Introduction to Fashion Flair
So what I thought I would do is start with a little bit about my bio because it's actually relevant to the subject matter. I started off when I was thirteen, and so I am definitely one of those lucky people that knew what I wanted to do is they wanted to be a photographer from early teens. Um, my grandmother and my mother were photographers for fun, and so that was kind of our bonding activity. And so we I grew up on a farm. I didn't do farm work. Um, I drove the tractor sometimes, but not usually. Now I live in new york city, which I think if it a little bit better, but anyway, um so I grew up in upstate new york and so we would go out and we would take pictures together. And so instantly photography became something that was important to me just because it was the connection with my mother and my grandmother, and it was just close to my heart immediately. But then I started doing nature photography, and I know what I was like. This is what I want to be my career. I know it, so why no...
t start right now? So I started when I was fifteen, I started my business and I was photographing upperclassmen in high school so what I would do is I would go to the upper classmen with my little postcards and say, you know, picked me for your senior portrait on dso that's where it started, uh, question I always get is I did actually go to school for photography to syracuse university, and I hadn't had a degree in photography, business and political science, really? I mean, yes, you know, photography that was fun, but I have been doing it a long time at that point, the business was the most important part, so for anybody out there who maybe feels a little discouraged because okay, well, I didn't go to school for photography how do I learn this? I sincerely don't feel that you have to at all you can be an extremely successful photographer and have never gone to school, but what you're doing right now, especially if you're watching online that's what you need to be doing, you figure out where your weaknesses are, where your strengths are, the direction you want to go and seek out education to fulfill the knowledge that you need to have. So what you're doing is spot on um, and so I'm hoping that everybody will feel kind of empowered for creating images and if you're an aspiring professional, maybe making it a profession or really just making better photographs um, so I went to syracuse after college. This is where it relates to this subject matter. After college, on kind of my senior year, I took a fashion photography course. And so I took my first fashion photo, and it just fit because in fashion photography, there are any rules. Um, I could do whatever I want if I want a girl in a giant wig with rain in the foreground looking sad and there's fog, I can I mean, there's there's, no there's, no rules. So I can do literally whatever I want. So after college, I moved to london, did fashion photography for two years, andi, my visa expired, and so I came back and I needed to save up to build a move. Moved to new york city, become a new york city fashion photographer. So I opened a portrait studio in upstate new york on guided senior portrait ce and weddings and children, and a little bit of everything. And so I did what I thought was supposed to be portrait photography. So I photographed the little kids on the white background, and I photographed the brides in the traditional poses in front of the churches. Um and I did senior portrait on the black background with the black drape, and so I did what I thought was portrait photography but on the side I knew okay I want to be in new york city fashion photographer so what I was doing is I have my portrait business over here and I was doing ok it was fine I was doing all right as a business but then on the side I was doing my fashion photography so I was putting together shoots with hair and makeup and wardrobe and we'd go to cool locations I have great lighting and I put together a whole team and I'd have really profound concepts and I was building my career and then I'd go shoot the kids on the plane background you know and their their clothing and shoot that and then I would shoot the bride in front so I had these two separate worlds but all of a sudden they started to cross um and so I started taking those concept of fashion photography and saying to the bride you know what let's do a shoot before your wedding and let's go to a waterfall and let's do some beautiful hair and makeup let's you know let's do something with props or I would say to the children okay, you know let's pick a theme what would you like to dress up as where would you like to go? And so senior portrait let's get hair and makeup let's get wardrobe let's have an idea behind it and all of a sudden I went from being ok at the studio to really successful and from being happy with my images too thrilled and being fulfilled as an artist was originally I don't I'm sure I'm sure a lot of you've had this, you know, when you're making money and photography, you're doing it to make money and people coming in and you're shooting and you still love it, but sometimes, you know what's expected or you just kind of get in the flow of things and you just do what's working um and so then you don't push yourself creatively and you kind of get in a rut at least that's where I felt so what I ended up doing is I end up taking all those concept I had in fashion photography and applying them to my portrait wedding work and maybe just got so much better, and I was able to stand out from my competition before I was competing against every other studio in my area, every other photographer, everybody with a camera, really, because I wasn't offering something above and beyond um and then all of a sudden if you wanted something different, if you wanted something with a really cool factor, if you wanted something where you go into a location with cool hair, makeup and wardrobe, you had to go to lindsay aller um so that is where I came up with the concept for the book and for what I teach which is fashion flair for portrait wedding photography um slight disclaimer it's not a major disclaimer um but right now I work as a new york city