February 27, 2024


In fashion photography, choosing the proper lighting is the key condition for getting awesome shots and telling story. Recently, Aperture posted a video where fashion cinematographer Kazu Okuda and Ted Sim shares the tips related to lighting for fashion shots. They focus on high fashion videos but still those tips can be applied to fashion photography that will improve your work. These tips will teach you skills beyond your photography.

Hack 1: Frontal Key Light Is At The First Priority

Generally, for fashion, you’re selling the product and the person. So leave the side lighting and backlighting to the cinematic shooters. Concentrate on what you want to focus. The light should directly fall on your subject. Make sure to establish your key light first and light the model properly before adding any “frills”.

Hack 2: Light for a Centralized Area

In a shoot, actions are spontaneous, and models won’t necessarily “hit their marks” every time. Close your aperture down one-stop lower, giving a deeper depth of field and more room for error and movement.

Hack 3: Know the Attitude of Your Shoot

Think about the emotion you’re trying to convey on your shoot. A “happy shoot” should have brighter, lighter colours. Something more “grungy” should have more contrast, but not be too dark it looks sad and dark.

Hack 4: Eye Light / Catch Light

Think about the catch light in your model’s eye. More contrast and more lights mean less obvious catch lights. Think about carrying a small LED light you can stick onto the top of your camera, causing enough of a glint in the eye to bring the catch light back. A small piece of paper placing right above the camera will also get the same effect. This doesn’t affect the exposure.

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