Fashion Photography Tips For Beginners

Image by: Hana Studio

This is a brief collection of handy fashion photography tips, for those of you who are just beginning to explore this incredibly fun area of photography.

Fashion photography has seen a huge number of changes over the years. It's grown from something that was originally quite simple and formulaic, to a genre that's bursting with energy and originality.

There are very few limits on what you can do as a fashion photographer these days. The boundaries are always being pushed back; just look at a fashion magazine from 5 or so years ago!

Hopefully these quick tips will help you to begin your exploration of fashion photography and start creating some brilliant images!


The Objectives of Fashion Photography

French V
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So what are the essential objectives of fashion photography? It's a good idea to know what you are ultimately trying to achieve before setting out on a shoot. These are the basics:

You might like to get some inspiration by exploring the incredible work of these 10 famous fashion photographers. I've given a little potted bio of each, with links to their galleries.


Experimenting with self-portraiture is one of the most fun things in photography...

Have you done it?

This awesome guide will get your creative juices flowing. Click the link to take a look at what's inside.

The Art of Self-Portraiture, by Anna Gray


Planning a Shoot

There's a lot going on with a fashion photography shoot: models, clothes, props, set, lighting, assistants etc. So planning things carefully will help you to stay on top of the situation and end up with the shots you want. Here are some simple bits of advice for planning your shoot.



A cool garage-based 'high-key' arrangement by Illusive Photography

Many of you reading this will just be starting to get interested in fashion photography, and probably won't have access to a studio.

A great way to begin shooting in a studio is to find work as an assisstant for a local photographer. Alternatively, you could sign on to a studio photography course, or even find space at home to begin putting together your own studio set-up.

But actually, most of the fashion photography tips in this article can be employed by anyone, whatever equipment you have. You can make a start by simply using window light, and a bit of improvisation!


Where to See Amazing Fashion Photography? I Recommend...


Runway Magazine


W Magazine 


Vogue Magazine


Harper's Bazaar 


Models and Poses

Image by: Hana Studio

One of the reasons very early fashion photography tended to be rather stiff and lifeless was simply the constraints of equipment. Slower shutter speeds and less effective lighting meant the models literally had to hold steady for longer!

But now photographers are free to play around with any ideas and poses they wish. You can interact with the model a lot as you shoot and freeze mid-action without any trouble at all. Here some simple fashion photography tips on dealing with models and poses.


nick knight fashion photography

Nick Knight, by Nick Knight  

Nick Knight has taken fashion photography in amazing new directions.

This book is a fabulous collection of his work.


Lighting and Equipment

Lighting for fashion photography is a big subject. It would not be worthwhile to go into any depth here. But it's worth mentioning that you can make a start with pretty much any lighting available to you.

Lots of great fashion photography has been produced with sunlight as the main light source. Indeed, window light is one of the most popular kinds of light for portrait and fashion photography.

So there's nothing to hold you back. But soon enough you'll need to begin getting to know the various tried and tested studio lighting arrangements that pro fashion photographers call on day in day out.

When you get to that stage, this studio lighting course is an awesome way to learn the ropes. It's run by professional photographers with whom you will have regular contact, and receive feedback. But the course is run entirely online, enabling you to relax in the comfort of your own home whilst learning. You can also learn at your own pace, with no pressure to complete assignments by any deadline.

Here are some basic introductory fashion photography tips on lighting and equipment:




Staying Current

Vogue Cover, Autumn Fuchsia, 1957
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Fashion, as well as fashion photography, moves forward pretty fast. Keep up to date with what top fashion photographers around the world are doing by reading magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar .

There are also several excellent online resources. In my opinion, the best fashion photography website/blog out there belongs to the incredible LA based fashion photographer, Melissa Rodwell. Her site - - is full of brilliant information, fashion photography tips, photos and advice.

Never get stuck shooting in the same style, rolling out familiar poses and lighting arrangements. Experiment and draw inspiration from other photographers' work that catches your eye.

These 2 DPS books answer many of the burning questions beginner photographers have. I'd recommend taking a look - they're good reads and usually on offer when bought as a pair.

Where Next?

Famous Fashion Photographers

Photoshop Portrait Tricks

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