How to Take Compelling Fashion Photographs

Fashion photography has always been an exciting photography genre. It is a great platform to practice both strategic advertising combined with the use of a creative imagination.

Fashion photography, when done right, showcases how perfect and effective visual marketing can be. A great photo doesn’t need captions and it doesn’t need any form of explanation. It can narrate its purpose and intention with nothing more than the image captured. Whether you are taking fashion photos for a personal project or for a business endeavor, here are 5 tips to help you create compelling photos.

How to Take Compelling Fashion Photos

Choose the Right Location

With fashion photography, there is a wide range of locations you can shoot at to convey your overall message. If you want the image to focus mostly on the person or the clothing, shooting in a studio or against a plain background will be beneficial.

On the other hand, if your goal is to use the background to set the scene, finding an indoor or outdoor location to assist with this is crucial. Overall, the location will help narrate the purpose of the pieces of clothing.

  • Consider the mood you want: When choosing the location, consider the mood you are trying to create. Doing a high-end business fashion photo? Find an office to use or scout out a downtown setting in the business district. Have a glamorous ball gown to showcase? Look for a classy ballroom or a castle-like venue to use.
  • The background must compliment the clothes: The colors of the clothes should work cohesively with the colors of the background. This will create an appealing yet natural aesthetic to the photo.
How to Take Compelling Fashion Photos

Consider Collaborating

A great way to elevate your fashion shoot is by connecting with models to pose in your photos.

By using professional models, they will likely understand the fundamentals of posing, meaning you can more easily execute your creative vision and achieve the look you are going for. As you look for a model, be sure to collaborate with someone who also has the overall look you are going for.

Along with collaborating with models, see if there are hair and makeup artists that are also interested in working together on the shoot.

Having your model’s hair and makeup done professionally can immediately elevate the entire photoshoot. If you do work with others, be sure to share the images with them so they can use them in their portfolios.

How to Take Compelling Fashion Photos

Be Critical of Lighting

Lighting can make the biggest difference in your photos. It can change the mood, it can highlight quality and details, and it can even help emphasize your subject’s emotions. It is a really powerful tool in helping you take compelling fashion photos.

Between natural lighting, speedlights, strobes, reflectors, and beauty dishes (to name a few), there are numerous ways you can choose to light your fashion photos.

Before determining the lighting you want to use, first determine what the overall mood is and the message you are trying to convey.

Your lighting plays an integral part in setting the mood and tone for the image, so take time in figuring this out.

How to Take Compelling Fashion Photos

Use the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a classic yet effective method that can draw viewers into your work and help you create a strong photo.

The Rule of Thirds simply means moving your subject from the center of your frame, and positioning them between the midpoint and edge of your photo (in one-third of the photo).

While this rule can certainly be broken (especially when creating edgy photos), this is a great go-to rule if you’re not quite sure where to position your model. Creating compositions like this will help to naturally place the focus on the main subject while also using the background setting to help in telling the overall story of the image.

How to Take Compelling Fashion Photos

Get Inspired

Education is key when it comes to mastering your craft. Whether you having been a fashion photographer for years or are just starting out, gaining education and insights from others can help you improve your own work.

Spend some time looking through some well-known fashion photographers’ work and see what resonates with you. In doing this, it can help you determine specific areas and types of fashion that truly interest you, allowing you to focus on creating work that you are inspired by.

How to Take Compelling Fashion Photos


Taking compelling fashion photos can take practice and patience. Once you’ve mastered these techniques, it will become muscle memory, and you’ll be able to capture beautiful and captivating photos in a blink of an eye.

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