Fashion and model photography is one of the most glamorous niches you can pursue. But it’s not only hard to make it to the top as a model or a photographer. Starting in the industry in itself can be difficult.
Bringing your vision to life as a professional photographer generally requires more than you, a Canon or Nikon camera and a photo session.
You need a subject – and if you’re a lifestyle or fashion photographer, that subject is often an actual model. But where do you find the suitable model for fashion or portrait photography photoshoots?
Typically, fashion photographers connect with model agencies when finding models for their photoshoots and go through a casting call process.
However, agencies can be expensive, and if you’re a beginner photographer, they may be hesitant to work with you.
Instead, it’s best to steer away from professional models who might also need some experience — it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. It will help keep your studio photography credit card expenses down.
If you work hard and have the right attitude, nothing is impossible. In this article, we’ll share with you seven crucial fashion and model photography tips.
Crucial Fashion And Model Photography Tips
Collaborate With Other Artists To Gain Experience
Now that you have a few photos to show, you can start looking for people to collaborate with. A fashion photographer is no one without a team. If you don’t know any models, stylists, and makeup artists, you can find them. Websites such as Model Mayhem and One Model Place are good places to start.
Prepare the small collection of images you took of your friends. These sites will ask you to upload a portfolio. Your images will be a way for other artists to gauge how good you are at fashion photography. If they like what they see, they’ll want to work with you.
The same goes for when you look at the portfolios of the individuals you want to include in your team. There are artists on these websites asking for monetary compensation. But you’ll also find a good number of them offering what’s called “time for print.”
This means they’re willing to provide their service for free as long as you give them photos of the models. This is a perfect way to expand your portfolio without spending any money.
And the more you photograph, the more confident you’ll be to take photos of strangers. This is a big hurdle for any aspiring fashion photographer. Even though you’ll be working for free, remember to treat it like a real job. There are many networking sites you can use.
Why You Should Retouch Your Fashion Photography
Apart from taking photos, you also need to learn how to retouch your work and make it look better. Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop are great for this. While these apps have a lot of similarities, they both serve specific purposes as well. There are plenty of technical differences between the two. But these are the critical aspects that you need to know:
Photoshop has all the components you’ll need for editing photos. It has dozens of tools. These allow you to do anything from simple retouching to doing complex photo manipulations.
Since it has many “moving parts,” it can also be too complicated and time-consuming.
A screenshot of editing model photography on photoshop, If you want to get things done faster, Lightroom is the perfect app. It’s ideal for applying colour correction, colour grading, and minimal retouching. It may have fewer controls, but it offers a smoother workflow than Photoshop, a screenshot of editing fashion photography in Lightroom.
You can choose one over the other depending on your needs.
But it’s a great idea to have them both. Editing requirements vary from one photo to another.
Lightroom can work for most of your needs. But you might need Photoshop for more extensive editing. Whether you use Nikon or Canon, you will still need varying degrees of post-processing.
Why Finding A Style Is Important
Style is subjective. But there are a few methods you can try to help you find your signature look. First, you need to ask yourself what inspires you the most. Do you enjoy doing street fashion photography? Do you dislike high fashion professional model photography? Or do you like to mix both?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but whatever you choose, work on developing it. You may prefer something a little more glamour than serious studio photography headshots.
You can also study different trends and find ways to break off of them.
Create A Solid Fashion Photography Portfolio
There will be a point where the photos you took of your friends won’t suffice anymore. This when you stop being a beginner photographer and get started with accurate models. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to create a fashion/modelling photography website. Apart from that, you also need a physical portfolio, so you don’t need to bring a computer to the interviews.
Many editors still prefer to review accurate prints. Everything looks better on paper than on screen, after all. Ask people to help you decide which photos to include and which ones to discard. Listen to what they have to say.
