Top 5 Skills & Traits for Fashion Photography
Tips for Fashion Photography
The world of fashion and beauty is the ultimate career path of many portrait photographers who enjoy the dynamic of working an editorial shoot. And it's quite a lucrative field. But, it's not one without its challenges. And it's pretty competitive. Both of which we know firsthand. Thankfully, there are many ways to separate yourself from peers. And in this post, we'll discuss the most important traits needed to do so.
A Unique Perspective
Above all else, clients and models are coming to you because of your unique perspective of the world. Your fingerprint. Your eye. Your vision.
All of us are unique, shaped by our life experiences, desires, and passions. And the way you see the world and create images is unmistakable. People can only try to replicate it, but it's never the same. And it's never truly authentic. We all know this to be fact instinctively. And this is the reason why people go to one photographer versus another. Sure image quality, framing, posing, and fine details help catch the eye. But, it's the vision that captivates. Stay true to the images you take that make you stop and say, "wow." That's you. And that's the perspective clients want.
Drive & Ambition
Drive, ambition, and tenacity are the following factors that end up separating two otherwise similar photographers. So ask yourself, when people get around one of my shoots, do they feel inspired? Is there a feeling of excitement in the air? If there isn't, this is an easy fix that'll help bring more referrals your way and leave people talking highly of you.
Of course, we can agree that with most fashion photoshoots, people come for the images. But, they always leave with an impression. And sometimes, that impression can set the entire tone of a career. So you must be enthusiastic and expressive of your ideas, especially during the photoshoot. Encourage people, make them feel welcomed, appreciated, and supported. They're looking to see you're driven, excited, and ambitious about photography. And if you are, they'll overlook any hiccups, mistakes, and even poor-quality images in return.
Fashion photography isn't a one-person sport. And it's a misconception that many photographers hold. But the reality is it usually takes an enormous team, often twenty or more people, to create the editorial series of most magazines. Even test photoshoots for model agencies typically require a hair or makeup artist, or both. So you must develop interpersonal skills, like leadership, communication, and patience, to succeed in this arena. You'll frequently express your creative vision to multiple parties and then lead the charge to execute the plan. And you'll be working with creative types, many of which are demanding and type-A personalities. So communication, leadership, and direction are keys to a successful collaboration.
Attention to fine detail
As fashion photographers, we're naturally detail-oriented people. Thankfully, the details matter. And it's tiny aspects like posture, blemishes, or an awkward fold on a dress that end up separating good and great images. So as you're shooting on set, check in with your team occasionally to ensure the hair, makeup, and styling are on point. Doing so will help you get the best images possible and prevent future headaches. But, it's crucial you also study each of the photos you capture in post-processing too. You won't see everything, but you'll get better input if you collaborate on the editing process with your team. And that input will, in turn, help you decide on stronger final images.
Sadly, each medium of fashion photography calls for different skills, expertise, and equipment. For example, close-up beauty photography requires macro lenses with outstanding central sharpness, a small focusing distance, and 1:1 pixel magnification. But, this medium will likely also require some working knowledge about lighting, be it flash or continuous lighting. While shooting outdoor environmental fashion with models interacting with a landscape often demands a wide-angle variable zoom lens like a 24-70mm. And, depending on the scene, you can modify the existing natural light through reflectors or diffusers, skipping artificial lighting altogether.
As a professional photographer, clients will expect you to have enough technical skills to execute the job. And sometimes, they'll over-extend your skillset, forcing you to improvise. But, it's a part of the process and a necessary part of growth. Even so, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the most common equipment and techniques required for the specific medium you shoot. And it's best to avoid going full-time until you feel you have enough experience.
Well, there you have it. These are the lessons we've learned over our journey and the key traits that immediately stand out. Unlike solo mediums like landscape photography and sports, capturing fashion is a bit more complicated. But, the complications are what make it fun. It's also a medium that requires teamwork and a lot of collaboration, not just technical skills. But, with practice and experience, you'll find your team and gradually master the craft.