As a professional photographer in London I’m asked on a regular basis for tips and inside techniques for getting the best photograph. Obviously I tell people it takes time and training but… there are some guidelines you can follow.
So in a new series I’m going to be posting regular videos about, composition, lighting and techniques to improve your photographs. These are easy to implement and understand though probably wouldn’t occur to you without being pointed in the right direction first.
Fashion photography is often seen as the high point in photography with only the very best professional photographer shooting editorial and advertising campaigns. This is true to a large extent but there are many photographers who actually love to shoot stylish fashion images for their own personal pleasure.
This series is intended for those people and will help them in their quest for producing better images and perhaps in the eventual transition to become a professional photographer shooting for paying clients.
The rules of fashion photography are loose even sometime non-existent in that they are sometimes counter-cultured and counter compositional but in general there are certain rules or should I say guidelines that are worth following.
This tip is in relation in particular to fashion photography, it involves leading lines, negative space and also it involves drawing your eye to a certain point in the frame.
So what I’d like to say first of all is, I always make a duplicate layer so I don’t affect the background layer and do irreparable damage.
Now you can see the model has a beautiful ‘S’ shape to her pose. One of the problems I have with this is this photos is the area at the bottom here looks bulky and doesn’t sit in harmony with that really nice S shape as it goes out like that. I don’t like that and I think it the photograph should be cropped somewhere about here to give us a nice beautiful shape
So let me go to crop first of all I’ll stop the crop there and as you can see we’re losing this area at the bottom.
If I do the crop further down, and I used the lower part we still have this area here that doesn’t sit well. It has a sharp kind of V line here that spoils this nice soft an S shape that you look for in classic fashion photograph. So the crop needs to be at this top point just there just where the thigh meets the opposite thigh and there is that sharp edge so as you can see that there is a much nicer smoother line than this one.
Here it looks much more interesting and gives us a nice soft shape secondly the other thing as I mentioned that bothers me are fingers here. What those fingers are doing is drawing my eye downwards. My eye should be focused on her face and then it should follow down the rest of the body and back up to the face. That’s how you I should view the picture unfortunately as soon as I start my view here and look down I focus here and it is because the fingers are ruining this really nice soft line that draws my eye here and then back up to the front.
It’s because those fingers are spoiling that line they are drawing my eye to the corner. This is a classic mistake made by amateur photographers. We need to look at her face but what generally happens is, the vast majority of novice photographers simply focus on the face and often forget about the picture as a whole.
When I’m photographing a model particularly for a fashion shoot, I’ll work on the face first and I get the position I want the model to be in, in this case was a nice at three-quarter shot. As you can see lovely, lovely shape, lovely shoulder action and little bit concave here in her abdomen, very, very nice!
What I would normally do when I take a picture like this is; I would keep the model in this position for 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, maybe even 20 shots and keep looking at various points throughout that progression of shots until I noticed that her hands were in the wrong place. The easiest way to change this is to ask her to move her hand further in behind a bum or even turn her hand round so her palm is resting on the back of her thigh.
The idea is to create a nice soft shape that appears to follow and flow with the line down the back of her thigh.
When shooting a classic styled fashion shot a professional photographer should be aiming towards these lines. However if you were shooting street style fashion, or modern edgy fashion garments then this classic style wouldn’t neccassarily work as well. Being a professional photographer requires that you understand the differences in styles and you can adapt the style of the shot to suit your clients needs.