Fashion Shoot: Tips from a Pro

Preparing for the shoot

No matter how talented a photographer you are, preparation is key to ensuring the shoot goes smoothly and that your client leaves satisfied with the results. And it all begins well before the day of the actual shoot.

The first step is model selection and I usually do this by holding a dedicated model casting for each shoot. The main objective here is to select the right model or models, but it is also useful to spend some time with the client. Before this meeting of course I will have interpreted the client brief and given though to how the final photos should look. But the model casting is often the best opportunity to ensure that you and the client are on the same page as far as the creative objectives.

It's also a chance to get to know the client and work out the dynamics within their team. For example, you might learn that while the owner of the business is in charge of the money, it’s actually someone lower down the pecking order who calls the shots when it comes to the creative decisions. Things like this are good to know in advance.

At a model casting you can meet prospective models face to face, but it is also allows you to get to know the clients more and discuss the forthcoming shoot.

A successful model casting doesn't happen by accident. My number one rule is never cast first thing in the morning. I don’t know if it’s true about models not getting out of bed for less than $10,000, but for model castings (where there is only a small chance of each model getting the job) most seem to prefer a schedule that starts after midday. I therefore always cast in the afternoon.

Whatever time I tell the models to arrive from I’ll tell the client to arrive an hour earlier. This allows time to have an initial chat and also be ready to meet any models who may show up early. The key is to keep the pace moving. You can't realistically control when each model arrives, no matter how meticulously you've scheduled them. All you can do is to ensure that each is interviewed as quickly as possible and prevent a big queue from building up.

I always instruct clients to spend the least time possible looking through the portfolios of models who clearly don’t fit the bill. This keeps the casting flowing smoothly and avoids missing out on meeting the most suitable models. If an experienced and in-demand model arrives at a casting and sees a long, slow-moving queue, she’ll very likely skip the wait and head off to her next casting instead.

With the camera tethered to a laptop, I record all the models who arrive at the studio and have an assistant add the model’s name and agency details to the Caption metadata. I use these photos to refer to later when choosing which model or models to book.

In the old days I used to shoot Polaroid photos of each model. Now of course, it is easy to capture digital photos instead. The models should arrive with little or no makeup, which makes it easier to make selections when reviewing the photos. The composite cards models leave are all very nice, but clients, as well as myself usually find it easiest to compare the photos that have been taken on the day of the casting itself.

(a model's) Time is money

For me, organising a studio shoot schedule has become second nature. You need most of the crew to arrive at the same time in the morning, but crucially, you’ll want the models to arrive at staggered times throughout the shoot day. That way you only end up paying for the number of hours each model is actually needed. I don’t know about other countries, but here in London, model tardiness is a constant problem and one that’s not helped by the model agencies, who seem to take the view 'heads we win, tails you lose' when it comes to their services.

Extreme wide-angle lenses can be used to good effect when photographing people.

If a model turning up late causes overruns, it is assumed the photographer will absorb these costs. If a model ends up going into overtime because of lateness, they expect to be paid overtime. I often end up in arguments with the agencies over this. To be on the safe side it is best to start with the most experienced model first. They are more likely to know how to arrive to the studio on time. More importantly, they can help get the day’s shoot off to a flying start. If you are working with a new client, or there is a substantial amount of money riding on a job there can be a lot of nervousness at the beginning of the day. The last thing you want is to kick off with a model who is relatively inexperienced and consequently find yourself struggling to establish a good start to the shoot.

Once you are able to show clients a strong image on the computer display you can feel the tension lighten all round and the rest of the shoot is far more relaxed. The ideas that evolve from the first sets of photos can also be used to inspire the models who you are shooting with later.

When it comes time for the model to step in front of the camera, that is when all the pieces in the jigsaw should come together neatly. The photographer’s job is simply not to screw it all up with poor lighting or upsetting the model.

There are times when a complex lighting setup is necessary to achieve a distinct look. But there are limitations and consequences that need to be carefully taken into account. This shot became the cover image for a book I wrote about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.

Seriously, the bit where you take the photographs shouldn’t be that hard to do. If it does become hard work it’s probably because you didn’t manage the earlier stages as best you could, and no matter what you try to do with the lighting (or Photoshop) ain’t going to help improve things much.

