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How to Plan a Fashion Shoot


Fashion photography can be extremely challenging. Even if the shot is technically perfect, the wrong decision in your choice of fashion stylist, model or even background certainly won’t impress many (much less make it into the pages of a fashion magazine). Here are some tips on improving your fashion (photography) sense.

Photo by Christina Mckinney. Canon EOS 700D, EF50mm f/1.8 II, f/2.2, 1/320 sec, ISO 100

1) Get the style right

Fashion photography is a genre devoted to displaying clothing and fashion items. Nigel Seow, fashion stylist, emphasises that a well-coordinated outfit is key to standing out in a magazine. You need to think creatively and out-of-the-box, even if it's just for a conventional fashion shoot. There needs to be elements in the shot that evoke emotions or tell a story.

2) Do something different

On fashion runways, it can get boring when most photographers simply shoot from the same angle. Milton Tan, fashion photographer, believes in being constantly innovative by experimenting with different angles and techniques. This also allows one to craft a better brand vision.

3) Any photographer can take a photograph, but a great photographer cleverly executes a theme

A series of fashion photographs needs to be consistent in look, feel and execution. This ensures that the brand image is recognisable and the style identifiable. A good photographer can achieve this even with different models or locations in the same shoot.

Photo by Alexander Steger (Tim). Canon EOS 6D, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, f/7.1, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

4) Use the right equipment

Technically speaking, many professional photographers will agree that a portrait photograph should be shot with at least an 80mm lens or greater because of the ability to compress perspective and to isolate the model from the background. The models will look more flattering, especially if it's a close-up shot. Depending on what you or the brand wants to achieve, other necessary equipment may include multiple flashes, reflectors, or simply a location with excellent natural lighting.

Photo by Justin Wolfe (ONLY NY). Canon EOS 500D, EF50mm f/1.8 II, f/1.8, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

5) Nothing beats experience

Cliché notwithstanding, this still holds true for photography in general. A fashion photographer needs more than just technical skills–he has to coordinate with a team, which includes the fashion stylist, make-up artist, client, model, and sometimes even the advertising agency. It is definitely not an easy task, and one that is learnt through experience. Having a solid knowledge of the industry is vital too, as it is crucial to keep up with current fashion trends.

By Desmond Sean Teo Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF50mm f/1.4 USM, f/1.4, 1/3200 sec, ISO 100


Isaiah Tan
Profile of writer

A professional videographer with a love for photography, Isaiah Tan runs a video production company and a small bar in Singapore, among other businesses. He enjoys experimenting with different photographic techniques and always wants to learn and discover more of the world around him.