Friday, April 13, 2012

Fashion Images Tutorial

We are set to do another photo shoot in the next two or so weeks hence my posts will reflect on that. This week we've been working with a high end Salon on a photo shoot for re branding purposes and I must say I learned a lot. First of all I do not LIKE such shoots...give me a clean fashion shoot any day!!!!!! That said and done I worked with some of the teenagers and they were the best! Today I want to breakdown the different fashion images and perhaps breakdown for those interested in the industry and others who hears the terms but have no inkling what they mean.

I would categorize fashion images as Commercial/catalog, Editorial and High-end fashion. Lets look through each category. For those of you who can’t wait for the elaborate answer, here is the quick overview:

Commercial Photography sells a product.
High end Fashion Photography sells a lifestyle.
Editorial Photography sells a story.

COMMERCIAL/CATALOG: This is an informational image. The end result is to sell a particular product using the image. Hence, the emphasis of the whole shoot is on the product. That means that the lighting, the styling, and the background are usually very plain (not in a bad way).The model may be standing on a simple background such as white or Grey. The styling is clean and simple, we are selling the wardrobe and showing the details of the material.One big difference between the two is that with commercial photography, the client generally has the most creative control. With editorial photography, the photographer generally has the most creative control.

EDITORIAL This usually involves several shots telling a particular story or following a particular theme. The model is on location, in an environment, or living/interacting with a lifestyle. These images are not as posed and the styling and makeup/hair can be more extreme. Editorial also implies more of an edge to the shot. That's what separates the style from more commercial types of photos.The wardrobe may have more accessories such as jewelry, scarves, hats, shoes, and handbags. Everything on the model and in the background is very styled to create a powerful still image or slice-of-life. We see this style in the better fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle, it is usually the featured spreads and stories consisting of 5-10 pages. The models are put in a role or theme and tend to act out a story. The most obvious give away is the continuity of the wardrobe or poses In lieu of a storyline, editorial is often highly styled: IOW, heavy makeup, hair, or wardrobe concepts. Sometimes these strong visuals are what unites the series of shots. Editorial photography does not pay nearly as well as commercial, but with editorial, you usually get much more creative freedom, and you get a credit line. You do it to add to your portfolio - then show the portfolio to get commercial work.

HIGH FASHION. The image is selling a particular lifestyle rather than a product.This is an area that goes all out.The styling of the wardrobe may be a fantasy and may never be worn as pictured, rather it is styled to create a dramatic and powerful image. The models poses are eclectic and exaggerated, facial expressions can be calm or piercing. Sometimes the models face is calm and everything below the chin is in turmoil…or vice versa…a contradiction. All the individual elements of the models look and pose, the wardrobe, the styling, hair/makeup, and the lighting all work together to create a single powerful image… image that would completely fall apart and fail if one of the elements did not work. Every object and accessory has its place in this organized chaos, to create a flawless image.That is why we hire a crew of talented stylists that can work together and complete the vision. Most high-fashion ads are "art" ads-- think of the latest Jil Sander spreads in which a mod androgyne alienesque figure sticks out his-her hips and glares out from under a pair of massive brow bones. hair is swept back under a hat, mod coat is a pale white like the background. we no longer focus on the clothes-- we instead focus on the contortions of face and body. the fact that the pose is not relaxed, natural or normal makes us think. the ads are, in essence, interactive. most of my work has led up to making an ironic statement such as those mentioned.

In essence, your style of photography depends on the clients’ needs and wants. If the client wants to sell a lifestyle associated with his product rather than the product itself, you will have to deliver fashion photography. If the client on the other hand just wants to show off his products (such as for a catalog shoot), you will have to deliver commercial photography. If the client already has a story or a script and just wants the photos to support the story, it’s your turn to get the mood of the story and deliver an editorial piece on it.

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