If they have some criticism, acknowledge it. You need to be tough in this industry. Learn from your mistakes and continue improving yourself. Close up of a person looking through a photography portfolio
Share Your Work On Social Media For More Exposure
Apart from creating a portfolio, sharing your images on social media is a great way to gain exposure. In recent years, Instagram has become the best platform for companies to scout for fresh talent. If you post eye-catching images, modelling agencies might start contacting you.
It can take a while to gain a following, especially since social media is now saturated with fashion photographers. If your work is good and you have a distinct style, you’ll gain people’s attention. The number of your followers will go up. This is necessary for model photographers.
Don’t forget to include hashtags along with your images if you want everyone to see your work. Using basic fashion photography alone will make your photos show up in other people’s Instagram feed.
To boost your discoverability:
- Look for the most popular relevant hashtags.
- Use them every time you post content.
- Feel free to mix up the keywords every once in a while to increase your audience even more.
- Close up of a person sharing fashion and model photography shots on a smartphone.
How To Build A Network In The Fashion Industry
The individuals that you collaborate with are often the first ones that can introduce you to other people. You’ll meet artists who have done bigger gigs and know other professionals.
If your work is exemplary, they might be willing to recommend you to their friends in the business.
Also, feel free to meet and work with more experienced model photographers. Doing things yourself, especially if you don’t know exactly how to do them, can be nerve-wracking. By becoming a model photographer’s assistant, you’ll have a mentor who can teach you a lot about the business. If you do a great job, they might even invite you to work on more significant projects along the way.
Stay in touch with everyone you meet because they can be the key to your success. Keep your lines open because you never know when an opportunity starts knocking. Using a model agency such as Model Mayhem could be an excellent start for model photographers. These models can recommend you to their friends and colleagues. If your friends are fashion designers, then all you need are actual models. Speak to the above modelling agencies for some professional photographer photo sessions.
Tips For Fashion Photography
Essence Of Authority
Fashion photography should convey an essence of authority, so your direction of the model(s) needs to be confident and self-assured. Showing signs of anxiety, stress, or lack of focus will invariably be reflected in your model’s performance, making the subject feel comfortable and involved. Organise a shot list before the shoot and rehearse technique and composition for each shot in your mind. Prepare the location, props and clothes ahead of time and for a genuinely effective shoot, be sure to communicate your plan, objective and posing directions coherently and calmly.
Clothes And Beauty
Fashion photography is all about clothes and beauty, so pull all the scene elements and the model together to reflect this. For example, if the shoot focuses on the clothes– use makeup and hairstyling to compliment the garment – and vice versa. If you desire a provocative or seductive look opt for dark, heavy makeup and over-styled hair; alternatively, for an innocent or natural feel, choose subdued pastel tones, gentle makeup and soft flowing hairstyles. Unusual looking folk bring interest and personality to the piece, whereas female models with large almond eyes, big lips, tiny chins and symmetrical faces are deemed “more commercial”.
Posing can be a tricky point to master but browse through the latest men’s and women’s magazines to target a few inspired suggestions and get a grip on what is currently fashionable. Using ‘broken down’ poses or poses that require angular body shapes can add interest and edginess to the piece and help to elongate body length.
A studio is ideal for performing a fashion shoot because photographers can easily control lighting and stabilise conditions. If you are shooting in a studio environment, remember to meter all the scene areas to avoid unwanted shadows. Using a separate light meter rather than the one in your camera will offer a more accurate reading.
Studio And Equipment
If you can’t afford to hire a professional studio and all the pricey equipment, there is a way you can cheat at home. Clear a space in a room that benefits from large windows and peg a white sheet, net or fabric across the window. On a bright sunny day, you’ll have yourself a homemade softbox – ideal for flattering even light.
Extra Light Source
When shooting in low light or into the sun, you may require an additional light source. If all you have is flash, then rather than shoot straight on, set it to bounce off a nearby reflector, wall or ceiling. Experiment with angles to create an array of effects and discover what works best for you and the scene you are shooting. Be careful to pay attention to unwanted shadows that may fall across the face and body.
