The Basics of Fashion Photography

From its beginnings almost 200 years ago to today, fashion photography has evolved to cultivate and redefine visual culture, beauty, and art. But fashion photos are not just about the clothes. They combine the spirit of the model with elements of photography such as lighting, composition and exposure, along with some of these other photography terms you should know.  If you are looking for a brief primer for fashion photography, keep reading.

Small budget? No problem

If you are only starting out on your career as a fashion photographer, it is likely that your resources are limited. Don’t let this scare you. When it comes to equipment, even a single light source is enough, if paired with two reflectors. It certainly helps if you have a high quality digital camera, though, but once you do, the possibilities are aplenty.

The Basics of Fashion Photography

Resolution matters

High resolution is key to a good fashion photo. Although many fashion photographers advocate the use of film, modern DSLRs can perform much better than almost all film cameras for fashion photography. But more importantly, make sure you have the right lenses for your camera. Chuck the zoom lenses and opt for wide lenses when you start shooting.

Auto-focus is your friend

In fashion photography, the distance between you and your subject is always the same, and so, letting your camera figure out the focus can be more effective than doing it manually. However, make sure to adjust the exposure settings by yourself. Once you do, you can safely maintain the same ISO, aperture and shutter speed throughout the shoot.

It’s easier than you think

One of the great things about fashion photography is that your subject rarely moves, although they may change facial expressions and gestures. With your subject in one place, you can experiment with many different types of angles and positions with minimal movement on your subject’s part.

Take it outside

Some of the best fashion photos have been shot in outdoor locations—those with natural views, and also more unexpected locations like urban areas. It adds more dimensions to the photo; gives it a setting. Outdoor fashion photography does tend to be a bit more challenging than studio photography, as you are required to work with natural light sources and also incorporate your knowledge of landscape photography. But if you can pull it off, it can be very rewarding indeed.

Brush up on your Photoshop

Unedited fashion photos are almost unheard of. From blemishes, wrinkles (in skin and in clothing) and flyaway hair to more subtle things like lighting and composition, editing will be a key aspect of your fashion photography experience. Accordingly, knowledge of the Photoshop software is invaluable and in fact essential to a fashion photographer.

Need more advice on how to start up your fashion photography career? Click here.