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Fashion modeling photography

25 Best Model Fashion Poses for Fashion Photography

Today, we look at the best model poses for fashion model photography. Technical photography skills can only get you so far in the fashion photography genre. A successful fashion shoot will have both the model and the photographer performing at a high level.

We will guide you through photo poses for women and men. We will also provide numerous model posing tips to help direct someone throughout your photoshoot. By the end of this article, you will be confident in posing people and demonstrating poses to them.

If you are a model, there are many different positions here for you to try. We hope you can also find inspiration here!

Tips for Working With Beginner Models

If you’re working with a beginner model, they may act uncomfortable and rigid. It’s your job as a photographer to make them feel comfortable and build up their self-assurance. Here are a few points to keep in mind with model posing.

Use Beginner Modeling Poses

You want to give the average person simple model posing instead of poses that a high fashion model use. More complex poses need greater attention to detail and awareness of all body parts.

For instance, a close-up image with a model’s hands near the face may require perfect hand positioning and the correct facial expression. It can be challenging for an inexperienced model to get right.

Candid shots also work the best for first-time models as they won’t have to “perform.”

Show Them Images as You Shoot

A great way to help direct an inexperienced model is to show them some of the first images while you shoot. Doing this allows them to see how they look in your style of photography.

It will help female and male models be more confident in their pose ideas, making the photoshoot smoother. You can also show them some final images to see what poses work best.

Create A Comfortable Environment

Find a way to make your model feel comfortable. Have a conversation and coffee at the beginning, or have a casual chat throughout the photoshoot. A relaxed atmosphere positively affects model posing and how your photos turn out.

25 of the Best Model Poses for Fashion Photography

Here are our top model poses to try in your photo shoots. The best poses will be a collaboration. So keep lines of communication open.

25. Facing Straight Towards the Camera

One of the most straightforward model poses is to have them stand directly in front of the camera and photograph them straight-on. Even though this is a simple pose, you find this in numerous fashion magazines worldwide.

That’s because you make the person’s beauty and facial expressions the center of attention. You may want to try and elicit different emotions depending on the type of mood you want to create in your photo. Plus, direct eye contact with the camera makes a strong connection with the viewer.

24. Standing Poses Above the Camera

If you want a powerful look in your modeling poses, photograph from down low so your model towers over you. The model’s stance will converge to a point at their head.

Standing poses work well when they have an interesting stance. Having them place more weight on one leg can change the image’s dynamic! It’s a famous classical pose, also known as a contrapposto pose.

23. Leaning on a Wall

Leaning against a wall is one of those model poses people are naturally drawn to. This casual pose doesn’t take much effort to get right. It also allows you to cycle through different poses while being in the same spot.

I like this pose because you can use the environment to its fullest. There are exciting buildings or walls in every city or rural area. Use this to your advantage! You may want to scout these locations beforehand to avoid wasting your subject’s time.

22. The Full-Length Shot

Full-body poses can be hard to get right. But they look amazing when done well. The full-length shot will require your model to be away from the camera and often works best with a 50mm or a long lens like an 85mm.

It’s one of those model poses that heavily relies on the person’s clothes. You must ensure the outfit falls perfectly on the entire body, as this is almost impossible to fix in post-production.

21. Hands Near the Face

You can also have your model pose with their hands up by their face. It’s one of those well-known fashion poses as it can create a simple, dramatic effect when the person performs it well.

Here, you want to focus on just the person’s face and hands. Don’t be afraid to get in close. If you try a full-body shot, you lose the viewer’s attention unless you frame the photograph perfectly. An elongated neck adds a regal and confident look.

20. Sitting on a Chair, Leaning Forward

Sitting poses are widely used in portraiture and fashion. You would have most likely seen this from your favorite musician or on the cover of high fashion magazines.

Have your model perch on the edge of a chair and lean forward slightly toward the camera. It’s often done with hands together and an elbow or hand resting on one leg. It’s one of those model poses that can be intense and casual. It’s also one of the top male model poses.

19. Head in Hands

A dramatic and often sad model pose is to have a person put their head in their hands or have their hands cover their face. It produces an exciting play between concealing and revealing key facial features like the eyes or mouth.

This pose will take some playing around with. So be sure to ask your subject to make slight changes in their expression and hand movements to get the best image possible.

