Editorial is photo shoots for magazines and other media, and commerce is any kind of advertising photography, whether it is shooting for a beauty brand, sunglasses brand, make-up or fashion clothes. As a fashion photographer, you should always strive for a balance between the two.
Because the editorial is where you can showcase your ideas, your lighting techniques, you will have a lot more creative options here. And in a commercial shoot, you will shoot for someone else, in accordance with his vision. Therefore, to get commercial orders, you need to have an excellent editorial or personal portfolio — because it shows the best side of your work.
In addition, you can always shoot, keeping customers in mind. That’s why I usually give this advice: when shooting an editorial, always keep in mind potential customers from the commercial sphere, because this is a great marketing tool.
3. As a fashion photographer, you need to have a wide variety of skills.
A fashion photographer needs to know a lot of techniques and tricks, because you shoot not only in the studio. You are not just a beauty photographer.
You can get a job where you need to shoot right on the roof. You can view the photo shoot as more of a documentary. You can take portraits. Therefore, there are many different situations and types of shooting for which you may be called as a fashion photographer.
I always try to learn new techniques. I can study for a month with a little shooting with constant light, because maybe I will also shoot video. And then I can start shooting more beauty photos and learn new tricks in this genre, because I may have a client from the beauty industry who will demand to showcase radiant skin in the pictures.
The best people in the industry are constantly learning new things.
4. You don’t need tons of equipment to create great work.
Some of the best photographers work with minimal equipment to build their portfolios.
If you only have one lens and that’s all you can afford, make it work its best. If you only have one light and one accessory, like a 150cm octobox, you can already create a lot of great work that would fit into your portfolio.
When I started out as a photographer, I could only afford a camera, one 50mm lens and a reflector. I worked for years only with this, while finding agents and receiving many commercial orders.
5. Treat every day like a 9 to 5 job, even if you’re a freelance photographer
I’m talking about this because you need to do marketing every day. Or at least a few times a week when you’re not filming so that your work is in front of potential clients.
The more emails you send with the right words and work to the right people, the more chances you have of getting clients. It’s not enough to just post your photos on social media and expect to be found. You need to be active and show the work to the right people. Believe me, as soon as you start doing this, you will have more customers.
In addition, I advise you to shoot with a commercial setting. Do each photo shoot thinking, “I’m shooting for this client today, even if it’s a personal shoot” or “Today I’m shooting for this editor, but I’m also thinking about jewelry clients” (if you’re shooting jewelry). Always think about how it can be a marketing job at the same time.
The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the editors.