A Look At The 5 Common Types of Fashion Photography

If you love everything about fashion and photography, then becoming a fashion photographer would be an excellent idea as it combines the two interesting things you are most passionate about.

Fashion photography is an exceptionally creative field that is split into several different sub categories. As an ambitious fashion photographer or stylist, you may want to focus on one or more of these subgenres. But, it might help if you understand them first.

A look at the common fashion photography types

First, I want to help you establish a working definition of the term, fashion photography. Then, we will look at some qualities that make a good fashion photographer, before delving into the different types of fashion photography and the equipment needed.

We will then finish by looking at the history of photography in fashion industry and see some of the most early fashion photographs. By the time you reach the bottom of this page, I’m certain that you will be well informed and ready to dive into a fashion photographer. So, how can you best define fashion photography? Well, Scroll on!

What is Fashion Photography?

There could be other ways of defining the term, but the meaning should always remain the same. You can define fashion photography as a subcategory of photography that focuses on showcasing or displaying items; usually clothes and accessories, for selling.

This highly competitive photography industry is full of elegant creative opportunities, with some people specializing in various types with different approaches. As a fashion photographer, your job is to create an emotional appeal for every product.

5 Types of Fashion Photography You Should Know About

This highly competitive photography genre has many beautiful creative opportunities, with several subcategories to specialize in. About the different fashion photography; fashion street photography was the first in the market.

It was where photographers took photographs of people at certain events. But it wasn’t long until models started attending some of these events that high-end fashion photography was finally established.

While there are vast subcategories to explore, let’s focus on the following five fashion photography. Understanding and comparing them to your interest will help you decide what type of photographer you want to become, or want to hire.

01. Street Fashion Photography

Photography on Street

Just as I’ve mentioned above, street fashion was the very first in the fashion photography scope. It attempts to capture the nature of what people living and working in urban areas are wearing and also how they style it.

The goal of this style of photography is to allow someone to see himself wearing the items or clothes that are promoted through the photograph. Furthermore, many street fashion photographers today are social media influencers.

I’m talking about the likes of Scott Schuman; better known as the sartorialist, Acielle, and Matthew Sprout, to name a few. Matthew Sprout, for instance, likes to work in black and white photographs. Matthew began capturing street fashion photographs after a failed career in athletics.

Scott Schuman on another hand left a role in the fashion sector to take care of his daughter who critically needed him. Scott enjoys traveling around the globe, shooting photographs of anyone he sees on the streets and posting on social media.

Meanwhile, Acielle; also known as Style du Monde, also enjoys traveling to different locations and taking pictures of those she sees on the streets. She is the one who launched the first Belgium fashion website back in 2008.

02. Advertising Fashion Photography

 Advertising fashion photograph

This fashion photography genre aims at selling items with just a few images. We often see such product photographs on social media, magazines, billboards, and even at the bus stops. The images can range from simple product shots to complex ideas that involve celebrities and models.

03. Editorial Fashion Photography

Editorial fashion Photograph

Editorial fashion photographs usually accompany text to help tell a story. However, in some instances, an image can appear without text but still adds to the meaning of a concept or theme. These photographs may feature one or multiple brands.

04. High Fashion Photography

High Fashion Photography

High fashion photograph is simply the use of public figures, such as well-known athletes, supermodels, and film actors to market and sell items through images. This subgenre of fashion photography is one of the oldest and was practiced early in 1910 by the Frèyes Séeberger.

These types of photo shoots usually turned into professional relationships, with famous models requesting the photographer to capture them several times per shooting session. Usually, such photographs would show up on the cover of a magazine.

05. Runway Fashion Photography

Runway Fashion Photograph

Just like documentary and photojournalism-style photography, runway fashion photographers also have no control over most image elements. Both the setting and lighting, and oftentimes, even the angle of shooting, are set by the organizers of the fashion event.

As such, professional runway photographers will more often use zoom lenses for shooting. Additionally, runway fashion photographers must think and act fast. And they should also know their cameras well as it is what allows them to capture the right moment with just the right exposure.

What Type of Equipment Do You Need For Fashion Photography?

I hope you have enjoyed learning about the 5 types of photography in fashion just as much as I also enjoyed telling you about them. In this section, I’m going to discuss the equipment you will need to become a celebrated fashion photographer.

As you get better, you may need to upgrade to better equipment. The following equipment is what you will generally need to kick-start your fashion photography business.


You can carry out your fashion photography shooting sessions inside or outside the studio with natural light. But if you prefer inside the studio, then you can consider working with a single source of light with a reflector; a 32-40 inches five-in-one reflector works just fine.

Fashion Photography Light
LED light kit For Camera


This setup lets you light up one side of your subject; usually models, more than the other side, making them look more natural. However, if the light causes the subject to emit a shadow on the background, you can move them forward a bit to get rid of the shadow.