of fashion photographer so in about the last since I wrote the book I transitioned from doing portrait's too. I only do fashion now, so I still can easily give advice for what works for my studio on how implemented these techniques for marketing for reaching new clientele how I pitch it to my client's what? I charged all of that but now I am a commercial important photographer in new york, so I shoot for magazines, I shoot ad campaigns, I shoot things for makeup. I mean, shoot what a fashion photographer does. So right now I am not in that world exactly, but depending on the clients, I still wish you'd some weddings and I still do a lot of portrait ce just to give you an example. Um one of my big clients is on the wnba. So I photographed a lot of professional women athletes now as they come to you for a portrait, right? So let's imagine that a basketball player female bassel player comes to use a portrait I want a picture of me showing me as a woman in a basketball player um if you think inside of the box you think of a woman with her basketball under jersey right that's a shot that she wanted well, what happens when they come to my studio is we do here we do make up and we do wardrobe and I have them and you'll see the shot later, eh? So that they look like a model with a basketball and so I'm showing them a strong, beautiful powerful women with that fashion flair but it's also portrait that serves them as well so all that stuff that I did before I still dio and a little secret fashion photography okay, so vogue guys look at vogue in the back you have maybe it's like ten, fifteen images all on a theme those air called fashion editorials on dh there in I mean, all the fashion magazines the secret that people don't know is those paid almost nothing even for vogue magazine it pays a diary of a few hundred three hundred six hundred something like that because it's treated as your opportunity to advertise yourself. Um the reason I'm saying this is relevant is the money's in the advertising and in those commercial portrait so everything that I learned in that cross over everything I learned from being a portrait photographer crosses over into being a fashion photographer everything from fashion photography crosses over into portrait so that is a little bit about my background so you can get an idea of the type of questions I can answer. I will say if you do have questions related to how to become a fashion photographer that's not what I'm teaching in this course maybe creative live will bring me back another time. Let's go you know, but keep the questions more towards if your portrait wedding, baby boudoir, whatever type of photography do keep it to that and how you can take the concepts and apply it to your work. So the question that I ask is not how does a portrait photographer approach portrait photography way already know that, but instead, how would a fashion photographer do it? And a little a little thing I'd like to say is, well, there's, nothing wrong with traditional portraiture. The reason that I have a problem with it is if you do traditional portraiture and you do and you do and you do. And I dio how do I stand out it's hard. I guarantee if I do portrait the way everyone else does someone's doing it better somebody is somebody's had more experience, more years. Maybe they're better interacting with a client, so I need to find some way to stand out. So for a fashion photographer approaching portrait and wedding photography, maybe it's the lighting, the fact that they pick a certain time of day or you put on a certain outfit or the fact that you leave the studio, you go outside of the no kind of confines of traditional portrait and do something different or maybe it's cool props and interesting poses maybe is a little bit a different composition then you would see in traditional portrait or maybe it's going to be a little bit more intimate posing, for example and I'll get into this more the picture on the left that is a bridal portrait I picked the pot's right out of a fashion magazine, so I'm picking science a little more sensual than the traditional poses that you would you would see or maybe it's an image that doesn't I really feel quite like a portrait, but it's telling a story and for me storytelling is essential to what I do when I shoot a fashion editorial I'm telling a story when I shoot an engagement session for a client I'm telling a story for them so storytelling we'll focus on ah lot a cz we talk or maybe it's just something that feels cinematic and it brings everything together it's the lighting it's the location it's suppose it's the styling so fashion photographer well, just take those things into consideration I never do a shoot where I told the client um okay, we're solid close your shirt and show up something like that were always discussing a little bit more a couple years ago uh they was four five years ago when I was doing senior portrait it was really into where skin tight little zebra friend and so I might have like four go girls show up in that and so I realized I took control of the images were a whole lot better uh so for me anybody can take that pretty picture anybody can take that traditional portrait image but what makes you different what's going to allow you to stand out from the crowd and so that's what I focus on today it's not just your techniques it's not like okay, so I take okay to take a look at this picture um the technique for how I did this it's not difficult have two lights in the background one on her it's not a difficult technique but it's the idea behind it it's the idea that I went for all white skin and red hair so what I encourage you to do do is is remember that it's not all about the technique is not about the technical is a camera the equipment, the lighting it's about the ideas that you have um and a lot of times when I look at fashion magazines there's so many photographers that are so talented what makes an advertiser pick one over the other it's their ideas a lot of the time the age of facebook has played an important role into this concept of fashion flair for me uh I'll just put it bluntly, I can play to people's vanity because in the past maybe if I photograph a