18. Lying Down

Whether in a studio or out on location, having a person lie down can be one of the most playful model poses. The camera will most likely have a birds-eye-view of the person, producing a unique view we don’t see much in real life.

Again, you can also produce a wide range of emotions using this composition. Make sure the person is comfortable. Placing a cushion or blanket down may help.

17. Hands on Hips

Typically, a person with hands on their hips is one of those model poses you find on stock image websites. It has connotations to images of business people trying to be casual. If this is the look you’re going for, this could be the pose to use.

But recently, this pose has been increasingly seen in high fashion modeling. The pose is where the person has their hands on their hips with their elbows pushed forward, and their back has a slight bend. It’s pretty dramatic and produces a unique form in the body that is interesting to photograph… but nothing beats a person with fierce eyes!

16. Close-up on the Face

This next pose is a form of close-up model photography. This type of photograph is used for makeup brands and other fashion campaigns.

Zoom in or move close to the model’s face, and you almost turn the model’s facial features into a macro landscape. The model must remain reasonably still while adapting their expressions to produce interesting looks. Be careful not to make any awkward crops through body parts.

15. Playing with Hair

Are you looking for great female poses? Playing with hair is one of the best model poses. It produces natural action shots while also creating exciting shapes in the body.

I also really like this pose because there’s loads of room for play and experimentation. The person can hold their hair way above their head to show their face. Or they can pull hair in front to conceal their face.

14. Looking Over the Shoulder

A “look over the shoulder” is one of those dramatic model poses. It works very well in a studio or location. You want to have your model facing a different direction from the camera and then turn their face to look toward the camera.

It is best if their face isn’t directly facing the camera but turned slightly to the side. It will, of course, depend on the portrait lighting in your shot.

13. Back to the Camera

You can have your subject pose with their back to the camera for variation in your photoshoot. It highlights special features in clothing. But it also produces an interesting viewpoint.

Make sure you can still see the face of your model. You want them to turn their head slightly so you can photograph the outline of their face. A sharp profile works nicely here.

12. Hands Behind the Back

You may want to try some pictures with the model’s hands behind their back. It’s a pose often used by male models but works well for female models.

You want your model to be sideways to the camera with this pose. You may also want to play with how they position their head. It looks nice having the model’s head tilted backward when working with female models.

11. Action Shots

If your model poses are getting too stagnant, try giving the model an action or activity to do. Not only does this help beginner models feel more comfortable, but it also opens up a range of photographic opportunities.

An action could be something small like jumping or playing with a small object in their hands. Or it could be participating in a sport or exercise like tennis or lifting weights.

10. Hands in Pockets

Having hands in pockets is another one of those casual model poses. But you still see it often in commercial modeling. It is one of the go-to male poses as it portrays a laid-back character who likes to be comfortable and confident.

It also translates to female models. But female models have the unique ability to make this pose seem a bit more fierce. A great model can transform this pose from casual to catwalk… and a simple head tilt does wonders!

9. Hands Reaching Toward the Camera

Are you looking for a pose that adds a sense of depth to your photo shoots? Try having your model reach out toward the camera in various ways.

A way to amplify this depth is to shoot with a low aperture, giving the photograph a shallow depth of field. Make sure the focal point remains on the model’s face or eye, as this is where you should draw attention.

8. The Cat Walk

Even though you may not be on a fashion runway, pretend like you are! You can often get great images if your model has a serious strut and purposefully walks toward the camera.

You can either stay in one spot with a long lens or walk backward with the model walking toward you. If you choose the latter option, be sure you check your surroundings or have an assistant spot you for any hazards.

7. Crossed Arms

Another basic model pose—which can be great when executed right—is to ask the model to cross their arms. You can make this pose less rigid if your model has a slight lean in their stance.

It’s a fantastic model pose if the person is slightly awkward. It’s also beneficial if they don’t know what to do with their arms. Have your subject look away from the camera with an attitude for another layer to the pose.

6. Legs Spread On a Chair

You often see dancers or actors do this pose. It can be an over-the-top way to sit on a chair. The model pose can come across as a bit forward if you shoot it straight-on. But it’s great if your model is comfortable with it and knows what they’re doing.

It is one of the fashion poses that work well in black and white, especially with dramatic lighting.

5. Kneeling or Sitting on Knees

Experimenting with having your model at different heights is always beneficial. It is something that a professional photographer will do naturally while on a photoshoot.

