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What Does a Fashion Photographer Do?

Rahul Pandita
For the curious eye, it may be interesting to know how fashion photographers create those piquant images. Here's a job description of fashion photographers and othe important details related to this career.
The first images that come to our mind when someone mentions fashion photography are sensuous models and a lot of glitz and glamor. These definitely are some aspects of this profession.
But if we dig a bit more to know about what fashion photographers do for a living, you will realize that in spite of all the hype, it still is like any other job - lot of hard work and responsibility. From directing the models to getting their equipment right for the shoot, a fashion photographer is involved in almost every aspect of the shoot.
Fashion photography is mainly concerned with the clothing and accessories. It is the responsibility of a fashion photographer to highlight these in a photo and make it visually appealing.
Once they take up an assignment, it is their responsibility to deliver on the requirements of the client. The points mentioned here will summarize the job of a fashion photographer.
  • Before taking an assignment, a fashion photographer meets with the client to understand their requirements. It is important to have a clarity on how the client wants to project his brand.
  • The fashion photographer holds consultations with the designers so that a working concept of the photo shoot is created.
  • A fashion photographer understands the intricacies of various designs and fabrics, so that he can plan the shoot accordingly.
  • Fashion photographers shortlist a few models and then select the ones they think are perfect for the shoot.
  • They work in cooperation with hairstylists, makeup artists to ensure that everything is in order and as per the plan.
  • The fashion photographers provide valuable inputs to the art director and the client on deciding the appropriate location for the shoot. However, it is important to remember that a fashion photographer may not always get the desired location as there can be budgetary constraints on the part of the client.
  • During the shoot, the fashion photographer has to shoot the model in different poses. It is the responsibility of the fashion photographer to extract the best from the model and this requires him to work on the model's posture, look, ability to emote etc.
  • After the shoot, the fashion photographer selects a photo/photos and starts working on it with the help of available software. The aim is to hide the flaws if any, and highlight the features of the model.
  • After a satisfactory image is created, the fashion photographer gets in touch with the client or his representative to show the final product. If need arises, the fashion photographer needs to rework on the image as per the client's requirements.

Requirements to Become a Fashion Photographer

Educational qualifications do not matter as much as the artistic skills in this career. You don't need any specific undergraduate degree to start working as a fashion photographer. If you have the eye for detail and can evoke emotions through your pictures, you are more likely to succeed in this field.
There are a lot of colleges which train aspiring fashion photographers, however assisting someone who has established himself in this field is more advantageous. It will give you the much needed exposure and the know-how of operating with the latest equipment.
You will also get a hands-on experience of working with models, hairstylists, make up artists and other professionals who are needed during a photo shoot.

Job Outlook and Median Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for photographers will see a growth of 13% by 2020. The median salary according to the 2018 average was $60,371 per year and the hourly wage stood between $24 and $34. This data is for the photography occupation as a whole.
According to independent sources, the average salary of fashion photographers is around $62,700.
Aspiring fashion photographers should keep in mind that the lucrative opportunities of traveling abroad and shooting at exotic locations are offered only to the experienced and famous fashion photographers. When you are starting out, you may need to be content with shooting at the studio or as per the instructions of the client and the art director.
There is fierce competition in this field as a lot of people are aspiring to become successful fashion photographers. The best way is to gain experience by working for reputed clients so that you have a lot to show on your portfolio. There is a great scope for career advancement in this field and once you have proved yourself, you can literally go places!