Glamour and adventure, these are two words that often strike the mind's eye at the thought of fashion photography. Of course there's make-up, lighting, costumes, setting, etc. These are some of the things that the job of a fashion photographer entails. It entails an eye for beauty, an eye for the exotic, and an eye for the extraordinary. With modern technology, it is possible for virtually anyone to become a fashion photographer.
As a fashion photographer, you can focus on creative studio pictures or on site shoots. Or you can also specialize in events photography (weddings, birthdays, parties, etc.) and magazine or bulletin ad photography. The opportunities are practically limitless because the services of photographers are priceless these days. You would probably say that it talent that holds the key. Well, true, talent does have its role, but hard work plays its part as well. Others may just have a knack for it, but other photographers can be made. If you think this career is the one you want to pursue, then here are a few things you must keep in mind and invest in as you climb up that career ladder.
- Invest in a good camera. You don't need to have the latest model to be able to create the best photographs. All you need is a camera whose functions you know inside-out, whose output you can enhance with the proper amount of lighting and whose extra parts you can easily find in the market. Like people have best friends, your camera is your partner in crime. Your camera should fit in with your style. If you like most of your shoots outdoors, then make sure that the camera you are choosing can withstand the different elements you are working in. All other accessories that come with it should be easy to carry around, in contrast to working in a studio with the heavy-duty tripod, the gigantic reflectors and the giant backdrops. Whatever your taste is, make sure that your chosen camera will suit your needs.
- Work up a good portfolio. As you test out your camera and try out different settings, you should keep your best shots and put them in a folder that you could use when applying to that fashion agency. It's nice to think big, but always remember that no opportunity is too small for a photographer who is just starting out. Open up your networks, ask around and offer your services, even if it means getting paid little, or not at all. The outputs you will produce are worth more than gold in the eyes of future employers or future models you will work with. If you have enough finances and know some people who own coffee shops, you can even run a gallery for a week and maybe auction off some of your pieces. Who knows who might pass by who would be more interested than just buying a piece for his collection?
- Observe. Aside from having a keen eye for detail in your work, you must also have a keen eye on how other fashion photographers work. Apply as an apprentice. You'd be surprised at how much you can learn watching the pros at work. You can also add to your resume that you have been the apprentice of a known photographer, and that will serve to your advantage. Just be sure to show that indeed you have learned much under your apprenticeship. The Internet is filled with professional photographers who sell their masterpieces online. You can get to know more of their style and at the same time discover your own distinct style of photography.
- Networking and a pleasant personality. As you work your way into your career, you will meet a lot of people who know other people who could be potential clients. Even if you are already well-established into the career, a good personality will definitely keep you well-established. Clients can be demanding and models can be moody. You have to be sensitive to these demands and work accordingly. Of course you can't always please everybody, but be sure that with each transaction you are able to at least strike up a compromise. A good-natured photographer is more than welcome to shoot the same clients again and gain new clients in the process. Who knows, your ability to compromise might land you a higher-paying job altogether.
- Keep learning. No matter how long you've been in the profession, it is always a good idea to keep yourself abreast with current trends and information. Now that we are in the digital age, you have to be familiar with at least one photo-editing program and be an expert in it. Fashion is an ever-changing, ever-evolving industry and nothing stays the same for two months. There's always some new trend, some new wave that models have shown off and photographers must capture. If you feel that this new dimension that they're working with is not your forte, then you should take a crash course in it, or really sit it out and study. Put your resources together and research. A photographer who can change with the times is a well-seasoned photographer. As much as you can see gems in your models, the fashion industry can also fish out the gems among the many photographers who stand in line. Be sure to be one of them.
All careers have their own challenges and work environments. In your path to becoming a fashion photographer, always remember to understand it inside and out, like how you know your camera. Know the ups and downs, know the perks and advantages. No matter what other people say, if you are determined, any path can be traversed, and always remember that every great achievement was once impossible. Good luck!