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Thread: How does one become a fashion photographer?

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    How does one become a fashion photographer?

    The question is simple. How does one become a fashion photographer?

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    If you already have experience shooting people with cloths on, I would have thought you were nearly there.

    Are there any clothes designers in your area? or catalog publishers?

    Most retailers of most products can get photographs from their suppliers.

    In this e-world a manufacturer from anywhere could send you some clothes and e-attend the shoot?

    I would have thought that Florida would be a good place to find models... I think one technique is to get a portfolio by doing try-out shots of potential models.

    Do you attend all the fashion shows in the area?

    Do you have all the studio lighting kit you will need?

    Do you do portraiture?

    I have no experience of fashion photography, but there are designers in the area, and I live within 10 miles of the world's best known theater town, and my wife has a dance school, so there is potential... and I am thinking of photography for hairdressers - there are more hairdressers than fashion designers.

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    The question is simple, answer is not.

    Not many fashion shooters here on this forum. I am not one, but have dealt with fashion shooters in past as an art director.

    I'd suggest selecting some that you admire and directly contacting them ... but be persistent as it is a very competitive field and some shooters don't relish encouraging even more competition. Don't be afraid to go right to the top ... those shooters are often more secure in their pecking order ... years ago, a friend of mine contacted Richard Avedon, and Mr. Avedon replied with advice. In fact my pal kept a running correspondence with him for some time.

    -Marc

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Of course the main problem is to find paying customers... but you have to start somewhere. My wife teaches ballet tap and gymnastics, and she has what it takes to run a modelling course.

    You could look for Colleges or universities with theatrical or other suitable faculties.

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    One way to get your feet wet in the fashion photography world is to do comp sheets for models. This will introduce you to working with talent, and how to work with fabric and style. Many of the talent already have decent wardrobes, and know make-up artists whom they work with. Then you work with them to develop ideas and have a chance to demo your creative prowess, or find out if you have what it takes.

    The way to do this is to contact Modeling Agencies and offer your photographic services to shoot emerging or new talent. You will need some samples to establish credibility ... but you'll need samples no matter what anyway. Going through the Talent Agencies keeps it more legitimate for the models themselves rather than some pervert with a camera looking to score.

    The pay for comp sheet work is usually poor or non-existant, but you can trade your work for a credit on the comp sheet ... which is what art directors see when casting ... and art directors are the ones hiring the photographers. You can also trade their modeling talents so you can do any creative notion you may have that goes beyond typical comp sheet work.

    Good luck,

    -Marc

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    I did fashion for a long time. Actually how I meet my wife as a booking agent. I still do some but basically got out since very little money in it given this market. Honestly if you have no clue how than better off not. Just going to spin your wheels. If your young and a lot of energy and willing to work below the market you can get in on some limited basis until you have a REAL book. Without a book it is really tough. There a dime a dozen out there.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I did fashion for a long time. Actually how I meet my wife as a booking agent. I still do some but basically got out since very little money in it given this market. Honestly if you have no clue how than better off not. Just going to spin your wheels. If your young and a lot of energy and willing to work below the market you can get in on some limited basis until you have a REAL book. Without a book it is really tough. There a dime a dozen out there.

    Have a real good day job, be independently wealthy, or be willing to eat rice and beans for quite a while. Reality is in all but a few towns, there is no fashion industry that will support you and a family. In the towns where there is that much industry, the market is saturated. As near as i can tell it is a cut throat business with very high barriers to entry.

    Now, get a camera, find some models and go start shooting ....

    Oh, as a second thought why ask this on a mostly landscape forum?

    Dave

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    get a job as an assistant or intern with somebody you admire. no better way to learn, and even working for free beats paying tuition somewhere

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Be prepared to make nothing for 5 years, and there are only about 5 cities in the world you can be based in. Given the amount of work and talent required to get anywhere, I'd recommend acting as more likely to work out for most people as a career choice.

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    Arrow Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    I support what fotografz said.