Keep it simple, and if you can't, stay in control

One of the classic mistakes I see is where photographers over-reach by trying to get too technical with the lighting. When a model is prepped and ready to shoot you don’t always have much time before the hair will start to drop or the makeup loses its freshness. It is critical that you do all your lighting tests in advance and that you are in control of all the technical details. When studio lights fail to work or the lighting balance goes awry it's incredibly frustrating for everyone on set. I have been known to work with complicated setups myself (see below), but with experience you can afford to work under more challenging conditions, as long as you know how to keep everything under control and react quickly.

There are times when I may like to use complicated lighting setups that are more restrictive to work with and where there are more things to go wrong. But I make sure to test such lighting arrangements thoroughly so that the intricacies of the lighting setup don't hold up the shoot. This is the setup used to create the image you see above.

No matter how well you've prepared, sometimes there are things that are simply out of your control, leading to days you'd rather forget. I remember a makeup artist walking out on me on location in the middle of London’s Docklands. I had been given a big budget and decided to choose a star name rather than choose one of my trusted, regular makeup artists. For some reason this makeup artist decided that was the day he was going quit the fashion business forever. Well, more fool me.

Establish a rhythm

When you photograph a model it can be like recording a performance. Most models have a repertoire of moves and poses they like to use (and a good photographer may be able to teach them some new ones as well). On a typical shoot a model may get into position for you ready to shoot and once they hear the shutter go off switch to a new pose. Try to quickly establish a mutual rhythm and make sure you can keep up with whatever the model is doing.

 As I mention above, photographing a model can be like shooting a performance and as a photographer you need to be ready to capture each pose the model offers you. The important things to note here are to make sure the equipment is all working OK and get into a flow with your subject, showing that you are able to respond quickly to everything that's happening in front of the camera.

Sometimes you may need to slow things down a bit, but I believe it helps to maintain a synchronised flow of communication - verbal or otherwise - between yourself and the model. This isn't limited to fashion of course. It holds true for portraiture as well.

Click here to continue to page 3 of our article - Fashion Shoot: Tips from a Pro

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by or any affiliated companies.


Total comments: 82
Itoru Ramson
By Itoru Ramson (1 month ago)

wow there lot more to learn, thanks for ur post. I love you

By Xentinus (1 month ago)

I didn't read the article yet (I have a terrible headache now,I will later) but I can say that shadows of the models are distracting.

Michel J
By Michel J (8 months ago)

Very good article, yes the human touch is almost important than your shots!

Carl Sanders
By Carl Sanders (Apr 30, 2013)

I just do not see the bitterness in this review as claimed by some and the tips are useful to the wise. I also moved to London age 27 to assist some of the best advertising, still life, editorial and car photographers in Europe on major campaigns. Freelance opportunities also gained with some fashion photographers though over time the still life and commercial work became more prominent.

If this article is read appropriately it will be found very useful though to add; success is usually down to how likeable people find each other and want want to continue a working relationship. Personality counts for a lot, possibly the reason I am a downright failure! Arf! Just kiddin! or am I ?

Thanks for sharing Martin, all the best!

1 upvote
John Koch
By John Koch (Nov 7, 2012)

"Beautiful models"? What if your subjects don't meet that hurdle? Oh, pardon me, but I guess that everyone must convey their subjects as if...

By JussiMies (Oct 24, 2012)

Reading the comments below, I notice a curious pattern that seems to plague the community. Some people are absolute c*nts when it comes to commenting or providing feedback.

Maybe it is a reality that the industry imposes on a daily basis to all of the participants from models to stylists and to photographers, and is then naturally carried forward in daily interactions. Or maybe it is the sweet comfort of internet anonymity that allows comments such as by Phototrobe.

Whatever it is, I would think a few seconds longer (e.g. the target audience of the post, for example, I found this text very interesting as a quick intro to the world of fashion shoots)

If you expected to discover deep industry wisdoms from this, are now bitterly disappointed and insist on insulting everything around you for this, maybe this is an opportunity for self-reflection and development. It is never too late.

