Fashion Photography Tips for Students

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Probably the most fun in being a photography student is getting to experiment with the different styles of photography –documentary, black and white and portraiture.  Pretty soon you’ll want to try your hand at fashion photography.  The fashion photography genre is an exciting blend of all styles of photography.  It can include the grittiness of cityscapes, the simple beauty of nature, or the highly stylized techniques of portraiture.  Ready to get started on your fashion photo shoot but not quite sure how?  What follows is a short list of tips to help you work it like the pros:

1.  Prepare Yourself

Before you start snapping away, have a brainstorming session.  Pick a theme, product, model or photographer to emulate.  Tear out images in magazines and make yourself a physical look book.  You can also make a virtual look book by using the Pinterest website.  Make a shot list, a prop list, and have an idea of the clothing or products you’d like to photograph.

2.  Mold Your Model

Asking all your good looking friends for help is one option in finding the right model.  Another is through the website Model Mayhem.  Many of these models are willing to work for trade, also known as test shooting –basically they’ll work for you if you’ll provide them with copies of the photos you take.  Your model should reflect the theme and tone of your shoot.  Whether you’re going for innocence or high drama, make sure your model reflects the theme in looks and body shape.

3.  Direct, Direct, Direct

Your model will need to be told how to work it.  Should they sit, stand, jump; look sad, happy, or serious?  Tell them so.  You’ll also need to direct yourself.  Don’t stand stock still, aiming your camera in the same place for every shot.  Move yourself around the set as you direct the model.  Choose as many perspectives for yourself to shoot from as you choose for the model to pose in.

4.  Experiment

Many fantastic fashion photos come from use of shadows and light, props and movement.  Shoot indoors one day, and outdoors the next. Exploit moments for natural light to strike your subject just right, such as light falling through a window. Use the ceiling to bounce light into a sweet spot.   Remember the best opportunity for stunning natural light occurs during golden hour (dusk and dawn).  Pay attention to all the lighting and composition rules you’ll learn in class, and then break them. You might just surprise yourself with new found talent.   Also, shoot in the RAW for more flawless editing in post.

5.  Never Stop Shooting

Beginning photographers have a habit of wanting to check every shot through the viewfinder.  This practice, known in the industry as chimping, is a no-no.  For one thing, it displays a lack of confidence.  Some of the most beautiful photos are happy accidents, so don’t go judging your work too soon.  Wait until you’ve uploaded (and backed-up) all the photos from your shoot and then take a good look at what you’ve created.

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