You can explore this field by taking photography classes both at school and through local organizations such as community centers. Also, consider joining a school photography or art club. These clubs will give you the opportunity to meet with others who share your interests, and they sometimes sponsor talks or meetings with professionals. Join the staff of the school yearbook, newspaper, or literary magazine. These publications often make use of visual art to accompany their text.
Look for part-time or summer work at a camera store. This work experience will give you the opportunity to become familiar with many “tools of the trade.” If you can’t find work at a camera store, try getting a job at a clothing store. This will give you experience working with people and clothes, and you might even be able to offer fashion advice to customers.
Explore your interest in the fashion field by reading fashion magazines that will keep you up to date on fashion trends, models, and photographers’ and illustrators’ work. Try drawing or sewing your own fashion creations. Finally, consider becoming a member of American Photographic Artists.
Fashion photographers can work in any of several different areas of the fashion field. They provide artwork to accompany editorial pieces in magazines such as Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue and trade journals such as Women’s Wear Daily. The advertising industry is probably the largest employer of fashion photographers who create the pictures that sell clothing, cosmetics, shoes, accessories, and beauty products. Catalog companies employ photographers to provide images that will sell their merchandise through print or online publications. Fashion Web sites also hire fashion photographers to take photos for online publication.
Fashion photography is a specialized form of photography that requires working on a team with designers, editors, illustrators, models, hair stylists, photo stylists, and makeup artists. Shooting takes place in a studio or on location, indoors and outdoors. Photographers use cameras, lenses, filters, lighting equipment, props, and sets. Some may still use film but the speed of digital photography and the ability to edit images digitally has made film photography more of a fine art. Most fashion photographers use digital cameras and edit the images on computers with image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. If the photographer is working on location, meaning away from his or her studio, the images can be stored on portable devices such as compact discs, memory cards, and flash drives. Their first priority is to satisfy the client’s requirements. Some photographers develop a unique artistic style that earns them recognition and higher wages.
Photographers may work as freelancers, and must handle all the tasks of running a business. These responsibilities include billing clients promptly and appropriately, keeping track of expenses, ordering supplies, hiring staff, and keeping their businesses going by lining up new jobs for when a current project ends.