By vFunct (Oct 24, 2012)

I see that someone likes the Nik ColorEfx Pro bi-color graduated filter...

Adrian Harris
By Adrian Harris (Oct 23, 2012)

Thank you for a well balanced 'telling it like it is' perspective of fashion photography.

I must say I am quite amazed at how many people had a raw nerve touched by it, maybe there is jealousy, or possibly they just don't want to face the reality!

By phototrope (Oct 23, 2012)

Of course. Us "wannabe"s have nothing significant to offer the photography world except jelaousy.

By wkay (Oct 23, 2012)

I like the part where you can show up late and get overtime on top of that, how do I convince my boss? Looks like the photog lets his contractors walk all over him.

1 upvote
Gionni Dorelli
By Gionni Dorelli (Oct 23, 2012)

I'm been doing this for almost 30 years for some of the best mag in the world.
90% of the photographer's carrier work is done outside the set.
Fact is that also 90% of the work for a shooting is done before the day of the photo shoot and after. as the article says, taking the photos is the easiest part.
it is more about what it is in the picture and how to get it on front of the camera. that is the most difficult part of the job.
Getting the right people to work with you, is the more important thing than anything. Knowing the best editor, hair and make up and having the best relationship with model agencies, once you have got that, you got 90% of the job done.
if you work with the best in the industry, you can take bad picture and will not matter because " they will be so bad that they become good".
There is a lot more to say and it is not technical, but I'll stop here because I have to go back to work. :-)
take care.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
By wkay (Oct 23, 2012)

so tell us how. any professional job on eath boils down to the same fundamentals, you are not unique.

1 upvote
By wkay (Oct 22, 2012)

nice top level generalities and anecdotes s but nothing of any educational use. Walking us through an actual shoot would be of more value.

By elboertie2 (Oct 23, 2012)

Especially walking us through the step-by-step process of selling oneself, negotiating the job and signing it. Organising the team for the shoot and all such logistics and once the shoot is done, all the steps that happen after that.

By Studio3Jim (Oct 22, 2012)

A hair specialist?! Great! He's found his niche in a crowded advertising huib like Londan. Good for him to even bother to share.
I just glanced here as I only visit every few months or less. Nice commercial look, though not particularly editorial, apparel; or fashion per se. Beyond that I'd be a POS to criticize or comment furrther. Ir's not a ASMP or APA value. You guys can go on and on but at least he bothered to expose himself and his studio workflow to you all.
Lighting, models, testing, workflow, camera gear, the lot don't lead to success in this Hipstamatic/iPhone 5/Facebook era.
Persistance, Luck and Talent DO. It's a short and sweet and very harsh truth.
Carry on.

Nafees A Bazmi
By Nafees A Bazmi (Oct 22, 2012)

Nice guideline for new and middle shooters...
pros can do whatever they like...

Stefan Stuart Fletcher
By Stefan Stuart Fletcher (Oct 22, 2012)

Thanks to Martin Evening for these general pointers. They are a little too vague to be much use, but this is not the writer's fault; how can you condense decades of experience meaningfully in a few hundred words?

I hope Mr Evening takes another swing, this time perhaps for real beginners, i.e., not technical dummies but photographers venturing into fashion photography (not necessarily on a full-time professional basis).

I don't think the article is bitter or disparaging. I *do* think we all learn more from our mistakes than our successes and if someone wants to share his, so much the better.

1 upvote
By phototrope (Oct 22, 2012)

A pessimistic and bitter article that contains few real tips, if any. What this article is really about is summed up in the first three words: "My photographic career".
Yes, the game has changed, and yes photographers entering the industry now need very different skills (other than the technical ones of how to use a camera, of course). The fact that the requisite skills have changed is clearly making the author bitter. This doesn't mean that young photographers should be cautioned away. In fact, I know some great "old-time" professionals who are aware of this and manage successfully to infuse their students with enthusiasm rather than fear and nostalgia.
As for the pictures, if these are the best he could do over a thirty year career, well no wonder he's bitter.
Sorry if that sounds harsh, but if an author lays out his opinions as "the Truth", he should be prepared to get a whole bunch of Truth thrown back at him.