Props are fantastic for telling a narrative within a fashion shot, but one of the best props to use is a mirror. A mirror can be used to tell a story and act as an effective tool that allows the photographer to display the front and back of your model. Take a spate reading for the mirror, and you may need to bracket your exposures here. Be careful to position yourself, lighting equipment and anything not to do with the shoot out of the reflection.
Location, location, location! Getting the right site is essential if you want to convey a narrative within your shot. For example, if the clothing and beauty styling is edgy, challenging or provocative, you may want to consider an urban setting, alternatively for spring/summer and natural fashions, find a rural environment like; a field, meadow, beach, woodland or riverbank.
Exploring The Angles
Influence the image by moving around the scene and exploring which angles work best to expose the garment fully. This could mean climbing a ladder, crouching low, working a diagonal angle or moving closer to the subject. Think about what the message is here and create a composition to reinforce it.
Fashion photography is achievable alone, but to step it up, a geared rope in a friend, family member or photography student as an assistant. Often photographers need an extra pair of hands to position reflectors, angle and reset lighting equipment, tweak the positioning of garments and clear the scene.
Tips On How To Find Models
Scour Modelling Facebook Groups.
The people you’ll find in Facebook groups for model photography subjects are generally freelance and non-agency models — but that doesn’t mean they can’t do the job and do it well.
Most modelling agencies have strict regulations and expectations. They can even cost money to join — thus, individuals who want to get experience modelling or like to work in fashion photography turn to these kinds of groups to get exposure. Additionally, non-agency models often have a slightly different look than traditional models, which can make your photo shoots stand out.
Find Talent On Established Model Networking Sites.
If you’re not comfortable hunting through Facebook, or you’d like more information on the models before you book them, use model networking sites, which offer a bit more background, and can feel more secure and reliable than Facebook.
Ask Your Friends.
Got friends? Then you’ve got models. Ask your friends to be models; it’s a good practice before working with actual models.
Shooting friends gives you experience with directing real people (which can be tricky) before taking on the higher stakes game of working with real models, who can be pricey. This is especially important if you plan to make fashion photography part of your regular work; even if you do get lucky, you can work with their models; if they don’t like the photos, you probably won’t get the models again.
Non-agency models can also help you define your brand’s look. Some of the best photographers talked about how they’ve stuck with non-agency models because of their community’s positive response to them in their online store.
It started that we were a start-up, and it just came down to resources. We were using friends of friends and people that we knew, and as we’ve grown as a company, our community has supported that so much, so we never moved away from it.
And there you have it. You’ve got lots of options for getting a great shot during your photoshoots without overspending on your credit card for real models or playing the major leagues before you’re pretty ready.
It can be challenging to collaborate with other artists if you don’t have photos that show what you can do.
Before you start contacting models, stylists, and makeup artists, start with your friends. Make sure you take a lot of fashion-themed pictures. Doing so will make it easier for people to decide if they want to work with you.
You can look at magazines and fashion websites. Even Instagram is good for inspiration. Study how famous photographers compose their shots, and recreate them.
The goal is not to copy the photos exactly. But to familiarise yourself with the creative and technical aspects of fashion photography.
Now that you have an idea for a photoshoot, you can ask a few friends if they’d like their portraits taken. You’re bound to make mistakes when you’re still learning. So you might as well do it around people you’re comfortable with. You don’t have to produce hundreds of pictures right away. Having a dozen images is enough as long as you cover a broad spectrum of styles.
Show that you can shoot anything from black and white fashion photography to editorial fashion photography. Depending on the job, you may need a photo release form. A close up fashion photo of a girl in pink holding sunglasses
There isn’t exactly a step-by-step process to follow to become a fashion photographer. Keeping these quick tips in mind will make it easier to become a paid professional easier.
No matter which path you end up following, keep clicking that shutter. Aim to get as many photos of models as possible.