Fashion photography, whether it’s studio photography or location shooting, requires different considerations than traditional portrait photography. Fashion photography, unless purely artistic in nature, usually has a goal or a client objective in mind. The designer wants their outfit, accessory or product to be showcased in the most compelling light possible. Clients and models also look to the fashion photographer to bring something new, extra or unexpected to the photo. Here are ten tips for outstanding fashion photography that can help bring that “Wow” factor to your shots:
1. The Eyes Have ItIn studio photography, eye contact directly into the camera lens can be very powerful. Eye contact engages the viewer in a strong and impactful way. However, it can also be effective to have the model looking away as if considering something off camera; this will inspire a level of intrigue and mystery in the photo — another way to engage the viewer. You can also experiment with having two models looking at one another in a shot. This will create a story within the image, an unspoken dialogue or connection, and the viewer can’t help but become engaged.
2. Play with AnglesA known fashion photography technique is to shoot the model from below, looking upward in order to elongate her. For this type of effect, the photographer should be low or even laying on the ground to find the ideal angle for the shot. However, don’t be afraid to move around and try a wide variety of different angles; get up on a posing stool or a ladder and shoot downward. Try shooting from the side or with the camera off-center. You just never know what angle will yield a compelling or innovative shot.
3. Lighting EffectsLighting can make or break a photo. Try mixing your available existing lights with a strobe or tungsten in your studio photography. Leave your camera shutter open longer than usual and allow the flare to come in. Light effects can create and increase the drama of a shot — why not experiment and make use of them?
4. Models in MotionTry taking your model out of the studio while all dressed up in her couture, heels and full hair and make-up. Getting a model out of her element and heading to a park, waterfront, busy sidewalk or even the mall can change the entire energy of a shoot for the better.
5. Don’t Miss Those Killer Candid ShotsWatch for those stolen, spontaneous moments “between shots” when the model isn’t paying attention. Snap her when she’s toying with a lock of hair, adjusting her blouse or tightening the strap on her shoe. These shots will feel more genuine than the posed ones and can be extremely effective.
6. Use Seamless Paper BackgroundsA seamless paper backdrop can create the perfect setting for your fashion photography shoots. Sleek, smooth and available in just about any color you can imagine, seamless paper is one of the most versatile backgrounds for fashion photography. It’s also affordable enough that you can stock a variety of colors in your studio. If it rips, just unroll another section and discard the old piece.
7. Get Props InvolvedArtfully chosen and integrated props can take your fashion photography into the stratosphere. A piano, some feathers or a boa constrictor can definitely dazzle, but even spontaneously chosen props will enhance the shot. Have the model toy around with her mascara or a tube of lipstick. Props allow the viewer to feel a bit like a voyeur, as if catching the model in a private moment.
8. Play with TexturesIf you have some latitude with the clothing and accessories, play around with layered scarves, jewelry and sheer fabrics. Juxtapose textures against one another both on the model and in the background. You can even explore textured effects through creative use of lighting.
9. Play with EmotionsHave your model sulk, scowl, or pretend to cry or laugh intensely. Encourage their inner actress to take over for awhile and bring a range of emotions into the shots. Expressions that convey emotion will engage viewers and hold attention longer than a generic, predictable fashion pose.
10. Bend the Rules (Or Break Them)Experiment with wild and unexpected compositions in your shots. Put the model way off to one edge or corner of the frame. Fashion is all about innovation and pushing the envelope; bring this energy into your fashion photography as well. (One word of caution: Be sure you have some level of proficiency following “the rules” before attempting to break them!)
Do you prefer shooting fashion photography in studio or outdoors?
-Backdrop Express Photography TeamInterested in learning more about model photography? Check out A Guide to Glamour Photography!
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