Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What Is Fashion Photography?

With more and more people into photography and with more and more people wanting to have their own photo shoot experience these days, it's also likely that people have false or insufficient information about the various types of photography. Take fashion photography for instance. While it's true that many people have their own version of it, it's also possible that their idea or notion of fashion photography is insufficient or worse, entirely wrong. This, of course, is not good.
Hence, in order to clear things up about exactly what fashion photography is, let's take a look at its history, the fun and stylish details and even talk about the players involved in fashion. You might be surprised at what you will find out.
First of all, fashion photography is a genre of photography. It's not what photography is all about. It's just a sub-type of photography. From the name itself, one can deduce that fashion photo shoots has something to do with clothes, accessories, shoes and other fashion items. Because of its image of being "glamorous," "stylish," "fun" and even "lucrative," fashion photography has become an industry entirely on its own. Photographers involved in fashion are, of course, called fashion photographers. A lot of fashion photographers have already started and developed careers entirely involving fashion photo shoots. Several talented ones have already succeeded in this photography genre. Take note, however, that not all photographers can be fashion photographers. And this is for the simple reason that not all photographers have enough skill, connections, "eye" and - while this may sound rather odd for many - patience to last as a fashion photographer.
Let's dwell on the history of fashion photography. Did you know that fashion photography evolved from the time of countesses and their official court garbs? In 1856, a book written by Adolphe Braun was published. It contained a total of 288 photographs of Virginia Oldoini, Countess di Castiglione, who was a Tuscan noble woman at the court of Napoleon III. The photos of the countess clothed in those royal wedding garbs were featured in the book. Because of this, history regards her as the very first fashion model.
Also, the photo shoot that she underwent is regarded as the very first fashion photography session. Hence, fashion photography stemmed from the fact that a countess, along with her multi-layered, detailed and expensive looking frocks, was all but too happy to sit in front of a camera.
Fast forward 20th century - fashion photo shoots became the norm especially among French magazines. From La Mode Practique to magazines produced by Conde Nast, photographs has taken a different form (as halftone printing became possible). Still, fashion photography then used the same concept as fashion photography now. For instance, in 1911, a fashion photographed named Edward Steichen was challenged by then publisher of Jardin des Modes and La Gazette du Bon Ton Lucien Vogel to use the art of photography in order to promote fashion. What Steichen did was take photos of the gowns which were designed by famed couturier Paul Poiret. Steichen's photos were published in the April 1911 release of Art et Decoration, a magazine. Those photos later went down in history as the very first ones taken during a modern shoot. Now wonder that many say that fashion photo shoots was well-loved in Europe.
And, finally, in today's 21st century - not only has fashion photography further evolved into a bigger industry but fashion photographers have become aplenty - and for good reason. Apart from being a career that can let you manage your own time and pace, being a fashion photographer these days can also be lucrative and can open a lot of other doors, career-wise. Take Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, for instance. To be a part of their pool of fashion photographers can be a dream come true for many. And of course, to be one of the models who will undergo photography sessions with the professionals behind these popular magazines can also be the biggest break in one's career. Needless to say, the power of fashion photo shoots is akin to the power of the flame to a moth. It must be emphasized, however, that not all fashion photography sessions and not all fashion photographers can provide the best experience for all. As earlier mentioned, it takes skill, patience, "eye" and sheer professionalism to handle a real fashion photography session.


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