Next Issue December 1st 2016

5 Reasons Your Fashion Photographs Are Failing

5 Reasons Your Fashion Photographs Are Failing
By Melissa Rodwell

We may be or own worst critics, but no matter how hard we are on ourselves, there are always things we can improve. The following is a list of five issues with fashion photos that I see again and again. If the photographer would pay attention to these areas, they could improve greatly.

1. Keep your eye on the clothing.

Hey, here’s a little secret: we are in the business of fashion photography. Our job is to make the clothing look amazing because that’s what we are selling. A lot of photographers are paying way too much attention to the model’s face and not the clothing she’s wearing. If you take a great picture where the lighting is superb, the model looks amazing, but if her skirt is wrinkled or folding in an unattractive way, the shot fails.

2. Use a stylist.

We are shooting fashion , not nudes or glamour or boudoir photos. Throwing a model on the hood of a ’52 Chevy in a pair of cut-off jean shorts, a wife-beater, and a pair of Doc Martens is not fashion photography. I swear, if I see one more of these shots on someone’s Instagram with the hashtag #fashionphotography, I’m going to scream. It isn’t fashion. It’s poor styling because you’ve been too lazy to connect with a stylist to bring great clothing to your shoots. Wake up—start shooting legitimate fashion!

3. Get over your fear of lighting.

Nothing reads more amateur to me than seeing an entire portfolio that uses only available light. It’s a strong indication that you don’t know how to light, and if you don’t know how to use proper lighting, you really can’t call yourself a photographer. It is our job to understand and use lighting in beautiful and creative ways. So, take a class, buy our DVD, or watch our videos on YouTube, but whatever you do, stop relying on the magic hour to make beautiful photographs.

4. Learn how to cast.

Your sister or your girlfriend or your super-hot BFF might be really pretty, but chances are she isn’t a model. If you’re not using agency models, you’re not getting legitimate fashion photography. Models have height and weight requirements because they are meant to wear the clothing that designers create for that body type; there are reasons behind the requirements. Stop trolling through the mall—gather up your confidence to reach out to professional modeling agencies and start using professional models. And PS: Girls on Suicide Girls are not models. Got it?

5. Watch how the model is posing.

Now that you’re watching the way the clothing looks while you are keeping an eye on the model’s pretty face, watch her hands and feet. Watch the way she is standing. Is it an awkward pose? Does she look like she’s pigeon-toed? Are her hands placed gracefully on her hips, or are they bent in some weird Cirque du Soleil way that looks painful and dumb?

Yes, there is a ton of things we have to check while looking through the viewfinder. How is the hair and makeup? How is the clothing? Is the model emoting well? Is the lighting working? I know it’s a tall order, but paying attention to detail is what separates amateur photographers from professionals. Which one do you want to be? I thought so.

This article originally appeared on The Breed .

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