Fashion is inherently an extremely visual industry, which means great fashion photography is essential. Creating aesthetically pleasing garments and accessories is just one part of the puzzle, however. You have to be able to photograph the item and give it the justice that the designer intended. That’s easier said than done, as there are a lot of nuances in fashion photography. Finding the right models and garments is just the first building block of a great fashion photoshoot.
Fashion Photography Gear
Firstly, you’ll need a halfway decent camera. This doesn’t mean that you need to splurge on a top-of-the-line Nikon or Canon, but something with an interchangeable lens should do. Generally, you’ll want to be using a 50mm lens, as that is the focal length closest to what the eye sees. The models and fits were chosen for a reason – so distorting them with a wide angle lens wouldn’t accurately represent them! Don’t worry if you don’t know much about the deep technical aspects of the camera – they aren’t as vital in the beginning.
The Style of Your Photos
Then, you’re going to want to determine if you’re doing product shots or lifestyle shots. The latter has many different names, but I’m referring to pictures of the models out somewhere and doing something – maybe leaning on a car, or in a field, or in a subway station. Product shots are much more controllable, since they are generally in an indoor studio (or just an unpatterned floor) with predictable lighting. Lifestyle shots are trickier, but much more interesting – so that’s what we’ll focus on here.
For a good series of lifestyle shots, after you’ve picked a model, you’ll want them to be in an area without too many passersby or activity – it’d otherwise be frustrating when you have to wait for strangers to constantly get out of the shot (or worse, to get a good shot and to later find out someone is in the background). Try to make sure the sun isn’t harshly hitting the model either.
Mastering the Photoshoot
Once you’ve figured out the above, start taking shots. If you aren’t familiar with using your camera in full manual mode, try either aperture or shutter priority. Make sure you’re shooting in RAW format as well (more on this later) and that your pictures aren’t severely underexposed or overexposed. Have fun, let the model have fun, and make sure you get a good variety of backgrounds, poses, and clothing items!
The Editing Process
So you’ve finished up your shoot. Thank your model, then give the pictures a once-over and delete the ones that are out of focus, aren’t good, and any test shots where the exposure is way off. Get to your computer, and import them into a program such as Lightroom. Here, especially if you shot in RAW, you have a huge amount of control over what the final images look like. You can also recover many overly dark or overly light pictures! On top of that, you can apply different settings to a series of photos at a time.
Looks like you’re done. Hopefully you got 20 or 30 shots that are great. If not, there’s always next time. As they say, practice makes perfect.
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