Fashion photography is a genre of photography centred on capturing images of clothing or other fashion items, such as shoes or accessories.
However, beyond simply depicting the colour and shape of a garment, one of the key features of fashion photography, whether for commercial or editorial purposes, is to provoke an emotional response or evoke a conceptual idea that represents a brand or chimes with a target audience.
Fashion photography has become an industry in its own right, with successful fashion photographers achieving both fame and fortune, but those are few and far between.
Fashion photography is often shot in a photography studio, but can also be made on location, which could be outside, for example on a beach or in a forest, or in a location chosen for its aesthetic, such as a church, manor house, hotel etc. Fashion photographers often use particular lighting techniques to achieve a certain look, or they may use sets or locations designed to allude to a particular desirable lifestyle or convey a certain feeling.
Just like its subject, fashion photography often follows trends with techniques and styles changing over time. Fashion images cover a diverse range of styles and content.
Often fashion photographers try to develop their own signature style, to make their images recognisable. A challenge for aspiring fashion photographers is to find their style, or find their voice, as it is often referred to as.
Successful fashion photographers not only understand the technical aspects for achieving a certain look in terms of lighting, angle, framing etc, but also have an understanding of upcoming trends, possibly being able to create new ones, and referencing past trends as inspiration.
To produce a fashion photograph can involve a large team of people – the photographer, the model, a make-up artist, a hair stylist, a fashion stylist or designer, and in commercial shoots a brand or advertising director, artistic director, as well as lighting assistants, retouchers, location scouts and PR.
Many fashion photographers have created a team of people they can work with who they know understand their approach and can contribute to the end result.