by Sonya Golod
What makes for great fashion photography? Is it when an image captures the essence of a moment or the true spirit of the person in front of the camera? Or, should it evoke a flash of memory or feeling in the viewer? Or, is it when a photograph is provoking, beautiful, or innovative? Or, is the true purpose of fashion photography simply to make garments look their best?
Honestly, I don’t think there is a simple answer to this question, although it seems obvious that it’s a combination of many of these factors. In the end, when I see an image on the pages of my favorite magazine, or on the walls of an art gallery, or on a bus stop, I know right away what stands out to me.
There are of course the “givens”: the right lighting and composition. Make no mistake, the best fashion photos have thousands of dollars worth of equipment and years of experience just to provide the right lighting conditions- but there is so much more to it than that!
1. A distinctive voice
A great photographer always has a distinctive voice, without it photographs get lost in the shuffle. Think: David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, or Herb Ritts (to name a few) when you see their work, you know! The photos of the most famously exceptional photographers are instantly recognizable.
2. It tells a story
A striking image typically has a story behind it, it might be an obvious one, such as an “Alice in Wonderland” theme, or it might just ‘hint’ at something behind what is seen.
3. Arouses emotion
And one other thing: great photography (like great art) arouses emotion in the viewer, it might be happiness, disgust, intrigue, or fear. No matter what it is, our senses crave more!
Photographers who demonstrate the 3 factors well
I found a few less famous, but no less talented photographers- each with their own voice and style. See if they arouse anything in you?
Pauline Darley is a young fashion photographer based in Paris, France, she began her career in 2010. Her photos are powerful and provocative. She leaves you wanting to know more about her subjects.
Zhang Jingna was born in Beijing, raised in Singapore and is now in New York. By the age of 20 she had shot her first a major campaign for Mercedes-Benz Taiwan. Her images are romantic, ethereal and have a polished quality well beyond her years.
Diliana Florentin is based in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has worked as a freelance photographer since 2007. She imbues her imagery with a modern take on the classics. Her aesthetic is curvy and flowy as opposed to angular.
Julia Galdo and Cody Cloud
JUCO represents the collaborative work of Julia Galdo and Cody Cloud. JUCO is based in Los Angeles, CA. Their work is colorful, quirky and has a strong geometric aesthetic.
TOMAAS has been based in New York City, recently also Paris, Milan and Hamburg. He creates cinematic and surreal imagery. His edgy signature style is vibrant and dramatic.