Fashion photography tips for during the shoot
Autofocus all the way
“As long as you’re careful with the focus points you choose, there’s no reason why you can’t use autofocus on your lens,” admits Lara.
“Make sure your camera is set to One Shot AF mode, as this is best suited to still subjects, and choose a non-central autofocus point positioned right over the eyes. If you manage to get them sharp, everything else will just fall into place.”
Lights… camera… action!
“I was worried about using studio lights at first, but Lara explained how you could achieve stunning shots with just a simple one-light setup.
“By placing a single flash head to one side and positioning it off-axis to the model, the indirect light emphasised shapes and gave depth. However, this can also create dark unattractive shadows, so e made use of a large softbox to diffuse and soften the light too.”
“We started with one light and a softbox, just above head height to the model, Danielle’s, left. This gives gentle one-directional light with lovely shadows and highlights.
“We styled Danielle in this beautiful green jacket and, after some full-length shots, I zoomed in for a portrait-style photo composition. This pose is simple, but the eyes are really striking.”
“I’ve never had to direct anyone in a shoot before, so I initially found it quite challenging. But with some encouragement from Lara, I quickly built a good rapport with Danielle, and was able to show her the shots I’d taken then give her direction on how to pose and what expressions to use. This interaction led to us trying lots of new looks and positions that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own,” laughs Nicki.
Single light setup
“Here, we asked Danielle to go for a contrasting look with a black feathery dress and stripy tights. Lara came up with the idea of Danielle looking like a child sulking and I think this captures that perfectly, with her body language and cute frown.
“Lara recommended we stick with the single light and softbox setup, boosting the ISO on my camera instead. This made the exposure brighter and enabled me to bring out the textures in the clothing. I loved shooting this outfit – it looks like something from Vogue.”
Adding extra lights
“By this stage, I’d gained confidence and knew Danielle better. Lara suggested we add an extra light to the setup to act as a backlight and make interesting starburst effects. I kept the aperture at f/22 to ensure every inch of the dress was sharp, but owing to the extra light behind Danielle, I increased shutter speed to 1/200 sec.
“We tried lots of poses, including Danielle standing and sitting on a box, and me shooting from a ladder, but I like this one best. It gives the shot a fairytale air and makes Danielle look like something out of a period drama.”
Shoot a few close-ups
“When reviewing my photos, Lara noticed that I’d taken a lot of full- and half-length shots, but no ‘beauty shots’ – a close-up photo of the head and shoulders only. We moved the light with the softbox lower and turned the power down to produce a softer effect.
“I asked Danielle to sit in front of the other flash to backlight her hair, then got in close with my 24-70mm lens. I wanted to achieve something very sleek and classic. I love the way her bright red lips stand out and the look of vulnerability in her eyes – it reminds me of glossy makeup ads!”
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Fashion photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final fashion photography tips from Lara Jade
PAGE 4: Lara Jade’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
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