The Loreal Melbourne Fashion Festival (March 18-24th) is a celebration of not just fashion, but all creative endeavours – photography included! The fashion photography tips provided this month by Tony Menz, our multi-talented Leica Consultant, Lighting Specialist and Media School Instructor, will not only assist aspiring editorial fashion photographers but any enthusiast seeking to add a ‘wow factor’ to their portraiture by considering lighting, posing, equipment and more.
Successful fashion photography may seem the exclusive domain of the "pros" but there are many ways to create high impact fashion images for the everyday photographer with even basic camera gear.
A DSLR and a Speedlight can be all that is required to create stunning images with impact and technical merit. One of the most important features of a good fashion photograph is of course to make the model look their best and the effective use of posing to accentuate models features is totally independent of the gear used. However there are countless times the addition of some flash either as fill or as a main light is required.
Fashion photography may find you photographing with the masses at a catwalk where interaction with the model is impossible. Being ready to capture a fleeting moment of eye contact could set your photo apart from dozens taken at almost the same moment in time, so be ready and on the lookout for these fleeting instances. Such eye contact imparts a sense of interaction between the model and viewer of the photograph. Have your camera set to continuous shooting, and your ISO high enough to allow fast shutter speeds to freeze the action on the catwalk.
Your own shoots with a model however offer you full input into the end result. Look to accentuate a models better features, whether the end result is designed to be classic or of a more "edgy" nature. Again the key to a good fashion photograph is to portray the subject in a flattering way. Posing techniques can be learned from publications you may be looking to submit to or even emulate, but the best way to learn what works is to practice with a variety of models either in the studio or on location and you will quickly learn what "works". A subtle change in head tilt, finger and hand placement or angle to the camera can totally change the look of a fashion photograph.
Experiment too with angles and subject placement in the frame. Off centre subjects can intrigue the viewer, as can shooting from different angles using such things as a small stepladder. Be careful though when shooting form above or below the subject that you don’t drastically alter the proportions of the subject as represented in the photograph. Shooting from above can make a subjects legs look shorter. Conversely shooting from a low viewpoint can "lengthen" subjects legs.
Whilst it is great to achieve most of what you want in camera there are some great editing products to really make the final result worthwhile. Skin smoothing to remove blemishes or just to give a "porcelain" complexion is a very popular editing technique.
Images provided by Tony Menz (All rights reserved)