Does the sound of a camera shutter clicking against a backdrop of bright lights, glamour, glitz and high fashion appeal to you? While becoming a fashion photographer may seem like a specialized career for the chosen few, it’s not necessarily unattainable. Fashion photographers take photos of models and merchandise for magazines, catalogs, websites, advertising agencies, public relations firms and businesses.
Fashion photographers must be technically proficient at photography with a good eye for art and merchandising. Whether the subject is a luxurious Italian sports car, a beautiful swimsuit model or a pair of running shoes, the fashion photographer’s job is to make the viewer crave the product. A college degree in photography with coursework in any of these areas will prepare you for exciting fashion photography career.
Fashion photography is a popular field with a great deal of competition for job openings. A degree in photography or fashion coupled with an impressive portfolio of images will help you to stand out from the crowd. Earning a college degree shows potential employers that you are serious about your craft and well educated.
Having a photography degree along with relevant knowledge in graphics, design, advertising, fashion or merchandising gives you a well-rounded set of skills that will come in handy throughout your career. Courses in photography, lighting, dark room skills, digital photography and image editing are essential for obtaining the technical expertise required of fashion photographers while classes covering fashion and advertising will give you a broader understanding of the world of selling products.
Fashion photographers, also known as commercial photographers, typically work for magazines and advertising agencies, though some work on a freelance basis. Salaried photographers work in studios or on location while freelancers spend a good deal of time marketing their businesses.
During a fashion photo shoot, with or without the help of assistants, the fashion photographer performs the following duties:
Photographers often know in advance exactly how they want the finished picture to look. They may work off of storyboards or collaborate with art directors.
Once the photos have been shot, the photographer processes the images. If film was used, this is done in the darkroom whereas digital media is processed on a computer. Final images are selected and manipulated.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for salaried photographers was $27,160 as of May 2006. The highest ten percent of salaried photographers earned over $56,640.
Earnings in the fashion photography field vary based on years of experience, credentials and whether the position is salaried or freelance. Of the different areas of photography, commercial and fashion photography jobs tend to be salaried positions.