By Photomonkey (Oct 22, 2012)

Your particular bias seems to read more into the article than is there. I feel the tone is much more of a response to those (thousands) who declare I want to do X. What he reveals is that any field is far more than what the lay person perceives. Further he goes on to caution that hard work is the cornerstone of any success. And as far as his photography goes, your comments are profoundly shallow and reflect a view of near complete ignorance of the field and art.

By phototrope (Oct 22, 2012)

So here iis what you got from his article:
1. Any field is far more that what the lay person perceives.
2. Hard work is the conrnerstone of any success

If you feel those two tips are worthy of coming from a "pro" photographer, then fine. I don't. Neither do I share your high evaluation of the photos in the article. Shallow or not, I disagree with you.

By Soothsayerman (1 month ago)

Man you have a big axe to grind. It must be a burden.

robert r daniels
By robert r daniels (Oct 22, 2012)

I believe that someone would take as much time and puts as much effort into educating us if he were trying to keep wannabe photographers out of his business. I have not seen anything condescending in any of his books or writing. This article does an excellent job of emphasizing the a lot of the skills needed to be a professional photographer. Those skills are especially important in such a people oriented business as photography.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
Alpha Whiskey Photography
By Alpha Whiskey Photography (Oct 22, 2012)

I don't shoot much fashion/portrait myself, but I prefer the look of skin and hair in natural light. Personality shines through and from a portrait, and I find that photographing a great person with an open and engaging personality makes for much more appealing images than the self-absorbed models that the 'pros' tend to hire. Just my 2 cents. :)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
Rad Encarnacion
By Rad Encarnacion (Oct 22, 2012)

You have to remember, though, that fashion and glamour companies aren't selling personalities; they're selling fantasies. The models the pros hire then tend to be the closest representations of the fantasy they've been hired to portray, utilizing hair and make-up (with artists in their own right) to complete that fantasy image and put it to print.

Alpha Whiskey Photography
By Alpha Whiskey Photography (Oct 22, 2012)

Good point Rad. I guess that's why I don''t shoot that stuff! I'll leave it to the pros :)

1 upvote
By dbo (Oct 22, 2012)

Martin is one of the best for sure.
Enjoyed the article quite much. Talking straight to my heart.
I'm fighting equivalent difficulties in my service area.

And for the ones who feel themselves insulted by some of his sentences.
I assume with "fashion-wannabees" he is referring to the ones who are threatening his business with dumping prices.

Ove Sentlig 2
By Ove Sentlig 2 (Oct 22, 2012)

I feel this is a bitter and condescending article, not suitable for publishing. I've seen similar views from wedding photographers. "If you're not in the top ten list of wedding photographers... stay away from our livlihood." The pictures in the article are nice, with flashy backgrounds, but even my best pictures are better than his worst pictures in the article. It's just photography.

Ryan Williams
By Ryan Williams (Oct 22, 2012)

I think you're taking it the wrong way. I didn't get a bitter or condescending vibe off the article in the slightest, but it doesn't dance around some hard truths, particularly: achieving genuine success in this field is hard, and being able to take good photos is only part of the equation.

The article is very informative and has some very good advice for those actually trying to make it in the fashion photography field. I didn't see anything remotely like your paraphrased quote, although I'm sure attitudes like that do exist out there — and for good reason, there are a lot of self-described professional wedding photographers out there who're mediocre at best and do their clients a big disservice by delivering low standards of quality at top rates.

1 upvote
By NicolasCh (Oct 22, 2012)

I did'nt feel condescendance in the article.
His last sentence actually sets up a very different message.

However, I did sense bitterness... but that is a very common feeling among pro photographers.

By EDWARD ARTISTE (Oct 23, 2012)

You apparently have issues my friend.

Its common knowledge that getting into professional photography, especially certain areas of, is a beeyach.

Here's the other thing- you dont even have to agree with all or some of it. But to break it down to "I wrote this because i'm mad" is actually pretty stupid.

