Our in house photography expert Brad Bird has compiled his top tips for budding fashion photographers! Read on to find out how you can get the best out of your skills and your camera:
Know your camera inside out – This seems like an obvious statement to start with, but there is nothing worse than having to pose for a photographer who takes an age fiddling with their settings. This is especially relevant when doing street style photography where you’ve asked a stranger to pose for an image for your blog.
Shoot in Manual Mode – While it’s tempting to use your camera’s Auto setting (the dreaded green square) this approach really takes all possible creativity out of your shots.
The only way you’re going to be able to control all aspects of your shot, including Shutter Speed, Aperture (depth of field), ISO and white balance is to shoot in Manual (M). The priority modes – Aperture (Av or A) and Shutter (Tv or S) are occasionally useful in certain circumstances, but once you master Manual mode, you’ll never look back.
Lenses – If you can, always go for prime lenses. This doesn’t necessarily mean buying the most expensive prime lens on the market – One of my favourite lenses ever is the Canon EF 50mm f1.8 which is excellent value at £80. http://bit.ly/1g3C9HA
De-clutter – Pick a location with very little clutter in the background. If you page through the world’s top fashion magazines you’ll notice a common theme running through the imagery – clean, tidy simplicity! You don’t want a bunch of background clutter distracting the viewer from your subject (unless of course you’re making an artistic statement with it!). The best way to avoid clutter if your location is unchangeable is to simply blur the background out by using your Aperture settings – (shoot somewhere between f1.8 and f4). Think about your location and if you can, plan the negative space around your subject.
Focus on the eyes – Even if the actual subject of the image is the clothing, you still want to see the face in focus!
Get level – Shooting a person from too high, or too low will often cause unflattering distortion of your subject. This is due to the nature of the glass in your lens. This rule is sometimes broken in high fashion photography when the photographer specifically uses this distortion for visual effect – like extending the length of a models legs by shooting low.
Shoot in the shade – Particularly when there is a lot of light out. The contrast between the lightest and darkest parts of your image should be minimised, especially when shooting people. Shade makes skin look soft and beautiful, especially on a sunny day when the light is reflected off multiple surfaces around your subject. To take your images to the next level, use a white or silver reflector, which will fill the shadows in further, creating a nice, bright, even light on your subject without any dramatic shadows and squinty expressions.
Avoid using on-camera flash whenever possible: Fill flash is useful in a number of circumstances, but on-camera fill flash tends to be unflattering and generally gives that ‘Rabbit in the headlights’ look. If you need to use flash, get a stand-alone flash unit (like a Speedlite) use a remote trigger or an off-camera hot shoe flash cable – http://bit.ly/GzNG3Q. Or completely ignore this point if your name is Terry Richardson
Confidence is key – This is particularly relevant if you’re approaching a stranger for street style imagery. Create rapport with your subject, approach them for a chat, compliment them on their style and then ask permission to take their photograph. Give them the link to your blog and where they can see their picture for added brownie points!
Get close – Fill your frame with the subject! Don’t take a picture of someone from the other side of the street, even if they’re wearing something outrageously fantastic and are in a hurry. There is nothing worse than looking at an image where you’re struggling to see the detail.
Composition – A LOT has been said about the rule of thirds and there is a reason for that. If you don’t know what that is, shame on you… Google it now, this will certainly improve your images.
Consistency – Try to develop your own style, something that identifies your images as uniquely yours. This could be anything from the placement of your subject in the image, the location you shoot in to the choice of fashion you decide to cover. There are a lot of fashion bloggers out there, be different wherever possible!
Editing – While you should always try to nail your exposure wherever possible, there will most certainly be occasions where a bit of post processing is necessary. A bit of sharpening, a bit of exposure compensation etc… Some photographers use post production to develop their own particular look, but this is up to you – just remember, less is most often more.
So that’s it, a few quick tips to improve the photography on your fashion blog. There is plenty more to consider, but perhaps we’ll leave that for a later update.
If you’d like any more tips, or have any specific questions for the team email !