The Different Types of Fashion Photography (2023)

There are several types of photography that people use to show different parts of their lives. Some are very artistic, others are more straightforward and show people at work. It can be really exciting to try new things and learn new skills, but you might be worried about how you will look in front of the camera.

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The Different Types of Fashion Photography (1)

How can I learn to become a fashion photographer?

The world of fashion photography is a competitive one. With thousands of new models every year, it can be hard to break into the industry. This doesn’t have to be the case if you follow a plan that will get you the work you want, at the level you want it.

There are two main types of fashion photography. They are known as ‘fashion’ and ‘editorial’, although there are a few hybrid jobs too. Fashion shoots are usually done on location for magazines like Vogue, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan, but they can also be done in a studio for catalogues and adverts. Editorial shoots are more likely to be done in a studio and are for brands, catalogues and magazines such as Vogue Living and Grazia.

A degree in photography might be needed to be able to do either type of shoot, or to be an assistant. But a course in fashion design can help you to make up your mind whether you want to do fashion or editorial photography. Fashion designers make up outfits and models wear them to the shoots. Fashion photography is also known as ‘styling’, and assistants are often asked to do styling work. Fashion photography may include taking photos of clothing, accessories and makeup, and editing the results to produce ‘fashion spreads’.

The first thing you need to decide is what kind of job you want to do, and whether it suits you. You could specialize in fashion or editorial photography, or even a mixture of both. It is likely that you will need to work hard and long hours for several years before you break into the fashion photography industry. Fashion photographers have a reputation for being fast-moving and very busy. A friend of ours works for a top fashion magazine, but her job doesn’t involve shooting models in front of backgrounds, she shoots celebrities and their clothes.

So how can you learn to become a fashion photographer?

You can get an entry level job, such as a temporary fashion assistant, and gain experience while doing something else. Alternatively, you could train as an art director to get the job as a designer, and then build up your portfolio as a photographer over time. You could study art at college, or design at university.

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A degree in design, fashion or art is not essential for fashion photography, although it will help you get started. However, it is usually better if you have some sort of qualification when you start out.

If you want to do fashion photography, the best advice we can give you is to get in touch with local fashion magazines and advertising agencies, who often have positions for photographers on offer. Try to get a portfolio together that shows your work. If you have a good portfolio, you could even try and apply for one of the few jobs that will not require you to have a degree.

If you are interested in editorial photography, you might be able to get an assistant job first. This means that you will be a member of the team, but you won’t be in charge of the shoot. Your main task will be taking photos and shooting the final results. The people you will be working with will probably be much more experienced than you, so don’t take it personally if they do most of the talking. You should be able to learn lots from them about what you need to do to make yourself a good photographer.

Learn to make up your mind.

It is important to decide early whether you want to specialize in fashion or editorial photography. You could find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between them and you will miss out on both opportunities. It is always best to start off doing a few jobs of each type to see which suits you best.

Keep things simple.

You will need to keep things as simple as possible. It can be hard work working with models, especially if they are not used to you taking photos. They may try to talk to you too much or expect you to be perfect. However, if you work with models who have done this before, they will be used to it and not feel uncomfortable.

Be friendly but professional.

Most photographers will want to talk to you about their work and how it’s going. When you are shooting, remember to look at the camera and take pictures of what is happening. Don’t take shots that are too close to the model’s face, for example, and don’t take so many pictures that you waste the model’s time. When you are shooting you may find that some models get nervous or embarrassed, and so won’t do things they normally would. Try not to take this personally.

It can be difficult to make sure that your shoots go smoothly, especially if your model is not used to being photographed by a photographer. They may want to talk or change the way they are standing, for example. Remember to talk to them and listen carefully. Make sure you are aware of all the details, such as where the lighting is best for the shots and when the model is in shadow.

Popular Fashion Genres

The Different Types of Fashion Photography (2)

High Fashion:

High fashion is about wearing beautiful, well-made clothes that express your personal style. In high fashion, the details matter: whether the fabric is luxurious and expensive, the shape of the garment is feminine, the neckline is low or plunging, or the shoes are high heels, statement-making pieces are what define this style.

