Interested In High Fashion Photography?

The art of high fashion photography has been around for over 100 years. While the equipment may have changed, the concept has remained timeless.

Rather then focusing on the features or beauty of the models, fashion photographers must capture the fashion in a way that will catch the viewers attention.

Model with attention-grabbing boots Fashion model with eye-catching blue boots

Tip: You should strive to create an image that is easy on the eyes AND turns the spotlight on the fashion!


In the late 1800's illustrations were used to depict objects of interest in magazines and newspapers. A sketch would convey the lines of a beautiful hat or show off the latest trend in men's suits.

By the early 1900's Adolphe deMeyer began experimenting with soft focus lenses and back lighting. Conde Nast began using his work in their publications. Most people consider this the start of high fashion photography.

Magazines like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar followed suit and began using photographs to show of the latest designer fashions and accessories.


Today's high fashion photography is a specialized field of work. Fashion photographers not only snap pictures of the targeted fashion item, they create the entire scene. Most work with the designer to plan the entire photo shoot, focusing on keeping the designer or label and the image they are trying to portray in mind.

They highlight the fashion in a way that is unique and original and eye catching, in order to gain customer interest. Entire ad campaigns can be designed around a particular piece of fashion and the vision that the photographer has.

Blonde fashion model Nice focus on the fashion model with blurred background

While magazines were the primary showcase for high fashion decades ago, the shift is on to bigger and better.

Nowadays you can have your fashion photography career launched by landing a client who plans to advertise on a billboard in New York City's times square.

Model with black dress, a wall behind and smoke Focus on black dress with well designed background

Working in High Fashion Photography

Because shooting high fashion is such a niche market, it can be highly competitive. While it doesn't necessarily take a college degree, it does require a certain amount of knowledge, skill, a good eye, and the right contacts.

To get started you might:

  • Start small?
    Help a local small time designer by taking photographs of their work.

  • Build a portfolio?
    Be willing to accept low paying freelance jobs to gain experience, make contacts and start building your portfolio.

  • Practice and plan?
    Know how to set up an entire photo shoot, from planning the concept to figuring out where the models should be positioned.

What can you earn?

The average high fashion photographer earns anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 per year.

The best in the business can make upwards of $100,000 annually or more. Freelance jobs can pay around $1,000 a day if you can land one.

There are other perks beside salary, like traveling to exotic locations for shoots.

There is also the opportunity to work with the top fashion designers and celebrities. A great photograph by a high fashion photographer can catapult a fashion design or trend.

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