If you have ever aspired to photograph high fashion, beauty and/or runway models, thinking it will be all glam and glitz, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. The fashion and beauty industry demands unique, fresh, pristine compositions that clearly depict the client’s message.
To create a truly successful image you have to go well beyond the technical aspects of photography and focus more on the concept and story. Once you have established the idea, gather props, investigate location for desired lighting conditions and create and rehearse a shot list prior to the arrival of your model.
I believe in the hands on approach from start to finish. If you are fortunate enough to work with a team of professionals, makeup artist, hair dresser, clothing stylist and prop grips it is important to maintain the leadership role. Each step needs to be orchestrated like the making of a fine concerto if you want you want your vision to come to life.
In fashion photography there are a variety of ways to engage your viewer using simple techniques. One of my favorite tips is to play around with emotions. You can capture some of the most stunning images by encouraging your model to find their inner actor. Pouting, sneers or boisterous laughter can be extremely effective depending on the overall mood you are hoping to achieve. This is an opportune time to catch a few candid shots as well; they don’t look posed, capture a ‘real’ moment and are more often than not dynamic.
Props can really add to the overall composition and provide something for the model to interact with. They can provide a somewhat voyeurism glimpse into the subject’s life, whether they are putting on glossy red lipstick or decorating a delicious red velvet cake. However, on the flip side, the wrong prop or too many can actually distract and take away from the overall composition, so I encourage you to select your props carefully.
Positioning the model is critical when capturing specific moods, messages or stories. Eye contact straight into the camera is powerful and engaging. It allows the viewer to connect easily with the subject. An alternative to a direct line is to have the model looking away, focussing on something off camera or not in the scene; this encourages the viewer to ponder what the model might be looking at and creates a sense of mystery and wonderment. Change your POV – point of view or angle – to capture the model’s best features. Although we are taught to shoot low or close to the ground to elongate the model, this is not always the best position. Climb ladders and shoot from an aerial view, shoot from below the model — play around with the composition to figure out how to showcase the product or story the best possible way. To create a truly believable narrative I recommend getting your model out of the studio to a complimentary setting and let her strut. It is amazing how confidence shines when you take your “all dolled up” model and hit the streets.