Fashion photography is a fast-paced genre of photography that is constantly changing and evolving. Due to the unique nature of fashion, this genre allows for a wide creative scope meaning you can always capture some fresh and unique images!
Time to get creative – but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin! Not to worry: we’ve put together our top 7 tips to take your fashion photography to the next level.
So, what are you waiting for? Start reading to hear our top tips – and don’t forget! August 2019’s theme for our Digital Splash Photography competition is Fashion, so why not put these tips into action and enter your best Fashion images for your chance to win up to £500 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers? We can’t wait to see what you create.
Grow your idea
Sometimes, the best images are ones captured spontaneously, but it’s often is much more beneficial to prepare a concept beforehand. This is particularly key with a fashion image, where you may need to consider a model, style or theme and a location, at the very least.
You can never be too prepared. The worst-case scenario is that you find that your idea didn’t quite pan out as you thought. If this happens you could branch off as you see fit during the shoot, or go away, take it as a learning curve, rethink and try again.
The best-case scenario? Your detailed planning makes sure that your shoot goes exactly how you imagined, and you have images that bring your thoughts perfectly to life!
Create lists, mind maps, mood boards etc. to help really expand your idea and convey your vision. Think about props and costumes/outfits. Think about location, weather and lighting conditions, equipment you might need etc.
Location, location, location
You’ve got your concept – now it’s time to consider where you’re going to bring it to life!
Fashion photography is particularly suited to a studio environment, as you have greater control over the conditions. For example, you can manipulate lighting and positioning to reduce unwanted shadows.
But that’s not to say you can’t shoot outdoors! You can plan for the forecasted weather but if it starts to rain unexpectedly, or it’s windier than predicted, think creatively and make it work to your advantage. If you’re shooting outdoors, take full advantage of your surroundings and incorporate the natural environment into your image. Think trees, park benches, fields full of flowers, graffitied walls etc.
Props & Styling
The use of props and makeup can really help to tell a story within the image. Fashion is a very expressive medium, just like photography and so combining the two to create a theme within the image can be very effective. Try to think how the outfit (also known as a look in fashion photography terms) can work with the environment. Then try adding relevant props and even make-up for effect if necessary.
For example: If you’re styling a streetwear shoot, a concrete city backdrop would be a good fit for the theme, whereas a country clothing shoot may require more greenery!
Background, props, colour palette, and make-up will all have a big influence on the final aesthetic of the image.
Get those angles!
With fashion photography, it can be tempting to stick to classic portraiture shots. While this can sometimes be the best option to suit what you want to portray in the image, we recommend experimenting with different angles. You may be surprised to find that different angles expose the clothing piece or outfit in a way that you might not have expected. Get closer, move further away. Get low and climb up somewhere high (safely of course!). Tilt your camera to the left and to the right. Shoot the garment/model from the front, from behind and from the side.
With fashion photography, the most common composition you’ll come across generally places the subject (model) in the centre as the main focus. This breaks away from the traditional Rule of Thirds whereby the subject is placed off-centre. However, placing the subject directly in the centre can sometimes make the image appear flat and unexciting. Here are some of our tips to make your subject pop and add additional dimension to an image where the subject is in the centre:
- Think about your background. If possible, try and frame your subject by features in the background, for example have your model stand between 2 buildings, or a lamppost and street sign. Alternatively, choose a busy background with lots going on, then select a lower aperture to blur out the background and focus on your model. This will allow your model to really stand out and draw the viewer’s attention, without the image looking 2-dimensional and dull. The image above is a good example of these techniques.
- If you’re photographing a model think about the pose. Make sure it’s flattering for a start!
- Try and create a bit of movement within the pose – get your model to jump or maybe bring in a fan to add movement to the clothing or hair.
- Counter-balance. If you want to position your model centrally, consider counterbalancing to correct your composition. Some examples include using multiple models and making use of shadows and reflections.
We recommend setting your camera to Manual to allow full creative control over your images. You can also use different camera modes, for example, if you’re shooting classic portraits, some cameras have a portrait mode, as do most smartphones.
When it comes to specific settings, it’s impossible for us to recommend the exact settings that will work perfectly each time. It will totally depend on lighting, environment and the way you want your image to look. However, here are a couple of settings that we’d suggest as a general guideline to begin with for fashion photography:
ISO – As low as possible to reduce noise in the image.
Shutter speed – As your model/fashion piece is likely to be still, you don’t need a super high shutter speed. We would, however, suggest a slightly higher shutter speed if shooting outdoors compared to indoors to ensure there is no unwanted movement or blur.
Aperture – Experiment with depth of field; you really want the model to be the focus, not the background behind them. Using a lens with a wide aperture, such as F1.4 and shooting “wide open” (i.e. with your aperture set to F1.4) you can create that lovely soft background blur aka “bokeh”.
Ideally, you want to shoot in RAW, so that you retain every little detail directly from the camera’s sensor without any processing. This will give you ultimate creative control and freedom when editing your images in Photoshop or Lightroom. We like to shoot in RAW and JPEG so that we have a copy for editing and a copy that’s ready to go. Post-processing is an important step to enhance any image. Within fashion photography however, it’s key to keep spot-removal and skin corrections to a minimum to keep the model looking natural. Other techniques such as colour grading and adding grain can be a great way to add to the final aesthetic of the image.
Click here to enter your fashion images into August’s Digital Splash Awards for the chance to win £100 in Wilkinson Cameras vouchers!