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Fashion Photography
by Josh Thatcher

 

Fashion Photography is a vital mechanism for the preservation of style, beauty, and culture of the past and present. A focus on makeup, hair, clothing, wardrobe styling, accessorizing, pose work, and photo composition are key to creating fashion images. On top of that, throw in lighting, backgrounds, lenses, and camera decisions to the work process. There is a large amount of work and thought that needs to go into creating a great fashion image. These all contribute to the fundamental building blocks to crafting beautiful fashion photographs: location choices, composition of the photographs, the pose and mood generated by the atmosphere of the shoot, and the communication between the photographer and the model.

Location work can be a powerful tool in creating unique fashion photographs. There are great backgrounds all around us. It is your job as the photographer to see them. Any site can have potential, but if you are at a location, and it does not work or look good in your photo, then donít waste time trying to force that area to work. You will just end up with lots of work that does not do anyone involved justice. One of the coolest ideas I have seen about photography was a very simple idea of setting an alarm on your cell phone or watch, and when the alarm goes off, stop what you are doing, pick up your camera, and make art! This will help you find ways to compose great shots in many situations and /or locations. You can transfer this idea into your fashion shoots with trying to locate shooting areas and good backgrounds.

The art of composition is very similar to choosing an appropriate or distinctive location. Donít be afraid to fill your workspace and try interesting frame work. Study your composition prior to taking the shot. Be sure to take your time to frame it up correctly. Fashion photography is an art and you will want to set yourself apart from all of the other photographers out there. It can be very hard to do because so many ideas have been tried, and just as many have been worn out. This does not mean donít go for something new. It means do your best to compose an ageless photo that will astonish people for the rest of time. These shots will be here long after we are all gone.

A key aspect to fashion photography is the pose and mood of the model and how it reflects the type of look or style. As the photographer, it is your job to capture not only that style, but the underlying mood. Look at the images that are successful in the fashion world. You need to study the pose work just as much as the model does. Activate your viewerís eye with poses that have fluidity. Break it upÖ study the positioning of the hands, fingers, head, eyes, legs, feet, arms, and how they all work together to convey the mood desired. Two dimensional views can make subjects look very flat if you are not careful with how you capture the pose. If the pose is not pleasing to the eye then it is a waste of your time and the modelís time. Go and show the model what you see, and then talk about what it will take to make it better. Study moods and know how to explain them to your model. Fashion shooting is like a sport in the respect that the model must warm up and stay warmed up not only with their pose work, but also in their ability to flow in and out of certain moods.

In order to create artistic fashion photos, it is crucial to have good communication skills. The photographer has to communicate to the model not only on pose ideas or issues, but tone, mood, and expressions that are needed to fit the vision for the photo shoot. For example, if you find that the model is moving too fast for your shooting speed, the model keeps moving out of range, or has a bad habit that appears in the shots, then tell them. It is the photographerís job to compose great shots by orchestrating both model and camera techniques. Donít be afraid to speak up. Once they learn your shooting style (usually in the warm up period or first set) they will be in sync with you. Then, you are a finely tuned art making machine.



Location, Composition, Posing, and Communication really are the basics to creating exceptional, unique fashion photographs. The best advice I can pass on is to not take on more than you should. What I mean by this is, isolate your learning process.

First, master using only natural light with your camera. Then, slowly add in other factors; things like reflectors and lighting. Add one dimension at a time; exhaust each of the new dimensions until you have become a master in that area. It is easy to do too much, so keep in mind that sometimes a simple setup can make the most beautiful photographs.

Also, donít rush your shoot; take test shots to determine if any changes need to be made. It will pay off to get everything the way you want it in your test photos. Let the model know you are testing; it is a great way to break startup tension. When you get your in-camera photos looking their best, your post processing work is going to be that much better. Remember and hold on to the art of photography! It is very easy to get carried away with post processing. Work on it if you must, but donít go overboard.

And finally, shoot, shoot, shoot, and then shoot some more Ė once you feel like you are good at what you do, pick up your camera and give your shutter another workout. Look back at any occupation you have ever had; whether it is data crunching or flipping burgers, the more you do it, the better you get. So, get out there and work like crazy, you will keep improving.


Josh Thatcher is a photographer who loves pleasing his clients just as much as he loves creating good quality photographic images. Josh is one photographer who will always go above and beyond the norm to get the results you are wishing for. Sincerely dedicated to his craft, Josh is the photographer you would really want to hire to record an event of major importance in your life. You can learn more about Josh and his work by visiting his website.

Click here to download a printable version of Fashion Photography.

 
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