Fashion photography is a very creative and expressive process where the possibilities are limited principally by the imaginations of the photographer and model. Fashion images can be elegant, classical, whimsical, sexy, whacky, retro etc, but they are all devoted to the display of clothing in the most alluring way possible. Most of the work is undertaken for advertisements that appear in magazines and other target markets.
Fashion photography has developed enormously over recent decades, and has now acquired its own aesthetic which typically involves fast cars, beautiful locations, extravagant luxury or even exotic animals as a means of establishing a connection between the clothes and the qualities of the desirable secondary subjects.
Fashion photography incorporates many of the principles of good portrait work, but in many cases the majority of the model's body will be included in the images. Lighting obviously depends upon the location involved, but flash and reflectors are almost always involved.
The essential ingredients for a good image are an appropriate and capable model with experience of fashion work, good make-up and hair preparation, suitable lighting and appropriate surroundings. Finding the right model is never easy, but a good agency has on its books a large number of people, and can help to find someone with a particular height or figure, or whose features and personal characteristics match the requirements of a particular assignment.
|Public domain image by Petr Kratochvil|
It is possible to obtain good fashion images in natural light in a domestic environment, but fill-flash or a reflector should be used to fill shadows under the model's eyes and elsewhere on the model's face. However, in most instances, fashion images are created in the carefully-controlled environment of a studio or in an outdoor location where the environment and lighting are equally carefully selected and controlled.
The simplest way to create a background that is not distracting is to erect a fabric or paper screen behind the model. However, more interesting backdrops are available everywhere. The image at the top of the page was created with the model standing on a low window ledge in a daylight studio. Having established the correct exposure for the environment outside the windows, studio flash was set to provide balanced light for the model.