Your new career: You are a fashion photographer!

Fashion ModelYou’re a photographer, got it? Few occupations pull as much quality booty as this job title. Go ahead, have cool business cards made up declaring as much. There’s nobody stopping you. You’re not required to have any kind of training or license to be called a photographer. Just get a cool camera, learn to use it and start taking pictures of girls. Now that digital cameras have taken over the field, you don’t even have to have a darkroom full of silver nitrate, expensive equipment and other unwieldy chemicals anymore. Those barriers have vanished. Remember when I remarked that travels with a purpose and a mission is for more compelling to women you meet on your journeys? Now you have one! It’s that simple. There is no profession more welcoming to posers and fakes than this field except the general “artist” vocation, its close cousin.

Women love to have their pictures taken. It’s ingrained in their very DNA from birth to show-off to get attention and they instinctively know when their picture is being taken even before they grasp even what a camera is. You have a far better chance of getting a girl to pose for a “serious” photo-shoot than you do getting her to go to dinner with you. You can start simply by reassuring them that it will be clothes on but within an hour it’s freakin’ easy to transition them to full-on birthday suit. That is something we guys will never understand, but it’s true. I write this as my beautiful (and butt-naked) fiance is off having her pictures taken all day by some guy she never met. I actually encouraged this as I want really great nude pictures of her that I can enjoy when I’m a dirty old man. (Right now, I’m just dirty).

Boris adds:

Having actually done semi-professional photography off and on for years I can add a thing or two to this conversation. First, it is true what El Matador says, women do love to have their photo taken. I would say don’t just be a poser, learn how to do it right. Photography is a field that lends itself very well to self-teaching. Entry into the field has never been cheaper due to the ever falling cost of technology. The Nikon D3100 is an excellent starter camera available for less than $600 with a lens. Whatever camera you choose make sure it’s a DSLR, don’t get some bullshit point and shoot that lacks manual control of all the features.

In addition to getting a camera you need to get yourself a copy of Photography, the premier photography text book and read it cover to cover. Don’t skip the sections that only apply to film, even though everything is digital now to be a good photographer you should understand the way film works. The same lingo and controls are used on digital cameras as on film cameras with a couple of added settings like white balance and ISO. If you don’t understand something go ask for help on a photography forum like Photographers are a real cluby bunch and they’re usually happy to help.

You should also pick up a good book or two on composition, there’s a ton of them out there. The point is to understand the rule of thirds and what makes a good photo from a composition standpoint.

You will definitely need a copy of Photoshop. Photoshop is an absolute prerequisite for any photographer these days. If your primary objective if is photographing women the two big things you need to learn are retouching skin to make it look flawless without looking fake and a good color to black and white technique. There are tons of books on this topic as well as many online forums and tutorials. Google is your friend.

The last thing you might want to consider purchasing is a good portable light unit with a battery pack. Fill flash is essential for getting those awesome sunset shots of your favorite hot chick in her bikini. I really like this Dynalite system, works great in the studio as well as on location. If professional lighting doesn’t fit into your budget consider getting a 5 in 1 reflector disk. You’d be surprised what you can pull off with this glorified piece of tin foil. If you’re really a cheap piece of shit you can buy one of those reflectors for your car windshield and use that but just make sure it has gold or silver foil on one side.

That’s about all there is to it, practice, practice, practice and you should be able to take a decent photo in no time flat. Post your work frequently in photography forums and request critiques. When you start getting compliments from other guys that take quality pictures themselves you’re in good shape. Make sure you check the photos of the people that are giving you advice though, if they can’t take a decent picture themselves ignore them. You are looking for confirmation that your photos are in focus (focus on the eyes, nothing will get you shit canned faster than being labeled a “soft shooter”), well lit, properly exposed, with accurate white balance and well composed. Also, learn how to use the depth of field and focal length of the lens creatively.

It’s even possible you could make some money doing this but you can’t count on it. The professional photography industry is very competitive, everybody and their brother wants to do it. There are a lot of rich guys that just do it for fun competing with you willing to do to TFP (TFP stands for time for print meaning the model gets free pictures and you get a free model). Now days this usually ends up becoming TFCD or TFDVD. Check out One Model Place to see just how many wannabe photographers and models there are out there.

The other thing that makes the industry really tough, especially in the fashion world is that it often seems to be about who you know and not how good you are. For sure there are some great photographers out there making tons of money at their trade, but there are also some really shitty ones. I think one of the best examples of a shitty photographer that somehow makes tons of money photographing famous people is Terry Richardson. Many of his photos look like they were taken by a retarded child with a disposable camera from the drug store. I absolutely cannot understand why this asshole is so well respected. If your goal is taking photos like Terry Richardson you can probably learn that in an afternoon. Boring, bland, poorly composed, unimaginative photos are all Terry Richardson hallmarks as is direct, harsh often single source lighting producing unseemly hot spots… i.e. the kind of shitty photos you get with a point and shoot and an on camera flash. There are literally millions of amateurs that take better pictures than this shit head. Somebody please fire this asshole and replace him with somebody that can take a decent picture for Christ’s sake.

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