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A Guide to Fashion Photography

Make it shine

The purpose of fashion photography is to showcase the style, the beauty and the charm of any fashion product. It is a complex art that results of the combination of many techniques and fields of expertise, and for some reason it requires masterful direction that devises a way to bring all these elements together in a harmonic and effective way to convey the intended message. Fashion photography is a very commercial activity and in most cases, if not all, it is aimed at a potential customer who would we willing to choose, among many other options, the accessory or piece of cloth depicted in your photo. Making the product look good and compelling is part of the art of selling fashion, and photography always plays a big part in it.

Fashion photography can reach its audience through a variety of media. From bilboards and street avertisement to fashion magazines and editorials, we constantly see the product of hours of work putting together a fashion photoshoot. The actual amount of work and dedication it takes flies over our head, unless we actually dive into the many aspects and challenges of this fascinating activity that is fashion photography.

If you want to give fashion photography a try, you must be aware that you need to encompass a wide variety of activities and techniques. Even if you don't master them all, you should at least know the basics of each one of them so you can work together with those in charge of them. In other words, fashion photography is always teamwork, and no team can do their thing without mutual understanding, affinity and synchronicity.

The technicals

Covering all fundamental aspects of fashion photography in one single article is insanely ambitious, but a quick overlook of the technicals of this activity can give you an idea on what is there to learn and which aspect of fashion photography incites your curiosity the most.

Just as any other field of studio photography, fashion photography is a product of planning and production. You need the contacts to get all the pieces of your image: the model or models that fit the vision of the director and the spirit of the collection, a location - be it a studio with all resources needed or a place outside that enhances the message conveyed by the collection -, fully equipped photographers with cameras, lighting and screens; stylists, makeup, accessories, shoes, clothes, SFX items, props and any other element the photoshoot requires. The process of production is complex and needs to always be in tune with the directorial vision of the photoshoot.

In order to produce a professional fashion photoshoot, you need the right equipment, from the best camera for fashion photography and all ideal accessories - like lenses and screens - as well as all digital products necessary for visual post production - enhancement, correction, lettering and printing. You can produce a semi professional photoshoot with some DIY ideas, for example if you have a homemade line of accessories or you are starting up a business designing your own clothes for sale, but remember that if you don't cover all the basics, your product presentation will be flawed. And everyone and their mother knows that a flawed product presentation can doom a business.

Setting up the photos

So now you have all the technicals and the resources covered, but before you kickstart the production, you must make sure you have the right visual concept and the right directorial strategy to present the product in a way that will make your target audience want to acquire it. This is basically a marketing decision, with all it entails. Clothes and accessories are products, and as such they should be advertised and sold. 

Which would be the most compelling visual style for your target audience? How to present the concept of the collection in a way that makes it interesting and unique in a vastly competitive market? How to enhance the virtues of your product with a visual production?

When you design a photoshoot, you must make sure all elements come together synergically. Choose the appropriate accessories for your pieces of cloth and make sure the styling and makeup of the model are in harmony with the overall feel of the production. Don't be afraid to consult a fashion magazine or beauty guide to get inspiration, and become knowledgeable about the main fashion and beauty trends present in the market at the moment. If the right elements come together the right way, you will end up with an effective photoshoot that will sell your product like magic.

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