How to Become a Fashion Photographer

A Beginner's Guide on How to Become a Fashion Photographer

Fashion photography usually entices youngsters with the promise of working with celebrities at exotic locations. While this can definitely be part of the job, it is not the only thing a fashion photographer does. Moreover, breaking into this field can be quite difficult and time-consuming because of the high level of competition in the field. Here are some tips on becoming a fashion photographer to help you out.
Most of us are enticed by the glamor of the fashion industry and want to be related to it in some way. While fashion photography is a great way to become a part of the industry, entering it can be a tough process. Fashion photography is a career that requires you to be excellent in your work, stand out from the rest of the thousands of fashion photographers who are trying to make it out there, and have the right network to get known. Education in photography is an additional boost you can give your career. Here, we tell you how to break into this competitive field.
What it Takes to Become a Fashion Photographer
A fashion photographer is someone who photographs models, accessories, or clothing to be showcased in fashion magazines, and cover fashion shows in some cases. This professional ensures that the subject of the photograph is highlighted in the best possible manner by using the right kind of lighting, backdrop, and any other accessories that will help the subject stand out. While fashion photographers usually work with fashion magazines, some freelance after attaining a suitable amount of experience in the field. Some may also work with advertising agencies, modeling agencies, and stock photography agencies. They may have their own studios where they carry out all their shoots. Use some of these tips to get into this field and carve a space for yourself.
Determine whether you have the Requisite Skills
The first skill that a fashion photographer requires is the ability to look at things differently from the layman. An artistic flair or sensibility is absolutely necessary to make it in any area of photography. You must have a lot of creativity because your job is not only to showcase a subject, but showcase it in a manner that is highly desirable. This also means you need to pay attention to detail. While these are your artistic abilities, the use of high-end cameras along with photo editing software should be understood by you. You must be a focused, patient individual because getting a break in this job can take some time. Finally, in this field, you don't work alone but with a team of other individuals who help you create a mood for your photo shoot. As such, you should be a good team player to execute these shoots with least hassles possible.
Take some Photography Classes
Some experts stress on a degree in photography, but a few courses that teach you the necessary techniques required to be a good photographer are enough. In a creative field such as this, what you need is an excellent portfolio that showcases your work rather than a strong education. The focus on education is only for you to understand the technicalities of photography and the appropriate use of the camera along with other photography equipment; and honing your skills as you progress is what will help you become a good fashion photographer.
Develop a Portfolio
Get hold of a used but good camera that will give you high image quality. This is the only piece of equipment you can start off with, and as you make some money you can invest in other photography equipment that will help you enhance the quality of your work. Now, your portfolio should not just be a mere collection of photographs. It should reflect your style, your attitude, and your personality. For instance, even if you are photographing your roommate in her/his night suit, you have to make sure that the photograph is aesthetically pleasing. Whether it is the just-out-of-bed look, or the nightwear itself, you should know how you want to focus on the picture. You may have to use props to make the picture look beautiful and experiment with other lighting materials and angles to get the best picture possible.
Picture editors from renowned fashion magazines explain that they like looking at portfolios that tell a story. The photos need not be related to each other, but should have an element that allows the photographer to portray her/his distinct style throughout. Always ensure that the subjects of your photograph know where and how the photograph is going to be used. You may use release forms for this purpose so that there are no legal issues in the future.
If you are considering applying to a particular magazine with your portfolio, ensure that you have researched the magazine well and understand exactly what they cater to. Lack of research is often where fashion photographers fail to make the cut and are left behind. If you are catering to a magazine that focuses only on shoes, ensure that you send a portfolio based on this subject. Even if you want to present something new in terms of a style that the magazine does not represent, make sure you convey this to the person you send your portfolio to. You don't always get the chance to personally present your portfolio, so it has to be good enough to speak for itself.
Try to Get some work Published
It is not necessary that because you are aiming to be a fashion photographer your first published work should only be in a popular magazine. You may have done some photo shoots for an advertising agency, a modeling agency, or even a newly launched boutique for its catalog. If you can represent these as your work to the picture editors at the magazine you are applying to, your portfolio will be given some credibility. Also, the kind of photographs you take should complement the write-up that goes alongside to make your work appear genuine and distinct.
Get in Touch with Picture Editors at Fashion Magazines
The first step towards getting in touch with a fashion magazine is understanding whom you should communicate with within the organization. Sending them your portfolio with perhaps a short description of the kind of work you have done in the past, your general style of photography, and the kind of work you would like to do in the future, is extremely important. Don't send original prints of your work but preferably transparencies or working photographs. Some of you tend to resort to the web and send an online presentation of your work. However, some picture editors give greater value to the traditional book portfolio and not the simplified online versions. If possible, send both out so that you ensure that the editor has received your work. Every photograph or document should have your name and number labeled on it.
Work with an Agent
Most photographers are considered in fashion magazines only when they go through someone's recommendation. Picture editors do not have the time to go through the thousands of portfolios they are sent in a day. As such, working with an agency that is designed to connect the photographer with the employer is a great choice. It may cost you a little more, but you have a greater guarantee landing that dream job with an agent than you do when trying to get it on your own. Further, agencies don't get you through only one magazine. They contact all places that your work may be suited to, thereby opening up a multitude of opportunities for you. Whether you directly contact a magazine or go through an agent, it is your job to present a portfolio that is worth showcasing to potential employers. In fact, with an agent the challenge is greater because you have to convince the agent first, who will then convince the potential employer. It is a lot of hard work, but that which definitely pays off. Agencies also guide you toward developing a style that is worthy of getting you into a fashion magazine of your choice.
You have to work extremely hard to get noticed and become a renowned fashion photographer, for which it is important that you have the basics in place first. The most important of these is a unique style that does not emulate that of popular professionals in the field. Once you get through, you will easily be entitled to the high salary and become a well-known name in the field. Even if you do not get into a magazine, you can continue working with modeling and advertising agencies to build up your portfolio, and then take up your dream job. The wait may be long, but the results are totally worth it. Just remember, the sooner you start, the quicker the process will be.
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