Fashion photography is about telling a story. Whether its haute couture or streetwear, shoot in a way that makes the fashion item stand-out from the crowd. It’s about finding balance between different elements, such as your subject, backdrop, outfit and accessory. Read on for some quick and simple tips on how to get started.
When it comes to finding inspiration for a fashion shoot, the best place to look is right in front of you – your subject matter. Seek inspiration in the garments and looks you will be capturing. Normally, it will be the stylist’s job to dress the subject, but from a photography standpoint, it’s also imperative that you understand what they’re trying to achieve. The goal is to create a flowing narrative with perfect synergy between your subject, their clothes, and their surroundings. So, the best place to begin looking for inspiration is from the items and clothes themselves. Think about the message you’re trying to convey and what you want your audience to feel when they look at your work. That should be your starting point. Another way to find inspiration is from those around you, be open to ideas from the model, other people on the shoot, or even passersby, you never know who could help you find that spark.
Once you have an idea of the story you’re trying to tell, then it’s time to get yourself kitted out. Essentially, all you need to get started is a camera, a light source, several light reflectors, and a subject – then you’re good to go. Don’t feel like you need to spend a ton of money to get state-of-the-art kit, you can achieve the same desired look with a little creativity and know-how.
Now, to begin, you’ll need the essentials, such as a high-resolution camera and lens. An ideal lens to use would be a medium angle telephoto lens that has a range starting from at least 50mm to 100mm. Tripods are also an essential piece of kit, especially if you want to spend time perfecting the lighting on your subject you’ll need to keep your camera still and steady. If using a backdrop, be sure to use one that complements your subject and doesn’t clash with the outfit or item.
Once you have everything in place, this is when the real work begins. Slowly tweak your equipment and settings until you get your desired look and ambience. Whether you are photographing with natural lighting outdoors or studio lighting indoors, experiment with different kinds of lighting and see what works best. There are no definitive rules when it comes to the camera settings, but a fast shutter speed is required if you want to capture sharper and crisper images of your subject, and a slower shutter speed is better if you want to capture some dynamic motion. It is also ideal to shoot in raw, allowing you to have more creative freedom when it comes to post-production.
In fashion photography, the subject is central to the composition. That’s not to say the subject should physically be at the centre, but they should be the focal point of the image, after all, it’s the outfit and design that should do the talking. Finding a cooperative model with personality is therefore imperative to having a successful fashion shoot. An experienced model will be able to adapt to your ideas and style, however, if finding an experienced model is beyond your means, then recruiting your friends is a good alternative to achieving your desired shots. Just make sure their body language is consistent with the story you’re trying to tell.
Finding the right location to shoot could make or break your compositions. Think carefully about the overall theme of the shoot and whether the backdrop reflects that. An option would be to use a plain backdrop draped over a wall in your house or studio, however, if you’re a little more daring, you can capture some truly inspiring shots using a natural environment and natural light. To choose a suitable backdrop, take inspiration from your subject and garments. For example, if you’re intending to capture streetwear, why not try shooting in an urban environment? The backdrop and your subject should work in harmony to tell a narrative. While this leaves the door open to many locations and variations, there are a few rules you should follow. Try to always keep it simple, you want your viewers looking at the subject matter, not the street or studio you decided to shoot in.
Just like fashion itself, fashion photography is about pushing boundaries and trying something new. Discover a unique style that’s true to you – grab your camera, an interesting piece of clothing or accessory, a model, and get shooting wherever you are.