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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.


  • Step 1: Select your model Select a model that is willing to pose for you.
  • TIP: Try to look for models with interesting or unique facial characteristics, for example, large eyes.
  • Step 2: Brief your model Brief your model on the concept and storyline -- the more the model understands your idea, the better.
  • 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.
  • TIP: Have an assistant help the model while you get your equipment ready.
  • Step 4: Set up lighting While the model is prepping, set up any artificial lights that you may be using.
  • TIP: Even, soft light is the most flattering and desirable when shooting fashion photography.
  • Step 5: Eliminate shadows Try eliminating any unwanted shadows on the model unless it is part of your stylistic expression and concept.
  • Step 6: Grab your camera Grab your camera with a minimum of an 80mm lens attached.
  • Step 7: Choose your film and settings Select your film, aperture and shutter speed that is appropriate for your shooting conditions.
  • Step 8: Compose the shot Compose your shot and meter on your subject.
  • Step 9: Focus on your subject Focus on the desired object or on a captivating part of the subject like the eyes or lips.
  • Step 10: Reiterate the scenario Reiterate the scenario and start snapping as your model lets the storyline and concept unfold.
  • TIP: 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.
  • Step 11: Shoot away Shoot as much as you can.
  • Step 12: Thank your model Thank your model, and go check out the results.
  • FACT: Legendary fashion photographer Irving Penn is 90 years old and still contributing to Vogue.

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)

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