How to Photograph & Pose in Designer Clothing

Let’s face it, a major part of portraiture photography is the clothing the subject wears.  Are you looking to expand your portfolio and audience by featuring custom designers?  I certainly always am.  Working with a designer can breathe a whole new life into the photoshoot and help embrace whatever style you are seeking to produce.  But how do you capture the garments in the best way possible?  How do you produce photos that benefit not only your photoshoot, but the designer as well?  This week I’ll tell you how as I share everything that I’ve learned from my experiences posing for designers.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

Let the Clothing be the Star

Whenever working with a designer, my utmost goal is to give the garments the spotlight. While I still want my hair and makeup to be done well, my posing precise, and my expressions captivating, I don’t want them to distract from the dress.  Instead, I want them to embrace and visually harmonize with what I am wearing.  What do I mean by this?  Don’t overpower an elegant white dress with over-the-top colorful makeup.  Don’t attempt an overtly complicated pose that will distract from the beauty of the wardrobe.  It’s okay to have one or two statement pieces join the photo as well – jewelry, flowers, a tasteful pop of color in the makeup — but ideally they should compliment the garments rather than fight for the focus of the photo.

All of this, of course, is provided the designer hasn’t specified how they desire their work to be captured.  Some designers do prefer to have a highly visually stimulating photo to present their work.  I like to err on the side of caution, however, and give the clothing the spotlight however I can.

 

Study the Brand You’re Representing

This is a crucial step when planning your photoshoot.  Take a close look at what the designer seeks to communicate with their brand.  What audience are they seeking to appeal to?  What is their market?  What feeling do they try to embody with their work?  If they have past advertisement photos, study these closely.  I also advise asking the designers these questions personally.  Ask them what they like and dislike about their current advertisements.  Ask if they are trying to rebrand themselves through your photoshoot.  All of these questions will help guide lighting, posing, venue selection, and more.  It will also help ensure that your designer is pleased with the final photos, and hopefully desire to work with you again.


Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando 

Showcase the Features of the Fashion


                  Look closely to see the unique features of every dress, jacket, blouse, etc.  Does the piece have intricate beading that would glisten beautifully in the light?  Is the neckline high to the neck and begging for an elegant updo?  Are there pockets that would appear absolutely editorial with hands placed nonchalantly inside while creating interesting curvature and triangles through posture? Personally, I’m always a fan of a classic skirt throw when the garment allows (as seen in the first image above).  Look at the things that make every piece unique, and brainstorm ways you can emphasize them with the magic of lighting, angles, posing, styling, and editing.

Don’t Obstruct the View

 

As common knowledge as this may seem, it is easy to forget when in front of the camera.  From a posing perspective I always have to remind myself to provide plenty of frames where my arms remain to the side, providing a clear view of the dress.  I do my best to refrain from holding props in front of myself, crossing my arms in any way, or blocking the view of key features in my ensemble.

From a photographer’s perspective, you should be mindful to capture the entire piece of clothing. It’s okay to capture closeups here and there, but take the time to ensure at least a few photos where the whole article of clothing is in frame.  So many times I have featured clothing or jewelry from a designer or boutique, only to receive images that only show bits and pieces of the items I featured.  This always breaks my heart as it truly isn’t fair to the designers and doesn’t showcase their work in the best way possible.

Choose Your Lighting Wisely

 

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve mentioned lighting on Model Focus.  Why?  It is honestly one of the most important factors in producing a quality photo.  Shooting for a designer is no different, if not more so.

Take a look at the fabrics you will be using.  Will you be provided with satin or silk?  Those reflect light beautifully and you can get away with a dimmer, more dramatic setup.  Are you going to use pieces with tulle?  Tulle can have a gorgeous cloud-like appearance when backlit.  Are the pieces constructed of matte fabrics that won’t provide any reflection?  Those will absorb the light, so be mindful to keep everything adequately lit from flattering angles.   If there are beaded or crystal accents, it can also be fun to angle the light – or position the model – so that they sparkle elegantly for a dazzling effect.

Model: Ashley BeLoat – IG: @ashleybeloat
Photographer: Dan Mahar – www.danielvmahar.com – IG: @dan_mahar
Designer: Yong Lin – www.yonglinbridal.com – IG: @yonglinbridal
Hair & Makeup Artistry: Fidel Gomez Jr. – IG: @officialfidel
Studio: Melrose Center – IG: @melroseorlando

 

Does this help in your quest for the perfect photo?  Have you ever collaborated with a designer for a photoshoot?  What are your strategies for designer work?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

–Ashley BeLoat

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. HJ on January 6, 2018 at 4:54 am

    Very interesting article & Beautiful photos. Your work is on point.

    • Ashley BeLoat on January 7, 2018 at 8:46 am

      Why thank you! I hope my tips help for future photoshoots. 🙂 I still learn every day and am always looking for ways to make my work better.

  2. Dan Mahar on January 6, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Excellent article Ashley. I thought everything you said was spot on. And like you said, the photographer needs to be aware that the designs are the star of the shoot, as opposed to a beauty or glamour shoot. As a photographer, it’s easy to go for the same shots you’re used to getting, so really put thought into your posing and lens choices, making sure you can get wide enough to capture full body shots, as well as a mix of closer crops for finer details. Also, plan out ahead of time how you want to light each piece to showcase it in the best way. Have a plan B if plan A doesnt work out the way you hoped. All that said, this also applies to hair and makeup work when working with hmuas, stylists and custom jewelers. Basically, try to keep in mind the best ways to showcase your team’s contributions and make sure to give priority to those shots. This still gives you a wide range of shots to do for your own needs while beng mindful of the end result and ensuring everyone gets what they need out of it. It may also help to just ask what other collaborators want to see most in the final images. This will keep you and your team happy, allow them to promote themselves (and you), and have a group of talent that will more likely want to work with you again.

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply