How to Become a Fashion Photographer

So you want to be a fashion photographer? Sounds exciting? Sailing around on yachts with models, shooting in the Caribbean or Tahiti, or maybe even Paris with your favorite model are perks of the job, right? How fun it must be to shoot models for Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated! Who wouldn’t want to travel to exotic locales and make a fortune while working with and befriending the most beautiful women in the world?

Everything listed above—while possible—is not exactly what we do. I know, I know. It looks like that in the movies and on television. And yes, this year I was in Greece, Rome, and the Caribbean working on shoots with very lovely models. But it’s not that simple or everyone would be doing it, right? Right!

1. Learn Basic Photography Skills

Take some basic courses in photography so you can understand the functions of a camera.

2. Practice with Models

Go out and take pictures of models. There are many websites out there that have models who are ready to shoot with you and who live in your area. Start with an internet search to find model websites.

After you become comfortable taking pictures of amateur models and have some great photographs in your book, approach local modeling agencies by giving them a call or sending an email and ask to shoot their models for their portfolios. You may be able to shoot their models for free—or perhaps even get paid in the process of doing so.

3. Research Fashion Magazines

Look through the magazines that you want to be in and study their styles. In time you’ll be able to shoot as well as the photographers in the magazines.

When you’re ready, submit your pictures to the photo editors of these magazines. You ‘ll find their contact info in the first few pages of the magazine.

4. Reach Out

Network and maintain relationships with people in the industry. Social networking sites are great for this, as great fashion photographers, fashion designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, magazines, and photo editors can be found online. It may take some digging, but social networks have a ton of resources to aid you in your quest.

5. Develop an Original Style

When you first start shooting, it’s easy to fall into the trap of copying other artists and trying to shoot their style. This is not always bad. For centuries, painters and sculptors have swarmed to the Louvre in Paris to duplicate the Mona Lisa and other great works of art.

After you’re done practicing, however, it’s important to move on and forget about trying so hard to imitate the great masters. Instead, imitate life. That is what art does. Work on developing your own style and you’ll be rewarded for it handsomely.

fashion photography style

photo by Rolands Lakis

6. Don’t Fuss Too Much Over Gear

Get a couple of great lenses. Both in the beginning and at the advanced stages of your career you’ll find yourself working a lot with natural light. Harness that power. It’s the greatest light available.

Of course, at times you will find yourself working in the studio, as well. Get a few quality lights.

Afterwards, focus on the craft of photography. Man made the picture and the picture made the man.

7. Keep Shooting

The road to becoming a successful fashion photographer can be a long one. Don’t give up. Shoot in the beginning as a hobby in all of your spare time. Create as often as you can. The experience will be invaluable.

8. Get an Agent

An agent can be instrumental in promoting your photography career. When you are armed with a portfolio full of pictures start approaching them. They are extremely competitive in the major markets and it will be a task to get your work in front of them but well worth the effort.

9. Be Nice

About the Author:
Robert Voltaire is a Los Angeles based fashion photographer. View his pictures at and his blog on how to become a fashion photographer and how to become a successful fashion model.

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5 responses to “How to Become a Fashion Photographer”

  1. Professor nicoh says:

    I want to grow my career as a fashion photographer,how do I grow from here,I just bought a Nikon D5600 with 2lens.

  2. i used your site for my essay

  3. Eleanor says:

    Great article! For finding models I’ve been using this website called Top 10 US Models – it provides you with the top websites where you can book local models and gives you tips/tricks too! It was super helpful during my search of finding and booking models so thought I’d share :)

  4. 2aphoto says:

    Nice and informative article about beginner fashion photography, thank you.

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