The fashion business is the most glamorous of all, and so are photographs in fashion. To make a simple fashion shoot more exciting and lively, we have created a few steps to make your job easier and help you keep things in perspective.
Here it's essential to learn about composition. So, what exactly is composition? Simply put, a piece directs our eyes through an image. It also provides the subject with its relevance in connection with the other elements in the photo.
Through visual balance, flow, and direction, composition helps create a story and draws the audience's attention. It is one of the essential aspects of fashion photography and can transform an ordinary picture into something spectacular.
But first things first! It would help if you got the composition correct and unique. Here are four composition tips for clicking stunning fashion photographs.
Table of Contents
- 1 Use the Rule of Thirds
- 2 Minimizing clutter
- 3 Place your subject in the centre.
- 4 Balancing elements
- 5 The visual narrative
- 6 Storytelling
- 7 An appropriate background is essential.
- 8 Experiment with angels
- 9 Highlight the fashion
- 10 Flaunt your outfit
- 11 Diagonal Lines
- 12 Look for Triangles
- 13 Use Juxtaposition
- 14 Incorporate Curves
- 15 Include a Person or a Familiar Object in a Landscape to Show Scale
- 16 Shoot from an Unusual Vantage Point
- 17 Use Contrast to Add Interest
- 18 Use Lines That Aren't There
- 19 Show Your Subjects in Motion
- 20 Leave Space for Motion
- 21 Conclusion
Use the Rule of Thirds
Use simple math to make those pics look pro. Start by dividing the frame into nine equal segments (imagine a tic-tac-toe graphic). Your camera probably has these things built-in. This composition tip positions your main subject where those lines intersect, and ta-da is a well-balanced and exciting photo. Dramatic lighting and a cute dress help, too!
In the beginning, it's expected that you'll place the subject in the middle of the frame. It can result in a bland composition at times. The image becomes predictable. You can apply the Rule of Thirds here. This composition technique divides your screen in a 3×3 grid, making use of equally sized rectangles. Start composing your subject on the line or in one-third of the entire structure to use this frame. It results in a pleasant and dynamic creation, as it focuses on the subject and the backdrop.
Note the direction towards which your subject is gazing or moving! Usually, it's a smart call to make your model/subject move towards or look at the frame. It helps you to place the subject and the background in a way that complements each other.
Also, the Rule of Thirds offers the correct balance to a photograph by utilizing two-thirds of the frame section. It complements the one third frame area where you place your subject. You will be so used to it; you won't even need the gridlines on your camera. It will come to you naturally.
If there's clutter in your fashion photography, it will remove all the attention from the main subject or model. It could be anything from your model sporting a fall-winter collection against a contrasting background or sitting on a wooden box against a white wall or blank backdrop. If there are any busy details in the environment, it can ruin the image essence.
So, should you refrain from shooting against a plain backdrop? The answer is no. You have to get careful about whether the location has repeating lines and a cluttered look. The shallow depth of field is competent to minimize clutter and provide the necessary visual gravitas to your model or subject.
Place your subject in the centre.
Remember we told you there are no rules in art; you can keep the rule of thirds aside and put your subject right in the centre. If you think the composition looks good, you'll realize that this style works perfectly for fashion portraits.
However, remember that placing your subject in the centre can sometimes make the image look static and less attractive. So keep your senses open on whether the central position looks good on your photograph or not.
The art or concept of balance gives your fashion photographs a unique pattern! For instance, you could use the Rule of Thirds and place the primary subject away from the centre. While it will create a stunning picture, there might be emptiness in the remaining frame that can upset the image quality and essence. The solution is to balance your composition. For this, simply even out the model's visual weight by adding any other object of lesser prominence to fill up space. Here are its essential to learn about a few concepts
It's also called proper balance and is a unique way to create stunning fashion photographs. Professional fashion photographers and advanced photography workshops suggest aspiring photographers shooting their subjects with a centre and front position. Instead, it is essential to give the issue its visual appeal.
Symmetry can be illustrated with objects facing each other as well as those opposing each other. Think in terms of the Rubin "vase or face" concept when looking for symmetry in your surroundings. Study architecture in the city and reflections in the landscape for potential ways to use this element of the composition.
Fashion photographers call this informal balance. It can get slightly tricky to explain this concept in exact terms. However, a casual or asymmetrical balance happens when the photo has disparate elements, balancing each other on the frame sides. The element size, i.e., the model's image proportion and the size of different parts in the picture, becomes irrelevant. Usually, fashion photographers juxtapose a significant element with a small one for unique compositions.
