With more than 150 years of history, the fashion photography field has only gotten more prestigious.
The heyday of fashion magazines is credited with sparking the initial interest in fashion photography. A century ago, pictures of catwalks and street fashion helped capitals like Paris and New York get to know one another. In the middle of the 1950s, demand for fashion advertising increased due to the emergence of mass-market fashion and the intensifying manufacturer competition.
Additionally, this type of photography is more important than ever in the Internet era for companies, media, and opinion leaders. High-quality photo material is necessary for targeted advertising campaigns, eCommerce platforms, fashion blogs, and social media communication.
Why not pursue it as developing fashion photography talents might earn a photographer more money? We’ve put up a summary of the essential information about the genre you need to know to get started quickly.
What is Fashion Photography?
The goal of the fashion photography genre is to highlight clothing and accessories. Photographers position models wearing apparel for these uses. Photographing fashion models is the term for this method. Product fashion photography is another type, where products are photographed inside, against a solid background, or next to other items that contribute to the mood of the image.
On stocks, fashion photography differs slightly from traditional photography. If an item’s connection to a brand or fashion designer is clear, stock photographers are not permitted to capture it. Logos and special garment designs may fall within the purview of intellectual property, and as such, authorization from the copyright holder is required before they may be photographed and sold to a third party.
Because of this, fashion stock photography frequently depicts a certain type of apparel without mentioning any particular maker.
Over the years, fashion photography has also seen significant development. This field’s trends are a reflection of societal, political, and even artistic developments. For instance, the editorial fashion photography shoots for Art et Decoration (1911) by American photographer, painter, and curator Edward Steichen, a Luxembourgian-born, are regarded as the first fashion photo shoots in the contemporary sense of the word. The photographer wanted to make fashion into another form of art.
Twenty years later, in the 1930s, photography took over as the primary means of disseminating fashion news. As a result, fashion photographers concentrated on highlighting the unique qualities of clothing.
Brands added fashion photography to their toolkit in the middle of the 20th century and started building their advertising campaigns around photographs. Photographers were then given a new assignment: to demonstrate how a certain brand’s items are the first step toward the ideal lifestyle that potential customers desire.
Where We Can Spot Fashion Photography:
Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, GQ, and Esquire are notable examples.
Fashion Blogs and Online Platforms
Important illustrations include Fashionista, The Zoe Report, Red Carpet Fashion Awards, Business of Fashion, Who What Wear, and Popsugar Fashion.
Examples include the Marc Jacobs campaign with Victoria Beckham in 2008, the Calvin Klein “Obsession” advertisement from 1993, the Nike “Better for It” campaign from 2015, and the Yohji Yamamoto “Red Bustle” campaign with Naomi Campbell (1986)
Important examples (measured by revenue) include Macy’s, Amazon, Gap, and Nordstrom.
Influencer Accounts on Instagram, Youtube, and Tiktok
Cole Sprouse, Chiara Ferragni, Camila Coelho, Zoe Sugg, Tess Christine, and Vanessa Zilleti are notable examples.
Fashion photographers Helmut Newton, Nick Knight, Annie Leibovitz, Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino, Francesco Scavullo, Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, Herb Ritts, Peter Lindbergh, and Jurgen Teller are among the most known in history.
7 Fashion Photography Tips For Beginners
- Remember Basic Composition Rules
If you’ve shot models before, you should be quite familiar with these guidelines. If not, you can read more about them in Back to Basics: 10 Composition Rules in Photography, one of our most-read blog pieces. Here, we give a succinct overview of three of the most well-liked ones:
- Rule of Thirds
This guideline can be used both in-camera and thereafter. Make sure the focal points of your picture are at the intersections of the horizontal and vertical thirds that you’ve drawn in your frame, which should be divided into three equal halves.
- Symmetrical Composition
Consider splitting your shot in half by a line. This line may be diagonal, vertical, or both. Make the primary object in the frame the axis of symmetry after that.
- Golden Ratio
It takes skill to compose a photo utilizing the golden ratio. Divide the frame into two equally sized pieces, then do this repeatedly. The bigger component’s size should be used to describe the smaller component in the same way as it describes the full frame. Make sure the progression is followed by the primary items in the frame.
