- Understanding the equipment you are using
- Reach out to friends/model agencies to shoot with
- Reach out to people you aspire to be like and ask to assist/shadow them
- Spend time learning Lightroom and find your style
- Styling is important
- Just do it
We wanted to write a guide for our community to give some tips and tricks for people starting out in fashion photography. Take it as a sort of checklist or tutorial you can tick off along the way. These are practical, bitesize pieces of information that have been tried and tested for you to apply to your journey to success.
Before we begin, you should note that the following topics are just guidelines and success comes from work ethic, self belief and skill. It has been said that it takes ten thousand hours to master a skill, and improvement only come after application. Always remember, the day you plant the seed is not the day that you pick the fruit.
UNDERSTANDING THE EQUIPMENT YOU ARE USING
It may come across as obvious, but this is an essential, yet commonly overlooked factor in Fashion Photography. Great photography doesn’t correlate with expensive equipment but we believe that you need to thoroughly understand your instrument of choice – be it a basic reflector or a top of the range Canon, you need to understand how to use it to its full potential. YouTube can be used as a powerful tool to help you combat any road blocks and the other main source of progress comes from trial and error.
REACH OUT TO OTHERS
Collaborating with others is the most important aspect of growing as a photographer. By working with other like minded people on a regular basis your knowledge will grow from experience.
Asking your friends is another great way of getting started in Fashion Photography. This is a great tip for creatives starting out in fashion photography as it will provide a relaxed and natural environment with no time restraints or need to feel stressed. Working with people that you can experiment with is crucial, as starting out you will want to try out as many things as you can think of, many of them will turn out less than satisfactory but the select few things that work can be another string to your bow.
Reaching out to modelling agencies and doing “time for print” (TFP) gives you the opportunity to work with artists who are also starting out. Time For Print is giving your time to shoot with a model in return for edited images for their portfolio. Both parties gain something and its free! The best places to begin this process are FaceBook groups such as “The Hustle” and other photography communities or websites such as “Star Now”, “Mandy”, Model Mayhem and photographic forums as these online platforms will be filled with other fashion photographers and models that could also give you some tips and tricks! It is the perfect way for everyone involved to build confidence and experience organically.
Reaching out to modelling agencies
We will be writing a more in depth blog post with a step by step guide on how to speak to agencies in the near future, but as an overview; you reach out to the chosen agency, they will send you a model pack with models that are new to the books or who need images for their portfolio, and from there you set up a professional line of contact including a moodboard, call sheet and even treatment if needed for your concept. The great thing about this is not only are you shooting with professional model prospects, you are also building a connection with an agency that could prove to be very useful down the line.
REACH OUT TO PEOPLE YOU ASPIRE TO BE LIKE AND ASK TO ASSIST/SHADOW THEM
A great way to get insider knowledge whilst progressing as a photographer is to assist others that are already doing it. There is a wealth of knowledge to be learned, not just about photography but management, how to set up shoots, lighting, how to organise your work and the list goes on. An easy way to do this is to simply reach out to people who you follow on or off social media and ask if they’d ever need an assistant on a shoot in the future and if so that you’d love to help. Its surprising how often you get a reply, creatives usually want to help other creatives grow and especially if you make it clear you are asking because you respect their work.
When working with other photographers, wether it be a runner, assisting on a shoot or assisting on post production, it is always important to keep a strong work ethic, take in everything and be respectful. These people are doing you a favour and not the other way around. They have also been where you are now, so their methods are obviously successful. You just need to implement them into how you work.
Just like getting to know your physical tools and equipment is important, getting to know your digital editing tools, like Lightroom and Photoshop, are just as paramount. When editing an image it should be treated like a puzzle, and by thoroughly understanding the software you can crack these puzzles with each slight change you make. It only takes a subtle change to adjust the whole feel.
Developing your style as a photographer is important, and that extends to your editing techniques. Trial and error as many different edits as you can to fine tune your look. From this, your work becomes instantly recognisable as your own, which is an important factor of becoming an artist.
STYLING IS IMPORTANT
Another often overlooked tip is the importance of styling in fashion photography. A good stylist is paramount to setting the mood of the whole shoot as well as making it look classy and adds purpose. To be a good photographer it is also important to know fashion trends and have a good sense of style. It is entirely possible for a photographer starting out to produce a high quality shoot with innovative styling to create a story on a zero budget.
Another way to approach this is by pitching to brands, which we will be also writing an in depth blog about in the future. By creating a shoot with a brand in mind that fits their aesthetic, styling the model in the brands clothing, this can be used as a pitching tool to said brand. By contacting them with a shoot that you’ve already curated around their company, they will be more inclined to trust your work, which may lead to possible employment in the future.
JUST DO IT
In conclusion, these are a handful of helpful tips that can be applied to your strategy to success, but if you don’t go out there and actively reach out to people and constantly shoot with others then you will never progress.
When starting out it is advisable to shoot as much as possible covering as many scenarios as possible. With experience comes progress and there will be situations from the past that you can draw on. Maybe it didn’t work that time, but you understood why and how to change it for next time. Every shoot you create you will grow from, making you a better photographer.
The IOC Team