Fashion Photography With A Smartphone: 10 Tips And Tricks

When you wanted to get your best photos taken, you’d go to a photography studio. Sometimes, you’d even hire a professional photographer. Luckily, you no longer have to do any of those these days.

With everyone having a smartphone, anyone can be a photographer. A phone is also less bulky than a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera and compact enough to bring just about anywhere. Going to the beach? Hiking up the mountain trail? You won’t need any heavy equipment to get the best shots outdoors. Even if you’re staying in, your handy smartphone can take professional-level photos if you know how to use it right.

Taking fashion photography with a smartphone is easy in theory, but it takes a good amount of skill to churn out high-quality photos. For all the beginners out there, don’t worry! Here’s a list of tips and tricks to make good use of your phones and bring out the inner fashion photographer in you.

  • Think Of A Theme And Stick With It

Before you start taking fashion photos, you got to have a theme first. Yes, it’s not enough to take selfies against a plain background. If that is your theme, though, you’ll still need some extra effort to make each photo stand out

Not sure where to start? Put up a mood board! Collect your favorite fashion photos from magazines or websites and gather them together in a place you can easily access. Let this become your inspirational scrapbook for fashion photography. You could have an off-season Coachella concept or something with more urban flavor. There are many ideas for you to check out and experiment with.

Why not imitate the models’ poses, too, while you’re at it? Doing this could also serve as good practice when you’re not used to taking selfies. Don’t be afraid to have more creativity and freedom to pose for photos. If you believe you’re stuck in a rut, try copying selfie poses for girls featured here.

  • Four Types Of Fashion Photography

Fashion photography isn’t all about taking nice pictures in your best outfits. While you have a concept ready, you might also want to learn the four main types of fashion shoots. Pick the one that suits you or your theme best.

  • Catalog

If your goal is to promote and sell clothes or accessories, you should be doing this type of photography. You or a model might be in the photo, but the focus should always be on the clothing.

  • Editorial Fashion

While conceptualizing themes, you may have chosen one or several under the same umbrella. Instead of tossing the others aside, why not utilize them in an editorial fashion shoot? Editorial fashion photography tells stories through pictures. Unlike the previous type, this photoshoot emphasizes the person wearing the clothes. The location also matters in this type of photography.

  • Street Fashion

This type is the go-to for most smartphone-using photographers as it’s one of the easiest to do. Anyone can pull off street fashion photography because of its no-fuss and no-frills nature. Most of the influencers you see on social media also prefer this photoshoot. There’s no need for you to worry too much about branded clothes, poses, and hair and makeup here.

  • High Fashion

High fashion photography uses a professional setting, so it’s not always a casual photographer’s top pick. Every element for this photoshoot is controlled, from the clothes to the styling, the location, and the models themselves. This is something a regular photographer can’t do alone as they’ll need high-end equipment as well as a bigger, better camera.

  • Pick The Perfect Location

Now, things are getting more exciting. Once you’ve got your preferred theme and photoshoot type, it’s time to choose a place to take photos! Pick a location that matches your ideal concept and browse around for those places that fit the bill. Depending on your theme, you could end up in common photoshoot areas like parks or somewhere more secluded, like a safe alleyway in your neighborhood.

You could always go for a drive around where you live if you have no clue where to take photos. You’re sure to find some hidden gems like a wall with artistic graffiti or foliage. Be careful when exploring, especially places out of town or too close to wild animals. Always bring a companion with you on these trips. They might even spot some areas you couldn’t see while you’re busy driving.

Some popular places to have photoshoots are:

  • Near bodies of water (lakes, rivers, the sea)
  • Areas with greenery (gardens, greenhouses, plant nurseries)
  • Somewhere in the city (playgrounds, coffee shops, book stores)
  • Open fields or lush forests

Take note that particular locations might be private property. So, before you start clicking away, ask for permission first. It never hurts to make sure you’re in a space where you’re free to take as many photos as you please.

  • Props Are Your Best Friend

The goal of fashion photography is to highlight clothes and accessories. However, that doesn’t mean you should do away with props completely. Try letting your model carry an umbrella or a purse that complements their whole look. By properly integrating different objects next to the outfits, you can gather all eyes to the main subject.

If you decide on an indoor location, you might need a few other things to make your photos look more put together. You can either buy or make backdrops to serve as creative backgrounds unless you prefer the simplicity of a plain wall. A stool, potted plants, and lamps can enhance the subtle beauty of an empty room while also bringing attention to the model.

Indoor photoshoots can be a breeze to accomplish if you have an open mind. Working in small, tight spaces is challenging for some, but you’ll learn how to enjoy taking high-quality fashion photos at home with practice. To help you in your photography journey, check out these eight things influencers do before taking pictures indoors.

  • Get Some Extra Equipment Ready

Taking photos with a smartphone should be easy-peasy for anyone, but sometimes, you need a helping hand. Invest in a few pieces of equipment so your photoshoots appear more professional, and the photos turn out better than you expected.

