Photographer’s Tips

7 February 2012

In this feature we have created a selection of some photography tips for anyone out there who is interested in learning some basics about fashion photography. We get a lot of people who are interested in how we shoot and work, so here is a little insight to one of our recent Boys by Girls shooting days. Whilst it's all very well looking at hot boys, there is more to it then just pointing and shooting, and we thought it might be helpful to put together our own list of tips. Take a look below and we hope you find it useful.

Using Available Light
Photography is all about light, so being able to know how to utilize the available light is fundamental. Know how to use the light to your advantage. On Cecilie Harris's shoot with Roland (Amck) and Eli (Elite) below there was plenty of daylight to work with, and even some sunshine to helping to create some interesting silhouettes and shadows. Cecilie uses reflectors a lot on her shoots when utilizing daylight to help bounce the available light around. Reflectors are pretty cheap, and can make the world of different if there is light to play with. Flashes can also be a great way to add light when there doesn't seem to be enough.

Taking Advantage of Your Local Environment
Using what your local environment has to offer can provide some really great backdrops for fashion photography that doesn't cost a thing! There are so many interesting places around us that we take for granted every day that most people will simply walk by and not take a notice of. Once you start seeing the world through your photographer eyes, you won't be able to go anywhere without seeing beautiful photos in everything you walk by. That rusty door over there, the torn down wall paper, a backstreet of empty alcohol storage items can make a creative backdrop for an editorial shoot and a public toilet wall can create a feel of a studio. Just saying....

Working With Your Team
On a fashion shoot there will usually be a number of people as well as the photographer and model, who all work together to help create all the magic. This can include stylists, make-up, hair and any assistants. Plan well and book the right people to work with for you. On the day have the confidence and organisation to direct your team to create the images you are setting out to do. When working with daylight, time management is important. You don't want to run out of light when you have only shot 4 our of 8 outfits. So keep in mind timing for hair and make-up, fitting and changing, tea drinking, banter from boys, walking to different locations if applicable, to make sure you are in control of time. Also, have fun! With a relaxed atmosphere on set, the models and photographer will be able to get better results.

Be Organised Before and During the Shoot
Make sure there is a general understanding amongst your team around what you are shooting, what you are shooting for and what images you are trying to achieve. Prepare a moodboard. Your stylist is the first first person to share your moodboard with. As they are sourcing the wardrobe they need to understand and share your vision for what you are trying to achieve, that way you work together to get some great results. Once you have your styling sorted you need to make sure you have people in your team to do beautiful hair and make-up. For our boys, we tend to use basic make-up mostly, but it can really help in the post editing process that the skin looks natural but perfect. Great male hair can make or break an image as well.

Having an assistant is also really helpful. The less elements you have to worry about on the day of your shoot, the more you can focus on getting great images and get the most out of your model.

Plan where you are shooting and know roughly the story you want to shoot. You don't have to overplan it though, as you want to be able to have some freedom on the day to simply see what looks best in camera. But it's good to have a plan of what you want to do. Put your moodboard on your iphone, ipod, ipad etc so you can easily carry it with you and refer to it. Show it to the model, so they also know what you want to capture. This will help the model to give you what you want from them.

Directing Your Model
Being able to direct your model is key. Models will want to know from you what you want them to deliver, and what kind of images you are shooting. Some boys will want you to direct them and help them how to move, others just need an overall direction on what you want from them and they are good to go. Talk to your model and understand how you can best work together.

Unless you have shot with the model before, you have a very short time to build rapport. We tend to spend some talking time with our model, find out a little more about them whilst they are being groomed. Make sure your model keeps warm and stay hydrated (and if hungover offer him a nurofen). Joking aside, a happy model, means better images. Do feel free to reward boys with goodies from your chupa chup jar.

Know your obsessions, and use them! Current BBG photographer obsessions include open lips, closed eyes, mattresses and boys in trees to name a few. We are also not shy of making our boys lie on the ground.

Knowing How Many Pictures To Take
There is no such thing as the right amount of photos to take, but it's good to find a level that works best for you. You want to make sure you have enough choice of images to work with, but you will never need thousands and thousands of images. You can't use it, you can't store it and it takes ages to go through. Once you know you have "got the shot" stop shooting that outfit.

Choosing the Right Location
Choosing your location effects the entire mood and narrative of your shoot. If you've got a certain theme in mind, try to pick a location which will work best for that theme. The location needs to match or work as a perfect contrast to the styling. Also put your photographer goggles on, a location that might not seem much to the average person, could make the perfect backdrop for your shot. You want to make sure that you are allowed to shoot there as well and aren't on private property without granted permission. When it's cold outside, you will want to make sure you have a base inside to do grooming and styling as it will keep everyone warm for at least a bit of your shoot. It's also less to drag around.

Be Aware of Colours
Experimenting with colours can add another interesting dimension to your photographs. The environment and props around you can provide some cool backdrops, and can give you plently to play with when you reach the editing process. With base in the clothes the model is wearing, see what colours will match and create a nice flow in your images. Keeping colours matching throughout a series of images, makes them flow nicely together.

Think Outside of the Box
Don't be afraid to experiment and think outside of the box! Try out different camera angles rather than shooting just straight on. Try looking down, up or from the side as well as experimenting with the model's detail or silhouette. This is why you often see photographers in sexy photographer positions!

Have fun!
Last but not least, have fun! The day should be full of creative buzz where everyone works well together.

Head over to see Roland and Eli's finished editorials.

All behind the scenes images by Hannah Jones.

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