The simplest lighting setup, however, is to use an octagon softbox of at least 47″ (inches) in diameter, and set the light at a 45° angle in front of the subject. Since this is a large source of light, you may not need your reflector, as it will cause the light to wrap around the subject.


Usually, a typical DSLR camera (available on Amazon) is often what you need to do a remarkable job in any fashion photography genre. Depending on your needs, you can get either a full-frame camera or a crop-sensor camera. But I’d recommend getting a full-frame camera as what you will see in the viewfinder is what will appear in the shot.

Best Camera For Fashion Photography
Canon EOS 77D Digital SLR Camera

Like with most professional fashion photographers, if money is not a problem, then you can as well opt for one of these medium format cameras that deliver better focus depth. Moreover, when choosing a camera, pick the one that has image stabilization, whether or not you are planning on using a tripod while shooting.

The best options are those cameras that come with eye-tracking software. Although most 24-42 megapixel cameras are still great, be sure to get a camera that delivers at least 50 megapixels as it will help you capture more details, as required in most product fashion photographs.


Your fashion photography niche and your choice of camera will determine the type of lenses you should buy. But you will also want to keep your product’s manufacturers in mind as most lenses can’t be interchanged.

Best Lens for Fashion Photography
Use at least 50 mm lens with f2.8 for different types of fashion photography

You will mostly need a prime lens of 50 millimeters since it’s perfect for shooting in most indoors scenarios. But this lens can also help you with outdoors shots by maintaining the same distance away from your subject (the fashion model or celebrity).

Likewise, when choosing a lens, pick the one that has an aperture setting between f1.2 and f2.8. Usually, lenses with these aperture settings always deliver better depth of focus. A lens that has higher aperture settings usually allows more light to enter your camera.

Lastly, those who often shoot red-carpet and runway fashion shots usually prefer a 24 to 85 millimeter lens with an f2.8 aperture. This type of lens accommodates different fashion photography work, as it allows you to snap several types of photographs without having to change your lenses.

How Much Money Can You Make in Fashion Photography?

The amount of money you earn as a fashion photographer depends on several important factors. The salary range may vary depending on your level of education or certifications, experience in terms of the years you have spent photographing, and any other additional skills.

In the United States of America, for example, the average salary for a fashion photographer, according to recent research by salary.com, is $44,995 per Year. But they also added that the usual range is between $39,437 and $51,995, depending on the above mentioned factors.

An Overview of What Makes a Good Fashion Photographer

To be a good fashion photographer, you need to be an expert or rather a master in several things. You need to understand a brand’s vibe and how they intend to use their photographs.

A good fashion photographer knows how to work with different people. He understands his camera so well, knows how to work with different lighting (natural or artificial), and how to compose images. You must possess great people skills as you are dealing with people throughout your career.

Great fashion photographers pay great attention to details. They know how to use natural light and adapt accordingly to capture the best shots. Even though many things can be corrected during post-editing, as a fashion photographer, you need to know how to operate your cameras and lights seamlessly.

You need to understand different equipment, knowing how to, and when to use the right equipment in different situations. They also need skills and experience with several post-editing software. But most importantly, a good fashion photographer is also a great sales person. You must know how to close deals, which, of course, is especially beneficial to both you and your clients.

Looking Back at the History of Fashion Photography

The first known fashion photographs may date back to the time of Napoleon III. But the use of photography in product advertisements became popular in the early 20th century. This is when fashion became widely accessible to a broader audience.

Equally, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar; the very first fashion magazines; founded in the late 1800s, were primarily decorated by hand. And it wasn’t until photographer Adolph de Meyer was hired by Condé Nast, in 1913, to capture portraits of actors and models for Vogue that photographs were finally used in fashion editorials.

Brigitte Moral, Paris, October 1939: Jean Moral, Model in raincoat by Schiaparelli, Place de l’Opéra, fashion photo for the Harper’s Bazaar magazine.

Furthermore, the importance and need for fashion magazines increased in the early 20th century as partnerships with different designers and stylists increased. Moreover, ready-to-wear clothes and department stores improved the accessibility of couture fashion, and trends were embraced and spread worldwide.

And thanks to photography, rising fashion designers in the 1920s, the likes of Balenciaga, Chanel, and Schiaparelli, to name a few, also got recognized for their distinguishing styles. During this time, Paris was the heart of the fashion world, and photographers like Cecil Beaton, Man Ray, and Edward Steichen, gathered there.

Additionally, after world war two, fashion went through dramatic changes; with several fresh designers and styles emerging in the 1950s and 60s. This was when Jean Shrimpton and Dame Lawson, better known as Twiggy, became household names. With these changes also came different approaches to photography, with some of the most popular names in fashion photography finally making a mark on history.