Even something as simple as a tripod will improve the quality of your fashion photos. Larger tripods work best in outdoor locations, while smaller ones are perfect for indoor photoshoots and cramped spaces. If you don’t mind holding something and posing simultaneously, a selfie stick does the job, too.

Tapping your phone’s shutter after every picture can be tiring if you’re a one-person show, even if you’ve got the timer on. So, other than a tripod, grab yourself a remote shutter. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and hide when you’re ready to take that fashion photo.

  • Look Out For The Light

Nothing makes a picture worthy of your phone’s trash bin than one taken with bad lighting. The best photos are ones where the light hits just right. Even if your photoshoot is scheduled at night, you must ensure your subject—in this case, you or your model—gets enough light to be seen in the photo. As much as the latest smartphones have improved low-light and night mode options, relying on a decent light source is better.

The rule of thumb in photography is never to take a photo against the light unless you aim to take a photo of the model’s silhouette. Taking pictures, especially with a phone, in dim or dark areas will result in grainy images with lots of noise. Unlike DSLR cameras, a smartphone has a smaller lens that requires enough light to capture images.

When the sun’s still high and bright, that’s the perfect time to take photos. Early bird photographers will benefit from the morning sun. However, if you don’t like waking up before lunch, you still have time to have your photoshoots until late afternoon. The sunlight of the golden hour also enhances the glow of people’s skin.

You can still achieve perfect selfie lighting at home if it gets too dark outside. While you may have no other choice but to use artificial lights for indoor shoots, try avoiding these.

You’ll want natural light and shadows as much as possible. Pose next to windows or open doors to get ample light coming in. If you have no other choice but to use artificial lighting, though, ensure that it’s bright enough inside to capture everything you need in your photos. 

  • Keep An Eye On Composition

The point of fashion photography is to make either the model or the outfit (or both) the picture’s focal point. If you don’t get this right, you may need a little more practice.

One of the first things novice photographers learn about is the Rule of Thirds. Achieving this composition is much harder on older, vintage point-and-shoot cameras. Fortunately, most smartphones and DSLR cameras have built-in grids to help you out.

When you have the nine-box grid on your screen, you can position your phone so that one of the intersections has your model in frame. Make sure you have your model’s whole body within the grids or risk awkward photos where you see missing arms or legs. For close-ups, though, you can focus on the upper body and leave the rest out.

  • Go Crazy With Camera Angles

It’s unlikely you’ll be taking the high fashion photography route, so you’re free to do any pose and any angle. You, as the model, may be more comfortable doing the more common ones, but you have every opportunity to be creative. You don’t have any directors bossing you around, too. So, take that chance!

Try experimenting with low-level and high-level shots. A bit of trial-and-error might even lead you to the best angle that highlights the outfits. Tilt your smartphone or position it next to your hip and shoot. You’ll be surprised to see how your photos will turn out this way. A fresh and new point of view sets fashion photography apart from other kinds of images.

As for poses, go crazy with these, too! Fashion photography tends to be static, but you can emphasize the clothes while in action. Move around in place, swish skirts or dresses, or lift your leg to showcase pants or shoes. Even wind from the fan can participate in your photoshoots to give movement to clothes and hair.

  • Pick Portrait Mode

Fashion photography focuses on clothes. So, what better way to capture that than by using portrait mode? This mode captures the model’s whole body or upper half often better than what landscape mode can.

Most smartphones now also have the option for you to blur backgrounds. Doing this allows the model and their clothes to become the center of attention. Blurring the background, known as ‘bokeh,’ also keeps the other elements from distracting the viewers. You can also utilize photo apps to achieve this effect if your phone doesn’t have the bokeh option.

  • Edit Until Satisfied

Whether you’re a novice photographer or not, no one’s stopping you from editing your photos. There’ll be a time when foreign objects will get into the frame without you knowing, and you’ll only find this out afterward. Some minor editing can clear these away so your photos would look better.

This is also your chance to fix the pictures’ contrast and exposure. Blur the backgrounds if you couldn’t do this during the photoshoot. And go easy on the editing! Once the finer details are beginning to disappear, that means you’ve gone overboard.

>If there’s nothing much to edit, play around with filters and stickers from photo apps and software. Try to break conventions by keeping faces free from edits. Like Cameron Diaz’s makeup-free selfie, keep it as natural as you can. Who knows? You might create gorgeous photos worth sharing on social media apps or get a page on fashion magazines.

Click Away!

Even without a DSLR camera, anyone with a smartphone can play the role of photographer for themselves and others. Sometimes, photos taken with a phone end up better or on the same level as professionally taken ones.

Like any art form, photography needs the practice of skills and understanding of your equipment. Once you’ve gotten the hang of fashion photography, you can make yourself or any model look her best in any outfit anywhere. You’d be surprised to know that all you need for that is your smartphone.


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