There is something about fashion photography that calls out to many photographers. For me it was holding the images in physically published medium that just made it seem so official and therefore became a goal of mine. I started to get more into fashion photography a few years ago, starting with fashion bloggers.
When I first started out I just used my friends as models and experimented with different lighting, editing, and angles. Then I started reaching out to local fashion bloggers to collaborate with. Eventually those free shoots turned into paid shoots. Here are some tips I've learned while growing my fashion blogger client list.
1. Do your research
Every fashion blogger is different. It's very important to give them images that align with their feed and that they will actually use. This will help you become a regular photographer and a paid photographer with them. A lot of times photographers collaborate with fashion bloggers for free in order to gain traffic, but the bloggers never use their images. Why? Because their images don't fit with the blogger's feed.
Ask yourself the following questions before you go on the shoot:
• What colors do they use/how are these photos edited?
• How do they usually fill the frame?
• What backgrounds do they usually go with?
• What orientation do the photos usually have? Portrait, landscape, square?
• Most important: WHAT IS THE THEME?
Example: Tori Radday. Below is a screenshot of Tori's feed. Most of these photos were taken by me, but what is her theme? What makes this Insta account unique? First thing, color. There is lots of color throughout these photos. Second, she fills the frame and the background is secondary to her. Third (you have to click on the photos to see, but trust me) none of them are horizontal. They are all either square or portrait.
2. Get full length and detail shots
Okay, so now you know what style of images the fashion blogger is looking for. It's time to give them variety. Think about what a fashion blogger's goals could be. Usually it is to promote products that they are wearing or give outfit inspo. This requires full length and detail shots. I usually will ask the blogger if there are any details that they want to highlight. This way I can focus on getting shots they are interested in.
3. Make small changes during the shoot
Making small changes can do a lot for adding variety to the images. Something as simple as adding or removing sunglasses can completely change the look of the images. Usually when I shoot with Tori, she brings about three pairs of sunglasses and switching them throughout the shoot. Look at the images below and notice the change in sunglasses.
Changing the background of a shot can also add variety to a shoot. You just need to turn the model around, cross the street, or walk down the block to get a different background. You don't necessarily need to drive 20 minutes to a different location to get the effect.
Another great way to switch up the shoot is to have the blogger sit down. Either on the ground or on a step always makes the images more interesting. Bloggers are usually good with posing themselves, however everyone needs a little direction at times. Some bloggers stand in the same position as you snap a few photos and don't move. There is no need to get more than two or three photos of one position. Encourage them to move around, raise their arms up, or tilt their head.
Bloggers do not want to use the same photos over and over on their feed, so you need to provide options so they can get the most out of the shoot. This is one 30-45 minute shoot that utilizes the space correctly which providing variety.
4. Be personable
There is nothing worse than working with a photographer who is nervous or who is awkward. It makes the subject feel uncomfortable and it comes through in the photos. I have extreme anxiety and believe me, you just have to power through it. FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT. I've gone to so many shoots where I feel like I'm about to have a panic attack while driving there. You just have to take a deep breath and get the job done.
The best advice I can give is to have a bunch of questions lined up in your head to ask or put them on your phone. For example, When did you start your blog? What inspires you as a blogger? What are your favorite places to shoot? Do you have any fun collaborations coming up? Are you from this area originally?. JUST KEEP ASKING. Get them talking. It takes the pressure off of you and makes it an enjoyable experience.
5. Remember these technical tips
Make sure you shoot in RAW. Okay I mean, you don't have to but it makes your life a lot easier if you forget to change your manual settings for a few shots and that shot happens to be the best one. Believe me. It happens. This just helps keep the quality of the photos while you edit them.
I usually shoot with my ratio at 2:3, but remember Instagram only allows for a 4:5 ratio. This means that if I'm filling the frame to the edges while shooting at 2:3, a lot will be cut off once it gets to Instagram. If you are shooting in 2:3, remember to leave space for the change in ratio. This is something that I am still working on remembering. I hate when shoes get cut off or the top of the hair has to get cut off because of this restricted ratio. The first image below is in 4:5 ratio that I cropped in Lightroom. The second is 2:3.
Shoot portrait, not landscape. Trust me. There is a reason why it is called portrait and landscape. You're not shooting mountains, you're shooting a blogger. Go to your favorite fashion blogger's Instagram. Look at the top nine photos. They are either portrait orientation or a square. Shooting from a lower angle in portrait will help you capture more of a fashion vibe.
6. Set realistic expectations
This is just customer service 101, but somehow a lot of people don't know how to do this. Let the blogger know how you are going to give them the images, about how many images you will give them, when they should expect to receive the images, and your expectations of credit. I always let bloggers know that I do not allow any editing of my photos (no filters) before I give them the images. I also let them know that they must tag me in the photos and write *photo emoji* by @rrracheldwyer or shot by @rrracheldwyer. Contracts are your friend.
Shooting with fashion bloggers is a great way to get your name as a photographer out there and grow your fashion portfolio. These tips are not necessarily the *right* way to do it, but have helped me a lot throughout my shoots. Nothing can beat practice as far as improving, but having some foundational help is important too.