Fashion photography...where to begin???

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Dark Anghell, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Dark Anghell

    Dark Anghell TPF Noob!

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    As I have briefly mentioned in my http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/welcomes-introductions/154842-let-me-introduce-myself.htmlintroduction, I am trying to break into fashion photography. So far I have been running into the problem of my pictures turning out to look more like portraits than anything else. I have a feeling that this is due to my lack of direction towards the person I'm photographing. When they ask what I would like them to do, I have hard time coming up with anything and instead ask them to do what they feel comfortable doing.
    Here are few questions:
    1) are there any books I should look into reading that may give me some insights on how to set up a set, directing the model, light, etc.
    2) currently I am using 18-55mm kit lens, and try to stick to 50mm range...while using external flash mounted on the camera. I try to bounce the light off walls whenever I can so its not so direct. Given that I am on a very tight budged, what other gear should I look into to improve overall picture quality?

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Fashion photography is as much about the model as it is about the location, the aesthetic that is being pushed in the backgrounds.

    Lets have a look at some of these samples that are coming off too much like portraiture.
     
  3. jseoung

    jseoung TPF Noob!

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    actaully there are alot of books out there right now. barns and noble has couple of em that i been seeing. there is a couple of book i saw that show you where to place the flash for certain effect.
     
  4. Dark Anghell

    Dark Anghell TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    I would say these have a little bit more to them, but still even I find them to be a bit dull:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I have heard good things about the book called:
    Fashion Photography: A Complete Guide to the Tools and Techniques of the Trade by [ame="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?%5Fencoding=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Bruce%20Smith"]Bruce Smith.[/ame]

    Also I went ahead and created a profile on modelmayhem.com where I am willing to shoot for free just to get practice. But before that I want to have at least a little bit of background on what to do. I photographed cars for about 2 years, so I never had to direct anyone.
     
  5. jseoung

    jseoung TPF Noob!

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    if you need books..i got books!!!
     
  6. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ok. I understand. I would say that the only one that comes off as having potential as a "fashion" shot, is that second one. The rest are far to face centered to be anything but portrait shots. The second one at least has the setting to communicate some personality.

    I won't say that flash has no place in fashion photography, but if you pick up an copy of VANITY FAIR, and just flip through the 50 or so pages of ads. You wont see too many of them using flash photography in their shots outdoors. They are using that natural light to very effective results.

    I would say in a studio, where there is more control over the props and what not are where the flash photography shines.
     
  7. robbie_vlad

    robbie_vlad TPF Noob!

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    Having never done fashion photography myself, take my advice with a grain of salt. There are a couple things I would suggest:

    1.) When I think fasion, I think the clothes that the models are wearing being the 'main attraction'. Of course a pretty model is always going to give the best result, but the photos that you posted were mostly headshots (portraits as you put it)...you need to focus more on the fasion aspect (the clothes).

    2.) Most of them seem to be a little OOF and #2 is a bit grainy. Make sure you are focused correctly, with fasion photography I would use manual focus since you have more time to set it up nice. The grainy aspect can be fixed with a lower ISO, and a slower shutter speed to compensate (you'll need a tripod to avoid camera shake).

    3.) You said youve never had to 'direct anyone' before, but when youre shooting models, you ARE the BOSS! Haha, but seriously, dont be afraid to tell them how to stand, where to look ect. Now, that doesnt mean be an A-hole, but be polite when directing them, especially when working with non-professional models because they arent (or most arent) used to getting critiqued or told what to do, and I know that when I go shooting even landscapes I get really into it and dont pay much attention. Remember, direct them so that the clothes (the subject in this matter) is what draws attention.

    4.) Finally, utilize natural light as it looks just that, more natural. Artificial flash used the wrong way can make a model (and the clothes) look completely different. Be wise.
     
  8. Dark Anghell

    Dark Anghell TPF Noob!

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    ^^ Thank you for all the great information! I am suspecting that my camera either needs cleaning or to be calibrated. Its 2 years old and I've noticed that even some of my tripod pictures come out blurry. This is very noticeable at 50mm shots, which could also be because of aperture. I have tried shooting at f5.6 to blur out the background some more, f11, etc. and in many cases still ended up with a blurry shot in both instances.
    Would going with a fixed Canon f2.8 50mm lens improve the quality of my photographs? I have been thinking about this lens for a while now.
     
  9. robbie_vlad

    robbie_vlad TPF Noob!

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    You can pick up a Canon 50mm f/1.8 on line for around $85 and it is supposed to be a superb lens for the price. Produces a very sharp image. I'm actually picking one up once I have the money.

    Canon 50Mm F 1.8 | B&H Photo Video
     
  10. Mgw189

    Mgw189 TPF Noob!

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    Your images do look like portraits because they are. As has already been mentioned the clothes are really what you are trying to bring out in your photos. You may want to think of getting a reflector to help with lighting on the outdoor shoots. They are pretty inexpensive and very effective from other shoots I have seen.
     
  11. Dark Anghell

    Dark Anghell TPF Noob!

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    Thats the one I was thinking of! I just ordered it.
    Having had experience in fashion photography, do you have any tips on getting into the industry? All I've read basically suggested to photograph for free to build up portfolio and also network with lots of people. One of my friends is a hair stylist who enters lots of contests, etc. As soon as my pictures get to the next level I am hoping I can photograph for him to get the name out there, in the mean time would putting ads on craigslist be the best way to go or do some more homework before jumping out there?
     
  12. jseoung

    jseoung TPF Noob!

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    the picture i took thats on my sig- i took that one with a 50mm 1.8 lens..
     

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