Ever flip through the pages of Vogue, Elle, InStyle or Allure and wonder how fashion photographers know how to exactly pose models and angel the camera to make the clothes so flawless? Or if you’re a bit more savvy behind the lens, have you ever considered picking up fashion photography but didn’t know where to start?
Well don’t stress yourself out, we’re here to help! Here’s seven handy tips to get you to Wintour-worthy fashion spreads.
It’s All in the Eyes
Like in reality, eye contact is incredibly engaging on paper and connects the model with the audience. Try and snap your models directly gazing into the camera — it’ll give your photo that extra intensity and ferocity needed when shooting for fashion.
If you want to try something a little different, pose your model with averted eyes. Considered to be anti-eye-contact, this technique gives the illusion of there being something out of focus. It brings the audience to question what the model is looking at, giving your photo some well-styled mystery.
With two or more people, you can have your models look at each other, since it helps create a story within the photo, moving the viewer to be interested in the feelings and emotions flowing between the models.
Throw Composition to the Wind
How many times have you looked at your photographs and think that something was missing? Well, the answer could lie in your composition. For some cases having a model pose right in the middle of the photo works, such as in portraits. However, in moving your models around the frame of the photo instead of just having them right in the middle, you’re able to create a larger space for viewers to take in.
This technique is especially useful in real, scenic settings like the beach, where the audience has the ability to fully appreciate the background and the clothes being showcased.
Sometimes it just takes a flip of a switch to make a fashion photo great. “Light creates DRAMA. Use it,” says fashion photographer and blogger of Fashion Photography Blog, Melissa Rodwell.
[cquote]Light creates DRAMA. Use it.[/cquote]
Simply dimming a photo creates a feeling of angst or even edginess in a photo; lightening it up evokes a feeling of gentleness or vulnerability in a shot. Such experimentation with lighting can push your photo from just good to ground-breaking.
While the studio may seem ideal since the environment is in your control, it’s OK to break out of your comfort zone and bring the photo shoot outside! Putting your model on a busy street gives your photos a sense of reality, making the clothes also look wearable in real-life situations and not just on the mannequins at department stores.
[cquote]Getting the right location is important if you want to convey a narrative within your shot.[/cquote]
Like lighting, where you decide to shoot can make or break a photograph and the story you want to tell in it. “Getting the right location is important if you want to convey a narrative within your shot,” says fashion photography blogger Natalie Johnson.
What’s Your Angle?
Usually, it’s a rule of thumb for fashion photographers to shoot from low to the ground and straight at the model. While this is a practical and useful technique, try photographing from different angles to see how you can best display the garments and accessories. Climb ladders and shoot from an aerial view, shoot from below the model — play around with the composition to figure out how to showcase the clothes and narrative best.
[rquote]When the model is looking away and her attention is somewhere else for a moment, it’s unexpected and it’s sexy![/rquote]As a photographer, you need to be ready to shoot at any time — even at established photo shoots and the models are simply just standing around. Snap away during quick five-minute breaks where models are adjusting the clothes and shoes for comfort. “When the model is looking away and her attention is somewhere else for a moment, it’s unexpected and sexy!” says Rodwell.
Such realness in your photos offer engagement to readers, with the models’ movement providing a nice change from the regular posing.
Do More Than Smize
Having your model laugh or cry creates emotion within the photo that audiences will be able to relate to. It gives your shot a bit of life, making it more active than static.
It also gives your photos a personality that will further hold the interest and attention of the viewer, since the photo will be different from just another stiff, posed, pretty face.
What are some other techniques aspiring fashion photographers should know?
Featured image by Jeremy Zaessinger