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Exotic Fashion & Portrait Photography
Most any photographer has taken a portrait and or a fashion shoot. Inevitably the majority look about the same. However, every so often you come along a fashion/portrait picture that looks completely different and immediately catches your attention and you can't help but stare at the photograph in front of you.
"Fashion photography is a genre of photography devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items. Fashion photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Elle. Over time, fashion photography has developed its own aesthetic in which the clothes and fashions are enhanced by the presence of exotic locations or accessories."Wikipedia
"Portrait photography or portraiture is photography of a person or group of people that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject. Like other types of portraiture, the focus of the photograph is usually the person's face, although the entire body and the background or context may be included."Wikipedia
The photographers who have worked hard at being creative and going outside the norm are the ones who end up making a name for themselves and their work is sought after by editors and creative producers who want to get images that are anything but the same in & out and make their products stand out among the multitude of others. They want to rise above their competition and here is where you, the photographer comes in.
Fashion and portrait shoots are usually undertaken with the goal of showcasing something; a fashion line, a new make up line and so on. But there are many instances where the products are not really the main point of emphasis. Often a photographer will do this work with a fine art gallery or publication in mind.
You should approach this project with an understanding that you are doing a creative fashion or portrait shoot in order to begin to build a portfolio that will catch an editor's eye and garnish you future assignments.
Choose the theme first; fashion or portrait, you can do both but it's easier to start with one first, then do a thorough research into sample images that represent what it is you have in mind. Fashion magazines and web sites are really helpful in providing you with good material.
Once the research has been completed then start assembling your props such as clothing or seeking the assistance of a good experienced makeup artist. Try to work a deal with the make up professional so that his services will be advertised on your final images. Many will take you up and you won't have to pay for the help. Also consider doing the same with a good hair stylist.
As far as clothing, many of these professionals have fashion industry contacts who may be willing to let you borrow their line in exchange for samples of the photographs that they in turn may use in their ad campaigns.
If you are able try to conduct the shoot in an exotic location like near a body of water, some old architecture, a forest and other locations that are not typically used for such projects.
Consider using props such as fans to blow the hair, adding color to the backdrops by using color gels on the lights, using non-typical makeup themes, shooting at night. Consider adding splashing water, perhaps using balloons to fill up a room, using smoke, using regular water washable paints, netting and so on. Avoid going overboard if you feel that you have accomplished a good setup as sometimes less is more. Creativity is what will distinguish your work from the majority.
A regular zoom lens will do so long as it allows you to get some closeups and crop on the spot. Two or three photo lights or a combination of photo lights and reflectors should be sufficient but try to place a diffusing element on the light sources to soften the output and avoid creating harsh shadows. If doing the shoot in a studio work with a black backdrop to isolate the subject.
Make sure to either take some shots with a monochromatic film or that your digital software has the option of turning color into black & white. Some photographs are better rendered in black and white as opposed to color. Judge their appeal by comparing the same shot in color.
Do not overlook the ability to manipulate the photographs post production with the aid of a digital editing program and take as many shots as you can so that you can judge and separate the best from the mundane.