Photography today has far more avenues and branches that can be explored by a single person or a single post. Fashion photography itself boasts of being a source for numerous careers, and multiple lines of work. In recent times, the expansion of the fashion photography industry has led to the categorization of related jobs to understand each type of fashion and garment-related photography in greater detail and establish precisely what the functions and purposes are for each type.
While there is still a fair amount of overlap between the different types and there are numerous projects which involve a collaboration of all these avenues, photography for the garment industry can be broadly classified into the three headings like Commercial photography, Fashion Photography & Editorial Photography.
Commercial photography is mainly used when photographers are aiming to sell the product itself. Hence, the entire shoot centres around the product, which in this case is the costumes or outfits. Therefore, the lighting, the styling, and the background are kept fairly minimal or plain, to avoid distracting from the main focus of attention.
The easiest example for this includes shoots for catalogues where models tend to pose in front of plain white or block coloured backgrounds with minimal lighting and a very simple style of makeup. Such photographs aim to explore the costume and all its nuances and communicate that specific information to the consumer.
Fashion photography does not follow the same practices as commercial photography, instead of focusing on the garments in relation to their use. Hence, the styling and makeup elements are crucial. Moreover, there is a great emphasis upon the mood and feel of the entire shoot as this is the information that the public will perceive. The photographs are intended for conveying the type of lifestyle that can be associated with those specific garments.
This has a lot more complexity, psychology and thought process than commercial photography. Commercial photography also involves the use of more light sources from different angles instead of a single one, as Is the case with commercial photography. Fashion photography tends to focus more on clothes in relation to each other, a series or line, and a lot of drama that is attached to them.
Editorial photography works along the same lines of fashion photography because it involves conveying information about more than just the outfit and its specifications. It involves attention to detail and a story or lifestyle that is promoted in addition to the garments. The main difference between editorial and fashion photography is that editorial focuses more on a specific story or theme that links to the garments, hence gaining greater human connection and getting more attention.
Here too, the lighting and the style of the entire set are of immense importance as they decide the entire theme of the photograph. Hence, the tones in the photograph are of immense importance. Happy pictures may have a specific theme, while sad or melancholic photos may have different colours, specifically darker.
These photography types may seem easily distinguished in theory, but when it comes to practical application, there can be a lot of conflict with respect to which head a specific shoot or photograph should be placed under. This happens because large scale shoots involve a certain amount of what each of these types offers. An overall shoot may require that a line of outfits be shown in all possible types, including against plain backgrounds, in real life, and with a specific story or theme that builds its selling point. Hence, as a photographer, it becomes important to be well-versed with the primary components of all of these types and to experiment with them regularly.
Hopefully, this article has improved your knowledge about the distinction between fashion photography, commercial photography, and editorial photography. There may be other types which come up In the following years or merging of the already existent fields. Such things become tough to predict in the photography industry, just because it is dynamic and fluid. Until then, happy shooting and good luck!