Despite fashion being a female-centric and driven-business, only around 13.7% of covers of leading American fashion magazines are shot by women, the New York Times reports. But, with fashion photography being more popular than ever in the modern digital world, there’s never been a better time for photographers of any gender to enter the industry. Fashion photography relies on the same composition rules as other types of photography, however showcasing the fashion requires switching up your approach somewhat.
Embrace different angles
There’s no need to stick to eye-level angles with fashion photography. Explore your location and experiment with the various perspectives (above or below, for example) from which you can capture the model. Keep in mind, however, that switching up the perspective has the power to transform the entire feel of a photo. So, think about the mood you want to capture and find a way to use framing to enhance it. For example, shooting from above the model can help create a free and unrestrained vibe. On the downside, it can also make the model look smaller, so make sure this angle suits the mood you’re after. Or, you can experiment with unique perspectives to create a more dramatic image. The Dutch tilt, for example, involves tilting the camera at an angle to create a sense of danger and edge — which can work particularly well if you’re shooting in city environments.
Remember it’s fashion photography (and not portrait photography)
Fashion photography isn’t the same as portrait photography, which means you need to make sure the fashion is the focus of the photo (rather than the model as such). It’s your job to help show off and accentuate the outfit and focus in on elements like the fabric, patterns, beauty, and details. While props can be a great way to add interest in photos, make sure they don’t draw the viewer’s attention away from the fashion too much. And, if you’re photographing jewelry, it’s also important the clothing doesn’t distract from the jewelry. For example, finer jewelry pieces like diamond earrings, pearl necklaces, or dainty bracelets suit minimalist clothing which lets the jewelry take center stage.
Taking great product photography
A type of product photography, fashion catalogue photography aims to showcase clothing and accessories to consumers. For this type of photography, stick to lenses between 50mm-70mm. Don’t use wide-angle lenses as they can cause distortion and make the model look squeezed or constricted. When it comes to lighting, there’s no one fixed setup you need to stick to. Feel free to experiment to find what works best for your particular shoot. Larger softboxes are useful at illuminating the details of the clothing and accessories and creating clear and bright photos.
Ultimately, taking high-quality fashion photography comes down to striking a balance between rules and creativity. Experimenting with different angles, accentuating the fashion, and knowing how to take great product photography can help you take well-composed shots.