So, I'm in a pickle. On a whim I decided to email a model who lives in Bloomington, IN. Told her how I admired her work and how I would like to take some photos of her in the spring at the Indianapolis museum of Art and sent the email on it's way. I didn't expect her to email me back, alas she did. So now I who knows nothing about fashion photography in any shape form or function must figure out how to this sort of thing before some point to be determined in the spring.

So, any tips for someone who knows a lot about landscape and flower photography but nothing about fashion photography?

  • 4
    Ha, you might have had better luck asking the question without the semi-creepy back story.
    – Tom
    Jan 26 '11 at 21:41
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    I said that in the past and say it again - I can't see why this question deserves two downvotes (as of now)! Some people in this forum are trigger happy indeed. What is the difference between this question and dozen other similar questions asking for advice on specific photography type? Is it the background story? Give me a break... @Ben Kennett, welcome to the community and don't be discouraged by the downvotes. I am sure you'll get some good answers to your question here. And people, the least you can do it to comment on WHY the downvote!
    – ysap
    Jan 26 '11 at 21:47
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    @ysap - just to be clear, I was not a downvoter and just speculated why. I think I could have worded the questoin much differently and it would have gotten upvotes. I do encourage that anyone who downvotes leave a message saying why. Constructive criticism will help the poster learn how to be a better member of the community.
    – Tom
    Jan 26 '11 at 22:08
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    Personally I admire the honesty. I think it helps to know the precise situation so that advice can be more accurate. Who cares about the story, I try to judge peoples questions not the people...
    – BBischof
    Jan 27 '11 at 5:02
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    Upvoted. This is a good question, and - let's face it - the backstory adds a certain something. It's good because the answers will enrich the site and the community. Also, I think people should be encouraged to share their personal experience - warts and all. (Hmm, I wonder if the model in question is a member of this site?)
    – AJ Finch
    Jan 27 '11 at 13:56

The practical answer to your question is to find some female friend to photograph in that same location first, perhaps reading some tips online about photographing models.

Then you can see what works with lights, what poses look good, and practice asking for poses.

Also when you go out with the "real" model it would probably be good to take the same female friend along to make the model feel more comfortable, also they could hold reflectors or side strobes for you.

Basically you have the responsibility to try and produce some good photos for the model, it's great you are trying to get a good idea of what you should be doing but nothing beats practicing with a live person.

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    Yes, a training class of some kind would be excellent preparation, if one could be found... Jan 29 '11 at 18:29

One of the best things you could do is look at lots of fashion photos. Figure out what they're doing with framing and composition, what they're using to light the scene, be it flashes, soft boxes, natural light, look at how they've processed the image. The colours, the retouching etc.

I know that this form of learning works for me. Inspired and learnt from but not imitated.

Have a look through the Fashion Photography group on Flickr. Even a Google Search gives more immediate results of great fashion photos.

  • Why the down vote? I can remove the images if that's what's bothering you. Jan 27 '11 at 4:13

I've read that for fashion photography, natural light is important to make bright, colorful and clear pictures. You shoudn't focus too much on making the model do various poses, but rather on getting a shot from a great angle. Note that in contrast to portrait photography, fashion photography tends to require photos of the entire model, rather than just the head.

When working with a narrow DOF, always focus on the eyes.

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    If she's a good model, she should be doing numerous poses herself without you needing to go beyond basic direction. Jan 27 '11 at 1:09

Last year, I was invited to shoot a wedding. It was my first time as principle photographer. Despite having some experience, I felt out of my depth.

My approach was:


I bought a couple of good books. (I really like a lot of the stuff from Amherst Media)

Look at other contemporary work.

I bought a few wedding magazines - there are plenty of fashion mags to choose from, too. I looked through the images they were publishing and took some influence from them.


Actually, since we're sharing with the group: I should have practised more. I blew a crucial shot (the kiss) because I was faffing with my gear. Fortunately, I employed a backup strategy - I took 2 other photogs with me, and one of them got the shot ;)

The bride was happy with what I showed her, so I reckon this worked for me.

Hope this helps. Good luck!


Even better than finding a friend, is to shoot actual models, preferably with some instruction from an experienced photog. Not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera, and that will simply make it more difficult for you to learn. A good model will make your life much easier, and from your backstory I assume this lady is already a model.

You can probably find a group on meetup.com that will provide you with these exact opportunities. There are constantly such meets in my area where an experienced photographer arranges everything you need. Typically you just need to bring your camera.

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