Fashion photography has been the most rewarding and enriching creative outlet I have ever experienced. When I started out I had no idea just how much I’d come to love this medium and how much it would teach me along the way.
Nobody wants to hear how hard it really is. Young photographers are attracted to the glamorous aspects of the job, which is okay if you’re prepared to work really, ridiculously hard.
When I first started I envisioned sipping mojitos while I retouched, partying with models and having every resource at my fingertips. While I’ve done all those things, it’s been less then 10% of the time. Instead I found myself getting up at 4am and driving to a location to be ready to shoot by sunrise, then staying up until 2am that night selecting and editing. Not everybody has to do it this way, but I found that I enjoyed photography so much that it didn’t seem like work. I have a few relatives that think that my career is about the least legitimate one someone could have.
If you’re completely new to photography or you’re not sure about how to approach the fashion side to photography here are some steps that I used when I was getting started:
1. Reach out to some friends or friends of friends who you’d be interested in photographing. Put a theme together with a location and some reference photos. You’re normal way of shooting might be very different to shooting fashion so explore and play with it.
2. Once you’ve got a few fashion shoots under your belt try approaching a modelling agency. They are signing new girls all the time who need photos to start out with and might be able to organise a model for you to use. Ensure that you are professional and organised as agencies really appreciate it when you’re easy to deal with.
3. When organising a fashion shoot you’re going to need a makeup artist, hair stylist and wardrobe stylist. At first, it’s perfectly normal to fill some of these shoes yourself by bringing some of your own clothes but once you’re ready to bring these other creatives on set it’s important to deliver the photos to them as well. Often there are makeup artists who are just starting out and are looking for some images for their portfolio as well, so you might be able to collaborate for free and everyone has photos that they can use.
4. You’ve now got a good team behind you and you’ve made a great fashion story together. Look into submitting them to local or international magazines. It can be really excited to share your images online and hard to wait for the magazine to come out but stick with it, submit and see your pictures in pages. My rule was that for every fashion editorial I shot, I would submit it to a few magazines. This made me rack up a bunch of publications in my early days which have served me well since then.
I hope these tips help you on your photography journey!