Placing your model in a kneeling stance evokes a spiritual and submissive feel. It is often seen in prayer or in a time of self-reflection. The pose will produce a soft and quiet vibe to your photographs.

4. Sitting in a Backward Chair

Are you looking for an edgy or fun photograph? How about having the model sit on a chair backward? This pose became common through boy bands of the early 2000s, but female models have taken this pose and made it powerful.

You may want to direct the model to rest their arms against the back of the chair. You can also ask them to do a range of other poses while in this position.

3. Incoporating a Prop

Using a prop to enhance a pose is another excellent way to bring creativity into a fashion shoot. Everyday objects like mirrors or blankets can completely transform how we see the image. Some props may take a bit of experimentation, but it is worth it if you want to add a new dimension to your photograph.

It’s also great for inexperienced models because the model will direct their attention toward the prop. If they think less about their bodies, the less rigid they will be in the photographs.

2. One Leg Up

A great casual pose is to have your model recline with one knee up, and the other leg bent or straight while sitting. Legs crossed is another option. This model pose is often seen with male model fashion shoots as it gives a casual and reflective look to the model.

It’s also a pose that relies on your surroundings. You can find great views and backdrops from window sills or benches, even if it’s just a nicely colored sky. So use them to your advantage!

1. The Squat

The squat is a great pose for edgy shoots currently a hit amongst street-style fashion lookbooks. That’s because it looks fantastic while also showing off an outfit nicely. You can photograph this from many different angles and heights.

Have your model squat down and exude an attitude toward the camera. You can take the shot without that mood. But this pose doesn’t work as well as a “nice” photograph.

Photography Tips

There are multiple ways to take fashion photos. Here are a few tips for your next photoshoot!

Check Photo Composition and Elements

If you’re shooting on location, ensure you don’t get too distracted directing your model for the best pose. Pay attention to the composition and execution of the image as well. Small factors like objects and leading lines in the background can ruin or make a shot.

An easy way to avoid this is to check images on your camera. I don’t suggest doing this every shot. That breaks the flow of the photoshoot. But be conscious to check once in a while. You may regret not checking when you get around to editing!

Use a Color Card and Reflector

Camera equipment like a color card or a reflector can go a long way when working in model photography. You want to make sure you’re capturing correct skin tones and taking away unwanted shadows for a sharp profile. Make sure you have these on hand to get the most out of your photography poses.


We see a whole range of different photography poses for you to try when working with a model. Many of these simple poses allow people to make slight variations and sometimes combine them. Keep those poses moving!

The best approach is to have your model practice posing in their spare time. When they have found their best side and angle, they will easily find the poses they are the most comfortable in. And, if a model feels comfortable, you will get the best out of their expressions and model poses.

Try out our Fairytales Portrait course to hone your posing techniques even further!

21 Fashion Poses, Ideas & Tips for Photographing Models

In fashion photography, posing is key – arguably more so than in any other photography genre. Why? Because the poses must work to showcase the garments and accessories as well as the subject.

On top of that, they have to help tell a story, convey a mood, or even sell an entire lifestyle.

So, whether you’re in front of or behind the camera, having a wide repertoire of poses up your sleeve will help.

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In this post, we’re going to look at 21 poses you can use in your next fashion photography shoot – regardless of whether you’re the model or the photographer. Then, we’ll run through some quick tips for models on how to become a posing master.

Let’s jump in first to the poses.

Table of Contents

21 Fashion & Model Poses for Photo Shoots

The poses you choose to use in your images will depend on a lot of things, like whether you’re shooting in a studio or on location, the style of the clothing, etc. So find the ones that work best for your situation.

Note that here we’ve included both male and female poses (and many that work for either gender).

1. The three-quarter turn

Credit: Luobulinka

Let’s start with one of the most simple and classic model poses out there: the three-quarter turn.

This is the position that’s in between a front-on shot and a side profile – i.e., you’re showing three-quarters of your face and body to the camera. Let’s be honest: it’s pretty much universally flattering!

To get the pose just right, get the model to place one foot behind the other and turn their hips slightly away from the camera.

You can then play with it by adjusting the angles, tilting the model’s chin up or down, or adding accessories and props.

2. Standing with shoulder forwards

Credit: Minh Pham

One of the beautiful things about fashion poses is that they can be more artistic and exaggerated than those you’d find in other genres (such as portrait photography).

