It’s not the clothes that make a good fashion photo, it’s the lighting. Fashion photography has a very distinct look as a result of the lighting techniques used by fashion photographers. Fashion photos are typically shot outdoors in sunny weather, or in a photo studio. This article is going to focus on the techniques for light a fashion photo outdoors.

Step 1. Choose the right time of day

First things first, you want to pick a good time of day to take the picture. The time of day you choose is really at your discretion. It’s just a matter of preference. If you have a particular mood in mind that you’re going for, you probably already know the time of day you want to shoot. Bear in mind, though, there is a big difference between 11AM and 1PM, etc… I actually advise against shooting right at noon when the sun is directly overhead. It can be too bright, and you’re subject will be washed out.

Step 2. Shooting with a flash

If you’re shooting with a flash, you will want to shoot in either the morning hours from about 9 – 11 or the afternoon hours from around 2 – 4, so you can position your subject with the sun behind them. This of course, will silhouette your subject, but that’s okay because you are going to use your flash to fill the shadow. This will produce an effect that makes your subject really pop.

Step 3. Shooting without a flash

You could also option to not use a flash and use a light reflector instead. The same basic principle applies here; however, the light reflector probably won’t throw off as much light as your flash, so you may not want to position your subject directly behind the sun, but rather at an offset angle. Then simply use the reflector to fill the shadows. The light reflector will produce more of a glistening effect and less of a pop.

Step 4. Always practice good lighting techniques

You don’t necessarily have to use these techniques, the real important thing is just good lighting, period. And that really applies to all styles of photography. There are lots of great lighting techniques out there, and you should try experimenting with all them. When you find a few that you really like, just keep practicing them and improving upon them.

I hope you found this guide helpful. Have fun taking great fashion photos.