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13-10-2005
  1
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Connecticut
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Posts: 3
All About Becoming a Fashion Photographer
Hi guys! Im new... 17 years old and aspiring to be a fashion photographer. Is there anything I need to know? I'm a senior on highschool, so I may be jumping ahead of myself, but I'm trying to get a grasp on what I need to do and when it needs to be done so I don't fall behind or don't have time to do something that's necessary.... If that makes sense at all.

What I'd like to know is, what kinds of people do I need to get in touch with in order to go through with being a fashion photographer? I can imagine that the industry is pretty competitive, so I need to get a portfolio together. Are there any necessities when it comes to that? Are there specific kinds of people I need, or can I just use people who I am comfortable with asking at the moment. I figure I'm too young to go to just ask random people who are most definitely older than me to pose in front of a camera, but I know quite a few aspiring actresses; would they be sufficient?

Sorry for all the questions! Thanks for any input

Stacia

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13-10-2005
  2
FC5
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 65
Starting out as any type of photographer, the first thing to do is start taking pictures, any pictures.

Use your friends by all means, just get shooting. You never know where those aspiring actors/actresses may end up - just look what happened to Richared Gere and some guy named Herb - but that is a very long shot.

If you want to do this as a career, more so in fashion, the best way in is to start off by assisting an established photographer. However I'm guessing that you don't have much choice in Connecticut, either for fashion photographers to assist, or clients for afterwards.

So, do you want to move?

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13-10-2005
  3
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Connecticut
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Posts: 3
Just a tad young at the moment... But I plan on going to NYC as soon as the chance comes up.

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13-10-2005
  4
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Los Angeles
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I would suggest some basic photography classes ... to learn more about cameras, lighting, exposures and composition of good images. They probably won't have you doing fashion, but learning how to take flattering picutres of people is the basic skill in fashion photography. Then learn how to shoot fabircs and various materials (plastic, glass, wood, etc.) to get skilled on lighting them. Then begin putting together a portfolio of your very best images of people in various situations. Your portfolio is your most important marketing piece ... it's what you show prospective clients when you want them to hire you. So you will work on your portfolio for the rest of your career ... replacing old images with better, as you get better.

At a certain point, you work might be good enough to take to modeling agencies and they will allow you to "test" their new faces ... that means take images for their portfolios (and for yourself and everybody on the team). You will need to find good makeup artists and stylists and sooner or later and assistant to help you produce these "pro level" test images. Everyone works for free ... and if the images are good enough, everyone gets to put them in their portfolios ... you provide a few images to each person on the team and the model. You will need really strong test images with professional models, before you can even consider trying to find clients to do shoots for them.

Assisting a good fashion or commercial photographer is key ... but you have to be technically strong to get hired, since you'll be setting up lighting, taking meter readings, and changing film or cards in different cameras. What you will get from this is learn to get better technically, learn what it takes to start your own business and if the key photographer likes you, you may get not only some good contacts, but perhaps a simple gig or two that he is too busy to handle.

There are several fine photography schools that do have segments on fashion photography ... in So. Calif. I know of Brooks in Santa Barbara http://www.brooks.edu/ and the Art Center in Pasadena http://www.artcenter.edu/ They are both extremely expensive, but turn out top notch photographers. These graduates will be your competition ... but not all of them specialize in fashion which is a small segment of advertising. Many shooters have made it without the college education ... you just have to learn everything, that they teach here, on your own.

Fashion photography is like many of the artistic eneavours in fashion ... it's freelance so you have to network to find good teams and market yourself to find gigs. You will slowly build a clientelle ... expect it to cost you a lot of money (thousands and thousands ... for equipment, studios, prints for your portfolio etc.) before you can start to make any money. It's very competitive ... talent alone won't let you succeed ... marketing skills, networking, assertiveness, patience and hard work is also necessary.

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13-10-2005
  5
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 205
Try this thread.. it's where the photographers post their work.. I know some people in there will help you.

http://www.thefashionspot.com/forums...ad.php?t=25982


Just try to shoot anyone who is willing - if your excited about shooting and your work and you put a little book together that shows your talent, age won't make a difference. Just experiment and shoot.. that's best advice... the saying is true, practice makes perfect (or at least pretty good!). Also, if you want to get involved in the industry and you're serious, I'd recommend moving/shooting/assisting in a city where fashion photography is big. I'm currently located in NYC and would totally recommend it (theres some good photography schools here as well). Alot of doors will be shut in your face at first and it's a struggle to be an artist in any shape/form but you just have to keep going for it and keep your dreams/hopes alive.

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14-10-2005
  6
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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I am also interested in getting into fashion photography. I'm 18 at the moment and have been doing photography for a few years. I have a good handle on technical, artistic, and editing aspects (well, I think ) and am always building up a portfolio.

Where can I take it from here? It was mentioned above to take your work to agencies. But do you just walk in with a portfolio? How would you go about approaching that?

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14-10-2005
  7
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Dublin, Ireland
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So You Want To Be A Fashion Photographer?
Theres a great thread with really good advice, called So you want to be a Model. See http://www.thefashionspot.com/forums...ead.php?t=4737

Theres also some really superb photographers posting here and I'm wondering if anyone could give some words of advice on getting more experience in fashion photography, doing editorials and learning about the fashion designers and their industry.

