High Class Fashion

As promised from my last blog I would like to show you the difference between a fashion shoot for the high street and one for a high class fashion magazine. As discussed in the previous blog I will use the same model, Jodi Alexander to highlight the changes.

The last time we used a mixture of natural light and our Bowens kit so the students first priority was to work out how strong the light was coming in the huge window and how much flash to use.  Oh and while I remember, a tripod is essential.

The first thing to decide is whether your flash is going to be the key light, (main light) or whether you are using it as a fill in light.  On this occasion I used the flash as the Key.  When I have a window as part of the backdrop I need to find out how bright it is so that I can balance the two light sources.  I have inserted a few images here to let you see some of the issues confronting the student. Don’t worry about the model at this point, all we are interested in doing is controlling the light so that we can have a nice light inside and detail in the 18th century maze outside, which makes an ideal back setting.

In image one you can see the super moon of the umbrella and it looks like 11pm at night outside when it was actually  11.30am!  This was shot at f9.5@ 1/90 using 100 ISO.  Thfe second image was shot at the same but having the light better positioned.  If you look closely though you will see the reflections of the photographer and a class of onlookers, never great in a picture.  The third image is shot at f9.5@ 1/4 and hey presto, we can see the maze.

Now we have got that sorted we can concentrate on the model.  Again if you look at the images above you will see the models right leg is massive compared to her left leg which looks really thin.   First thing to do, get both legs on the settee and use the dress to cover them. (image 4 below). The shoes also look a bit uncomfortable for Jodi so don’t be afraid to ask the model to take them off and see how that looks.

One of the things that students tend to do an awful lot is take loads shots of the very same thing.   Don’t, get used to doing 4 or 5 then change something to see if it works better, if it doesn’t there is no harm done, try something else.  I see students laptops with literally hundreds of images from the same shoot and it is so unnecessary.  On top of that we don’t have enough of a life span to be able to view and work on so many images.

Once you are happy with the main technical issues of the shoot then concentrate on your model and the composition of the photograph.  Hands and feet, which usually get cut off at the wrong place, (see below), body posture, settee leg missing etc. etc.

My only issue now is that the model is really too tall for the settee she is sitting on.  If you look you will see that her knees are above her hips which mean in turn that her spine will not be straight.  This is something I will cover in future blogs.

So now, how do we take all this information, and Jodi, and turn it into something a bit more high class and use some creativity.

Firstly the images you are about to see are taken in a much more complicated area with literally no light at all except for a couple of very small candle imitation lights. It also looks very cold and imitates a dungeon passageway.

Unlike upstairs in the brightly lit rooms and a lot of space to work, down here the passageway is only four foot wide and it is quite dark.   So where am I going to put a light/s? and there isn’t really room for using an umbrella properly.

Half way along the corridor there is a small doorway into a private room.  The wall and doors are lined with veneer so I thought I would try and bounce the light onto the wooden veneer and then onto the model.  As you can see from the selection below it worked a treat. The added bonus was the small lights on the wall and the big glass candle light on the floor of the passage.

This whole process took thirty minutes to achieve due to the fact that I had done my research and had a plan A and B for the day.  In total I only took 26 images, to many to show here, but you get the idea.  Try and think out of the box and be creative. The fact that you have a digital image to check right away makes life so much more simple for everyone. The downside is that students tend to check the image every time they press the shutter. One you are happy with your test shots, concentrate on keeping the model working and moving.


1.     If you are not sure about the settings for your camera indoors when you are using mixed lighting, experiment.  Always have a practice before the event and bracket your exposures till you see what you like.  If you do bracket the exposures take them home, and when you get a minute look at the images side by side on the screen and see the little 1/3rd or 1/2 stop changes you made that could make the difference between an okay shoot and a great days shooting.

2. Don’t be afraid to use flash light and slow shutter speeds, you’ll be amazed at the results.

3 thoughts on “High Class Fashion”

  1. I didn’t get to see your images in the passageway so it was nice that you included them and described how you achieved this, great post!

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