Fashion Photography 101: How To Style Your Shoot
Fashion photography was long the domain of professionals, but in today’s social media saturated environment, anyone can be a fashion photographer – and many young people try their hand at the craft. Whether you’re a young person trying to develop a stylish social media presence or an established photographer looking to expand your portfolio, though, there are certain nuances of the genre worth exploring. These four pro tips will help you style your fashion photoshoots for maximum impact, from athletic wear to couture and everything in between.
Know Your Audience
One of the first factors you need to consider when styling fashion photos is where the final images will appear. Photographing products for a catalog typically relies on different cues than photographing an outfit of the day for Instagram. Catalog styling, even when it uses human models, typically leans on more muted backgrounds, or occasionally nature settings, whereas social media posts use real-life activities as a backdrop for capturing clothing.
Make A Plan
Part of crafting a great fashion photoshoot is having a plan, and experts have a particular approach they take to this process – they create a detailed brief. This document should outline the topic of your shoot, where it’s taking place, how you want to light it, and other details. Having a clear plan and any necessary reference materials laid out in advance will help ensure everything goes smoothly on the big day.
Assess The Items
There are a lot of different elements at play when executing a fashion shoot and many of them are unpredictable. That’s why it’s helpful to be able to evaluate the materials you’re working with in advance. For example, if you’re working with high quality leather goods, you’ll want to look at the finish to see how they respond to different lighting, how sturdy they are so you can decide how they need to be posed, and other factors.
Similarly, if you’re photographing athletic wear and hope to take action shots, you may want to see how the pieces respond to moisture, if they’re reflective – a common safety feature in outdoor wear – and ensure that none of the pieces are see through. While working with higher quality items should prevent issues like this, you can never be sure how fabric and light will interact until you test it out.
Play With Composition
Photographing clothing a person is wearing is a lot different from photographing it on a mannequin or a flat surface, and often you have to try a few different setups before you find the right one. Leave yourself enough time to play with the composition of your shots by trying different backgrounds, pairing varied items, and changing the staging until you’ve got a setup that’s eye-catching and presents the item in the best light.
Taking your fashion photography from the selfies that dominate social media to something worthy of the top brands takes time, practice, and the right tools. With focus, though, you can learn to craft shots that could easily appear in your favorite magazine – or turn even your everyday wardrobe into the object of envy.