Prepare to Fair

( I 'ashion photography involves a great deal of preparation. It's what separates basic portraits from fashion or conceptual portraiture.

For a typical portrait session, you show up, meet the subject, and take pictures. There is often little discussion of location, hair, clothing, props, and lighting. There is seldom a concept behind the portrait except to make a flattering image of the subject.

Fashion photography often produces striking imagery because of all the preparation involved, most of which takes place before the actual day of the shoot. It involves organizing a location, determining the shoot concept, selecting the model, choosing the wardrobe, and communicating the concept to the hair and makeup team. A high-end, single-day shoot may involve weeks of preparation.

To give your portraiture a distinct fashion flair, you must begin to consider some of the steps you can take to make your images stand out. Ask yourself what elements will contribute to a strong image.

For example, Figure 1.1 has a distinct fashion flair primarily from the pose and post processing. It was part of a boudoir shoot to be given as a wedding gift. Rather than doing a glamour shoot, we made the shoot high fashion by using rich colors, purposefully selected makeup, and a fashion pose. This did not take a great deal of time or preparation, but the client and I did discuss beforehand the final look we were trying to achieve.

Classy Boudoir Poses

Figure 1.1

We used a fashion pose, choice makeup, and Photoshop effects to create a high-fashion look that was classy and striking for this boudoir shot.

Figure 1.1

We used a fashion pose, choice makeup, and Photoshop effects to create a high-fashion look that was classy and striking for this boudoir shot.

What are you trying to communicate about your subject? Is there a particular concept or visual aesthetic you'd like to convey?

There are several essential elements to consider when preparing for a shoot with a strong fashion influence. Breaking down a shoot into these elements allows you to see the various areas of the shoot you can affect and the myriad results you can achieve. Here are elements to consider:

■ Styling: hair, makeup, wardrobe, props

■ Post-processing (Photoshop, retouching, and more)

These elements allow you to take a portrait beyond just a pretty picture of an individual. You will no longer be taking a person's portrait; you will be making a person's portrait. You cannot expect to just show up and create an image that looks like it was taken from the pages of a fashion magazine. You should begin to think of your portraits as mini-productions. You subject is your model, and as the producer of the shoot you must consider all elements within your control.

Control is one of the great gifts of fashion photography. As a photographer, you are in control of every aspect of the image. You determine the composition, lighting, model, and posing. You have no excuses if the image doesn't achieve your goals, because you have complete control.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. It can come from a dream, a song, a TV advertisement, or other artists and photographers. Learn to keep your eyes open and digest what you see. Photographers learn to view things differently, such as light and shadows. We see unique angles that are naturally apparent.

Look out for interesting locations or unique props. When you watch television, find the interesting visuals or styling. Following are a few good places or sources of inspiration.

Keep a collection of images or tear sheets (pages pulled from magazines) that inspire you. If you see a pose you really like in a magazine, tear out that page for future reference. If you catch a glimpse of lighting you really like in an online editorial, save that image to your desktop. I have hundreds of images saved for inspiration. Whether inspired by a location, pose, concept, clothing, or something else, I save these images for future use. I have a folder in my studio where I keep the collection of magazine images I have torn out. I have several folders on my computer where I save images I've found online, organized in a way that indicates what about the image inspired me. If I'm looking for inspiration for avant-garde makeup, I visit the Makeup folder. If I am looking for a different lighting scheme, I visit the Lighting folder.

These tear sheets are invaluable. Not only can I use them for inspiration, I can use them to communicate my concept to others. If there is a hairstyle I want for a shoot, I just pull out a photo. That's so much easier than explaining it to a stylist! Or perhaps I have a particular concept in mind; instead of struggling to explain it to my client, I show her a sample image to illustrate the direction I want to take the shoot.

Keep and organize tear sheets. They will save you time and inspire you.

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  • Mathilda
    How to prepare a fair of photography?
    6 years ago

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