5 Tips on Fashion Photography with Hamish Stephenson.
Shoot how you want, don’t listen to what “FASHION” is.
So many people think fashion photography has to be something so perfectly curated, styled, and lush looking.
I disagree - especially in the current world we live in - everyone wants something real and genuine that they can actually connect with. No-one believes retouched crap these days anyway. Shoot what you want and what pleases your eye when you’re on set or walking around on a day to day basis. Overtime you begin to develop this instinct where your eye will start to talk to you when it sees something it likes.
Get to know your subject and model before shooting.
One of them most important things I believe is always developing a connection with your subject before you get in front of them with a big black box. I like to try and draw out the real energy of someone so they’re comfortable expressing themselves in anyway they want. Clothes look better when they’re naturally worn and you can so obviously tell when someone feels rigid and uncomfortable in what they’re wearing. I’ve recently started using a medium format Pentax 67 and I love it. I’ve heard it from a few OG photographers but its great to be able to hold the camera at mid height and chat to your subject / look at them while shooting.
Don’t push it too far.
Creativity is one thing, idiocy is another. When you’re trying to sell a product, sell a product. When you’re trying to tell a story through an editorial, tell the story. Your model doesn’t need to be wearing 4 hats because it looks unique, or wearing socks as earrings. Chill. That means and does nothing for the viewer. Being able to identify the purpose of every image you’re taking is very important.
You have to make sacrifices.
When you’re working on commercial projects, the client always comes first. Just because you like something doesn’t mean they will and doesn’t mean it sells the product the way they envision it. You have to sometimes sacrifice your aesthetic for something that meets their desires.
Learn to work with what you have.
Sometimes you’re thrown into a situation where you have to work with what you’ve got. I learnt this on an Adidas Neo shoot back in May. We were shooting Friday night on the Southbank with a light suspended on a crane 50 feet in the air. As you can imagine on a summers evening there were 100’s of people walking past every minute. I had to focus and work with my DOP to find a creative way of pulling off the shots we needed with our models. It was tough not to freak out but it was a great experience for me.