Fashion Photography: History, Types and Techniques

Fashion Photography: History, Types and Techniques

Shubham Anil Jain
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
Bangalore, India


What is Fashion Photography?
Fashion photography is generally defined as a category of photography which is focused on displaying clothing and other fashion items. It is the most often done for various kinds of advertisements or fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Elle. Currently, it has gained lot of popularity and has grown into becoming a necessary way for designers to get their work out to the public. Fashion photography has developed its own aesthetic in which the clothes and fashions are highlighted by the presence of exotic locations or accessories.

Fashion Photography

History of Fashion Photography:
It is suggested that fashion photography as a class of photographic art was originated in the XIX century. The magazines such as La mode practique (1898), Harper Bazar (1867) and Vogue (1892) were in turn established due to the achievements made in the field of photography and screen printing. They focused on pictures instead of trendy prints on the pages of their magazines, the editors tried to handle the competition on one hand, and on the other to attract the attention of the general public to the style and the selection of clothing that was offered to them. In this work, the editors were collaborated with many photographers, many of whom have become famous in the field of fashion photographies through this sort of cooperation. By the 20th century photography has acquired a new position and respect with the extraordinary rise of public interest. Designer shows and display collections become mega-events in the fashion world.

Until the late 30s, it was considered that the center of fashion and fashion photography was Paris. The French capital influenced famous photographers of the time from all over the world. Many German photographers were moving to Paris, including Adolf de Meyer, who is also considered as one of the legend of fashion photographies, Horst P. Horst and George Hoyningen-Huene, who worked for famous magazines such as Vogue. When the WWII started, the competition of fashion photography was picked up by New York City, the birthplace of fashion magazines. Many received infamy in the “Big Apple” (the nickname of the city of New York), such as Edward Steichen, Cecil Beaton, and a Hungarian photographer Martin Mukanshi. Mukanshi was the first person to introduce motion in fashion photography, which until that time was based purely on static and stereotypical poses.

Different Types of Fashion Photography:

1. High Fashion Photography
This deals with presenting or selling the attires and bringing in fashion houses creativity and styles. Here the photographers can leave reality behind and get indigenous as this type of photography requires a massive production. In this type of photography the models are often famous actresses and actors. The central theme here is to highlight the skills and ideas from all the possible ways. They include – the fashion designer, the makeup artist, the hairstylist, and finally, the photographer.

High Fashion Photography

2. Editorial Fashion Photoshoot
When this genre of fashion photography is concerned, it can be relatable to the audience. It is more or less similar to lifestyle photography, it’s often aspirational. Here, one may like to wear the fashion that the model flaunts. It is so-called since it is featured in fashion magazines and books. Editorial shoots can express the tale of a brand product and highlight a current trend. The process before the shoot is vital, and need to fix a meeting with the client to understand what they have to say about the photographs.

Editorial Fashion Photography

3. Street Fashion Photography
It is about the real world. It represents what people are wearing and how people they are styling it. You can find these types of images on Instagram and other social media channels. In addition, the viewers can also see these photographs in fashion magazines featuring articles about what is trending. The models started dressing up especially to catch the eye of the street style photographers, and the genre stopped being candid and started to become more like pose.

Street Fashion Photography

4. Runway Fashion Photography
Since it is the same as an event’s documentation by a photo reporter, this doesn’t come under fashion photography. You will require a fast lens to capture the motion of the models in low light conditions. The focal length is determined by what you are shooting and can include everything from atmospheric shots to complete length outfits with detailing of accessories. Zoom lenses are recommended for primes. A monopod could be a great alternative.

Runway Fashion Photography

Tips and Techniques for Clicking Stunning Fashion Images:

1. Communication
Communication plays an important role in this field as it helps you get what you need as a final product. However, one can’t convey the messages mechanically, one must be polite and friendly to develop a comfort zone and bring confidence. Body language and nonverbal communication are more powerful than speaking out, so you must patiently handle any circumstances.

2. Poses
An appropriate pose is the only thing that connects the model to the props and background. The subject should match the surrounding. Instead of making the usual poses like leaning on a support, one can try something distinctive. To get a natural posture, you can also try role-plays. One can also have them communicate with the environment and props.

3. Identifying the Best Models
As important as it is to fix a suitable location, getting the right model is also one that requires equal importance. It can be challenging to find an ideal model for your fashion project.

4. Follow the Basics of Composition
Just as it applies to any other type of composition, the Rules of Thirds also apply to fashion photography. Its purpose is to furnish the photographer with an ingenious guide that aids in connecting them to the viewer. The viewer will be in a different place and time. They will grasp everything about the image in a fraction of a second. These “rules” aid in making your pictures view the whole composition from the viewer’s perspective.

5. Use Simple Equipment
The appropriate way to begin fashion photography is by shooting with one light, one lens, and one camera. The reason to make it simple is to learn and master it. Renowned photographers are known for their style. In any photography, beginning with a simple equipment framework can aid in understanding the skills faster.

Today, Fashion Photography is a widely known as form of art. When a fashion is concerned, is always in trend, whether it is in the perspective of a designer or an influencer. But bringing life into the garment or styled clothing is photography. It is also fact that, not everyone who picks up a camera is a fashion photographer. Photography is a form of art that needs to be understood from the basics and has a lot of scope in future.


  1. Fashion Photography – Everything You Need To Know,
  2. Fashion Photography: The 4 Types!
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  4. Alexander, Jesse, “Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography,” HotShoe magazine, no.151, December/January 2008, pp.66 – 67
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