Any help appreciated


Last edited by BetteT; 05-01-2009 at 10:07 AM.
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14-10-2005
  8
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chai

Where can I take it from here? It was mentioned above to take your work to agencies. But do you just walk in with a portfolio? How would you go about approaching that?
If you want to test with agency models, then call up an agency and set up a meeting with a booker.. most of them will be kind as they want new work for their girls. Some agencies look for a certain type of work while others are more open to artistic expression (just look at the agencies websites - you can see who is more commercial and who is more fashion/art). Try to set up a team of hair, makeup and stylist as well as most agencies expect that to some level.

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14-10-2005
  9
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Shoot, Shoot, Shoot!

I know it sounds simple and everyone knows this, but the more you shoot, the more comfortable you get and the more improved your work is.. it's all about experience. Photography is pretty much 24/7 for me.. I'm always involved in it someway (shooting, editing, concepting/brainstorming, networking, self promoting, booking girls, testing with myself, etc. ).. just keep getting your feet wet. It's a crazy and stressful ride.

If you're talking editorials for established magazines, that's way down the road mostimes as you need a super book and lots of experience that shows it (alot of times a rep too). For magazines, you would send your book to their office (find out when they accept portfolios day/time) and then they will look at it (or pretend) and then you will pick it up.. if they like you, theyll leave a note or something in that manner. Some magazines have email addresses for submission based things, but for the most part mostly all magazine editorials are assigned based (Im talking more established magazines). It's hard getting stuffed published in magazines on submission based if the clothing name isn't there... I've sent out a few spreads to known publications that they sell in basically every book store and the editor wrote back and said they absolutely loved it and wanted to run it and then they asked for the fashion credits.. and since they weren't next season/super known - they dropped it. It's hard and agravating. Also try to get involved any way you can. I just started doing this trend settting section for Zink Magazine.. I'm doing it every month now.. it's basically 2-3 pages of random clothing/accessories that are new - but it's credits in Zink and now I know the editor of Zink on a semi personal level.. eventually I'll ask for them to look at my book way down the road. It's all networking and moving yourself up the ladder.


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14-10-2005
  10
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelaz
Shoot, Shoot, Shoot!
I know it sounds simple and everyone knows this, but the more you shoot, the more comfortable you get and the more improved your work is.. it's all about experience. Photography is pretty much 24/7 for me.. I'm always involved in it someway (shooting, editing, concepting/brainstorming, networking, self promoting, booking girls, testing with myself, etc. ).. just keep getting your feet wet. It's a crazy and stressful ride.
Yes of course, its good advice. I do have to struggle to pay for makeup and hair, and sometimes the location. But yes I should do more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelaz
If you're talking editorials for established magazines, that's way down the road mostimes as you need a super book and lots of experience that shows it (alot of times a rep too).
I'm definitely not talking established magazines, just small local ones. Perhaps local newspapers etc. Would you think that submission editorial would be OK when they are not as established?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelaz
It's hard getting stuffed published in magazines on submission based if the clothing name isn't there... I've sent out a few spreads to known publications that they sell in basically every book store and the editor wrote back and said they absolutely loved it and wanted to run it and then they asked for the fashion credits.. and since they weren't next season/super known - they dropped it.
Thats a shame, but for me its good to know, you may have saved me many wasted hours, thanks. I think I will examine who the magazine rates highly first before doing this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelaz
eventually I'll ask for them to look at my book way down the road. It's all networking and moving yourself up the ladder.
Your work that I've seen is so beautiful, I can only just imagine how superb your book is. Thanks for posting advice for us that are learning

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14-10-2005
  11
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fintan
Yes of course, its good advice. I do have to struggle to pay for makeup and hair, and sometimes the location. But yes I should do more.
Try doing TFCD/TFP (Time for CD / Time for Print) work. I don't pay stylist, makeup, hair - everyone covers their own costs and are in it to make awesome work for their portfolio. You should be able to have a good trade off so you don't have to pay them.

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15-10-2005
  12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelaz
Try doing TFCD/TFP (Time for CD / Time for Print) work. I don't pay stylist, makeup, hair - everyone covers their own costs and are in it to make awesome work for their portfolio. You should be able to have a good trade off so you don't have to pay them.
Oh lucky you, then of course your work is of a very high standard. I dont think I can expect people to work for TFP. I might try half the fee plus prints.

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15-10-2005
  13
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fintan
Oh lucky you, then of course your work is of a very high standard. I dont think I can expect people to work for TFP. I might try half the fee plus prints.
Try putting ads out there for other people who are just starting, try beauty schools, try friends of friends who are just good at makeup/hair.. everyone wants to be involved in a photo shoot! Eventually word of mouth will spread and people will be contacting you to do makeup/hair and you'll have too many people to deal with.

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15-10-2005
  14
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Neat idea pamelaz, I'll try that today.

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15-10-2005
  15
FC5
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Join Date: May 2003
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TFP/TFCD are very much internet terms (from pseudo porn sites like onemodelplace and net-model) - in the real world people refer to building your portfolio as testing.

There are so many other, talented people out there, all looking for the same thing - great photographs. Pick people of a similar level and as has been stated you don't pay anyone - they cover their own costs including prints. They are testing too - there is no need for you to subsidise them.

Have some pride in your work! Assuming you have a bit of talent YOU will be in demand very quickly! (for testing anyway, for a career it is a bit harder).

If you are shooting digital avoid the temptation, or even presure to release all the images, or any unretouched - let people choose a selection of those you would be happy to have in your own book. If you do the printing charge a nominal fee.


Last edited by FC5; 15-10-2005 at 02:31 AM.
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