One of the most exciting and dynamic areas of photography is considered to be fashion photography. It encompasses all images made of clothing and clothing accessories, most often appearing on live models.
There are fashion photographers who shoot high fashion, catalogue, women's fashion, men's fashion, and children's fashion in many different styles. Specialists in this field develop a style or feel to their work which is appropriate to the requirement of one section of the market place.
Often the photographer attempts to capture an atmosphere at the expense of detail in the clothes themselves. Garments often sell because they are associated with a certain age-group or style. A fashion photographer will attempt to reinforce this.
High Fashion Photographers
operate in the upper echelons of the fashion world, while Magazine
Photographers supply fashion photographs to weekly or monthly
magazines, daily newspapers and weekend supplements.
Both the high fashion and magazine photographers work from their own studios, on location, or occasionally, in a studio supplied by their clients. They must be innovative and artistic with an intense interest in - and knowledge of - the latest fashion trends, as well as the history of fashion, art and fashion photography. They must also cultivate and maintain top-level contacts within the fashion industry and the fashion publishing business.
Mail-order Catalogue Photographers work with a variety of models and situations, representing the style and features of clothes as accurately and stylishly as possible. They are usually employed by photographic or design studios and may spend days, or weeks, working on a single range of clothing, producing enough photographs each day to fill many catalogue pages. These photographers must work quickly and economically for which they receive a monthly salary and paid holidays. They enjoy the benefits of regular employment, but rarely earn as much as High Fashion or Magazine Photographers.
This field of photography is probably the most over-crowded and competitive area of work and is therefore the most difficult to break in to.
Fashion Photography requires more than a passing interest in fashion trends. Photographers need to immerse themselves totally in the world of fashion and develop outstanding creative and technical skills that will give their photographs individual character and style. They should also be prepared to experiment and explore new ideas and techniques in their own time, and acquire the level of social and interpersonal skills appropriate to their particular area of operation.
Some colleges and universities
offer courses that specialise in fashion photography and employ
established photographers as visiting lecturers. These courses provide
a sound photographic grounding, and should give the potential Fashion
Photographer an idea of what is involved.
However working as an Assistant is probably the best preparation for the reality of the fashion world. This can provide invaluable experience, offering the photographer the opportunity to meet clients, art directors, models, etc., to hear their discussions with photographers, and to understand the details of the preparation, execution and presentation necessary to the job.
Membership of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) and the Association of Photographers (AOP) may also be beneficial.