Think of the high fashion images you see in Vogue magazine: both the outfits and the poses are (quite deliberately) far removed from reality.

In the example above, you can see how the model is hunching forwards so that her shoulder comes toward her chin. This pose also works great with the face turned toward the camera, with the chin right on top of the shoulder.

3. Leg up on a wall

Credit: Andrey Zvyagintsev

This is a slightly unconventional pose, but one that’s worth experimenting with.

Get your model to place one foot up against a wall, then lean on the knee of the raised leg with their opposite arm.

Getting down low with your camera works well here as it gives the impression of the subject looming large. It also allows you to shoot wide and include some of the background if you’re doing your photoshoot on location.

A benefit of this pose is that you can capture much of the clothing in the shot – including even the shoes – while simultaneously breaking away from the traditional full-length body shot.

This pose is also perfectly suited to both males and females – another reason to keep it in your repertoire of model poses if you’re a photographer.

4. Standing with hand on jacket

Credit: Pixabay

If you’re after ideas for unisex poses, here’s one to keep up your sleeve.  The model stands front on, legs shoulder-width apart, one hand grasping their jacket.

This is a great one for studio work: it’s simple and strong and the model and clothing are very much the focal points of the image. No complex backdrops are needed to add context. It’s also an easy one to use as a self-portrait pose.

5. Standing with arms up (soft)

Credit: H-F-E Co

This is one of those photography poses that crosses genre boundaries (it’s certainly a favourite for glamour and boudoir photography).

The model stands, front on or turned three-quarters, and raises both arms above their head.

Stretching the arms up has the effect of elongating the torso and flattening out the abdominal region. At the same time, it’s an empowering pose: research shows that when we adopt open body postures, we feel more open and confident as well.

This pose can be very soft, with arms delicately resting on the head or playing with the hair, or more angular and powerful (see below!).

6. Standing with arms up (hard)

Credit: Nadezhda Diskant

As discussed above, standing with arms up is a simple position that offers many variations. If the mood you’re going for is more tough and powerful, direct your model to keep their arms straight and angular rather than softly draped.

Notice in this example that the hip is also popped to one side, creating a sensual and confident power pose – great for portraits.

7. Walking with hand in pocket

Credit: Vladimir Fedotov

As far as photography poses go, this one may seem a little cliché… but that’s no reason to dismiss it. The established standards are useful for every photographer and model to master.

A little movement helps to keep the subject natural and fluid. The model simply walks towards the camera, with one hand stuffed casually in their pocket.

The coat slung over the shoulder? Classic, but entirely optional. Giving your hands something to do if a great way to pose naturally for pictures too.

8. Standing with one foot against a wall

Credit: Prayoon Sajeev

This is one of those photography poses that’s equally suited to men or women. It’s cool, simple, and works with a wide variety of backdrops – from clean white walls to gritty rollar shutters.

As well as front-on, you can also incorporate it into your photoshoot from a side-angle. In that case, play with a shallow depth of field to get the wall blurred and the subject in focus.

9. Exaggerated leaning pose

Credit: Athena

If this pose is giving you ’60s, Twiggy-esque vibes, you’re not alone. It’s another one of those high fashion model poses that plays with lines and proportion.

You can have a lot of fun with exaggerated poses where the model is arching or leaning back, extending their limbs, or making otherwise unrealistic shapes with their body.

Poses like these work especially well with tall or leggy models as they play up the length of the limbs.

10. Hands cinching waist

Credit: Brenna Huff

Certain fashion poses lend themselves well to clothing with a feminine silhouette. If you’re photographing a dress with a cinched waist, this is one that never fails to make for a striking image.

This pose is even better if you have exaggerated sleeves – like bell sleeves or bishop sleeves – to show off.

Keep the model’s elbows flared and neck elongated to achieve an elegant silhouette that’s right out of a 1950s Richard Avedon shoot.

While hands-on-hips is another classic photography pose, bringing the hands higher to the waist and further forward to the front of the body really helps to highlight a feminine shape. It also works well in lingerie as a flattering boudoir pose.

11. Sitting with one leg bent

Credit: Jonaorle

Sitting down poses (like these) also make for great fashion photos. This one works well if the model is directly on the floor or sitting on a step.

Consider the clothing when working with model poses like this one. A full-length flowing skirt, for example, wouldn’t create the same effect as an outfit that shows the shape of the legs.

