In my last three articles, I talked about producing commercial and personal photoshoots, and tips on how to improve one’s photography. In this guide, I want to share my thoughts on how to break into fashion photography.
Fashion photography is a highly exclusive and competitive industry. Getting in requires dedication, commitment, hard work, and often times, a dash of good luck and timing. There is no great secret or shortcut, it is going to be a tough journey, and you must be prepared for the long-haul.
1. Understand Fashion
|Christian Dior Couture Fall 2008 Backstage|
Just as a photographer in general should know how to operate a camera, a fashion photographer should possess a basic knowledge of fashion and its history. A good understanding of the topic and your subject matters will go a long way towards helping your career, so I recommend studying up the following:
– History of fashion
– Silhouettes of different periods and eras
– Designers, icons, and image-makers
– Fashion terminologies
– Hairstyles and makeup looks
– Fashion films and documentaries
– Current industry news
Many photographers try to shoot fashion without knowing what fashion is. It shows. Don’t let some reading hold you back from the possibility of producing better work. Most materials on these topics are readily available on the internet now, so there is really no excuse.
2. Read Magazines, Learn Who’s Who
Reading magazines is a great way to find inspirational images and ideas for new photographers. Take this time to curate the styles and work that you find yourself responding to. Identify traits in the photographs you like and explore those for your own shoots. Make folders on your computer or use Pinterest boards to curate and save them. Jot down the names of people whose styles you feel for in a notepad or text file, so you can work towards collaborating with them one day.
Also keep in mind that publications have different demographics and aesthetics from one another. Knowing who wants what will be very helpful in preparing an appropriate portfolio for the kinds of magazines that you want to shoot for in the future.