Fashion photography gives you a chance to create your own plot and tell a story

As a freelance eCommerce photographer, it’s important to still treat an e-com fashion shoot like a campaign shoot and tell a story. Today, I share how I got creative on photo-shoots in Portugal for the guys at Shein in order to show you how storytelling works as a eCommerce photographer

When a consumer only has an image in which to base their opinion on, and not a physical product, it’s vital that the photography you produce installs a vision in their mind of how (in terms of fashion) they will look and feel in that product. A good fashion photographer takes a flat image and brings it to life

Here is an example of one of my shoots for Shein, shot at my favourite time of day. Golden hour!

How to Create eCommerce Photo-shoots as a Fashion Photographer

With out new Lockdown lives more people are shopping online. From lightbulbs and laptops to pyjamas and post-it notes – our purchasing choices are now all made via our various screens. In order to compete with the ‘real world’, the eCommerce environment has needed to step up its photography to inspire consumers and give their products a three-dimensional feel. In fashion, this is especially important, as a dress or a top for example often needs context in order for the potential client to say, “yeah, I can see myself in that and I know just how’d I’d wear it!’ For me, this is achieved by telling a story. Taking the viewer on a journey and making them feel like if they chose that dress, they can be that character – not literally obviously, I don’t shoot much cosplay! In order to share how to be creative as a freelance eCommerce photographer, I thought it would be a good idea to take you through how I put together my recent shoot for Shein.

As a fashion photographer, I live half of my year in Lisbon. Not just because the weather is good, the food is delicious and the wine is often cheaper than water. No, its because the city itself is so varied architecturally with beautiful style, colours and landscapes. What this means when planning a fashion photoshoot is that you can easily create multiple scenes, with completely different backdrops, all within the city centre. Plus, there are beautiful beaches nearby which make great locations, and lunch spots…! When the lovely people at Shein shared their brief with me and the stylist put together the outfits, I could see the individual ‘vibes’ they were going for and decided that they needed to be captured as part of an overarching story. This way I could effortlessly elevate their pieces to another level:

A Good Story Makes a Striking Photo, Exceptional

Recent Netflix show ‘Emily in Paris’ set in Paris was certainly part of the inspiration for these shoots! The team wanted a carefree, yet sophisticated feel that was definitely a nod to classic French style. Alongside this they also had some Boho looks that needed to feel ‘beachy’, relaxed and stylish by the sea. All of these elements and ideas came together to create what we call a ‘story’.

When you shoot as a freelance eCommerce photographer, you are not always given a lot of creative control in how the photoshoot is put together. Luckily however, Shein entrusted me with creative direction throughout and that meant I could fully emmerse myself in every project. My first decision was to shoot early, my favourite time of the day to shoot outside, especially in Lisbon. The light is so warm yet clear, which bathes the shots in a crisp and inviting glow. Next up was locations, and we had planned several scenarios around the city that would compliment the pieces in both style and colour. The overall palette of the clothes was muted tones, soft floral patterns or block colours. This fits in perfectly with the backdrop, as Lisbon is awash with a multitude of pastel tones at every corner, meaning you just need to find the perfect background to match the outfit and make it pop.

The key to professional fashion photography is showcasing the pieces without letting the clothing overwhelm the environment. The same goes for the backdrop, it should compliment the styles your shooting and not distract. The job of the model and the location is to draw attention to the clothing, in a nutshell. The entire image should convey a distinct feeling of time and place, in a world that lives beyond the photograph. In this shoot for Shein, we chose locations that not only complimented the colour of the styles, but also set them within a scene, a world that the viewer can easily buy into. For example, we had a black jumpsuit. In order to frame this shot and tell its story, we set the outfit against a soft pastel environment with pink wall and a mint green vespa! The contrast of the black jumpsuit against the pastel scene made the style really jump out, while the model is moving towards the camera, using the prop. All of these elements came together to not only tell the story of the shot, but also give focus to what is most important, that outfit!

When planning editorial style photo-shoots for eCommerce fashion, it’s elements like the above that can really help the consumer to feel something for a product, when touching it is just not possible.

If you are looking for a freelance eCommerce photographer in London or Lisbon then please feel free to get in touch to discuss your next project!