How to make a good fashion photo - A few suggestions

I have been asked to do a post on how to make a good fashion photo. Even though I'm not a certified expert of experts I know a few basic things that can be good to have in mind when planning to do a fashion shoot... and like the photo above tells you, if you get really good like Mario Testino... Kate Moss will draw a moustache on your face... now who does not want that?

-Explore new things.
Don't shoot down your own ideas, write them down, visualize them. Take a look at them  few days later and you will see them differently and more clearly. Then you can separate the good ones from the not so good ones.

-Build a mood board.
Cut photos from magazines and browse online. Find photos that represent the mood you're looking for, the lighting, the makeup and hairstyle. It really helps to have something visual and graphic to look at when you're working on your idea rather then just words on paper. You're a photographer, use images.

-Find a good model.
That's what many young photographers fail to do. A pretty girl does not necessarily make a good model. A good model knows how to move in front of the camera, work with the atmosphere and work her angles… and believe it or not, a beautiful face is not always photogenic. Sad but true. Of course when your doing your first shoots it's good to start with a friend when you're figuring out how to work with lights etc. (and if your lucky your friend is a good, photogenic model).

-Makeup and hair.
Do not underestimate the power of a good makeup-artist. They can work wonders and really bring out the models best features and also create interesting effects… and you also don't want the hair to be a mess… if you do, at least make it a controlled mess (if you know what I mean.) 

-Get a stylist.
A good stylist is invaluable to a photographer. While you may be concentrating on getting the perfect light and the right framing, the stylist is constantly looking at the model, the clothes and the set, making sure that everything is in place and looking it's best. If you're lucky you have a resourceful stylist that can help in pre production when finding clothes, accessories and props.

-Be confident on set.
You are the boss. It's up to you to keep the team working, the model happy and make sure everybody is doing all they can to create the best photo possible. Stand up straight, smile and be friendly. Even if you are nervous and don't have a clue what to do next, don't let the model see it because that will most likely cause her to lose confidence in themselves, you and the project.  So suck it up, be cool and be in charge. Every problem can be fixed (and you most likely know how). But don't be afraid to get the opinion from other members of your team… because it's a team and everybody wants to create something really, really, ridiculously good looking.

-Put on some music.
We all love music, and it puts us at ease. Preferably, ask the model what kind of music she likes, plug in her iPod and crank it up. A happy model delivers better images.

-Don't forget about the clothes.
Young photographers tend to pay too much attention to the model and forget about the clothes they are shooting. Don't forget, fashion photographers job is to sell clothes and make them look good. Study the light. Is it bringing out the fabrics best features can you see the texture?

-In photoshop
When you start working on your favorite images it can help to write a list for the things you need to to in post-processing. Just a little checklist like, fix exposure, skin retouching, cloning dust… that kind of stuff. And don't overdo it, people are not made of plastic and should not look like plastic on photos.

and lastly…
Experiment and have fun... worst case scenario, you're not completely happy and you try again.


  1. Áslaug JónsdóttirMarch 29, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    hæ. Hver skrifaði þennan texta?

    kv, Áslaug Jónsd.

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