- Start With Outdoor Fashion Photography
One of the most well-liked subgenres of fashion photography is street fashion. Additionally, it’s a simple approach for you to hone your abilities. Learn about Street Photography Advice: If you want to go on this path, see Making the Most of a Boring Location.
You may improve your photographic composition, develop your ability to deal with difficult lighting conditions, and develop rapport with models by regularly practicing photographing street fashion. Shooting streetwear also enables you to develop your eye for spotting unique subjects.
Be cautious to obtain consent from your subjects if you intend to use your street photography in your portfolio (here is a model release form you can use).
- Highlight Fashion Items
As you are well aware, the focal point of your shot in this genre is a fashion item. The fashion piece must always stand out, whether you’re detailing an ensemble or conveying an artistic concept.
This effect may be produced by contrasting the model’s clothing with the background or with the environment. Color contrast, volume contrast (the “big” shoe in the foreground and the little person in the background), volume ratio, degree of light and shadow, and other factors may all be used to create contrast in fashion photography.
- Look For Underlying Meaning and Stories
It might be challenging for photographers who have previously specialized in non-portrait genres to grasp the concept of fashion photography. With a little practice, you can comprehend how it operates. Stop thinking about capturing apparel inside of frames. Instead, consider the history of certain pieces of clothing. Inquiries to consider when you draught your story:
- Who created this? Why did they pick this shade and fashion?
- Why is the individual wearing these clothes in front of you? What are they feeling?
- Where does someone who looks like this go? What do onlookers believe about them?
- How would someone’s day be with this attire on?
Your responses to these questions may not be immediately useful, but over time you will start to see interesting storylines in your experiences. By including themed objects in the frame, you may further improve them. View how some of our contributors handle this challenge: Days from the Fashion Week photo collection.
- Interact With Objects To Create Themed Frames
Most likely, you are already aware of the idea of natural frames. A picture of a window with a view of the sea is a good illustration of this creative approach. As a result, the window frame adds another frame to your image and deepens it.
Using branches and leaves, mirrors, blinds, fences, sunglasses, bracelets, and other items as a frame may provide an intriguing aesthetic effect. Select items that support or accentuate the theme you want to convey through the image. For instance, images shot from the outside, through a window in the living room, may be used to display lockdown home fashion.
- Change Your Angle of View Often
Regardless of the genre, they have selected, photographers need to change their views. Given that most fashion photographs are traditional full-length portraits, surprising viewpoints may be a wonderful approach for fashion photographers to stand out with their portfolio.
Keep in mind that changing the angle when photographing models might modify the subject’s dimensions, especially if you’re using a wide-angle lens. This allows you to “lengthen” the model’s legs or arms or highlight a little item (just place it in the foreground and as close to the camera as possible). These pointers will assist you in avoiding errors:
- Decide on Outfit Style in Advance
The secret to a successful photograph is choosing the appropriate attire. The stylist is frequently in charge of the attire and accessories while photos are taken for fashion publications or advertisements. Stock photographers don’t always have the chance to collaborate with stylists or outfit models in popular apparel and brands.
Fortunately, exceptional photographers are those who have a distinctive vision and are imaginative thinkers rather than those who have access to branded attire and an army of assistants. Anything that is in the frame will be shown in some fashion. We advise you to make the most of what you already have but to not undervalue the planning that goes into a picture shoot:
- Amass a collection of sources or a mood board (more tips here: How to Make a Mood board).
- Have a conversation with the model to obtain a sense of their demeanor and look.
- Make a list of everything you’ll need for photography with your model.
Always remember that careful planning and clothing from consignment shops are preferable to branded products that don’t complement your frame and don’t fit your model.
Fashion photography is a very cutthroat industry. You only succeed if you can portray fashion in a positive light. And if you do, you get everything: contracts with leading clothing and accessory producers, editorial photo shoots for important fashion periodicals, partnerships with bloggers, and worldwide eCommerce platforms.
A smart approach to learning the craft, tracking your advancement, and perhaps even landing your first customers is to practice fashion photography and keep an online portfolio at Deposit photos. So, utilize the advice in this article to help you get started, and don’t be afraid to play with different lenses, perspectives, and compositions. We wish you well and anticipate seeing your first fashion photographs soon!