Fashion Photography 2
In part 1 I interviewed Dave Kai-Piper about his work as a top fashion photographer and he invited me to join him early next day to shoot some early morning images down by the sea whilst no one's about.
With a clear sky and the sun skimming low over the water I asked Dave why he was photographing a person in direct sunlight? Surely this is the worst light possible for people photography! For dave it’s about doing things differently and following his inner vision, his pre-visualisation of the images he sees in his head.
To help him, Dave uses 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. They bring out the shape of angular objects like the beach huts where we began the shoot.
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.
Photography is about quality not quantity. And I don’t mean file sizes and resolutions. I mean the impact the image has, how pleasing it is to look at, the feelings it provokes in the viewer. 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 to see Dave using Lee ND grad filters which are usually considered the work a day tools of landscape photographers. And he doesn’t only use one filter. He 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. This is all part of using the 1st Building Block of Photography - your brilliant brain to think outside the box and be creative in the way we use photographic the tools we have available to us.
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.
As you can see, this is all about thinking like a photographer. It’s not just me who says cameras don’t take pictures. Dave is a widely published professional fashion photographer as in the video you can see him doing it.
If you are good with technicalities and techniques of photography but are not getting the images you hoped for. maybe it’s time for you to learn how to think like a photographer yourself…
Before The 7 Building Blocks of Photography I didn't have any structure and used to delete 95% of my images. I have now learned to look at the qualities of light. I can spot a problem before I press the shutter. Composition has greatly improved and focal length is no longer just for making things bigger. A fantastic course which I definately recommend.