Essential Tips for Photographers Considering An Outdoor Fashion Shoot

Article from Light Stalking

There is a well known–and rather obvious–fact floating around that fashion photography is all about fashion. While that’s true, these types of photos should indeed focus on the style present within it, the process of actually conducting a fashion shoot isn’t quite as straight forward. There is a lot more to take into consideration beyond what your models are wearing. Whether you are working with a paying client or just building up your portfolio, you want to make sure you put a little forethought into the overall idea of the shoot.


Even the strongest woman feels the need to be taken care of sometimes. by Dee’lite, on Flickr

The Keys to Scouting Great Locations
In most parts of the world fashion is highly seasonal, it changesevery timethe weather does. Having the winter styles ready to advertise in early fall allows the designers to stay ahead of the game which means photoshoots are done well in advance of the next season. Photographers are affected by this timeliness because they have to take this into consideration when choosing the location. This is another area in which seeing the styles beforehand will prove to be helpful. For example, if you’re going to be shooting a spring line, it doesn’t really make sense to shoot somewhere that implies it’s fall outside, even though it very well may be fall at the time of the shoot. Avoid including backgrounds that would give this away, such as fall colors on the trees. This may force you to get creative, but go ahead and create “rain” with a hose or make “snow” if you think it will add to the scene.

Scouting for that perfect location is essential to the work, not an afterthought. If the clothing you are photographing tends to blend into the scene, you will lose much needed separation between the subject and the background. Remember, the point of fashion photography is fashion! Don’t be afraid to bring in props if needed, but they should never distract from the model. You are looking for a setting that fits in with they style of clothing, has a complimenting color palate, and can go largely unnoticed, if not ignored.


Untitled by EF Photography, on Flickr

The Sun Is Gift. Use It!

Pablo Picasso was once quoted saying, “There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.” While Picasso was probably speaking a bit more broadly, his words still hold a great deal of truth in their most literal interpretation.A lot of photographers are intimidated by the idea of photographing models using the sun as a main source of light. I’m here to tell you, there is nothing to be afraid of. Not only is the sun capable of creating gorgeous light, it’s also free to use and you don’t have to worry about packing it and lugging it around from location to location. How much easier could it get? Try these tips to help you get the most out of the sun:


Lindsay by Mike Monaghan, on Flickr

Be A Team Player: Working With The Designer

If you’re working for a designer, ask ahead of time to see a lookbook or sketches of the styles you’ll be shooting. This will help you get an idea of the style and give you plenty of time to brainstorm ideas for a potential theme. It can be a lot of fun having complete creative control, but chances are the designer will have some ideas of their own to add the mix. Be receptive to their ideas, but don’t be afraid to speak up if you have an idea to improve upon them. Ask the designer to meet with you in person to discuss both of your ideas and assure you are both on the same page.


Extra Scenes – 6 by *Zephyrance – don’t wake me up., on Flickr

Fashion photography is very much an artistic collaboration, thinking of it as such can inspire you to think outside the box, make bold decisions, and work on ideas you may never would have ventured into on your own.

Author information

Tiffany Mueller
Tiffany Mueller is a professional music and fine art photographer. She has been published in various publications including magazines, art journals, as well as photography books. She blogs at Life Is Unabridged.

Tags: Shooting