high school senior the committee pass out some wallets to friends and then grandma grampa si but now I can say to them, you know when they're calling up and I'm trying to book that clients I'll say you know what? I have a great idea for a shoot for you I cannot wait until all your friends see it on facebook and that's what they get excited about because it's not just the friends and the family that they choose to get the images too or the ones that are on the wall of the ones that grandma have it's everybody they know and I don't know about you but facebook friendship very casual thing nowadays I meet you and I face book friend you so it's a really large audience and they're trying to make an impression so I appeal to that same thing with a bride and groom the wedding album you had your wedding album I went on the shelf now everybody can see how absolutely gorgeous you looked on your wedding day let's pick a steam let's do a vintage bridal session and do something people are going to be stunned at how amazing it is so I'm pitching that to them as well, and I'm keeping in mind that the audience justin, isn't just their immediate friends and family. Why fashion photography for me? How many people watch or have watched magazines next top model or so every hand in this room? Um, how about project runway? So I actually don't have a tv confession just now? Maybe after creative level going, I'm debating, we'll see we'll see about that. Uh, but people are watching shows like this and there there's a reason that people watch it, they love that fantasy. They love seeing the behind the scenes and kind of being part of that process. So that's one thing I can pitch to them is you can look and feel like a model, or you can put together a concept shoot like you might see on america's next top model. I've been appealing to this, that audience that are exposed to that type of media. So the other thing, how many clients truly want to look exactly like they look in their photos? I'm going to get the questions like, oh, can you can you fix the bags under the eyes? Can use make me skinnier because people want a bit of fantasy. So what? Ideo as I push it and make the fantasy even further clothing that they might not where I try to do hair and makeup, that might be a little different, I embrace that the people's desires to play dress up as children or as adults. Um, it's great for me because all the time on my shoots, my job is an adult is to play, dress up, address other people up and take pictures. So it's pretty cool. Although I didn't play dress up to much as a child, so maybe that's. Why it's coming out now? Probably, uh, another reason just to put it bluntly, the more production that you're doing into a shoe, you can demand higher profits. Um so for me, I didn't want to be the walmart or the studio where people have walk ins. I shoot a few headshots, I try to sell prince inexpensively and said I'd rather do one shoe today were to shoot today or me right now, I only do about two shoots a week because it's big productions, but as a portrait photographer, maybe just one or two a day and have a bit more of a production, but be proud of my image is my brand and then charge a lot more for it. And so I can kind of pour my heart and soul into that so that was kind of my decision um here's the thing if you watch this class you think ok no way I am not doing hair and makeup for every shoot I am not doing wardrobe forever she we're not going on location for half this year I'm not gonna do crazy retouching for every shoot that's that's not what I'm trying to say um what I recommend you consider is either one using techniques that I teach to create a buzz around your studio and around your work so maybe you don't do all these big productions but you do a couple so let's say you are a senior portrait photographer you pick those select students your your senior reps and you do something that's themed fashion sir so you go on location you have hair, makeup and wardrobe and so you get people talking and you get people excited um you could do that just to create a buzz and then you know what? Not do it again or you put it on your on your web page just to get people excited at the possibilities of what they could do a tip that I would have is if you have this is very common for marketing they have a lot of pictures of um babies on your website and you hate photographing babies and you on ly wanna photograph weddings you have to have pictures of weddings on your site, so if you don't want to photograph girls simply in, you know the black drape in front of the black background, you can have a shot or two on your website, but maybe have the type of work you would like to shoot on your website. Therefore, people understand the possibilities, so if you would much rather be shooting at sunset with hair blowing in the wind and big, beautiful dresses, clients are going to ask you to do that if you don't have those type of images up on your website. So for the longest time, I would just photograph friends and family to put together these chutes, so I could saito client oh, did you see that one image on my site? If you want to do something like that, we can schedule in the evening session and get hair and makeup, so keep that in mind. It just gets people thinking in the right mindset on dh then secondly, you can offer specialty services, so maybe you have your base, the package. But after a certain point, you have your fashion flare package or your stylized package, or whatever you want to call it, so it could be something totally separate, or maybe if somebody agrees to a certain value of a package. After that point, they have the ability to have a stylized session or go on location, so there's, so many different directions. You have to take this don't feel that everything needs to be a big production as a fashion photographer. The reason I only do one or two shoots a week is because my whole week is planning my shoots. I have big productions, sometimes twenty people on set. If it's kind of, ah, video production, so you don't need to go that route. You could just take what fits for you on. Just apply its thatyou have imagery that helps you stand out from the competition.