Fashion photography is hot, it’s happening and it’s creative as hell.
I’ve been commissioned for fashion shoots in my time and I always find them so different from my normal style of shooting because they are so styled and planned.
Artistic license is something we all enjoy and in a prepared shoot with a brief you may expect to be limited but you still hold all the cards with the lighting, angles and emotion of the images you produce.
Of course these generally need to satisfy a client and not just your audience so be mindful of that!
In this blog we have a real treat for you! We are going to look at a fashion photographer’s profile plus we will go through 10 great tips for fashion photography.
Fashion photographer profile
Dave Kai-Piper is a phenomenally talented photographer and one I have been lucky enough to meet and spend some time with.
Dave is a deeply creative man and one who has had worldwide success with his fashion photography.
When I spent the morning with Dave I was surprised that he was photographing someone in direct sunlight but Dave likes to do things differently. He follows his vision and creates what he pre visualises in his head - it’s all part of the process!
To help in such bright conditions, Dave used a portable Camel flash to fill shadows on the model’s face whilst keeping them in place on her surroundings. Shadows give texture and drama to an image and they bring out the texture of background objects.
Pre-visualising an image is a crucial part of thinking like a photographer. You have to know what you want from an image in order to tell the camera what to do. Dave is a very experienced photographer and he spends more time managing the surroundings, checking tiny details and directing his model on a fashion shoot than he does actually taking pictures.
Fashion photography is about the clothes - not the model. It exists to sell garments so the images have to be eye-catching.
I was very interested that Dave used Lee ND grad filters which are usually considered the work a day tools of landscape photographers. Dave often grads both top and bottom of the image in a letterbox effect to concentrate the viewer’s attention in the areas he wants them to look.
Dave shoots with Fuji XT-1 and Xpro cameras using two bodies with different lenses on them. This saves time on a shoot because there’s less lens changing to do and also less chance of getting dust on these mirrorless camera’s sensors whilst doing it.
You can watch some of my time with Dave in this video.
Top 10 tips for fashion photography
Fashion photography can be a really fun way to push your limits, try new things and really let your creativity run wild!
1. Keep lighting simple
Use one light source and a reflector where possible. Use what you have in terms of daylight and work with the location.
2. Experiment with lenses
Use different lenses for different shoots but also try to mix it up and see how it impacts the photographs creatively.
3. Focus on the model
Use one focus point, don’t overcomplicate the shot! Use autofocus when you can and change your focal settings for a moving scene.
4. Direct with confidence
You’re running the show! Have a shot list and know what you want out of the shoot. Make the model feel comfortable too.
5. Use Props
Tell a story and use props to do it! Storytelling is so important with fashion because it draws the audience in and helps them see themselves in the story.
6. Pose your model
Use magazines or the internet to research different poses so that you have an arsenal to use on the day.
7. Try new angles
Models don’t need to be photographed face on, challenge yourself to be more courageous and try new perspectives entirely!
8. Be prepared
It’s imperative that you arrive on location knowing your concept and having a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Fashion photography is scheduled and needs designers, make up artists, hair stylists and models - having an outcome in mind helps run the shoot.
9. Break the rules
Photography is subjective. Change the lighting, be creative and think outside the box. Some of the most memorable fashion shoots have been wacky and wonderful!
10. Shoot ALL THE TIME
Don’t stop shooting. Have your camera when you are on and off location - continuously adding into your repertoire of knowledge and experience. This will make you better in every situation.
Thinking like a photographer is what will elevate your skills as a photographer and if you need training to get there then the 7 Building Blocks of Photography is for you.
This course will give you everything you need to merge technical skill with creative thinking, updating your narrative and improving the photos you take.