Fashion photographs are commissioned for a variety of publications, ranging from mail-order catalogues to high-fashion magazines and Sunday supplements. Their working methods, as well as the creative skills required, vary accordingly. Fashion Photographers often work within a team, which includes art directors, editors and other creative support staff.
It is the Fashion Photographer’s job not only to photograph garments but also to interpret the underlying ideas and associations suggested by the season, the range of clothes, the designer or the design brand. Fashion Photographers work both in studios and on location to produce imaginative and eye-catching photographs that illustrate and advertise clothes, accessories and lifestyle. They need to understand each client’s brand image, the various end uses of images, and be able to work closely with other creative people to fulfil the brief. Fashion Photographers usually work in busy studios, and must have sufficient experience and composure to operate effectively under pressure.
High Fashion and Magazine Photographers work from their own studios, on location, or occasionally, in a studio supplied by their clients. They must be innovative and artistic with an intense interest in – and knowledge of – the latest fashion trends, as well as the history of fashion, art and fashion photography. They must also cultivate and maintain top-level contacts within the fashion industry and the fashion publishing business. The material rewards for these photographers can be extremely high; however, the fashion world can be fickle and photographers need to continually refresh their visual style to avoid being seen as passé. High Fashion Photographers must therefore use all their charm and interpersonal skills to communicate their passion and creative vision to a very demanding and sophisticated audience.
Mail-order Catalogue Photographers work with a variety of models and situations, representing the style and features of clothes as accurately and stylishly as possible. They are usually employed by photographic or design studios and may spend days, or weeks, working on a single range of clothing, producing enough photographs each day to fill many catalogue pages. These photographers must work quickly and economically for which they receive a monthly salary and paid holidays. They enjoy the benefits of regular employment, but rarely earn as much as High Fashion or Magazine Photographers.