Heels, on the other hand, work beautifully as they serve to lengthen and highlight the legs further, making them a focal point of the image.

Don’t forget – heels can be worn with almost anything, including bikinis!

12. Sitting on floor

Credit: Arun Sharma

Let’s face it: posing males can be hard. So, here’s a seated pose that gives off a cool, casual vibe and is easy to pull off even for models with little experience.

The key is really in relaxing the arms and legs so the model doesn’t look stiff or uncomfortable. If you’re the photographer, get the subject to move around a little and sit in a way that’s comfortable and not too posed: you’ll end up with much better images as a result.

13. Dramatic lean on wall

Credit: Murat Esibatir

A little drama goes a long way in fashion photography – especially if the clothing isn’t drama-shy either.

For this swoon-worthy pose, the model should stand a few feet away from the wall and then lean back onto it, tilting her head back dramatically.

If you’re the photographer, try getting down lower with your camera – this adds a dramatic perspective to your images as well.

14. Sitting on chair with elbow resting on knee

Credit: Godisable Jacob

If you’re shooting in a studio, you can create a wide range of model poses with little more than a plain white backdrop and a fold-up chair.

Have a look at the angles in the composition above. The posing is quite simple, but the finer details count.

Firstly, the lines of the model’s body create a zig-zag shape from her head, down her back, and down the 90-degree angle of her bent leg. Then there’s the intersecting walls behind her: by positioning her in the corner of the room, the image gains depth.

These are all things to look out for when posing a subject if you want the best result for your final images.

15. Standing with arms crossed

Credit: Mubariz Mehdizadeh

There are some traditionally masculine model poses that you might want to try if you’re shooting menswear; this is one of them.

Crossing your arms is a closed posture that can signify many different things, from defensiveness to anger to defiance. It can also convey strength or bravado – hence why it’s a such a popular pose for men.

That’s not to say you can’t use this one with females, too! The key is really to decide what mood you want to convey and ask your model to act it out and really feel it.

If you’re on the photography end of the shoot, it’s not enough to simply position the model’s body – you need to give them all the information on what you’re trying to achieve so they can fully get into the role.

16. Sitting and looking away

Credit: Nick Karvounis

This seated position works best with masculine or androgynous clothing pieces, like pants and flat shoes. You simply won’t create the same vibe in a dress and heels.

As such, it’s another one that’s suited to both genders. Try it with the model looking at or away from the camera – either will work.

17. Sitting with legs wide

Credit: Arun Sharma

Seated, legs wide, one arm draped and one resting on the knee: similar to above, this position has a cool and nonchalant vibe.

The unconventional use of the armchair’s back in the photo above makes it more interesting and adds to the model’s rebelliousness. Keep that one in your back pocket!

18. Facing away with arms crossed at back

Credit: Andrey Zvyagintsev

If you’re looking for model poses that highlight the back of an outfit, give this one a try. It’s perfect for capturing backless dresses, or back details like buttons and pleats. It’s also a popular wedding pose, to highlight the details on the back of a wedding dress.

The subject turns their body away from the camera and interlocks their arms at the back. They can then look over their shoulder directly into the lens, or keep their face in a side profile.

See also: 18 stylish photoshoot outfit ideas.

19. Crouching in front of wall

Credit: Jonathan Borba

If you’re shooting photos of streetwear and you want to capture an urban vibe, you can try crouching model poses like this one. It’s suitable for both male and female models.

It won’t take much time or practice to master this one: it’s all in the attitude of the people and clothing you’re photographing. That said, finding interesting backdrops will really add a lot to your images.

20. Fluid pose with arm out

Credit: Michele Seghieri

Getting your subject to loosen up and slowly move around in front of the camera can make the poses more graceful and fluid.

Notice in the above image the softness of the model’s hands and arms, and the way one arm falls away from the torso at a rather unnatural angle.

Leaning the head to one side completes the nonchalant, almost listless nature of the pose.

21. One hand on hip, one hand holding hair

Credit: Ali Pazani

Give a simple twist to the hand-on-hip pose by adding the model’s ponytail into the mix. This works particularly well with the subject looking down at the camera in a slightly imposing way.

Play around with this one to create different model poses on your next photoshoot – perhaps by adding other props or a hat.

5 Quick Posing Tips for Models

For all the models reading this, you’ve now got some new poses to go out and play with on your next photoshoot.

