Launching Your Career as a Fashion Photographer

Launching Your Career as a Fashion Photographer

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A career as a fashion photographer is one of the most sought-after jobs in the world, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s a gateway to a glamorous lifestyle, and a peek behind the curtain into an exciting and creative industry, where beautiful people and fashion collide.
But how do you launch a career in fashion photography? You have to be prepared to work hard and dedicate yourself to learning more about your craft as you gain experience, but before you get started, the first port of call is to gain an education in the industry. Without a university degree, many magazines and fashion houses won’t employ you, and that’s before you consider the amount of competition there will be for the roles you’re applying for.
However, if you plan to go it alone, you can still achieve success. You just need to follow the steps below, and be prepared for a long, hard but extremely rewarding career:

Buy the Best Kit You Can Afford
Regardless of how technology has enabled you to take world-class photos on your iPhone or tablet, you won’t be taken seriously in the industry unless you are prepared to invest in yourself, and after education and training, that next big investment is in the best kit you can afford. From the camera to lenses, lighting and other accessories, the costs will quickly stack up, but you have to speculate to accumulate in the fashion photography world, so consider a personal loan or investment. Talking to experts like Bonsai Finance is a good place to start. They can point you in the right direction and give you the financial advice you need to make good decisions before you start splashing the cash on your kit.

Do Some Free Work
It may seem like an odd and counterproductive idea, but doing some free work is a great idea to guarantee yourself some work and start to build your portfolio. It can be tricky getting people to take a chance on you when you don’t have experience, so many fashion photographers who are struggling to find work offer their services for free in return for exposure in magazines, websites and on social media. Once you start getting your name (and work) out there, you can use these photos to show to potential paying clients. If you have friends who are into modeling or work in professions that will look great through a lens (including music and sport), you could ask them to be your first clients. You’ll be helping each other out, and you’ll have the basis of a great portfolio.

Be Prepared to Travel
Whether it’s London or Paris Fashion Week, or any other event where the leaders in fashion will be out in force (film festivals and premieres, product launches, etc.), being prepared to travel will put you in good stead as you build your portfolio and seek opportunities. You can find many airlines that offer cheap rates and deals if your finances are stretched, but if you have the dedication and the passion for a long-term career in fashion photography, being prepared to pack your kit bag and jump on a plane, train or in the car is an essential part of your role.

Build Your List of Contacts
Networking should be a huge part of any businesspersons schedule, and in terms of fashion photography, it could be the difference between your career being successful or not. Like the travel aspect of the job, be prepared to network, hand out business cards and muscle your way into the consciousness of the right people in the industry is vital. It’s one of the hardest parts of the role, especially if you’re shy or not naturally confident approaching people. Unfortunately for some photographers, finding your silver tongue and putting yourself out there is the most effective way to find clients, get jobs and become known to the people who will be offering you work down the line.

Follow Other Photographers
Inspiration and market research go hand in hand, so fashion photographers should be prepared to follow other people in their profession across social media and on the web in general. By doing this, you can see what people in the industry are doing right (and be able to incorporate that into your own marketing strategy) and what the biggest and latest trends are. Subscribe to newsletters, magazines, and industry leaders, and follow the same people on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social channels where they will be commenting on the industry and posting their latest works. It’s always good to keep an eye on the competition, and by following them on social media, you can comment on their works and words, building your presence online and announcing yourself to potential clients and work opportunities.

Use Instagram as Your Online Portfolio
In the fashion industry, Instagram is the number one social media tool. According to Statista, Instagram announced in April 2017 that they had 700 million monthly users, and it is growing with every passing year. For budding fashion photographers looking to get their work out into the world, and more importantly, on the smartphones of people who work in the industry and might be looking for the right photographer for a project, Instagram is the ultimate online portfolio.
While your website is great for showcasing your work, it takes time to build an audience and get people to come and see your work. By using the correct hashtags, you can have your work in front of millions of people the second after putting a post up. Here are the number of posts for five hashtags on Instagram related to the fashion industry:
#Fashion = 524 million+ posts
#FashionPhotography – = 10 million+ posts
#FashionPhotographer = 2.7 million+ posts
#FashionPhoto = 800,000+ posts
#FashionPhotoShoot = 300,000+ posts
These numbers indicate that there is a lot of competition, but by using these hashtags when you post your work, you are at least putting your work up against everything else out there, and if your work is unique and eye-catching, it will have the desired effect and attract a lot of attention, both with fashion fans and potential clients.