I'm looking for advice on becoming a fashion photographer

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by trinidadgonzalezsardi, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. trinidadgonzalezsardi

    trinidadgonzalezsardi TPF Noob!

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    Hi guys! This is my first thread in the forum, so be gentle if I make any mistake. I've been doing photography since forever (my first camera was a Mickey Mouse green one that my parents gave to me when I was 5 y.0. and i've never stopped since then). Today, with 21 y.0., I'm trying to make my way in fashion photography. I need advice on what's the best way to make yourself visible as a fashion photographer, wich things I need to have always present and whatever advice you may come up with. I'm posting one of my last photos here, so you can make a critique about that too. Thanks!


     

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  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The most useful piece of advice I can offer is to learn to live on Ramen noodles. Once you've got that weighed off, you're on the right path. The second piece of advice is: If you don't already live in a major centre, than sell everything and move to one. Lastly. Spend 1/3 of your time learning everything you can about fashion and photography, 1/3 of your time shooting and seeking critique, and the remaining third putting together your absolute best portfolio and knocking on doors (you notice there's no time left for social activities, sleep, etc. That's not a mistake).

    The attached image is... okay, but that's about it. It looks like an available light image with an unusual choice of location. Fashion photography is about the fashion primarily, so you need to be featuring the fashion when you shoot. In this case, all I see is a rather plain, and unexciting black top. By bringing in some supplemental light and posing the model a little less square to the camera it would have been a much stronger image, but still not really a 'fashion' image IMO.
     
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  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've never tried it, but I would say above all that you need to become a very good photographer. Incidental to that, find fashion where you find it, and make a portfolio that contains about 20 superb photographs.

    Your portfolio will be in constant flux, going from today onward to however many years you want to keep it up. Every time you get an excellent photograph, replace one that is not as good.

    Seek to rub elbows with other people in the business. Always try to "move up" the ladder. As long as someone is helping you grow and improve, keep them in your circle. If anyone begins to drag you down, stop spending time with them.

    Ask fashion-conscious friends to pose for you. Study fashion magazines, advertisements, fashion shows, and everything you can use to educate yourself. Try to get to know other fashion photographers in your area, and learn from them.

    Try to get a job in photography. Any job. In any type of photography. Learn what you can in each job, and when you can't learn any more, move on.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    John and Designer pretty much covered it all. Trying to get a job assisting a fashion photographer would be a way to learn the business and see how things are done.

    As for the critique of the photo. It has more of an environmental portrait to me. Some will say shoot portrait not landscape, but that is either/or depending on what you are trying to do. Probably the biggest thing that stands out with me to improve on this photo would be the cutting off of the fingers and hands (composition). I would also suggest some fill light to the face to brighten it up.

    You have a start in photography, just remember that it is a journey and while it seems that people get there over night, we don't see the years of blood, sweat and tears that it took them to get there.

    Oh I did think of one other thing that would be useful. Learn post processing and the apps that are used for that. Lightroom, Photoshop, Capture1 and various method and techniques used in the fashion industry. (Frequency separation, dodging and burning, etc....)
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    To make a living doing commercial photography you have to know how to do business more so than you have to know how to do photography. Promoting & marketing yourself through networking within the industry is a key.

    There is no location info in your profile.
    Like John (tirediron) alluded to you need to live in a major metropolitan area that has a significant fashion industry.
    New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Quebec, Milan, Rome, Paris, Lyon, Marseille, etc.
     
  6. trinidadgonzalezsardi

    trinidadgonzalezsardi TPF Noob!

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    You've mentioned the portfolio, I have two questions about that (if you don't mind me asking):

    1) You've said it's like 20 superb photos. Would you recommend each photo of a different series of photos or not necessarily?
    2) It's best to have a web portfolio or a printed one?
     
  7. trinidadgonzalezsardi

    trinidadgonzalezsardi TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! Maybe the photo was not the best to post with this. I began studing fashion photography basics 2 years ago, but the last year I couldn't practice at all so I'm starting again now and it feels like I forgot everything. Anyway thank you very much for your advice, I'll keep it in mind.
     
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  8. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    1. I recommend no more than 20 sleeved 8x10 prints in a loose-leaf binder. If someone wants to view your portfolio, 20 prints should be enough to convince someone you can do it. More than 20, he will become bored with it.

    If you have only two or three sessions, you should make sure each photo is somehow different from the others in the series. I think it might be possible to have only one model, as long as each session is substantially different, and each shot in that series is different.

    You need to show your range, and the wider the better. Location shots, studio shots, with flash or reflectors only, use scrims if required, windy conditions, on the beach, in the city, night shots, etc. Anything and everything.

    2. Both. Use the website as a gallery space, but keep each gallery manageable in size. Never include any shot that you're not proud of. If a paying client wants to preview her gallery, and proof the shots she wants to buy, make it private with a password you give her. Do that for each gallery that a client will view online.

    I already mentioned the print portfolio. That's the one you carry with you to meet a photo editor or potential client. Don't leave it unless you trust the person to give it back in good time. I probably wouldn't leave it under any circumstances. Besides; you never know when you run into somebody who wants to see your portfolio. "Presto" you have it right here!
     
  9. trinidadgonzalezsardi

    trinidadgonzalezsardi TPF Noob!

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    Thanks!! I'll try to keep this in mind! :)
     
  10. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Write it down or print a screenshot. Pin it to your wall until you have it memorized.
     
  11. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You live in a very good sized area. There should be some work available for what you want to do. Find some people that are doing what you want to do and hopefully they are hiring. When making a portfolio put only the best in it. If you only have 11 very good photo's and 20 good ones. Only put 11 in it! Only the best of the best go in it. As you take more pictures. Review them, and if necessary take out a weaker one for a better one. Do not put a weak or so so picture in the portfolio! Be critical of your own work. The reviewer will. Don't get discouraged by rejections. They will happen. And I am sure there are some down there. Be very wary of people offering to help you, by charging you fees and such to get noticed. If you have never heard of these people from industry articles / news. Then neither has anyone in the industry! They are just trying to make money off someone with dreams.

    Part of what you want to do involves research. Part of it is education. Part of it is practice. And a lot of it is patience. Don't expect to have a great portfolio in a couple weeks time. It's going to take a while.
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Learn how to modify light, by using a reflector, umbrellas, softboxes, and scrims/panels. You need to be able to create or to find good LIGHTING. Pretty light. Interesting light. Light that reveals things.

    The world is filled with "natural light" shooters who cannot be counted upon to get jobs done unless they can find the right light. You NEED to be able to creqte tyour own light. You need some studio-type flash gear, and some modifiers, and the ability to create your own light, or to extensively modify the light you find. You cannot be a "fashion photographer" is you do not know much about light.

    Case in point, the shot of the girl...not very interesting. No light in the eyes. Dark, detail-less blacks. Bright, white-ish thumbs and forefingers at the edge of the wide frame...loads of brush, not much of the clothing shown...you need to realize that 805 oif magazine and on-line fashion images are talls, not wides, (except for double trucks).

    Keep at it. Follow your dream! Work on your craft. Network,network,network. Test,test,test. Study,study,study. Promote,market,market,promote. You are 21...there is a lot to learn.
     
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