How to Take a Fashion Portrait

A fashion portrait should convey emotion and follow a story line. Delightfully, besides these two rules, it doesn’t have to make sense.


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Capture your subject in the best light with these photography tips that cover everything from nature and still-life photography to fashion photography.

You Will Need

  • A camera
  • An 80mm lens
  • A model
  • Fashion accoutrements
  • And a storyline or concept
  • Props (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • Makeup (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • Clothing (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • An assistant (optional) (optional) (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Select your model

    Select a model that is willing to pose for you.

  2. Try to look for models with interesting or unique facial characteristics, for example, large eyes.

  3. Step 2

    Brief your model

    Brief your model on the concept and storyline -- the more the model understands your idea, the better.

  4. Step 3

    Style your model

    Style and prop your model making sure their hair, makeup, clothing and accessories are exactly what you want; every detail helps illustrate your vision.

  5. Have an assistant help the model while you get your equipment ready.

  6. Step 4

    Set up lighting

    While the model is prepping, set up any artificial lights that you may be using.

  7. Even, soft light is the most flattering and desirable when shooting fashion photography.

  8. Step 5

    Eliminate shadows

    Try eliminating any unwanted shadows on the model unless it is part of your stylistic expression and concept.

  9. Step 6

    Grab your camera

    Grab your camera with a minimum of an 80mm lens attached.

  10. Step 7

    Choose your film and settings

    Select your film, aperture and shutter speed that is appropriate for your shooting conditions.

  11. Step 8

    Compose the shot

    Compose your shot and meter on your subject.

  12. Step 9

    Focus on your subject

    Focus on the desired object or on a captivating part of the subject like the eyes or lips.

  13. Step 10

    Reiterate the scenario

    Reiterate the scenario and start snapping as your model lets the storyline and concept unfold.

  14. Remember to tell your model when you see something you like or dislike. The more feedback you provide them, the better they will interpret your outline.

  15. Step 11

    Shoot away

    Shoot as much as you can.

  16. Step 12

    Thank your model

    Thank your model, and go check out the results.

  17. Legendary fashion photographer Irving Penn is 90 years old and still contributing to Vogue.