Essential equipment for fashion photography

Published 30th April 2015

Are you aiming to be a fashion photographer or just need to do a couple of shoots for your brand? Let’s take a look at the essential equipment you need to achieve professional results.

Camera

When it comes to shooting fashion, the most important thing is the quality of the image. So when you are choosing the camera, the first thing you need to look at is the size of the sensor.

The sensor is the device that picks up the light and transfers it into digital data, it is the most important part of the camera – it decides the quality of the photo it can produce.

Size matters, to be put simply – the bigger the better. A full frame sensor is definitely the favourite for fashion photographers. Couple of years ago, full frame camera was treated as a High-end.

However, with many entry-level full frame cameras released, the price is pretty affordable now. These include the Nikon D750, Canon 6D, Sony SLT A99 and Sony A7.

Lens

If you are ready to step it up, here are some practical suggestions for you for choosing a high quality lens. Basically, the most popularly used focal length for a fashion photographer is the 24-200mm lens.

If you need something to begin with – I would suggest the 70-200mm, as it can cover both studio and location shoots.  However if you want to feature the environment on a location shoot, I’d go for the 24-70mm lens.

Quick tip: Instead of using a wide angle, step back and shoot with a focal length over 70mm.

Lighting Equipment

There is a common misconception that photography is mostly about the camera and lens. Many people judge the photographer by their camera & lens – this is actually very superficial. So what is photography all about? My answer is “light”. The fancy DSLR and lens are only tools to capture it. The most important skill for a professional photographer is how to control, find, create and capture the light,

Fashion photography includes studio and location shoots. In the studio, the light is completely controlled by the photographer and specific lighting equipment is essential.

Most fashion photographers shoot using strobe flash instead of continuous lighting, the reason is that the light from the strobe is much more consistent and strong enough to cover other environmental light. Since the strobe is crucial in shooting, some fashion photographers spend thousands of dollars on the strobe head. The top-range brands include: Profoto, Bowens & Elinchrom.

There are also some alternatives on market for the more budget conscious photographers, such as Godox and Connomark. Godox, who are a world renowned flash lighting company – has recently released its new range of strobes – the QS and QT series. Both of these 2 series feature fast recycling time, flash duration and accurate colour temperature.

Background

It’s all about your vision. I tend to find that plain backgrounds are the more popular choice for fashion photography. This ensures that you get a nice even uniformed finish for every photo. The less distraction in the background, the better. Draw attention to your subject, instead of what is behind it.  This is where the studio paper backdrop features. These make sure your photos have that professional look. Paper backdrops enable you to have a smooth seamless background – you can shoot full body, as the backdrop can be pulled out under the model/subject.

Tripod

You’ll need a tripod if you want consistent frames. Not to mention it guarantees stability. You won’t get any shake and the quality of your images will high. Tripods are also handy for long shoots, where you don’t have to constantly carry the camera – they can get very heavy, especially when you’ve got your lenses attached.

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