We see it on billboards and in magazines the world over. So, what exactly does it take to be behind the camera? Aside from an interest in shooting the human form, you will also need to be prepared to forgo modesty in the pursuit of the best shot. Many fashion photographers are subject to nudity and awkward poses, thus the need to forgo modesty. If you’re passionate about the possibility of becoming a fashion photographer, the following advice may help to get you on your way.
It is very unlikely that a self-taught photographer will be picked up in the world of high-end fashion. While he or she may get the occasional freelance job, the chance of becoming employed with a magazine or particular designer is slim. The executives in this fast paced world are seeking photographers who have been educated in photography and are experts in beautifying a subject on film. Fashion photography takes a great deal of precision and the photographer is required to understand color schemes. Fashion photography also requires an understanding that, most of the time, you’re job is to sell something (typically clothing) and in order to succeed you must know how to bring your given product alive on film.
Photographers the world over have varying styles and ideas when it comes to composition and lighting. In the world of fashion photography, these two factors must be very specific. To succeed as a fashion photographer you must know how to both light and compose a photograph that totally flatters the subject while bringing forth the product of the day. In other words, you will have to make sure that the product you’re trying to push looks just as good as the model wearing it. Unfortunately, that’s not an easy task given the fact that most models are breathtaking and that tweed overcoat, or whatever, will pale in comparison.
Fashion photographers must also be prepared to both give direction and take criticism. Most models will require at least some direction as you shoot. And, since you’re the expert on composition, you will be equipped to verbally direct their movements and poses in real time. On the flipside, fashion photographers take criticism from clients and models on a steady basis. This is the reason they take so many frames of a single subject in varying poses, et cetera. If you are not verbal, or you cannot take criticism, the world of fashion will be tough for you.
Another key component to becoming a fashion photographer will be the development of your portfolio. You should strive to compose a quality portfolio of photographs designed to promote fashion. Practice composing, directing, and shooting a variety of subjects and do your very best to compile your best photos in the production of a “hire me now” portfolio. Your portfolio is like your resume. The best of the best stand out and the rest get ignored.