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Street Fashion:

Street fashion is all about what’s happening on the streets at any given moment. It’s about looking great without paying attention to price tags, cutting costs, getting into bargain clothing, or the latest trends. Street fashion is a combination of practicality, affordability, individuality, and creativity. This means that, to dress in street fashion, you don’t have to spend a fortune – you just need to make your own unique style statement.

Alternative Fashion:

Alternative fashion is a combination of casual and chic styles that are not only acceptable but also fashionable. This is a trendier style that is not defined by what is on the market, but rather what the wearer thinks looks good and what fits their body type. Alternative fashion is all about finding what works for you.


Lifestyle fashion can be seen as a combination of high fashion and street fashion. Lifestyle clothes combine the look of high fashion with the affordability and accessibility of street fashion. These garments are comfortable, practical, and easy to wear. They are designed to make the wearer feel good about themselves and to fit their lifestyle.

Sports & Workout Fashion:

Workout fashion is all about dressing comfortably, stylishly and fashionably while working out at the gym, going to the gym, or playing sports. This style doesn’t require you to sacrifice comfort in order to look good; in fact, workout fashion looks great and feels great when you’re active.

Common Fashion Photography Styles

The Different Types of Fashion Photography (3)

  1. Editorial
  2. Beauty Editorial
  3. Catalogue
  4. Lookbook
  5. Street Style
  6. Outfit of the Day

In Editorial, beauty is the main focus of the image. It could be a look, make-up, a dress, a jacket, a handbag, a pair of shoes, an accessory or even a hat. It’s all about how it makes the subject feel or look – whether it’s a glamorous, sophisticated or casual look.

In Beauty Editorial, your model’s face and body is the focal point of the image, with the background used to highlight the subject’s features and enhance the beauty of the look. Your image may feature your model in just a headshot or fully clothed and the background will be either a neutral or complimentary colour. You may want to include a few accessories for added effect. It is important that your images convey the essence of the subject’s look and make the viewer understand what you are trying to say about them.

In Catalogue, beauty is again the main focus of the image, but here it’s more about a look or an outfit rather than a single product. The subject’s face will be a main focus, but they may be wearing several items that you have photographed. It is important to make sure that everything in the image is working together. You could use the same type of lens on all the products (which is what we like to do). It is helpful to shoot in a variety of environments, such as a bright, colourful kitchen and then indoors with a more moody colour palette.

In Lookbook, the focus is on one product. Usually, this is a high-end luxury or fashion item or a new beauty product. It is usually shot at home or in a studio, but you could go out for your model if it is a particularly striking look. Your aim should be to make the viewer feel the quality of the item. Try shooting in a variety of light conditions and backgrounds to convey the quality and exclusivity of the item. The model’s face will be in the forefront and she will often be holding her head up high to give the viewer the best view of her eyes.

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In Street Style, beauty is the focus of the image but it is about fashion and trend rather than just the model. The model may be wearing several items, but the emphasis is on the subject’s personality, such as their attitude to life, their sense of humour or their style. It is about how they look on the street or in a shopping mall. A background is optional, but an interesting setting helps set the scene.

How to become a successful Fashion Photographer?

Fashion photography has been around for a very long time. There are many ways to get into this field, but here we list some tips to help you succeed as a Fashion Photographer.

1. Know what you want

It is really important that you know what you want out of your career. When you start out as a fashion photographer, it’s hard to tell if it is going to work out or not. You could end up hating your job or maybe it’s just a phase you go through. You’re the only person who can make sure that your career is going in the right direction. So, do yourself a favour and think about it seriously. This way, you will be able to make a plan and make the most of your opportunities.

2. Start small

In order to get started, it’s good to have some experience in shooting on film. You will be able to learn more from shooting on film than shooting on digital. But you don’t need to stop there. Take photos with a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera and see what you can do with them. If you want to become a fashion photographer, then you should be ready to experiment with new ideas and styles.