    (Below is a quote from photographer Fiona Q)

    Start by model testing for reputable agencies then submitting work to magazines - this leads to commissioned editorial work, lookbooks and finally campaigns.

    If you have friends that are modeling photograph them - keep it simple and beautiful. Go online and look at the tests that the big agencies like IMG, Elite and Viva are doing for their new faces.

    Once you have a selection of quality shots make a pdf or a jpg no bigger than 2meg with your details on it and email it to the agencies then call and see if you can get a meeting with your print portfolio. Start with the smaller agencies if this seems intimidating.

    You are likely to be testing for free for quite a while until you build a relationship with the booker and they know they will get what they need from you.

    Be persistent it can take a while sometimes

    also check out 'Fashion Photography 101' by Melissa Rodwell http://www.fashionphotographyblog.co...otography-101/
    MANA WAIRUA

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    I think that the trick to earning a living as a photographer is to find an untapped market, not an over-subscribed one.

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    This might be a troll post because it pops up in google at like 4-5 other sites with the same question.

    The people with the best insight would most certainly be trashed by the commentariat...only thing I've gotta say is that there is a high and low culture and everything in between. It's possible to gauge where somebody is in the Pyramid by assessing where his heart lies. Is his heart with the girls, the boys, the clothes, the styling, the location ....or the signs and the symbols.

    "Signs and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws" Confuscious

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?


    Marc you are to funny...
    When I was 18 and just graduated HS I wanted to become the next Irving Penn, So I enrolled at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara back in 1981 and dropped out dater 16 months and moved to NYC and became an assistant, I still believe to this day this is the best route to go, move to NYC, become an assistant and forget about the shooting, becoming a successful fashion photographer is all about your personality, if you are not a excellent people person forget about it. I don't care how great your portfolio is, at the end of the day it's who you know and who likes you, Most images taken today any photographer who has any clue at all can take the images, thats the easy part, the hard part is dealing with the people and getting them to bring you into there circle.

    I lasted 2 years in NYC and I realized I didn't have the personality to be successful at fashion so I gave up on my dream as painful as it was.

    Steven

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The question is simple, answer is not.

    Not many fashion shooters here on this forum. I am not one, but have dealt with fashion shooters in past as an art director.

    I'd suggest selecting some that you admire and directly contacting them ... but be persistent as it is a very competitive field and some shooters don't relish encouraging even more competition. Don't be afraid to go right to the top ... those shooters are often more secure in their pecking order ... years ago, a friend of mine contacted Richard Avedon, and Mr. Avedon replied with advice. In fact my pal kept a running correspondence with him for some time.

    -Marc
    Steven Kornreich
    www.kuau.com

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    A Lot of answers here are predicated on becoming a "top Fashion shooter" for Vogue or Chanel where you need to be part of the "cult of personality".

    Fact is, there is a whole editorial and commercial substructure of fashion photography. Who do you think shoots all those catalog shots? Or those fashion spreads for localized high-end magazines? Or for smaller regional or local designers?

    Fashion work can be part of, or all of, a working photographers bag. I have a pal in FL that shoots fashion for a local wedding gown distributor and makes a decent dollar doing it. There are two fashion shooters based here in Detroit (not exactly the fashion capital of the world : -) ... and both have done just fine for years.

    Not everything is top drawer ... not everyone is an Irving Penn or Richard Avedon.

    -Marc

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    funny, but I live and work in NYC, a place over-filled with photographers

    Happen to have built a staircase (my main job) for a very famous fashion photographer, found him personally to be an intolerable a-hole. Later met another famous NY photographer, shoots covers for a big time nature mag, he too was a bit overbearing. Asked him if he knew the other guy: "Oh, yeah, what an a-hole!, but he is the best!"

    Also met a woman studio photographer (sold her my Sinar 4x5, she needed another one), extremely talented, shot table top work for Tiffany, etc. Assisted her (for my education) for a few shoots. Unbelievable attention to detail. That alone was a huge learning experience. Talk about a pressure cooker experience, and this was pre-digital.

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    I thought you could just buy a Leica S2 and wait for the phone to ring...