But before you go pose up a storm, here are some quick tips that can help you nail it in every photo.

1. Know your body

The best models know and understand their own body. What’s your natural body shape? What are your physical limitations (flexibility, movement, etc)? Explore all of these things and it will help you get comfortable with posing.

2. Make friends with the mirror

Let’s get one thing straight: the mirror is your friend. Practice your poses in front of it, perfect them; see how the subtlest of movements can change the lines of your body or affect your silhouette.

Practicing your poses using your smartphone camera can be helpful to a degree; but just be aware that if you’re going to model for a photographer with a DSLR or mirrorless digital camera, the results can differ.

That’s why the mirror is still the best and most efficient way to practice your posing.

3. Create space between your body and your limbs

One way to instantly look better in photos is to create some separation between your limbs and body. For example, avoid pressing your arms into your torso as this will flatten them out and distort their natural shape.

4. Relax your hands

If you’re holding tension in your hands while posing, it’s going to show through in the photos. You don’t want your hands to be stiff and unnatural, or balled up into tight fists.

Be conscious of keeping your hands soft and relaxed (unless, of course, the photographer directs you to do otherwise).

5. Don’t just model: Act

A final tip on model poses: they’re not just about how you hold your body. You’re looking to convey a mood, a feeling; what that is will depend on the style of the clothing and the vision of the creative team.

Perhaps you’re looking to convey softness and sensuality; perhaps the attitude is fierce, or playful, or melodramatic.

Whatever it is, the best way to get it across in photos is by getting into the right mental state. Act out the mood in your mind, and your facial expressions and physical poses will follow.

Final Words

Hopefully, this post gave you plenty of ideas for poses that you can take to your next photoshoot.

If you’d like to share your own tips or tell us about your latest shooting experience, do leave us a comment below.

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Fashion photography and the history of its development

Photos by Mert Allas and Marcus Piggott

Fashion photography is one of the most popular and demanded trends in photography today. Diverse, but invariably elegant, bright, dizzying, seductive, often scandalously provocative, it conveys not only the charm of fashion catwalks, the glamor and luxury of famous fashion houses. Fashion photography, like no other direction of art, captures the atmosphere of the time, the style and mood of the era, embodying the ideal that culture invariably strives for at one point or another of the space-time continuum.

Fashion photography can be understood both in a narrow sense - fashion shows, backstage shots, presentations of clothes and accessories of fashion houses, and in a broad sense, referring to the boundless genre of glamor that reigns in the field of glossy photography.

This style is not at all like documentary photography, nor is it photography of animals. It has its own history and unique features.

History of origin

The phenomenon of fashion photography itself emerged at the beginning of the 20th century, along with the widespread use of photography technology. The art of the avant-garde had a strong influence on the development of the genre, the formation of its specific language. Already at 19In the 1920s, advertising agencies began to actively use photography instead of graphics, which dominated the printing industry of those years. Fashion collections have also become "documented" through photography. At this time, such masters as Adolf de Meyer, Edward Steichen, Horst, Cecil Beaton, who used the techniques of staged photography and laid the foundation for the formation of the aesthetics of fashion photography, were working.

By the same time, the phenomenon of the fashion magazine was established. The pioneers in this field are Vogue Harper's Bazaar, which began to feature photos on its covers and spreads, and collaborated with leading photographers. Their aesthetics and concept of magazine photography consistently followed the latest and most daring trends in the development of the art of photography, from romantic sophistication to defiant extravagance.


Photo by William Klein

Photo by Helmut Newton

Photo by William Klein


without special static posing, in complex angles, etc. Particularly famous in those years was the photograph of model Lisa Fonssagrives, swaying on the upper observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, taken by Erwin Blumenfeld.

During the Second World War, for obvious reasons, it was not customary to shoot models on the street. However, there were those who opposed the norms and restrictions. For example, the same Cecil Beaton, one of the leading photographers of the 1930s and 40s, presented luxuriously dressed models against the backdrop of the ruins left after the bombings in the vicinity of London, for which he was accused of "heartlessness".


Increasing relevance

Photography has dominated fashion and advertising since 1940s, but the rise of fashion photography falls on the 1950s-70s. The fashion boom of post-war Europe (primarily Italy), countless shows, the flourishing of cinema significantly stimulated the development of the genre. Fashion photography parted ways with the classical canons, which dictated the stylistic and semantic unity of the character, decor and clothing. A “documentary” trend has emerged: under the influence of photographer Martin Muncassi, who came from the world of sports, reportage elements penetrate into fashion photography. However, also not without excesses: at 1947, the shooting of Christian Dior's "new look" models at the street market in Montmartre ended in a brawl.

