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Fashion Photography - where does the "skill" lie?


ade_mcfade 16 15.2k 216 England
19 Mar 2012 1:52PM
I follow quite a lot of creatives on TweetfacedIN.... they all post nice shots of their work, kinda got me thinking about where the real skill in these images really lies - is it with us, the photographer or more with the other parts of the "team"


The team could be...

Art Direction - concept/ideas/direction
Stylists - clothes
Prop getters - bits and bobs
Make up artists - make face pretty
Model - posing skills, look etc.
Hair stylists - nice hair
Photoshop geek - Post processing

others I've missed out.....?


What's the split in skills?

Note that I have never shot fashion, used a Stylist or hair dresser, though have borrowed an MUA a few times.
NEWDIGIT 9 401 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2012 2:27PM
theres no I in TEAM!!
Pete 19 18.8k 97 England
19 Mar 2012 2:52PM
Some of the stylist / art direction people do make a huge difference. You can have a jack of all trades photographer who can do the lot and rely on the model to do make up, but generally the more interesting photos come from a team. I see a lot of TFP stuff now involves getting a team together, but I bet there's lots of disappointment in one aspect not turning up.


You missed out tea maker
And Lighting engineer
JackAllTog Plus
11 6.2k 58 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2012 4:11PM
I think lighting engineer and Equipment has to be right up there - generally bright even lighting all around the fashion location and perfect lighting in the models face.
I've tried (and am still trying) to de-construct this process a few times to see where the bigger steps of improvement can be found - basically showing photo's along the route so that you can see before and after type steps.
Whether some skills are better than others could be debatable but with photographers more famous outside the industry than MUA's etc I assume the photographer and the model add the hardest to copy skills.
All the big fashion photographers always say team though as with out them they could not work fast enough and would not be skilled enough in each area.
lemmy 13 2.9k United Kingdom
19 Mar 2012 4:24PM
I used to shoot studio assignments from glamour to fashion but especially show biz and pop star folk for papers and magazines from the Mail on Sunday to Frau im Spiegel in Germany.

You are simply after a final result which will either sell or satisfy the client. In order to get that result each member of the team must be highly skillful in their own metier and I don't think therefore that there is a split in skills.

For example, you take a glamour picture. The pictures are excellent as is the hair. Unfortunately the model was out on the tiles the night before and looks dreadful. You do not have a glamour picture. Or, great model (why would you book her/ him otherwise?), great outfits from the stylist but the photographer is in a rotten mood and upsets everybody. Ditto. Great hair, good photographer, lovely model....terrible hair....ditto.

If it is a fashion shoot, the skill of the fashion editor in predicting what clothes people will want to see is the greatest one. Obviously the assistants etc are less important, if sometimes no less skillful in this mix.

My biggest selling picture (and still selling) was one of The Who, a studio shot that was the last one taken before poor old Keith Moon died. The biggest skill of anyone in the studio that day was definitely me - for talking their management into getting them into my studio in the first place. I suppose what I am saying is that the skills are a movable feast, one or the other on a given day may be more important but the skill split will generally be even stevens.
arhb 13 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2012 8:11PM
There are quite a few very good mua who are hair stylists also, and I always try to use one who can do both to a good level. That said, I had one flake on me for a shoot last autumn, leaving me to retouch more than normal.
I have yet to use a stylist, but have got to a level with my work, that clothing designers are happy to lend outfits to me for shoots, and these outfits often come with accessories to use with the main outfit. That said, it would be fun to use a stylist as part of a team.
I think it's a lot more fun working with a team, as you get so much more creative input from different areas within the team, which leads to better images.
One team player not mentioned, that I would love to have on board, is a location scout.
ade_mcfade 16 15.2k 216 England
20 Mar 2012 12:58PM
As I said, never really shot fashion before - nor used any of the "team" - but was wondering what the best "role" was to connect with to get something a bit more "out there".

I know my mate Richard Spurdens uses quite a team for his stuff - I follow his stylist on FB and she's got some great stuff, there's usually an MUA etc. too.

Think it's time to get some "team" TF projects going in Leeds.... Smile

Maybe when it gets a bit warmer... got to be on location!
JackAllTog Plus
11 6.2k 58 United Kingdom
20 Mar 2012 1:12PM

Quote: wondering what the best "role" was to connect with to get something a bit more "out there".

I'd think a stylist/clothes designer could be an excellent initial accompaniment to a fashion photographer.
lemmy 13 2.9k United Kingdom
20 Mar 2012 1:29PM

Quote: but was wondering what the best "role" was to connect with to get something a bit more "out there"


Stylist for sure. You come up with the thought/ image you want to project, discuss it with the stylist and the pair of you plan how you will bring it to fruition. Highly satisfying.
keithh 17 25.7k 33 Wallis And Futuna
20 Mar 2012 1:35PM
Yep. Stylist first, most have an art direction leaning. Then MUA. Then a AD if you can't think of anything yourself.

Rest are hangers on.
Model is a given.
ade_mcfade 16 15.2k 216 England
20 Mar 2012 1:49PM
my mate Anthony does AD as part of his "creative boutique" thing he's got going - so if he's on a shoot he's usually full of ideas, very helpful.

do enjoy doing these personal projects with fashion students and pretty young things from Leeds, but just seem to be the only one with any ideas on most outings... quite fancy someone to bounce ideas off, so stylist it is.

don't tend to take other photographers with me these days, find that it breaks the flow/rapport you build up with the model when you keep changing tog... does that make me a bad person ? Wink
keith selmes 17 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
20 Mar 2012 5:08PM
I think the real skill is in getting that team together, and making sure they can work together, and they have all they need at the right location at the right time, with enough direction to get the job done, but not so much as to kill their creativity.
I don't know who would do that, the secretary perhaps Grin
park my ferret 17 1.0k United Kingdom
20 Mar 2012 10:02PM
I think a good photographer and good model can produce great shots together,
However, with the addition of other talented team members your work can really be pushed to a new level!

I just wish people were prepared to spend more on their shoots so that more photographers could hire a good team, but most models wanting shoots can barely afford the photographer let alone the rest of the creative team. Sadly, alot of 'lower end' clients just don't realise how beneficial a good team can be

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