How to Stay Creative as a Fashion Photographer
Put Together Your Own Photoshoot
During Lockdown 1.0 it was hard to stay creative as a fashion photographer, and with Lockdown 2.0 now upon us, it is even more vital to stay productive in order to come out the other side feeling accomplished. It might be the last thing on your mind right now, what with the fear of the US elections, rising global infection rates and the disappearance of loo roles from the supermarket shelves again – but focusing on you and what you can do to better yourself during isolation is the best way to keep your head.
Stay Creative as a Fashion Photographer
For me, and for many of us, the first lockdown was hard. We didn’t know what was coming, was it a big deal? How long would it last? Is there enough wine?! All, important questions that we still don’t have answers to! But early on I decided that in order to stay productive as a fashion photographer I needed to be inspired, to be tested and not rely on Netflix marathons to get me through. As a fashion photographer in London it is always important to be creating content for yourself, pandemic or not. It’s how you keep your ideas fresh, shows potential publishers what you’re all about and can be the building block to your next project. Each month I always try and shoot 2 projects that are just for me. No brief, no guidelines and the scope of my imagination my only limitation. Obviously it depends on my schedule, but by keeping a strict monthly routine of personal projects, I’m always making time to stay creative. When in lockdown I had a lot of time to reflect, and instead of getting bogged down in the surrounding issues, I decided to use this time I had been gifted wisely, and plan the shoot that I had wanted to create for ages!
I was inspired by Vogue covers ‘Back to Nature’ with Gisele Bundchen
Goodbye four walls, hello nature
Myself and my partner were blessed to be in Portugal during this time. I live for nature and space, so after a few days of staring at the same four walls, I was itching to get out and feel the freshness of the great outdoors. One beach I visited last year was Meco, a gorgeous sandy stretch at the southern end of the Costa da Caparica coastline, over the bridge from Lisbon in Sesimbra. The beach is stunning and if you get a chance to visit next year, please do hire a car and get down there. But it wasn’t the actual beach that inspired me during my visit, no it was the drive to it. Staring out of the window (I wasn’t driving!) I became transfixed with the shape of the trees, they were so unbridled and raw. Straining and contorting themselves to reach the light, these old trees had created silhouettes that I just hadn’t seen in nature before. If you picture these natural statues in the foreground, then their backdrop is simply wilderness. Vast, wide and drenched in a palette of warm burnt orange & dotted in muted greens – a countryside scene that I knew I needed to capture. This is a vital tool when attempting to stay creative as a fashion photographer, always be looking. Treat every day as a scouting trip and you’ll not only become productive in the long-run, but you’ll also discover the beauty around you, wherever you go.
Surround Yourself with Creative People
Any fashion photographer in London will tell you, working with the right team is essential if you want to capture & execute your creative vision. And I’m no different! I need a team around me that I can trust to be honest and always bring their creative ideas to the proverbial table. Alongside this, you need the right model, someone who is responsive and demands the attention of the viewer. Sitting at home and dreaming of the beach, I started to pull my team together. First up was my friend Tina Hoffman, a very talented makeup artist who works both in Portugal and Germany. Tina understood straight away the very modern, elegant look I was trying to achieve and paired her looks effortlessly with the garments. Next up was the lovely stylist Karolina. Originally from Poland, but now working in Portugal, Karolina contacted me to to work together. She had a Boho vision in mind and her mood board reflected just what I was envisioning and the floaty shapes with earthy tones coordinated perfectly with the surroundings. While Karolina set about sourcing the clothes for the shoot, I needed to find a model! A natural beauty that would suit the scene, wear the clothes as if they were her own and command the eye against such a dramatic backdrop. I found model Carmen an amazing young model from Portugal who could move and pose in such an instinctively pure, feminine way. Her poise and fresh, natural look suited our vision so perfectly that we booked her on the spot!
Location, Team & Natural Light!
Now I had my team and Karolina had her garments, it was time to head to the location! But having a wonderful team and a great location doesn’t guarantee the perfect shot, no, you need the right light! As a fashion photographer in London you are constantly checking the weather when shooting outside, because in the UK you just don’t know from one day to the next when the rain will come. Thankfully during the summer in Portugal, good weather is guaranteed, but getting the right light still needs to be planned. Sunrise is always a magical time to shoot because it casts this almost dreamlike quality over anything it touches. A soft, orangey film that can never really be replicated artificially. No, you need to get up at 4am to capture it and as soon as lockdown ended that’s what we did! And wow, it was so worth it! Upon taking the first shot of the day I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing through my viewfinder. This creative vision that I had been dreaming of during isolation was finally real in front of me, and it was framed by this hazy morning heat that had veiled the sun. The perfect natural antidote to a month of four walled lockdown.
The Ultimate Goal for a Fashion Photographer, Have Your Work Published
My goal when putting together this shoot was not simply to stay creative as a fashion photographer, it was to keep my portfolio fresh and to hopefully get it published! After looking at the finished shots and having made my selection, there was one publication I knew they would suit perfectly – Haute Punch Magazine. This online magazine based in Canada is renowned for its dedication to creativity and love of the aesthetically pleasing, and I knew they would love this shoot. And they did! They exclusively featured it back in July. It is always a very rewarding experience to have your work published, but in these unstable, difficult times it felt amazing when I found out they were going to feature it. My dedication to staying creative during lockdown, had not been in vain. I hope that this has inspired you to pursue your career in freelance photography even during these uncertain times, and shown you that it is possible to stay creative during lockdown 2.0 and what ever else the world throws at us!
Here my work produced and Published, ‘Into the Wild‘.