Fashion photography is gradually moving away from the concept of shooting only clothes and accessories, the very concept of fashion is moving into a different space. Director Antonioni in the film Blow Up presents her already as a special worldview, style and attitude to life. An increasing number of talented photographers work in the field of fashion photography: Irving Penn, a great stylist and singer of grace, Richard Avedon, the author of compositions with fantastic lighting, exotic backgrounds, artsy poses, magnificent costumes. Through the efforts of innovative photographers, the boundaries of the genre are expanding more and more, fashion photography is given a metaphorical, almost existential sound. Initially rejected by commercial photography, the masters who expressed their worldview through the picture, deep psychological and behavioral characteristics, eventually become more famous. Among them, first of all, it is worth mentioning such names as Peter Lindbergh, Nelmut Newton, William Klein.

Contribution of leading photographers

Peter Lindbergh

Photographer Lindbergh's muse is the heroine of those turbulent times. For his models, the author chooses a special type. This is not an allegory of motherhood, not a homemaker, not a Turgenev young lady, not a nymphet. His lady of the heart is an extravagant person of indefinite, obviously hidden years, independent, accomplished, with a strong-willed character. She smokes, drives a car, walks with a firm step along the pavement or the beach. She even visits factory floors and climbs on the structures of the Eiffel Tower. She is blown by severe winds, she lives surrounded by glass showcases, skyscrapers, gaping mouths of city sewer manholes. She is stylishly dressed or impeccably naked. She has a slender, muscular, almost boyish figure, huge heavily painted lake-eyes, brightly pomaded lips, long nails on graceful hands. Sometimes she clearly poses for the camera, at times she is caught off guard by the photographer, without makeup and the duty mask of a learned expression on her face. Blonde or brunette, with rebellious curls fluttering in the wind or a garçon haircut, we have a Lady. Gentle, strict and strong-willed, sinuously soft, contradictory, not completely solved. Each image of each model hides something elusive-individual, zest, sparkle, highlight. Black and white photography allows you to emphasize, make stricter and more distinct the harmony of lines, silhouettes, halftones, the elegance of the female image.


Photo by Peter Lindbergh

Photo by William Klein


Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton was dubbed the "voyeur of photography" for his supposedly "peeped" shots of "bad" models. Never concentrating on the beauty or individuality of a particular woman, Newton impeccably conveyed a certain feeling or a plastic, aesthetic idea with the help of photography. He spent a long time building the entourage, the composition of the picture and took only a few shots. The author liked to repeat that his images are himself, his desires and fantasies, practically embodied in reality. At least in the reality of the photograph. Invariable erotic overtones, aggressiveness, extravagance, specific accessories and plots (a nude model with a crutch and a prosthesis, a lady in a cemetery straightening her stocking, girls in collars, chains and furs) are a characteristic feature of Newton, for which he received fame as one of the most scandalous photographers recent decades.

William Klein

William Klein had a significant impact on the promotion of fashion photography as an independent art form. He carefully thought out the idea and plot, with little interest in fixing specific details, such as the costume or hairstyle of the model. First of all, he was interested in the semantic load of the picture, the construction of the composition. He worked both in the studio, creating complex scenery, and on city streets, where the architecture itself served as part of the image; actively used mirrors. His compositions are invariably graphic and are distinguished by a very strict, solid, linear compositional construction.

The main trends in the development of fashion photography in the 1970s and 1990s are associated with postmodernist ideas in art. Heralds of these trends were Bettina Reims, Erwin Olaf, David LaChapelle. Their defiant and provocative shots, complex play of meanings, allusions and associations, clashes of textures and plans, penetration into the subconscious are the same signs of the times as the impressionistically blurred shots of Adolf de Meyer once appeared on the pages of Vogue of the 1910-era. X.


Photo by Erwin Olaf

An Introduction to Fashion Photography

Fashion photography (or fashion photography) is a genre that refers to photographing clothing, hairstyles, makeup, jewelry, or other fashion products for promotional purposes. To become a successful fashion photographer, you need a team - models, assistants, hair and makeup artists, dressers and just extra eyes and hands. Fashion photography involves high-quality stylized photo shoots.

