The world of fashion is fascinating – from designers to items to behind-the-scenes.
Fashion photography is everywhere. The genre is constantly evolving to discuss situations other industries don’t always want to touch. Let’s take a look at the importance of fashion photography and many of our favourite names who create unforgettable portraits.
What is Fashion Photography?
Fashion photography is a category of photographing. It is specific to fashion items and displaying clothing and accessories. As a result, this is often created for fashion magazines, advertisements, and celebrity portraits. There’s a huge interest and demand in fashion all around the world. Thereby, fashion photography is a successful business.
How we purchase clothes and fashion accessories is generally based off of how they’re displayed to us. For example, billboards, models, lighting, effects and colours all have an impact on how fashion is depicted in photography. It’s important that photographers capture fashion in a way which enhances their natural beauty to attract customers.
Fashion photography is important. To enumerate, it reaches uncharted territory and taps into morals and areas which are significant. Moreover, it impacts the fashion world because it increases brand awareness and exposes brands and people in a light we’re not always prone to seeing.
Without this specialized industry, we likely would not have the widespread sharing of trends that is often seen. Furthermore, the rise of apps such as Instagram and Snapchat have taken fashion photography to new heights. It is this exposure that has truly brought the craft to the forefront and given us new inspiration.
What Types of Fashion Photography Exist?
There are generally four types of fashion photography. This depends on the target audience and situation. Nonetheless, each type reaches different groups and serves an extremely important function. Let's find out more about each one.
Editorial Fashion Photography
Editorial fashion photography is for magazines where models wear different attires. These photographs convey a story and create a powerful statement using the whole image. There’s a lot of thought and time dedicated to these shoots as models recreate different looks in one day.
High Fashion Photography
Another type is high fashion. These photographs feature famous faces and supermodels who pose in exaggerated positions. The overall look is more striking and in–your-face than editorial fashion photography. This is primarily because the fashion attire is high-end and more flamboyant. Thus, the photographs need to resemble the fashion’s attitude. Hair, makeup, styling, and location are all taken into consideration. Consequently, this creates a flawless image to give the fashion brand a persona.
Catalog photography uses simple backgrounds and ‘normal’ models to display the detail of clothes. The models pose naturally, often in a real situation, with neutral makeup and relaxed hair. This fashion photography focuses on the visibility of the clothes to sell to consumers and are often shot in studios.
Street Fashion Photography
Street fashion photography focuses on capturing models in the street and this is big within the youth culture. Thereby, it’s often used for urban brands who select models of different ethnicities and sizes to influence mainstream fashion.
How Has Fashion Photography Evolved?
When fashion photography was first introduced in early 1910, it primarily focused on expressing the fashion’s aesthetics and details. Lighting and angles were carefully considered to accentuate the clothes. However, the models would typically pose face on with an expressionless face.
Towards 1970, photographs began capturing moments outside out of the studio and enhanced model’s more natural movements. It became less about the fashion and clothes and the people and attitude between the brand. We began seeing different expressions and identity to categories different fashion styles. Photographers used female nudity and sexuality in shots to reference freedom and glamour. As such, fashion photography began to celebrate female sexuality in particular.
Ten years later, fashion photography started reaching middle-class people. Brands such as Ralph Lauren, Levi’s and Calvin Klein had more money to spend on promotions. Fashion began to have a boarder appeal and reach new people. The photographs showed models in real-life situations and locations which ordinary people could relate to.
More skin and sexuality was shown. Tom Ford is an excellent example of a designer who wasn’t afraid to show female flesh in his advertisements. It became less about clothes and products and the connotations behind it. In recent years, we’ve seen more celebrity endorsements to increase sales and capture brands’ personality. For example, Miley Cyrus worked for Marc Jacobs, Lady Gaga for Versa and Mark Wahlberg for Calvin Klein. Often, these famous faces are showing a provocative, fiery spirit in their photographs.
Who are Famous Fashion Photographers that Influenced the Trade?
There’s an abundance of fashion photographers who’ve made a captivating influence on fashion. Each one embodied a different style and take on their subjects to provoke thought and inspiration.
Helmut Newton built a reputation capturing female nudity as a teenager. Newton was renowned for his dramatic lighting and unconventional poses with his models. He liked to push the limits and incorporate themes which were happening in the world at the time. For example, he would over sexualise his models and express prostitution, violence and obsession. In the 1970’s, he worked for French Vogue and gained a reputation as an influential fashion photography. Unlike others, he liked to shoot people in the street, rather than in studios with unnatural lighting and settings.
Steven Meisel helped to shape fashion photography. Many of his commercial clients include Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Valentino, Versace and many more. He’s responsible for creating many controversial fashion stories. Many supermodels owe their career to him. He tapped into gender issues and expanded the boundaries on what gender really means. For example, female models posed with body hair and showing their nipples. Many people debated if fashion had the authority to discuss issues. These included: weight problems, domestic violence and more. Perhaps the most iconic photographs of his portfolio was Madonna’s naked shot for her book.
Another famous photographer is Mario Testino – one of the most famous of his generation. Testino too has worked with Valentino and Versace, and other designers including Gucci, Ralph Lauren and other notable clients. He was conscious of showing the human behind the model. He also liked to put them in different situations than other fashion photographers did. His ability to connect with his models and tell a story whilst leaving suggestions in his photographs is his signature look. Each of his photographs capture the essence of a wealthy life to allow watchers to enter a new world.
Recommendations For Fashion Photography Equipment
If you’re interested in fashion photography, we’ve found a wealth of products which will help enhance your looks. When purchasing a camera to use, it’s important to consider the sensor size as image quality is important in fashion photography. Your shooting and lighting preferences will also dictate the camera settings you use. Use a full frame DSLR for natural lighting. For shooting scenarios such as strobe lights, switch to ISO to create excellent imagery.
1. Fovitec StudioPRO Photography Studio Lamp Head
This monolight gives you freedom to photograph the action in the moment, thanks to the quick two-second recycle time. You can link this to the flash power settings to be proportional to the power output or free at full 75W. The built-in optical slave photocell trigger enables you to switch between different moonlight heads.
2. Meets 5x7ft Fabric Green Simple Backdrop
This background is ideal for fashion photography. The non-woven fabric background is wearable, collapsible and easy to store and carry. It works perfectly for standing or sitting positions. We’d recommend using this for catalog fashion as it enhances lighting and enables you to capture the fabric’s detailing.
3. Canon EOS 6D Mark II Camera
This Canon 6D camera provides superb performance for full-frames and works excellently in outdoor conditions. The camera combines advanced features in a portable package to make fashion photography fun and practical. The impressive optical viewfinder with 45 all cross-type AF points are fast and accurate. As a result, it’s an ideal solution for outdoor and action fashion photography shots.
Who Are Your Favourite Fashion Photographers?
The world of fashion photography is fascinating and we can’t wait to see what the next decade brings. A plethora of photographers think outside of the box and take risks in order to create a social movement.
We’d love to hear who your favourite fashion photographers are. Let us know in the comments to keep this discussion going.
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