Here you take asymmetrical balance a step forward using colours and experiment with it. A fashion photograph with too many oranges, reds might look overwhelming. Hence, photographers need to balance out the colours in a small space. The objective is to balance the pastel, vibrant, and pastel shades in large and small areas. Your photograph might appear subtle and understated, but it would be soothing to the eyes.
As you can tell by now, the key to making a good composition is achieving balance. However, sometimes you're forced to place your subjects in different places.
Counterbalance involves using other components such as furniture in the frame to balance your image.
The visual narrative
The young and aspiring fashion photographers usually commit one standard error! They fail to narrate a story through their photographs. Browse fashion magazines keenly. You will find that every fashion photoshoot has a specific theme that connects one photo with other photos.
It could also be that an image has its own story. The image needs to have visual clues through accessories, colours, backdrops, the model's expression, lighting, make-up, and the like, which tells a story. Here are some make-up tips from Magical Memories by Michelle for senior portraits.
Do you want to create a visual narrative for your images? If yes, you have to practice the capacity to evoke specific emotions in your photographs. So go ahead and study the streets, landscapes, and blank spaces against which you want to picture your subject.
Start with basic human emotions such as happiness, silence, contentment, stillness, and the like. For instance, if you choose the theme of joy, don't just ask the model to replicate the emotion. Instead, think about ways to reflect that in the photograph. For example, choose an object and a dominant colour, which would approximate the same.
You can also create a contrasting background to make the foreground concept, i.e., contentment, more prominent. Your model will get clues when you compliment the backdrop and other photograph elements on reflecting the primary theme. It creates an overall impact that makes your photo distinctive.
One of the mistakes that emerging fashion photographers usually make is not including a visual voice in their shoot. Although they don't necessarily have words describing the image, they often leave clues about what's going on. These types of images catch the viewer's attention. They force the viewer to focus on the narrative they're trying to tell.
An appropriate background is essential.
Always be careful while choosing the background for shooting because it plays a vital role in your composition.
Don't just think about where to place the model. Instead, try to capture a composition where the elements in the background balance with your image.
An outfit might have complicated patterns; look for a neutral and blendable background with the company. Feel free to look for an elaborate backdrop that can create a drama for the basic outfit if it's plain.
Props help in creating more coordinating themes in fashion photography. If things are too plain and static, you can always use some support to make them look more attractive.
They work well in providing context clues to your images and add layers to your composition.
Interact with surroundings: To make your image more lively, don't just let your model sit around and give poses like old times. Instead, let them be playful and interact with the environment.
It will make posing more comfortable for them, but interacting with the environment can also create an exciting and more candid composition for you.
Experiment with angels
Never restrict yourself to eye-level angles while shooting. Instead, explore the surroundings and consider all the possible places from which you can click the picture.
You can take pictures from above, below, or even by tilting your camera slightly. You can find new degrees through which you can get incredible results. Experimenting with angels will help you get good results.
Highlight the fashion
Fashion photographers are different from regular portrait photographers because they know how to highlight the costumes or anything they are shooting for in their images. So no matter what you do, always prioritize how you want to emphasize the outfit. Likewise, when you pose your model, make sure not to hinder the details of the company.
Flaunt your outfit
Since pictures cannot move, it can sometimes be challenging to show the texture of the outfit. A simple static image can make any business look stiff, even if it isn't.
Create movement whenever possible. Let your subject run around, jump, or spin. Let the outfit flow in the air and capture the motion with your camera. When the skirt or the dress is floating in the air, it often forms a triangle, which creates a balanced composition.
Diagonal lines convey strength and motion. They can extend from one side of a photograph to the other, or like the image below, they can stop short the edges as well. Use them to take dynamic pictures or incorporate multiple diagonal lines to establish a pattern. Sometimes the best time to use a diagonal is when there is a distinct contrast between two areas of your framing.
Be aware that your viewers' eyes will tend to follow diagonal lines to their ends, so make sure the lines point somewhere you want your viewers to look.
Look for Triangles
Triangles have a strong visual impact, and you don't need to photograph literal triangles to achieve this effect. All you need are three visible points that exist in a somewhat triangular formation. Then, the viewer's imagination will connect the dots and tie all elements of the photograph together.
