Fashion Photographer Guide: How To Become A Fashion Photographer

9th July 2021

Fashion Photographer Guide: How To Become A Fashion Photographer
Maria Hanlon

Maria Hanlon

Do you have a passion for fashion and photography? Whether you’re an aspiring fashion photographer, looking for a career change or simply want to find out more about fashion photography our guide has got you covered.

From how to become a fashion photographer, what fashion photographers do, what skills are needed and how much they make we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know.

What Is A Fashion Photographer?

fashion photography

While photography has been around since the 1850s, it was Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the 1920s that saw mainstream fashion photography develop as we know it today. Now it’s everywhere!

So, being a fashion photographer sounds like a dreamy job, right? Travelling the world, working with models and the most iconic fashion brands of all time? But what actually is a fashion photographer?

Fashion photographers take photos of fashion models, clothes, accessories, hairstyles and make up. They work closely with designers and their clients to ensure they are portraying the clothes in the best possible way for the brands. Typically, fashion photographers work in a studio or on location. 

What Do Fashion Photographers Do?

fashion photographer

Like any form of photography, each photoshoot varies, but these are the main responsibilities of a fashion photographer:

Make Sure Everyone Knows Their Role

On the day of the shoot, it’s often a team effort so making sure everyone knows what they’re doing is essential. Normally, the crew hasn’t met before as they’ve been hired from different companies or are freelance so make sure to introduce yourself to everyone and of course the model.

Give Direction

In order to bring out the best in the model it’s very important that they feel comfortable around you. Introduce yourself and start chatting to the model before you start shooting as this will create a relaxed and professional atmosphere. Once you start photographing, it’s important to get a balance of giving direction but also giving the model freedom to use their own modelling style. 

Make The Most Of The Location

As a fashion photographer, you will have prepped and planned out your shots prior to the shoot but it’s always a good idea to use some on-the-spot thinking. Try out some new angles and think of fresh ways to shoot at the same location. 

Another thing to consider on location is lighting. Natural can be a photographer’s best friend, if used correctly! Think about what time of day you’ll be shooting and what the weather forecast will be like so you can maximise the natural light, as often it’s the most flattering. 


After the photos have been taken and everyone is happy with them, it’s time for the post-production work. Selecting the best shots is a really exciting part of the process, to see the final image/images in front of you can be really rewarding. Oh, and seeing them on social media, magazines, billboards is pretty special too!

How To Become A Fashion Photographer

fashion photography

So, what skills are needed to be a fashion photographer?

There’s no tried and tested route to becoming a fashion photographer, each person’s journey is different. However, there are a few recommended routes you can take to improve your chances of breaking into the industry.


You could become a self-taught fashion photographer by getting to know your camera, using friends as models and building a portfolio. Most employers will ask to see your fashion photographer portfolio, so it’s really important to have one. 


Whether it’s at college, university or in your spare time, there are plenty of courses you could take to learn about fashion photography and kick-start your career. We’ll delve deeper into this in the next section. 

Get A Job In The Industry

Lots of photography studios offer internships or jobs as studio assistants. This can be a brilliant way to get your foot in the door, learning and earning on the job.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Fashion Photographer?

university hat

It’s not essential for you to have qualifications to be a successful fashion photographer. You can be self-taught, have a professional portfolio and still have plenty of freelance work. However, for some employment opportunities it’s preferable to have a degree or master’s in photography. 

Here are a few of the top-rated universities in the UK that offer photography courses:

  • British Academy Of Photography
  • University Of The Arts London
  • Bristol University
  • Edinburgh Napier
  • Manchester Met
  • Arts University Bournemouth

Do your research and find out which course or university could suit you best. You could also look at flexible online courses if you can’t commit to full-time study.

How To Become A Fashion Photographer Without Qualifications


If education isn’t for you, don’t worry! There are plenty of other ways to become a fashion photographer. 

An obvious, but brilliant way to get started is to practise! Familiarise yourself with fashion photography equipment, build a portfolio, use friends as models, review your photos and constantly keep shooting.

Another option is to intern at a photography studio and learn how to use all the kit, how to set up for shoots and meet lots of photographers and industry professionals.

When applying for an internship, send in your portfolio and express your passion for photography and can-do attitude. The role of an intern can have you doing a real variety of work and although fashion photography is the end goal, simply working in a creative, photography environment will be really beneficial.

Fashion Photographer Salary

woman with money

According to Glassdoor, recent reports reveal that the average salary of a fashion photographer in the UK is £31,150. However, if you become an established fashion photographer this can hugely increase. 

Usually, photographers are paid by day rate or project, especially when freelance. So, this fee can differ depending on each client and shoot. 

That Was Our Guide On How To Become A Fashion Photographer

fashion photographer

We’ve covered a lot in our guide from what fashion photographers do and what qualifications you can get to how much a fashion photographer makes each year.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and wish you all the success in landing your dream job as a fashion photographer!

We hope you’ve found this useful and hopefully you’ll be in the background of some future films we watch! Whilst you’re here, why not check out some more of our articles on our blog? We recommend our Headshot GuideHow To Get Scouted For Modelling and How To Become A Hand Model to get you started!  

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