Matthew Mills Photographer In NYC Tells You How To Make Your Brand Stand Out With Fashion Photography
“Fashion photography isn’t quite the same thing as apparel product photography.” Matthew Mills reveals when asked about how his art can make brands stand out from the crowd. “While apparel product shoots are focused only on the products with minimal distractions, fashion photography has its focus instead on branding.”
After having received his BA in Fashion Photography at Columbia College Chicago, Matthew relocated to New York City to pursue his career – a move that he credits with helping him to grow and experiment as an artist. Now based in the Big Apple, he strives to use his skills to tell a brand’s story through his photography so that its message can come to the fore.
By focusing on the model rather than the products that are being advertised, he can harness the power of fashion photography to portray the narrative behind the products that the brand is selling. It can turn a hard sell into an appealing visual concept that allows consumers to associate themselves with the personality and voice of the brand and thus drive up sales in a way that simple product photography cannot.
Building The Concept
Even the best models, photographer and equipment can’t change the fact that without a unifying, central concept in place for a shoot there can never be satisfying images. When using fashion photography to promote a brand, the key is communicating the brand’s message. The whole point of this is to come up with an exciting idea that prompts great images. For example, an outdoor clothing company could shoot in a remote wilderness location to reveal the rugged and adventurous nature of its products. Meanwhile, an urban and modern apparel brand can opt for something a little more avant-garde to communicate edgy appeal.
Choosing The Location
When you’ve built your concept, the location will naturally follow. Many fashion photoshoots will take place in a studio that has just a plain backdrop of white or black. This is a blank canvas which enables you to reveal your concept via posing and style. However, if you’ll be shooting on location, choosing a distinctive place is imperative. Unfamiliar locations are visually stimulating and fun, while a more familiar spot will have a positive connotation that ensures the message is effectively transmitted. You need to choose wisely to suit your aim.
Lighting It Right
The lighting set up you choose depends, of course, on your location and concept. A glamor shoot inside a studio, for example, will demand very different lighting to an outdoor shoot in bright sunshine. Make sure you plan your lights so you don’t waste time on the day of the shoot itself.
Selecting Your Models
Don’t underestimate the importance of casting the right models. It’s important to avoid selecting someone just because they’re attractive. Rather, they must match the concept and brand and portray the story you’re trying to tell. Active apparel companies need athletic models, swimwear brands need a tanned model. Not only appearance, but personality matters too. You should never push a model to be somebody they’re not.
If your shoot requires laughter and smiling, don’t choose someone with a brooding, dark character. Once you’ve selected your models, encourage them while you’re shooting. Give positive instructions and avoid “don’ts”. When your models feel confident, the shots will look more natural.
Settings And Perspective
When you shoot in a studio, your camera settings will need to be appropriate for portraiture. Telephoto lenses can flatten the features of the face so they don’t look disproportionate when compared to the remainder of the model’s body, and the lowest aperture will capture more light for a flattering look.
If you change the model or camera’s position you can create a whole new perspective to the shot. Shooting from low angles makes models look taller with longer legs while shooting them from above makes them look smaller. This is where you can begin experimenting with original, new angles.
Processing In Post-Production
Once the shoot is finished, CaptureOne is great at processing and color grading the overall raw image before fine-tuning and retouching in Photoshop. These tools allow you to remove unwanted background features, add color to shadows for extra glamor, and to remove imperfections. Eyes can be brightened, definition and fill added to the eyelids and eyebrows and skin can be smoothed out for a flawless finish. Of course, you should avoid going too far – a natural look is still what you’re going for – but you can make subtle adjustments that help you to further communicate the story behind the brand so that your company’s marketing message can stand out from the crowd.
The Benefits Of Fashion Photography For Your Brand
If you’ve never considered using fashion photography for your brand, it’s certainly time to consider giving it a try. It can make an enormous difference to how your brand is perceived by its target market, and can even help you to extend your reach beyond your existing clientele into new markets. By harnessing the power of the fashion shoot and all it involves – the creation of a story and unique voice for your brand – you can communicate most effectively with the viewer who will begin to identify with what your brand is saying and doing.
It’s the best way to help your target market to see that they are on the same page as you and can identify with what you’re selling – not only the products themselves but the lifestyle that your brand is offering. It is only by doing this that you can ensure your brand gains its rightful position amongst its competitors.