1 upvote
By miodragj (Oct 22, 2012)

I'm not native English speaker, so I'm not sure what author wanted to tell us with this sentence:
"I don’t know about other countries, but here in London, model tardiness is a constant problem and one that’s not helped by the model agencies, who seem to take the view 'heads we win, tails you lose' when it comes to their services."
I understand every word, but... Can somebody clarify this a little bit for me, please? :)

1 upvote
By Ali-C (Oct 22, 2012)

It essentially means that the models don't arrive on time (or at all!) and that the agencies don't chase it up because, either way, they get paid.

By miodragj (Oct 23, 2012)

Thanks! But how can somebody get paid, if they screw the client? Or they go to some other shooting, so agencies get their cut? Also, who is responsible for damage, if I have all my team ready and model don't come?

To be honest, in my relatively poor country, I really can't remember that model miss the shooting...

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
Donald B
By Donald B (Oct 22, 2012)

im only new to pro photography and you explained it very well, as this is what happens in the field. its all about preperation and simple lighting. and getting the job done. fancy setups and photoshop dont make you money getting it right incamera does.

thanks don

By kenyee (Oct 22, 2012)

great article...people think it's just photography sometimes when it's really the team and marketing that makes people stand out..

1 upvote
By jackpro (Oct 22, 2012)

Good peek at the fashion photography world. This view centres on hair shots, Catwalk is more sports photography & editorial is the super budget end. Advertising catalogue work is the well paid end. Great read!

Denton Taylor
By Denton Taylor (Oct 21, 2012)

"There are a lot of wannabe fashion and beauty photographers"

I stopped reading there. Why insult people that comprise a large part of your audience?

By Virvatulet (Oct 21, 2012)

This is not my fight, but… Just unfortunate bad wording; most likely not directly meant to insult anyone.

People who know their stuff, especially artists, can be a bit harsh when they see a threat devaluing the Art they embrace and factually live in. Read the rest of it and take what you see important and worthwhile for your photographic process.

By Falcon3 (Oct 22, 2012)

Well I considers myself a wannabe fashion and beauty photographer. I have no problem with that, seriously those internet brings out the worst of the human behaviour, that we have to criticses every small remarks that we don't agree with.

If you think you are way higher than us wannabe fashion and beauty photographers we get it. You don't have to tell the whole world about it.

And this is not even brand wars.

By cordellwillis (Oct 22, 2012)

@ Denton and everyone else who is insulted by "There are a lot of wannabe fashion and beauty photographers" should really not be. Seriously, the statement is true. If you don't believe it share what is not true about it. "A large part of the audience" is here to read this because they know they 'wannabe better'.

I'm no expert in fashion photography, but I wish I were...that makes me a wanna be. Learn from what is shared here and become better, not bitter.

Martin Evening
By Martin Evening (Oct 22, 2012)

The thing is, we all have to start somewhere. When I first began work as an assistant, as much as I might have thought I 'had arrived', I was definitely in the wannabe category myself at that point. I wouldn't say I say I am the best fashion photographer ever, but I do know how to produce a shoot and control a budget. The article is admittedly aimed at those wanting to branch out into commercial shooting and intended to help advise people how best to navigate a typical production.

By aardvark7 (Oct 22, 2012)

To Mr. Evening,

While I think that some of the comments are really unpleasant and uncalled for, and accept entirely the accuracy and sense of your article, I do think that you have forgotten the essence of 'branching out' into commercial shooting.

This is not a conscious decision we can just take and then, with good advice, achieve a goal. There are limited opportunities and getting one is often pure chance.

You even admit that you started as an assistant and therein hangs the rub. If you can't find a way in, all the ability, intellect and hard work count for nothing.

Furthermore, you describe a 'typical production'. Unfortunately, that is not typical at all. Perhaps in your world, but not for most of us who have to face the £200 total brigade, day in day out, who not only expect a full shoot but for the photographer to arrange the models, the make-up, do all the artistic direction and the dressing.

Your advice is sound, but most of us will never get the chance to put it to use.

