A Helpful Guide to Fashion Photography: This is What You Need to Know

fashion photography

Fashion photography is not for the faint of heart.

With “fashion” being one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram, there’s far more competition in the industry than there ever used to be.

You might be one of the many aspiring novices in influencing fashion, but you have no idea where to start.

There are plenty of sources of inspiration on social media, so much so that they’re overwhelming, even to the trained eye.

Whether you’re a professional photographer looking to branch out into fashion portraits or looking at getting a career started in the field, these fashion photography tips will help you on your way.

What is Fashion Photography?

You’re probably asking this, as a professional or amateur. One of the benefits and drawbacks of social media is its impact on fashion photography. Before you embark on as challenging of a career as this, you need to understand what makes it up.

A lot of today’s influencers and their photographers don’t understand the fine art of the industry. You can, even as someone new to the field, still participate in fashion photography, but to stand out, you need a clear definition of what it is.

Fashion photography is a longstanding industry with a lot of history. As a genre of photography, it has made the careers of many unknown photographers. One of the plusses of today’s visual content-saturated world is the chance to network with fashion photographers the world over.

This genre of photography is dedicated to the artistic portrayal of clothing, accessories, and more. Since its creation, fashion photography has developed its own aesthetic, which you can see across social media outlets today.

Fashion Photography Tips

Now that you have an idea of what fashion photography is, you need to know how to get started! These tips will cover points for both the beginning and current photographers.

1. Snap To It!

First off, you need a camera to take high-quality photos. You can’t call yourself a photographer without a camera!

Now, some of the latest smartphones might seem like a great idea to use instead. And they are a great option, especially if you already have one and need to spend your budget on creating a fashion photography studio space.

The camera’s only the beginning tool, but other critical elements make or break a real fashion portrait.

2. Location, Location, Location

Where you process and edit your photography is as important as the photographs themselves. High fashion photography means lots of digital editing, but to save yourself time in Adobe Lightroom, a good set-up home studio will save you hours of post-processing.

Setting up a home studio is the key to cost-effective fashion photography. You’ll save yourself money by not having to rent a studio space every time you have a session in your fashion photography studio.

The biggest thing you should ask yourself for your studio, “Do I want a fixed location or a portable one?” A fixed location requires a dedicated space, which may not be ideal for your living situation.

A portable studio is ideal if you’re always on the go, or if you take inspiration from the natural backdrops around you. You will have more variables beyond your control (i.e., lighting, backdrop, weather), so you will spend more time editing, but you’ll also have more new settings than you’d ever get in a home studio.

3. Lights, Camera, Fashion

Even with a great camera and studio set up, you still need lighting to make your fashion portraits the best they can be. There are usually portable options for some of these if your studio is not an at-home setup.

Here are a few key terms you need to know in fashion portrait lighting:

  • Backlight: lighting that hits your subject from behind to make your subject pop against a background
  • Broad lighting: portrait lighting with the subject angled away from the camera
  • Catchlight: a bright reflection in the subject’s eyes
  • Diffuser: cloth, netting, or translucent material covering a light source
  • Reflector: reflects light that hits it; comes in various colors
  • Ring flash: leaves catchlight in the subject’s eyes

These are just a few of the key terms for fashion portraits. There are many different types of lighting, from ambient to shadow cast to stylized angles that are worth investigation as you grow in technique and preference.

4. Other Important Equipment

Although you need a camera and lighting equipment, one of the most important pieces of today’s fashion photography kit is its software.

Even with the best camera, backdrop, and steadiest image capture, you still need editing.

Adobe Lightroom is the preferred editing and post-processing software in the industry. It works best with Apple products, especially for seamless storage integration of all your high-quality, high-resolution photography.

After you spend hours editing your photos, you’ll need somewhere to back up your hard work. If you’re editing photos on a Mac, like most photographers, you’ll use iCloud.

If you need to compare past shoots to current edits for a portfolio, you’ll also need to know how to download photos from iCloud. If you’re not a Mac user yet, you will be by the time you’re a professional.

From Amateur to Professional

You’re finally on your way to becoming a professional in fashion photography. Your work will grow as you try these and other techniques in the tens of thousands of frames your future.

Cultivating your career in high fashion photography begins and ends with you. The more creative challenges you take and the bolder you are with your art, the further you’ll go.

There’s already a sea of competition for you to consider, so being on top of your technique will put you far ahead of other aspiring fashion photographers. But don’t be afraid to use the community around you. Some of the best work in photography comes from collaborating with your fellows and learning from the best in their field.

These fashion photography tips are just the beginning of what you need to know to get your career kickstarted. Be sure to check out our other content for more helpful information in the future.

fashion photography
Photographer and model working in modern lighting studio with many kinds of flash and accessories.