How to be: Career as fashion photographer, courses, skills & job opportunities

Nancy Jaiswal
Nancy Jaiswal
Posted on 30 Jul 2022
17:31 PM
A fashion photographer takes photos of models and other subjects

A fashion photographer takes photos of models and other subjects Source: Wikimedia

Fashion photography, a sub genre of photography, focuses on clothing and accessories and comes with its own set of essential skills
A career as a fashion photographer can be highly rewarding

Who is a fashion photographer?

A fashion photographer is someone who professionally takes photos of models and other subjects, usually highlighting clothing or other fashion accessories in their photographs. They could be working for large and small fashions brands, fashion magazines, journals or even advertising agencies. The subject of fashion photography are more often models, and the photographer could also be expected to give inputs on hair, makeup, clothing, lighting, and other elements of fashion to make sure that the final product is pleasing to the client.

Most fashion photographers are either freelance photographers or full-time photographers working exclusively for fashion and beauty magazines, but they can also collaborate with other types of publications when needed. Their day to day duties includes organising a shoot, editing and selecting pictures and then selling it to different clients as per the need.


How can you start your journey to becoming a fashion photographer?

A career as a fashion photographer is highly lucrative. With the contemporary fashion photography industry becoming more and more competitive, finding a foot in the industry requires hard work, dedication, patience and commitment. And since there are no hidden shortcuts, an aspiring fashion photographer must be prepared for the challenges in the long haul. Here’s a pathway which you can follow, though:

1. Invest: The first step is to invest in a good camera as that is the basic gear you need to pursue the profession. A good place to start is researching - conduct an online search and speak to professionals - to find a professional camera that fits your budget and photography need. With a good professional camera in hand, you can start learning the basics and also practice and take high-quality photos to build your portfolio.

2. Enroll: The second step is to enrol in a photography class or course, either online or in a college or art centre, to learn the basic techniques of fashion photography. In these photography courses you will have a chance to learn more about ISO, lighting, exposure, composition, photo editing and other significant components of the genre. However, remember that once you begin to shoot it's easier to fall in the trap of emulating others’ styles and methods rather than developing your own style. While that is not a bad place to start, eventually it is important to move on and work on your own originality armed with the building blocks you learn in photography school.

3. Practice: The path to becoming a fashion photographer can be a long one, littered with challenges of all kinds. Regardless of the experience you have, being patient, persevering and practising in your spare time as a hobby can help you develop your skills. This practice will also help you direct your models and figure out the use of light in your favour, so as to take good pictures.

4. Network: The last but certainly not the least important factor is networking. Maintaining relationships with ones already working in the industry can be a good way to get introduced to both experts as well as potential clients. The experts are the ones who can give you basic internship experience. Social networking sites are another great tool for learning and networking as renowned photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists, fashion designers and associated professionals often post their work online. Initially, it may require some digging but eventually these platforms are full of resources to aid you in your journey.

fashion photography is also a work of art requiring a lot of hardwork

fashion photography is also a work of art requiring a lot of hardwork Source: Pixahive

What are the must have skills needed for fashion photography?

Just like every other genre of photography, fashion photography is also a work of art. There’s a lot of hard work that is put in by photographers to get that one winning shot which become a cover or a hoarding or on social media. And this success comes from certain innate skills that good fashion photographers have in common. Though the expertise comes with experience, there are still a few handy tips which you can use at all times:

1. Be a good communicator: When working with models, an absolutely non-negotiable skill is to be able to make you models feel comfortable in your presence. Fashion photographers must direct their models, giving them cues about what to do when the shoot is on. This usually involves communicating your intent and directions to your models and continuing to build a friendly and comfortable rapport with them.

2. Manage your time well: Fashion photographers must have excellent time management skills as fashion photography can sometimes take hours - and they must also ensure that each model gets adequate time. Fashion photography also involves post-production work and usually involves deadlines, and it is a good idea to adhere to these.

3. Master photo editing: From traditional editing strategies to digital editing, ever evolving technology plays a highly significant role, particularly in the field of fashion photography. Fashion photographers should have the know-how and experience when it comes to editing their images and giving them special effects, keeping with the brief they have received.

4. Let your artistic creativity speak: Fashion photography is beyond simply capturing photographs of models and clothes and other fashion items. This is one area where aesthetics play a very big role, because the products or models you are photographing must appear both true to themselves as well as visually pleasing and arresting. This involves a great deal of innovation and creativity. And every aspiring fashion photographer should remember first and foremost to let their creativity shine through.

Learn more about photography as a profession click here

What are courses and certificates for fashion photography that are available?

Courses on fashion photography teach a budding photographer the different ways to capture and present apparel and accessories aesthetically. They also give students the opportunity to travel and work with famous professionals in the world of fashion photography.

Here’s a list of the type of courses which an aspirant can pursue:

  • Bsc in Film and Photography
  • Diploma in Fashion Photography
  • Diploma in Tabletop Photography
  • Diploma in Photography and Videography
  • Master of Fine Arts in Photography
  • PG Diploma in Professional Photography

And to help you make the right choice, the top 3 fashion photography colleges in India are:

  • Delhi College of Photography, Delhi
  • Creative Hut Institute of Photography, Mattakkara
  • Light and Life Academy, Ooty

What are the industries that hire fashion photographers

Fashion photographers could be working in a number of different sectors, particularly with the evolution of a digital India, where stores and items are fast moving online. Some of the industries that you may want to explore for a job, employment or freelance, are:

  • Magazines
  • Large fashion brands
  • E-commerce companies
  • Advertising companies
  • Contributing to stock photo websites or cummulatives
  • Photo-journalism

And moving on, here are some of the top companies that hire fashion photographers in India:

  • Vogue India
  • Lakme
  • Tanishq
  • Femina
  • Myntra
  • Photographers Direct
  • Grazia

To conclude, flashy work environments, glamorous models, hobnobbing with the stars, and of course fat paychecks, as established fashion photographer has it all - a life that is a dream for many people. But, aside from the challenges, fashion photography is a rewarding mix of art and technology. And if you have the eye for it - it could be an easier climb that may others. Buy that camera, take that picture and just plunge into the field if you are passionate about it!

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Last updated on 30 Jul 2022
17:31 PM
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