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    I thought you could just buy a Leica S2 and wait for the phone to ring...
    What is your phone number?



    I want to play with the S2




    .

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    funny, but I live and work in NYC, a place over-filled with photographers

    Happen to have built a staircase (my main job) for a very famous fashion photographer, found him personally to be an intolerable a-hole.
    Craig McDean?

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    funny, but I live and work in NYC, a place over-filled with photographers

    Happen to have built a staircase (my main job) for a very famous fashion photographer, found him personally to be an intolerable a-hole. Later met another famous NY photographer, shoots covers for a big time nature mag, he too was a bit overbearing. Asked him if he knew the other guy: "Oh, yeah, what an a-hole!, but he is the best!"

    Also met a woman studio photographer (sold her my Sinar 4x5, she needed another one), extremely talented, shot table top work for Tiffany, etc. Assisted her (for my education) for a few shoots. Unbelievable attention to detail. That alone was a huge learning experience. Talk about a pressure cooker experience, and this was pre-digital.
    That's funny ... I was just talking to a close friend that attended an opening of a very well known fashion designer ... and he was struck by what a self-centered a-hole he seemed to be, with a big entourage following him everywhere.

    Over the years as an Art Director and Executive Creative Director, I had a lot of contact with "famous" creative decision makers ... film makers, still shooters, writers, designers, movie stars and all that.

    Some were nice, but most were very ego driven ... which after surviving some years in the dog-eat-dog world of advertising, I came to better understand.

    There are thousands of assaults on the vision and integrity of these top creative people. The Ducks try to nibble every idea to shreds. The more subjective the endeavor, the more Ducks that gang up on it. The people that consistently make new ideas successfully, are often iron-minded in their own self belief, and shield themselves from the constant assault of the more compromise minded.

    Frankly, IMO, we need more a-holes and less ducks.

    -Marc

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Just wanted to add, when I was assisting while living in NYC back in the early 80, The photographer I was working for shot mostly for Conde Nast Publications, Vogue, Self Magazine, and lots of modern brides, the funniest part about the whole process is when I use to go drop off the chromes at Conde Nast, I would sometimes hang around and watch the fashion editor and assistant editor go through the images on the light table, Talk about subjective process, if you were a lower down employee and didn't automatically go with what the editor said, you were history.
    The business at least back in the 80's was all politics. Yet... If you have an S2 that may at least get you in the door.
    Steven Kornreich
    www.kuau.com

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Poor guy, he took off in he will never come back.

    oh well.
    I will recommend if you have kids shot them.

    BlasR

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuau View Post
    Just wanted to add, when I was assisting while living in NYC back in the early 80, The photographer I was working for shot mostly for Conde Nast Publications, Vogue, Self Magazine, and lots of modern brides, the funniest part about the whole process is when I use to go drop off the chromes at Conde Nast, I would sometimes hang around and watch the fashion editor and assistant editor go through the images on the light table, Talk about subjective process, if you were a lower down employee and didn't automatically go with what the editor said, you were history.
    The business at least back in the 80's was all politics. Yet... If you have an S2 that may at least get you in the door.
    Not to mention a flowing white scarf, and sunglasses even at midnight.

    -Marc

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Assisting is a very safe way. And the best school.

    I'm currently assisting a big boy, so big prods, international top models etc...

    My advices,

    - be usefull
    - shut your mouth
    - you will learn very fast what is possible to do and what is regarded as delicate
    - build your personality with discretion but surely. It means keep yourself at your place, you are learning, but be you, be joyfull, express your views.
    - Observe a lot what is happening.
    - Be interested in fashion, not only the models but brands, fabrics etc...
    - Talk a lot with everybody, specially the stylists and models.
    - Be ready to earn very little for awhile (or nothing at all)
    - and be ready to spend a lot of hours in pp
    - just learn the backstage circus because that is from there that you will grow (and not so much from the book because there are zillion good books)
    - build yourself a great book and webpage but again, this is probably not what will makes it happen.
    - Make sure you have a team mentality and a businessman spirit also, fashion is commercial first and art second.
    - Accept the fact that unless people actually ask for you particularly, you are not going to have a great wealphy life with it only.
    - You need to be sure that you can handle presure, competition, sordid stuff and be mentaly strong.
    - The S2 will not give you any advantage at all, at least in High fashion or Couture. But in smaller stuff you will shine with it... for awhile.
    - You will hear and see a lot of things, there are celebs etc...never talk out of the business about what you are seeing.
    - Be very consistent, don't give-up.