The imagined triangle may extend out beyond the edges of your photo as well, so don't worry if it's not entirely confined inside the frame. Instead, try creating a triangular composition with a low camera angle to add depth to landscape photos.
In many ways, this is the opposite of symmetry. In juxtaposition, you want to create contrast within your frame using non-symmetrical elements. The most common way to achieve this is to place or arrange objects in adjacent or opposing locations to highlight their differences.
However, the placement of the subjects isn't critical to the effect, as long as the comparison is evident and the contrast vivid. The key is to be clever and effective. Look for juxtaposition in any photographic genre you try. Old and new, natural and human-made, soft and complex, large and small – these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Curving lines soften an image and convey a natural organic look perfectly to landscape, architecture, drone, and urban photography. In addition, you can use curves to get a sense of calm or take the viewer on a journey whose destination lies beyond the photograph.
They are great at evoking a sense of wonder or wanderlust in your photos. You can add more excellent dynamics and avoid boring compositions by also including straight lines or angular objects in your photograph to create juxtaposition, as we talked about above.
Include a Person or a Familiar Object in a Landscape to Show Scale
A person or an object can make a landscape more dazzling by illustrating the size and scope of the image. The thing should be large enough to be discernible and catch the viewers' attention but not so prominent as to distract from the landscape.
The smaller the person or object seems, the more dramatic the photo. Keep in mind that a recognizable thing already part of the landscape works just as well; you don't need a person to stand in.
Shoot from an Unusual Vantage Point
Add interest by shooting from an unexpected place. Consider vantage points that aren't usually seen, and take viewers on a unique journey.
For example, drones are a popular way to gather previously unseen angles. Shooting from some locations may require planning, so consider if you'll need any special tools, permission, or assistance. Please remember to stay safe and don't break the law.
Try always to consider alternate points of view during your shooting. Don't simply walk up, take a shot, and assume that was the only angle that could have worked. Instead, move around, get up high, get down low.
Use Contrast to Add Interest
Contrast is the key to avoiding "flat" images that look dull and one-note. Contrasting colours can energize a photograph, but so can significant differences in light and shadow. For instance, you can shoot at dawn or dusk and take advantage of the effects of the slanting sunlight. Also, variations in texture can be used to add dramatic elements to your photos.
When emphasizing contrasting colours, it's often helpful to enhance their intensities. Try using a Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filter to enhance the sky or even the foreground if it suits the situation. It's also possible to increase saturation and contrast in post-processing, but be careful not to push the adjustments too far.
Use Lines That Aren't There
Did you notice the line leading out of the frame in the previous example photo? No? That's because there wasn't a physical line. Nevertheless, the line of sight of the people in the shot was a definite dynamic created by the line of sight. This is an excellent example of "implied lines" in composition. Several types of implied lines can be exploited to pull or push your viewers where you want them to go.
The simplest forms are things like a pointing finger, a sign, or the direction of someone's gaze. More advanced techniques would be someone's apparent motion. These "invisible" lines can often be even more effective than "real" lines in adding dynamic energy to your shots. You can use them to lead to a subject or add depth, just as you'd use physical lines.
using lines for composition
Pro tip: To avoid being too obvious, look for or create lines in the most subtle ways you can find. For instance, a viewer needn't see a subject's eyes to know where they are looking. A person or animal facing away from you and looking down a road is a powerful implication of a line in that direction.
Show Your Subjects in Motion
Motion can be implied as well as a sense of direction. For example, when you pan along at the same speed as your moving subject, the background blurs while the topic itself is relatively "frozen".
This adds visual tension and causes the subject to "pop" out of the composition. You can do the opposite effect as well to show motion. When "freezing" a moving subject and blurring the background, it can be helpful to leave space in front of your subject. (See the next tip.)
Leave Space for Motion
When the main subject in your frame is in motion, it's essential that it has somewhere to go. Pushing a moving subject too close to the edge of the structure can ruin its dynamic value. Instead, you can amplify the sense of motion by leaving negative space in the direction the subject is moving. This also works well when the action is implied or anticipated, such as an object on a slope.
Your photo's left and right margins aren't the only areas used as leading space. Use the top and bottom of the frame to allow motion toward the background or foreground.
No fashion photographer wants to get known for clicking generic images. However, everyone wants to create their mark. The photography composition concepts mentioned above will help you to leave your imprint in your work.