3. Find your niche

When you’re getting into fashion photography, it’s easy to get sidetracked by trends. So, make sure that you stick to one style, which is your niche. Once you have found your niche, you can start looking for models who fit the bill. You can also build up your portfolio by doing some self-portraits, portraits of family and friends, and landscape shots. You may find that your model will give you tips on how to improve your own photographs.


Every photographer can have a unique style. There are different types of fashion photographers like: The studio fashion photographer, the street fashion photographer, the model fashion photographer, and the fashion photographer for advertising. These four types of fashion photographers cover different aspects of fashion photography.

You need to choose a style that works best for your brand and that you are passionate about.

When you are shooting, be observant. The more you learn about fashion photography, the better you’ll get at capturing images that will make you look good.

You need to be confident in your craft. If you are not sure how to capture certain fashion poses, try to ask someone who knows what they’re doing.

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What type of photography is fashion photography? ›

Fashion photography is a genre of photography which is devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items. Fashion photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Elle.

What defines fashion photography? ›

Fashion photography focuses on the display of fashion clothing and items. It is most common on advertising boards and in fashion magazines. The photography will usually feature models wearing the display items. Fashion photography has existed almost as long as photography itself has been around.

Who is a fashion photographer? ›

Fashion photographers work in the fashion industry and focus their skills specifically on styles of clothing and personal image. They take and produce pictures of people, places, and objects by using a variety of cameras, photographic equipment, computers, and image editing software.

What is interesting about fashion photography? ›

Fashion photography is a popular, creative and highly competitive sub-type of photography. Long before social media were even a thing, photography gave fashion designers the freedom to make their creations known to a wider audience and allowed people to keep up to date with the latest additions to the fashion world.

How did fashion photography start? ›

It is believed that fashion photography as a genre of photographic art was born in the XIX century, thanks to fashion magazines such as La mode practique (1898), Harper Bazar (1867) and Vogue (1892). These magazines were in turn established due to the achievements made in the field of photography and screen printing.

When did fashion photography start? ›

Though the earliest known fashion photographs date back to the 1850s, in the court of Napoleon III, the use of photography as an advertising tool did not become popular until the early 20th century, when fashion itself became accessible to a wider audience.

Is fashion photography art? ›

Not a movement as such, fashion photography is perhaps best described as a branch of fine art photography that focuses exclusively on the promotion of haute couture.

Where is fashion photography found? ›

Fashion photography can be found in catalogues, magazines, billboards, and the internet. A good photo will show a model's personality, as well as what the clothing looks like on the body. It is used to show what the clothing or apparel would look like in real life.

Who invented fashion photography? ›

Although Baron Adolphe De Meyer is considered historically as the first fashion photographer, the photographer Edward Steichen is considered one of the pioneers of modern fashion photography and one of the most important contributors to the history of 20th century photography.

How do you become a fashion photographer? ›

How to Become a Fashion Photographer
  1. Learn Basic Photography Skills. Take some basic courses in photography so you can understand the functions of a camera.
  2. Practice with Models. ...
  3. Research Fashion Magazines. ...
  4. Reach Out. ...
  5. Develop an Original Style. ...
  6. Don't Fuss Too Much Over Gear. ...
  7. Keep Shooting. ...
  8. Get an Agent.

What type of photography is the most popular? ›

Portrait Photography

Portraiture is arguably one of the most popular types of photography. Today, virtually anybody can practice this genre of photography with their smartphone.

How many types of photographers are there? ›

If you're interested in pursuing a career as a photographer, consider the following types of photography jobs:
  • Portrait photographer. ...
  • Commercial photographer. ...
  • Scientific photographer. ...
  • Photojournalist. ...
  • Freelance photographer. ...
  • Photo editor. ...
  • Wedding photographer. ...
  • Event photographer.
Oct 27, 2020

What influenced fashion photography? ›

As with the fashions, the photographs succeeded in capturing the essence of the era. Likewise, fashion photography of the '90s was influenced by the pop culture at the time. In particular, this included the 'Grunge' movement and featured undertones of capitalism and nonconformism.