Martin Evening
By Martin Evening (Oct 23, 2012)

Branching out is *incredibly* difficult and I wouldn't wish to argue otherwise. And, I am very much thinking of the younger photographers who are going through the early stages of trying to make a full-time career in my area of specialisation. But you know, if I look back on how I got my first assisting job, I may have been lucky getting an early break, but I had a couple of really tough, lean years, while contemporaries of mine were still hanging on at college and thought I was mad working for so little money. And that was just the beginning of harder times to come before it all turned around and had the good fortune to really enjoy working as a paid photographer.

By Soothsayerman (1 month ago)

Because there are a lot of wannabes in every profession, that's the truth, if you can't handle the directness of it move along.

By edfo4 (Oct 21, 2012)

Great article!. M. Evening has written "Adobe Photoshop CS (6, 5 and probably others as well) for Photographers"which I find to be among the most in-depth of the PS guide books.

M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Oct 21, 2012)

Indeed, he write a lot about Photoshop and not about (fashion) photography. Or did I miss some at the bookstore?

By aardvark7 (Oct 21, 2012)

Very interesting, but it highlights the gulf between high-end and the majority!

I always try to impress upon clients the need for preparation and the benefits of a reasonable investment, but the majority expect it all to be done on the spur of the moment and get the models free! I've had so many suggest that such-and-such's daughter/girlfriend is very pretty so they'll be perfect...

Once you get to a level where a client will pay £100+ per hour for each model, plus sensible photography fees and studio rates, only the photographer has themselves to blame if it goes pear-shaped. If, however, they want a whole day's shoot and a full portfolio of shots for £200 in total (believe me I am asked all the time and say no!) then it doesn't matter how talented the photographer is, but they'd still take the flak!

1 upvote
By tonywong (Oct 21, 2012)

Bravo to Mr. Evening and DPR for this article. We need more original, creative and informative content like this!

By photosen (Oct 21, 2012)

Interesting, much appreciated!

Dan Ortego
By Dan Ortego (Oct 21, 2012)

I too appreciate the time and effort devoted to this posting and I actually learn a lot. Thanks!

By iAPX (Oct 21, 2012)

Really interesting, and I agree with the recurring problem of models being late (or even don't come at all). If you plan a shoot with, says, 5 models, take 6 models, just to be sure ;)

1 upvote
Martin Evening
By Martin Evening (Oct 22, 2012)

It's certainly been my experience here in the UK, where the agencies haven't always helped in establishing good business practices with all their models. It's not helped by the fact that when a model turns up an hour late, holding up a shoot, you can't exactly let rip at them for the trouble they've caused. That has to happen behind the scenes with their agent. In the US I think things are different and New York models are far more clued in to their responsibilities and what a shoot can cost.

1 upvote
By GMack (Oct 21, 2012)

Interesting reading and thanks for sharing.

I sort of got a chuckle out of the models not working until midday or later, aside from the $10K to even get out of bed. An 8AM makeup and hairstylist call is way more than some can handle. Waking up at the crack of noon is more like it. Some seem to change agencies almost weekly. Maybe they flake out as "No shows" and get let go. Worse is some agencies do not update their online talent folios, but leave what they have online "forever" and keep adding to it even though some have long since left. Looks good to have 100 models verses maybe 6.

I do wonder how much longer the fashion photographer will be around though without branching out into teaching, blogging, writing books, weddings, or whatever. I find more magazines are paying less, or none at all, for any model fees and doing more CGI and computerized art stuff instead. Paying much less for articles as well since "free blogs" are prolific too. Sign of the times I guess.


By Nikonparrothead (Oct 21, 2012)

Many an accomplished photographer branches out into teaching.

Martin Evening
By Martin Evening (Oct 22, 2012)

Through my books I get to interact with other, younger fashion photographers and my wife is also a makeup artist and works with other photographers. Having worked in the business as many years as I have I know how hard it is to keep finding work and make a living. That's why, when flicking through a fashion magazine one should appreciate how much work goes on behind the scenes and the intense competition the newcomers face.

By Tape5 (Oct 21, 2012)

But why oh why do you reveal all these nuggets of photography to the unwashed masses who read your articles?

We are the elite, we need to protect ourselves...Don't you understand DPR?

Like the way that guy in blue is tilting his weight over his left buttock....It is pure genius !!....Or the way he is making the Asian girl look like she needs something bad...