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    There are thousands of assaults on the vision and integrity of these top creative people. The Ducks try to nibble every idea to shreds. The more subjective the endeavor, the more Ducks that gang up on it. The people that consistently make new ideas successfully, are often iron-minded in their own self belief, and shield themselves from the constant assault of the more compromise minded.

    Frankly, IMO, we need more a-holes and less ducks.

    -Marc

    Marc... I really love this quote. I think it is good advice for me.

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Excellent advice (the last line esp)

    Only how do you do both #2 and #7?

    As an asst you have to be very careful who you talk to, when you talk and what you talk about.



    Quote Originally Posted by GASC View Post
    Assisting is a very safe way. And the best school.

    I'm currently assisting a big boy, so big prods, international top models etc...

    My advices,

    - be usefull
    - shut your mouth
    - you will learn very fast what is possible to do and what is regarded as delicate
    - build your personality with discretion but surely. It means keep yourself at your place, you are learning, but be you, be joyfull, express your views.
    - Observe a lot what is happening.
    - Be interested in fashion, not only the models but brands, fabrics etc...
    - Talk a lot with everybody, specially the stylists and models.
    - Be ready to earn very little for awhile (or nothing at all)
    - and be ready to spend a lot of hours in pp
    - just learn the backstage circus because that is from there that you will grow (and not so much from the book because there are zillion good books)
    - build yourself a great book and webpage but again, this is probably not what will makes it happen.
    - Make sure you have a team mentality and a businessman spirit also, fashion is commercial first and art second.
    - Accept the fact that unless people actually ask for you particularly, you are not going to have a great wealphy life with it only.
    - You need to be sure that you can handle presure, competition, sordid stuff and be mentaly strong.
    - The S2 will not give you any advantage at all, at least in High fashion or Couture. But in smaller stuff you will shine with it... for awhile.
    - You will hear and see a lot of things, there are celebs etc...never talk out of the business about what you are seeing.
    - Be very consistent, don't give-up.

  26. #26
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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by asf View Post
    Excellent advice (the last line esp)

    Only how do you do both #2 and #7?

    As an asst you have to be very careful who you talk to, when you talk and what you talk about.
    shut your mouth, vs, Talk a lot with everybody, specially the stylists and models...

    I meant that there are plenty of moments where you just have to do what others think regardless of your personal point of view and have to handle the cyclics bad moods and presure.
    Then, in between the work, talk a lot (and listen a lot). Go to the bar with people even if you are tired, do not hesitate to ask.

    So it's like a part where you really do not interfere and others spaces where you interact, and when it's time to intereact and exchange take the oportunity. there is enough presure in this milieu that being happy is opening doors very fast.

    At the beginning I was doing that a little bit uncomfortable, now it's just floading. On the contrary of fashion's reputation, people are generaly very open and friendly. At least helpfull.

    Oh, and an observation: I've never heard anybody talking about equipment, gear and brands like we like to do in the web. Do not talk about gear, even less with your boss. You just should know how it works. (brands, dr preocupations, the 35mm versus your mother in law and all the internet circus is not interesting anybody there)

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    Re: How does one become a fashion photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by haring View Post
    The question is simple. How does one become a fashion photographer?
    The one point not yet made is that you have to learn all you can about Fashion, Fashion Designers, Fashion Models, Fashion Stylists, Fashion MUA's, Fashion Publications, and well you probably get it now.

    Fashion has to be your passion and you have to have in depth knowledge of the entire field, then find a way to fit in. Oh, and talent as a people shooter helps.

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