Is fashion photography a good career? ›

Is being a fashion photographer a good career choice? Yes, of course, fashion photography is a safe career choice because many fashion industries in India have plenty of opportunities for fashion photographers. The industry is expanding at enormous rates and so are the career choices.

How much do fashion photographers make? ›

An entry level fashion photographer (1-3 years of experience) earns an average salary of $33,969. On the other end, a senior level fashion photographer (8+ years of experience) earns an average salary of $54,397.

How do fashion photographers get clients? ›

How to Attract Clients & Get Noticed as a Fashion and Beauty ... - YouTube

What is the importance of photography? ›

Photography is important because we can document something and have it forever. Photography lets us see something we may never have noticed otherwise. Photography is a way to express your ideas for others to see. There is no way to deny that life flies by.

What makes good photography? ›

There are many elements in photography that come together to make an image be considered “good”. Elements like lighting, the rule of thirds, lines, shapes, texture, patterns, and color all work well together to add interest and a great deal of composition in photographs.

What is the purpose of photography? ›

Essentially, the purpose of photography is to communicate and document moments in time. When you take a photograph and share it with others, you're showing a moment that was frozen through a picture. This moment can tell someone many things, from the environment to what people are doing.

What is the other name of photography? ›

What is another word for photography?
picture makingpicture taking
4 more rows

What is a photographer called? ›

What is another word for photographer?
camerapersonamateur photographer
freelance photographerpress photographer
professional photographerphotographers
celebrity photographerpaparazzi
4 more rows

How many types of portrait photography are there? ›

The 10 different types of portrait photography include: Traditional portraits. Lifestyle portraits. Environmental portraits.

What is packshot photography? ›

Put simply, packshot photography (sometimes called packaging shot) is the photo of a product, still or moving, which captures the image of the product along with the packaging or label. Packshot photography is a great tool to boost eCommerce.

What is urban fashion photography? ›

It is known as street style photography, urban photography or candid photography. It is all about the real world; what people wear in their daily life, their styles… Street fashion photography focuses on people and their behavior in public and taking photos of them on the street.

What is the difference between fashion and editorial photography? ›

What Is the Difference Between Fashion and Editorial Photography? Fashion and commercial photography try to sell a product. Editorial photography focuses more on storytelling than on advertisements. Even though editorial photography features different brands, its goal is to sell a story.

What is self portrait photography? ›

Unlike a selfie, a self portrait has both of the arms of the person down. Many would use a timer or a clicker to capture the photo. In a self portrait, the person is capturing a photo of themselves by themselves. It is more of a photo that would be seen on a passport or driver licence.

What is a picture of a product called? ›

Product photography is any image of a good for sale. Also known as commercial photography, these images are meant to entice shoppers to purchase the photographed products. They feature product details and features, supplemental to written copy and product descriptions.

What is a lifestyle photographer? ›

Lifestyle photography is a genre of photography that mainly aims to capture portraits of people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday. The primary goal is to tell stories about people's lives or to inspire people in different times.

How do you shoot a product? ›

How do you shoot product photos?
  1. Set up your table.
  2. Build your sweep.
  3. Adjust your camera.
  4. Set up your product.
  5. Set up the reflector card.
  6. Take the picture and evaluate.
  7. Retouch your pictures.
  8. Optimize images for your website.
May 14, 2021

How did fashion photography start? ›

It is believed that fashion photography as a genre of photographic art was born in the XIX century, thanks to fashion magazines such as La mode practique (1898), Harper Bazar (1867) and Vogue (1892). These magazines were in turn established due to the achievements made in the field of photography and screen printing.

When did fashion photography start? ›

Though the earliest known fashion photographs date back to the 1850s, in the court of Napoleon III, the use of photography as an advertising tool did not become popular until the early 20th century, when fashion itself became accessible to a wider audience.

How long is a fashion photoshoot? ›

Usually, the photoshoot takes 2 hours or more to capture enough client photos.

What is the difference between fashion photography and photography? ›

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

What is editorial fashion look? ›

Fashion people have an expression—"very editorial"—to describe clothes that look stunning in magazine fashion shoots but which nobody in their right mind would actually wear.


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