That's it..everyone knows how I do it now...I am getting the sack...

By jm67 (Oct 21, 2012)

Nice read and should be mandatory for all who want to hire a photographer, not just those who want to use the camera. The reason being, too many people out there think that all you have to do is use the right settings on a camera and you get great shots. Whether it's fashion, wedding, pj or most any field involving a camera, it's virtually everything but pointing the camera that's the bulk of the real work. And of course, that too involves real skill and that's what you're paying for.

By Tee1up (Oct 21, 2012)

I think your concerns ignore the real secret to good photography. My sister in law is a pro photographer and I can follow her around all day on shoots and practically trace her foot-steps and yet, her shots are consistently better than mine, even to my inexperienced eye. I do agree there is a generation that feels a relative with a dSLR and a few weeks of practice can shoot weddings, and I expect their albums reflect the choices they have made. You can teach the science but the art is a much steeper, and for some, insurmountable curve. Sadly, too many of the 'awesome, just do it' generation will never get this until their results are panned on Facebook.

1 upvote
By jm67 (Oct 21, 2012)

You're right, there's also the "you've got it or not" factor. The old cliche of having any eye for it is actually true.

By Kaelis (Oct 21, 2012)

Very interesting, thank you.

1 upvote
By KAMSA (Oct 21, 2012)

I like the poto's but model photography is not my thing

and others do it better ;)

kind reg.

1 upvote
By Demerzel (Oct 21, 2012)

Interesting article. Success in any business requires more than mastering a single skill. In anything I have done, a little or a lot of planning made the job easier and more successful.

I'm doubly impressed with the photographer as he has Jeff Schewe as an assistant.

By jorepuusa (Oct 21, 2012)

Every professional photographer who "shares" his or hers knowledge about photography to amateurs takes part in the killing of photography as profession. For some odd reason some pros do not understand that.
That is probably cause they have a firm position in the business and cannot see the problems of those who do not and specially young pros who are just starting business.
It is very sad that dpreview takes part in killing of profession by giving advice to amateurs how to shoot. The amateurs shoot for free or minimum prize. In Finland where I live professional photography is almost dead and amateurs have taken over cause those who buy pictures do not anymore see the difference of quality but consider only the money. This is why I see this kind of sharing knowledge extremely hazardous for the industry.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By Falcon3 (Oct 21, 2012)

If you think professional photography can be learn with just a few tips like this, then you are really insulting the pros out there.

By kapanak (Oct 21, 2012)

Wow ... This is a very ignorant comment, jorepuusa. If sharing of knowledge was to be forbidden, then nothing would have progressed throughout human history. Sharing of knowledge happens in all fields, and photography is not an exception to it.

By daciangroza (Oct 21, 2012)

if you are a pro, try do differentiate your work from amateurs. if you can't, change profession or work as an amateur. you will not succeed by keeping your knowledge secret and you won't convince everyone to stop sharing information. we live in the time of sharing baby! the difference is YOU and what you can make with the same gear and technical information that everyone else has.

By xtoph (Oct 21, 2012)

Let me see if i've got this straight: pros can't compete because amateurs charge less for lousy photos, but you blame hard times on pros who are too generous with their knowledge.

That makes no sense.

The fact is that good-sense articles such as this one will not suddenly trigger a flood of amateur photographers looking to break into big time fashion editorial. In fact, a more likely effect might be to give pause to the next client who sees a new book with a couple of competent pretty pics and a lowball price; maybe now they will think to themselves, sure he can make a pretty photo on his own time, but can he deliver on my time? And i don't see how tht can be bad for good photographers, or for the business.

By daciangroza (Oct 21, 2012)

It's hard for me to understand your point of view, for me it's against all reason. I see you sir are an accomplished photographer and that makes it look even worse.

I am a young photographer and I know that I will be better if I try to improve my own abilities rather than try to keep everyone else down! I learn as much as I can for free and I share everything with people who want to learn from me. I know that learning some basics, or even every technical thing will not be decisive in producing good work, that's why I'm not afraid to share everything I know.

What goes up must come down, and your attitude and way of thinking are going down. It's up to you if you want to go down with them or adapt and look to the future rather than the good old days.

