We see them everywhere, in magazines, on the runway, in advertisements on TV. They are the women and men strutting their stuff on the catwalk, extraordinary good looks, flashing their pearly whites while wearing the newest styles from the hottest designers. We are of course talking about the fashion models of today, yesterday and tomorrow. They are everywhere we look, but who brings them to us? Their images are captured with care, precision, patience and that special eye for style, colour and lighting composition. Fashion photographers!
In the fashion circles, famous names like Mario Testino (easily one of most well-known out there) and Eva Mueller (photographer for Allure magazine) are just as sought out, if not more then those men and women sauntering on the catwalk.
High paychecks and a glamorous Lifestyle of hobnobbing it with the rich and famous might be the dream of many young shutterbugs, however it is not easy to reach the golden staircases of the well-known fashion houses and magazines. For every one talented photographer, hundreds are left panting at the sidewalk, only dreaming about the moment that their photo will be chosen.
Here are a few tips for the novice in getting started in fashion photography. Study your subject. You can never learn enough. Read and look at any fashion magazine you can get your hands on. There are fantastic books on fashion and fashion photography available.
You need one or two good cameras, tripod and a lighting system. Always make sure that you have plenty of memory cards or film, and batteries available. SLR and digital cameras take different photos, so make sure you find the best for your purpose and style.
When submitting your work, hopefully to give a chance you have to have a portfolio on hand, just in case the editor of the fashion magazine wants to see samples of your work. If you have already had a publication, no matter if, it was a small local magazine/paper or a contest, a tear sheet (literally a sheet you tore out of the magazine/paper) works well too. You want to make sure that you have a minimum of 20 photos in your portfolio and preferably different styles. You want to show your expertise in full figure or just partial shots.
Remember, fashion includes jewellery and accessories. Sometimes a watch from a famous maker on the wrist is a good fashion shoot. If you are applying for the job, be prepared to leave your portfolio behind for an extended period of time, sometimes as much as a couple of weeks. Make copies and have several on hand. This comes in handy when showing your work to many different people for consideration for fashion work.
In the time of modern technology, it is good to display your talent as a fashion photographer online as well. Set up a website; submit your photos to contests. Submit them to an online fashion gallery. This helps with getting your work seen and people can see what type of work you actually do and can do for them.
Most editors are looking for your personality in the photos you take. Each fashion photographer captures the soul of the fashion and its model differently. Most importantly, if this is your dream, don’t give up. Keep trying and we hope to see your images on the cover of the next hot fashion magazine!