Fashion Photography

Fashion Photography

With a career as a fashion photographer, you’ll use your expertise to help designers sell a new product or trend to the public. As a result, you may get to travel to exotic locations for photo shoots, attend the latest fashion shows, and work with popular celebrities and models. However, fashion photography can be a cutthroat industry with hundreds of underlings clawing their way to the top, so it’s best to prepare yourself for the challenging road ahead.


You’re main duty as a fashion photographer is to lead the creative direction of photo shoots and take snapshots of models wearing or showcasing products. You’ll ask models to evoke a certain attitude or feeling, so strong communication skills will come in handy when you need to boost their confidence or make them feel comfortable. Photographers also work with make-up artists, lighting crews, and other on-set staff to help perfect and bring their creative ideas to full fruition.


Fashion photography careers can be a lucrative field – it’s just a difficult industry to break into. Some photographers work as freelancers while others can belong to agencies. Regardless of who you’re working for, you’ll be commissioned by designers, magazines, retailers, and catalogs. Many individuals will also work for free in order to gain name recognition, so they’ll pay their own travel expenses plus more.

Best cities for this career are generally Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Tokyo – the fashion epicenters of the world. Struggling fashion photographers will often relocate themselves to towns nearby in hopes of gaining work or their next big break.

Skills and Education

Fashion photography doesn’t necessarily require aspirants to obtain a degree. Some climb the ranks by interning and learning from world-renowned photographers; however, these opportunities are often few and far between. To help you break into this exclusive occupation, consider getting a degree where your school’s career center can help build your portfolio, write your resume, and guide your professional career.

In art school, you’ll learn about composition and lighting, the history of men and women’s fashion, and the latest advances in digital photography. Classes will also give you the hands-on experience with complex cameras so you’ll be able to snap into action once your on-set.

Industry and Salary Outlook

Improvements to digital technology will allow more consumers and retailers to produce their own photographs meaning less technically skilled individuals are needed. However, prominent and highly paid photographers are compensated for their unique ideas, not only their technical skill. That said, employment is expected to grow 12 percent over the next decade for all photography jobs and not just fashion photography.

In 2008, the average income for a photographer was between $20,000 and $40,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but if you manage to become a top-notch fashion photographer, incomes up to six figures can easily be earned.

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