How to become a Fashion Photographer

HBAF04Do you have a certain talent for putting people at ease and bringing out their best appearance? Are you able to visualize a good shot for a particular outfit? A future as a fashion photographer may be a great career choice for you!



Job Overview

High School or GED
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Fashion photographers work with models and designers to produce exceptional photography of clothing designs.

Requirements and Qualifications

Fashion photographers often work on a part-time, flexible schedule to meet with clients or view shooting locations. They are especially busy before the holidays as advertising is put together. Photographers are often required to stand or walk with heavy equipment in tow, in a variety of conditions depending on where the shoot is scheduled at.

Fashion photographers must, above all else, have artistic skills – a good eye to pick out what makes a photograph extraordinary rather than commonplace. Computer skills to provide digital photo editing is essential, as is business sense and customer service. Being detail-oriented to pick up on small problems in the editing phase is a good skill to develop. As you will be dealing with models, interpersonal skills to communicate what you want from the model as well as to bring out their best is vital to getting the best shots.

Typical Education

Though a degree is not required, many fashion photographers take coursework or pursue a related bachelor’s degree, both to improve upon their skills as well as to make them more marketable on the job market. Classes in fashion photography include a variety of topics including equipment, technique, processing and photographic composition or design. Business, marketing and accounting coursework is vital to a freelancing photographer, to promote understanding of how a successful business works.

Steps to Become a Fashion Photographer

Receiving the proper education, is especially important if you will be pursuing a career with an organization instead of freelancing. Other training includes serving as an apprentice to a professional photographer to learn the ropes of the industry. Developing a good eye and a thought to good composition of photographic shots is also vital to your success.

Similar Jobs

Not quite for you? There are similar fields available including architects, who plan and develop ideas for structures, craft and fine artists who create handmade pieces of art, desktop publishers who develop and print page layouts for a variety of uses, fashion designers who design original clothing and accessories, film and video editors and camera operators, who record and edit video for a variety of uses, graphic designers who create visual designs to communicate ideas, industrial designers who develop unique manufactured products, printing workers who produce printed documents, reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts, bringing information on events to the public, and self-enrichment teachers, who provide educational material to the public for self-improvement or entertainment.


Unlike many careers, salary measurements for fashion photographers is measured by the hour rather than an annual average, with an average hourly wage of $14.00 per hour. This is slightly lower than the national average of all jobs at $16.27 per hour, but includes not only time spent taking photographs, but also marketing, accounting and meeting with clients. There may also be some seasonal shifts in activity, especially in preparing for the holiday season, when advertising goes into high gear, and fashion photographers are especially busy creating sales photos.

Job Outlook

Fashion photographers will experience an average rate of job growth, estimated to be approximately 13% between 2010 and 2020. The prospects for self-employed fashion photographers is expected to increase by 15% over that same time period. With the increased preference by many companies to hire freelance photographers and a strong decline in news photography, competition for job openings will be strong.

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