By spalbird (Oct 21, 2012)

Every professional photographer wo shares his knowledge causes a lot of competition fro amateurs? Just like a fast runner who talks about his training schedule? At the end of the day only results counts, and they are not created by words rather than experience and dedication to reach for the best possible. Everybody who believes tricks will magically transform them into a master are just on their beginning, lets say on their pre-experience phase...

By neo_nights (Oct 21, 2012)

That's so sad to read, to say the least. So, what counts are tips, not the 30+ years of experience? Yes, 'average joes' can't tell much of the difference between a good or bad professional. But mostly because those good professionals (apparently, like yourself) choose to whine about it instead of doing something to 'educate' the public and tell them why they should count on a professional instead of an amateur.
General public has no obligations to know the differences. The pros that have the obligation to teach them, but in a nice, gentle way. Not in an arrogant manner 'those newbies are ruinning everything! ZOMG!!111!!! *me so sad... sob sob*'

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
By spqr_ca (Oct 21, 2012)

And you teach? There isn't enough information in an article like this, or even a series of articles from scattered sources, to turn someone into the next photographer for Vogue. There's more to it than that, as you should well know given that you teach. However, I suspect that because you specialize in photojournalism, your perspective is a little distorted by media looking to cut you out for the "good enough" shots from people with a cell phone. I don't think you can project beyond that.

By Stujomo (Oct 21, 2012)

While amateurs shooting for free certainly have had an effect on the photo industry you can't really pull that old chestnut out of a hat and blame them and the photographers who share their knowledge for killing the industry.
Trying keep the knowledge to a select few won't help anymore than patenting a product will guaranty it's success.

1 upvote
ed kelly
By ed kelly (Oct 21, 2012)

Wow! Are you off base. Mr. Evening even mentions about not giving work away for free. He should be credited with his work flow advice for any photographer, pro or amateur.

Thanks for taking the time to give advice to others.

1 upvote
By Photomonkey (Oct 21, 2012)

I assume you are in perfectly fit condition, your garden is flawless and your retirement investments are shining with top returns. I assume this because the information to achieve all this is out there.

ALL sorts of information is given away for free yet very few seem to actually use it. As I get older I realize that most people really do not have the desire/passion/interest to actually follow through on what is necessary to achieve the goal.

If one person becomes a successful fashion photographer from this article it will be because it helps guide someone who deserves to succeed because they will be doing more work than you can imagine.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
By DougRight (Oct 21, 2012)

In other words, "I see you all as competitors and don't want you to have access to the resources I have."

Knowing that, would you trust anything he posts?

By Tape5 (Oct 21, 2012)

If we were all to think like you...well we would all be FINISH....


1 upvote
By onlooker (Oct 21, 2012)

Photomonkey wrote: "I assume you are in perfectly fit condition, your garden is flawless and your retirement investments are shining with top returns. I assume this because the information to achieve all this is out there."

Wow, talk about koan answer. Nothing more needs to be said. Bravo.

1 upvote
Jon Stern
By Jon Stern (Oct 21, 2012)

I didn't notice that this was written by Martin Evening until I saw the model at the bottom of the first page. She's the same one as on the cover of his Lightroom 3 book (that photo appears on page 2) and I recognise her because she looks enough like my wife to pass for being her sister!

By coincidence, my wife has her own fashion design business, so this article is very much of interest to me, as I often serve in the capacity as photographer for her clothes. Thanks Martin!

What I'd like to see next is an article on posing for fashion photography.

EDIT: I'd also like to hear how many wardrobe imperfections should be sorted out in real time, versus in PP. Interrupting the flow always seems like a bad idea, but then it can be so much faster to fix a loose thread during the shoot than in PP (for every shot).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
By mrxak (Oct 21, 2012)

Not my kind of photography, but very interesting to read. Thanks for writing this.

By voider (Oct 21, 2012)

Thank you very much. Very interesting to read.

By Camediadude (Oct 21, 2012)

Most excellent - thank you for for helping me dream a little bit!

1 upvote
By excitron (Oct 21, 2012)

A very good short article on this topic. My hat is off to you.

Total comments: 82