Proper lighting, posing and facial expressions, and most importantly creativity - all this helps to become a successful fashion photographer. A good place to start would be to look at fashion magazines and fashion websites and learn the techniques photographers use to draw viewers' attention to a particular topic or product. "Boring" has nothing to do with the fashion industry.

Freedom and control

As a fashion photographer, you are guided by a fashion editor or stylist. Shooting for advertising and editorial purposes is quite different from taking portrait photography of a family or children. Fashion editors know exactly what they want from photos. They usually have their own team of stylists and assistants to work with. And you, as a photographer, are simply part of this team. You must be able to communicate with team members and understand what is best for the common cause. The ability to work in a team is vital in the fashion industry.


Of course you need a camera. However, keep in mind that lighting, hair, makeup, and post-processing all make for a quality fashion photo.

Try to get several models of lenses. Zoom lenses and fixed. Zooms can come in handy if, for example, you're working at a haute couture show and need to shoot from a distance. 35mm or 50mm primes are great for shooting in a small studio, although many fashion photographers like to shoot portraits with 85mm lenses. The best lens for the job will depend on the purpose of the job itself. Just make sure you have a few options in your bag.

Lighting is very important in fashion photography. Lighting should be complimentary to models, colors and details should be the focus. You will have to invest in a couple of good flashes. You will also need umbrellas, reflectors, studio racks for equipment installation. Buy a variety of studio backgrounds, in different sizes and colors.

Camera settings

There is no specific set of settings you should use in fashion photography. As with any photography, it will depend on what and where you are shooting.

  • The first piece of advice any professional or photography school teacher will give you is to shoot in RAW format. It will give you a lot of freedom during post-processing.
  • The second tip is to use single shots instead of continuous shooting. This seems counterproductive when you are shooting a fast moving subject. But by holding your finger on the button, you won't be able to crop and reframe as needed. And besides, a series of pictures in RAW format quickly devours free space on the memory card.
  • The third tip is white balance is very important. And set it up before the start of the fashion show, and not in its midst.

Photo Editing

In addition to photography, you also need to learn how to retouch your work to make it look better. Post-processing is absolutely essential in fashion photography. Whether you need a little tweaking to fix blemishes, adjust white balance, improve colors, or make deeper creative edits, you need to understand Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop (or hire a professional photo retoucher to join your team).

Photoshop has everything you need to edit your photos. It has dozens of tools from simple retouching to complex photo manipulations, a huge number of filters and brushes, this is a rather "heavy" program to master.

If you want to get things done quickly, then check out Lightroom, this program is perfect for color correction, minimal retouching, etc. It has fewer tools, but it has very convenient means of organizing your many photo archives.

Many photographers use both of these programs - they import photos from their camera to their computer and do basic edits in Lightroom, then use Photoshop to do more advanced edits.

Practice fashion photography on your friends

Before you start talking to models, stylists and makeup artists, start with your friends. As long as you are learning, you will make mistakes. And it is easier to do this with people with whom you are comfortable and who understand you and help you.

  • Learn how famous photographers create their shots and recreate them.
  • The goal is not to copy photographs exactly, but to get to know the creative and technical aspects of fashion photography.
  • You don't need to take hundreds of photos at once - a dozen images in each style are enough.


Find your style, listen to what inspires you the most. Maybe it's street fashion photography, or staged shooting in the style of the mid-twentieth century? Learn to work in different styles, but at the same time find your own unique one, by which you can be recognized.

Create a portfolio

Having a portfolio is beneficial no matter what genre of photography you shoot. But it's especially handy with fashion photography. You have to show potential clients and editors what you can do.

So get your team together and find some models. If possible, rent a studio and try to create a beautiful portfolio gallery that showcases your best work. In case you are applying for a job as an assistant, ask to use some of the photos in your portfolio.

Your portfolio is what you will present to editors in the hope of getting a job. Here are some tips:

  1. Start and end your portfolio with your strongest photos.
  2. Plan EVERYTHING and be organized.
  3. Print your portfolio on paper anyway. Many editors still prefer to view actual prints. After all, everything looks better on paper than it does on the screen. Use a program (such as InDesign) or manually draw a portfolio layout before you print it.
  4. Look for portfolio layout ideas in fashion magazines. Look at the portfolios of other photographers that they post on their websites.

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