One of the best things you can do for your brand, whatever that may be, is to have high quality images, which is why creating content with a fashion photographer is incredibly valuable. Whether it’s for a website, social media, or a personal portfolio, sharing crisp, clean images is a basic expectation these days. Fashion photographers know this better than almost anyone. They also know the best practices for hiring and working a fashion photographer for whatever project you’re working on.
Top Types of Photography for Creating Content with a Fashion Photographer
When it comes to fashion photography, there are a variety of mediums in which content can be shared. In terms of fashion photography, the most commonly thought of photography is editorial. Editorial images are generally meant for publications and are often included alongside text. Think of your favorite fashion publication (online or print) and consider one of their fashion spreads. There is often a brief amount of text, and then multiple pages of models posing in various garments. Those are editorial images.
Photographer Patrick Hovan has extensive experience with editorial photography, and has done a lot of work for New York Fashion Week. “I think when it comes to shooting editorial, you really have to push the story-based image over anything,” said Hovan. “There has to be a concept. When it comes to selling a product like a piece of clothing on a model, you want to put it in a scenario where the person viewing it can see themselves in that scenario and connect with that story that you’re telling.”
In addition to editorial photography, fashion photographers can also do influencer shooting. Influencer shooting is similar to editorial shooting, but the images taken are generally intended only for the various platforms social media influencers utilize. While skilled in capturing an audience’s attention, many influencers are not professional photographers, and require the talent of a professional to create worthy content. This form of photography has understandably risen in popularity in recent years.
Jasmine Dandridge, who does editorial and influencer photography, works with content creators who have deals with retail companies and need to produce visual promotions on their social media channels. If they [influencer clients] aren’t great at taking their own photos, that’s where I come in,” said Dandridge. “Of course, you can shoot your own photos with a phone or a camera, but booking a professional photographer for content is always a good idea. They can assist you and bring forth their creativity and help bring your vision to life.” And as Dandridge puts it, the better your images are, the more positive attention you’re going to get from companies, followers, and anyone else who views your content.
A third type of fashion photography is product photography, which is exactly what it sounds like: taking images of products. These images could be intended for catalogues, websites, social media, or advertisements. And while taking a photo of a product may sound simple, it can be just as complex as any other fashion photoshoot. “The thing that people most get surprised about is how involved it [product photography] actually is,” said photographer Julie Stanley who has extensive experience with product photography. “I’ve heard many clients say ‘Boy, I thought you just put it down and take a picture.’ But you have to examine the product, you have to understand it. Just like a model, a product has its best angle and its best way of lighting.” Stanley has done product campaigns in the beauty and fashion industries.
Hovan occasionally works with Stanley on product shoots, and understands the complexity of every project. If it’s in your budget to hire a photographer’s assistant, Hovan believes this can make a huge difference in the final images. “I think it can be really important find an assistant that you work well with, someone that’s going to understand your vision and also to have a second pair of trusted eyes in case you might miss something.”
Best Ways to Work with your Photographer
No matter your budget or type of photoshoot though, one of the most important things when working with a fashion photographer is to be prepared. By the time you reach out to a photographer for a shoot, you should have a solid idea of budget, location, and the vision you are hoping to achieve. Photographer and founder of YSYM Films Jason Turner has a number of questions he immediately asks clients when planning for a shoot. “Right off the bat, you want to ask the client, what kind of story are you trying to tell, what kind of article is there going to be, where is it going to be placed, everything just really depends on the client and them explaining to you what they need.”
If you are prepared, then the photographer can come prepared. “Scouting to me is really important, you know, getting familiar with the location before you ever go to a shoot,” said Turner. “Then you can plan for lighting and everything else you may need.” When it comes to a photoshoot, lighting is everything. If a desired location has bad lighting, the photographer may suggest another spot. However, if they’re able to plan ahead based on location, they can bring necessary lighting.
In addition to a plan, there also has to be a lot of communication when working with a fashion photographer. Editorial photographer Frank Rocco, who also has a lot of experience shooting for New York Fashion Week, admitted that most of his job is networking, emailing, and planning with clients. “A client has to know what they want, they have to know what the final product should be, the have to know their budget. That way I can plan,” said Rocco. “If you have a tight budget, we can probably do something, but there has to be communication. It’s not like if you let us know your budget and we’re going to go, ‘Oh, we’re going to use that all.’ We want to figure out what we can get you for that in a way that’s going to suit your needs.” If you hire the right photographer, they will truly want to work for you. But they can only do that if you are as clear with them as they are with you.
This kind of preparation goes for any professional in the fashion industry, including models. Oliver Archer, who largely does editorial work, has worked with many models during his career. “Before a shoot, you have to do your homework, you have to know what the end result is supposed to be. Understand the expectations,” said Archer.
A mutual understanding between the photographer and the client is the first step in working with a fashion photographer. Before even reaching out to a photographer, a client should be prepared with as much information to provide the photographer as possible. From there, a fashion photographer will work their magic and provide you with whatever kind of content you are looking for.
Top Tips for Working with Fashion Photographers to Create Content:
- Know What You Want:
“As a client, just know what you want, and don’t be afraid to explain your full vision to the creative director, the stylist, the photographer, to each person that is going to be involved. Communicate your budget, your time frame, who the target audience is, and what the story is.” -Jason Turner
- Get Creative:
“For influencer shooting, companies are looking for something out of the box and original. If they continue to see the same things over and over again, they’re not going to need you, the influencer, or us, the photographer. Bring some props, a good wardrobe, and be ready to get creative.” -Jasmine Dandridge
- Quiet on the Set:
“If you’re on set and there are too many people there it causes a lot of distractions for the model particularly. It could make them uncomfortable because they then feel like they have to put on this show. They focus on doing the job which makes the day longer and makes the process harder. Keep the number of people at a shoot as small as possible.” -Patrick Hovan
- Be Realistic:
“Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Manage your expectations. Sometimes designers and models have very unrealistic expectations and don’t realize that their vision is going to cost thousands of dollars and thousands of hours.” –Catherine Schuller, model, actress, and Fashion Curator
- Bring your Fave OOTD…and then a Few More
“When doing a shoot, we have to stand out. So, be prepared with what you bring. Bring lots of clothes, plan cohesive colors, bring outfits for different seasons, that way you can use photos for all different seasons all year.” -Oliver Archer
- Be prepared to Invest:
“As a website designer, you learn quickly that photography on any website has to be topnotch. You have to invest in professional models and photographers to get the right results.” –Melissa Shea, website designer and CEO of Fashion Mingle
- Look for a Connection:
“When we’re interviewing photographers and testing them out, we look to see how well they work with models who really aren’t experienced yet. We might find models who are diamonds in the rough, but to get them to come out of their shells, bring out their personality, all of that comes out in pictures. I find that the photographers that can really connect well with people.” –Dale Noelle, model and CEO of True Model Management
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