Fashion Photographers take photos of clothing and other products that people are likely to buy.
Also known as
- Advertising Photographer
- Photographer, Fashion/Advertising
Video: - Ian: Fashion/Advertising Photographer
Video: - Robert: Fashion Photographer
Fashion Photographers take photos of clothes and fashion accessories, and other products that people are likely to buy. The photos are used for advertisements on the internet, in magazines, newspapers, company brochures, mail-order catalogues, travel brochures and posters.
Fashion Photographers usually receive a brief from an art director, fashion editor or client, which gives details about the image they wish to project. They then discuss background, mood and the final size of the photo.
Fashion photographers do a lot of organising, whether it be choosing models or arranging locations and sets. They arrange studio lighting to help bring out the best in skin tones, textures and the different colours of the model's clothes.
They also work with hairdressers, stylists and make-up artists who focus on the image of the model. Fashion photographers normally develop a style to their work which is suitable for different areas of the market and different age groups.
Fashion Photographers work under a lot of pressure; they must keep within the limits of a budget and meet deadlines. They may have to travel locally, nationally and even overseas. This may involve spending some time away from home.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As a Fashion Photographer, you need:
- Knowledge of photography techniques.
- The ability to use a wide range of cameras and lenses.
- To be creative.
- Good communication skills.
- To put people at ease and make them feel comfortable in front of the camera.
- To keep up to date with changing technology.
- The ability to work to deadlines.
- Knowledge of computer imaging software and digital technology.
Fashion photography is a competitive industry to get into, so you need confidence, persistence and the ability to cope with long hours.
Self-employed or freelance fashion/advertising photographers will need business and marketing skills.
A driving licence is useful.
Pay and Opportunities
Pay rates for Fashion Photographers vary depending on whether they are employed or self-employed.
The pay rates given below are approximate.
Fashion Photographers earn in the range of £16,000 - £19,000 a year, rising to around £24,500 - £32,000. Higher salaries can be awarded to more experienced photographers.
Fashion Photographers may be paid an hourly rate. This can range from £6 to £14 per hour.
Bonuses may be awarded on top of a salary.
Incidents of unpaid work are high amongst photographers.
Hours of work
Working hours are likely to be irregular. Early starts, late finishes and work at weekends and on public holidays are common.
What's happening in this work area?
Competition for photography posts is strong, as there are often more applicants than vacancies.
There is strong competition for freelance work.
Where could I work?
Work is commissioned from fashion magazine editors, mail-order catalogue firms, and advertising agencies on behalf of their clients.
Opportunities for Fashion Photographers occur in towns and cities throughout the UK. However, the best opportunities are in the London area and in other large cities.
Fashion Photographers normally work on a self-employed, freelance basis.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in photography, advertising and design trade magazines and on websites such as the Association of Photographers (AOP).
Vacancies are also advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.
It's a good idea to build up a network of relevant contacts, as not all photography jobs are advertised. Making speculative job applications to potential employers can be useful.
Entry Routes and Training
The best way for a potential photographer to learn about the industry is by becoming either a full-time or freelance photographic assistant, although there is a lot of competition for these posts.
Alternatively, you can enter the industry by doing a course in photography. Full-time and part-time courses are available, leading to foundation degrees, HNCs, HNDs or degrees in photography.
Some people get on to degree courses via a Foundation course.
Some people enter this career via an Advanced Level Apprenticeship.
The British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) - the official qualifying body for professional photography - can provide information on training courses and membership.
Training is on-the-job.
The Association of Photographers (AOP) also offers training and networking opportunities.
City & Guilds also offers qualifications in photography.
Photographers may be able to move to larger organisations or work overseas.
Many photographers become self-employed.
You don't always need qualifications to enter photography. However, some employers prefer you to have them.
To start an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
The usual entry requirements for a relevant Foundation course are:
- 1/2 A levels. You'll need an A level in art or in an art-based subject.
- GCSEs at grade C or above in 4/5 subjects. Some courses ask that you have a pass in English.
For all relevant courses, having a portfolio of your photographic work will be very useful.
For entry to a relevant degree course, the usual requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels. Some courses may ask for passes in Art and in Photography.
- 4/5 GCSEs at grade C or above. You'll usually need English and maths.
Alternatives to A levels include:
- A BTEC level 3 National Diploma in Art and Design.
- An Advanced Level Apprenticeship.
- The International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBD).
For the IBD, many courses will ask that you have Art at Higher level.
Many other qualifications are also accepted so check prospectuses for more details.
To enter a relevant HNC, HND or foundation degree, you will usually need:
- 1/2 A levels. A pass in art could be useful.
- 4/5 GCSEs at grade C or above. Passes in English, Maths and art may be required.
For alternatives to A, see above.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Entry to this occupation is very competitive. Most people start as a full-time or freelance assistant. Making relevant contacts is extremely important, as is a high quality portfolio.
Photography can be studied on a full- or part-time basis, or it can develop from a hobby. It is useful to update your skills by taking short courses in photographic techniques and methods such as those offered by City & Guilds.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Art and Design) could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.
They can lead to relevant degree/HND courses.
Universities and colleges of higher education (HE) will usually consider applications from candidates who don't meet their usual entry requirements, especially those with relevant experience. You should check the admissions policy of individual universities and HE colleges.
A full list of relevant qualifications is available on the Skillset website.
Relevant courses at various levels in photography are offered by a large number of centres, including the Open University, by distance learning.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
City & Guilds
Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468
Skills for the creative industries
Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills
Open University (OU)
Tel: 0845 3006090
Creative & Cultural Skills
Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts
London College of Fashion
Address: 20 John Princes' Street, London W1G 0BJ
Tel: 020 7514 7400
Drapers: The Fashion Business
Address: Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London NW1 7EJ
Tel: 020 3033 2600
Association of Photographers (AOP)
Address: 21 Downham Road, London N1 5AA
Tel: 020 7739 6669
Royal Photographic Society
Address: Fenton House, 122 Wells Road, Bath BA2 3AH
Tel: 01225 325733
British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP)
Address: The Coach House, The Firs, High Street, Whitchurch, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP22 4SJ
Tel: 01296 642020