Experiment with light.
“To me, it’s all about lighting,” Ngala says. “That’s the difference between a good and a great photo.” Study portrait lighting techniques for ideas on how to light your indoor shoots. See what you can invest in. “I always have one or two strobe lights and V flats,” says Rivera. V flats help diffuse the light from her strobe to fill the room. When Rivera was first starting out, she had access to a photography studio. “I could go in on the weekends and play around with the lighting,” she says. “It’s still a never-ending exploration.”
Get your camera settings in order.
Fashion photography differs from fine art photography and portraiture in that you may not have as much room for the artistic use of focus. “I like my photographs with a really shallow depth of field, but when I’m shooting fashion and my aperture is really low, the edges of the clothes might be out of focus, so I have to adjust it,” Ngala says.
Tweaking your settings as you go is important. “A lot of the mistakes I make are with my camera settings — if I’m shooting too fast and get ahead of myself,” says Rivera. During basic studio shoots, where everything needs to be sharp and in focus, try these settings and adjust from there:
- Shutter speed: around 160
Take test shots at every photoshoot.
Check out your light set up before your models arrive. Take some test shots of yourself or a stand-in and make any necessary changes. This will confirm whether your lighting and camera settings are correct.
Step out from behind the camera.
Don’t forget to stop, breathe and check out your shots as you go. Also, look at your products or models for any styling issues. It’s much easier to straighten out a wrinkle or a stray lock of hair as you shoot rather than trying to edit it out later. If you can, have a stylist on set with you whose job it is to pay attention to these things.