It’s fashion month at OLYMPUS towers, which is great news for our resident fashionistas and terrible news for office manager Kev – his jeans-and-t-shirt ensemble has never looked more tired.
For photographers, though, it’s an amazing time. Style afiçionados go all out and let their flagship garments fly, creating the perfect opportunity to get some ad-hoc high-fashion photos. So roll up that plain white background, put away your light stands and take a brave step outside of the studio – it’s the streets that provide the perfect backdrop this season. As sartorial people from all corners of the world descend on your city, use our top guide on how to make your street photography pop with haute-couture highlights.
1. Backgrounds are everything
Stop. Put down your camera and stop photographing that edgy model against a brick wall. The industrial look in fashion shoots are so 15 years ago – there’s no excuse for them now. Instead, think about looking for natural frames like doorways and windows to mix things up. The right mount can lend your images a rustic look, or switch it up with themes of modernity, decay and just about any other feel you can think of. Step away from the Banksy – think creatively about your incidental scenery.
2. Wait, no – light is everything
If your scene isn’t well lit, it doesn’t matter how good a job you’ve done scouting a background. Daytime shooting will produce bright highlights and unkind shadows on your subjects – and you can probably forget about photographing anyone wearing a hat with a brim. Instead, look for interesting opportunities as the evening draws near: in autumn, the golden hour starts increasingly earlier, allowing you to light your subjects from the side with warm, directional light. When you’re scouting for locations it might be worth having a compass handy – or head to your phone’s app store to download The Photographer’s Ephemeris. This handy app allows you to predict lighting conditions anywhere on Earth.
3. Direct, direct, direct
This is less important if you’ve got a professional model to work with, but if it’s your well-dressed mate outside his favourite pub, you’re going to have to take control. Poses that look natural in photography often don’t feel particularly natural, so just because someone’s uncomfortable doesn’t mean they don’t look good. Instruct people to lift their chins, or stand facing away from you and turn their heads towards you to get striking images. It may feel weird, but looks good in the final photograph.
4. Pick on people
No good-looking friends? No problem. Head out to your town’s most fashion-forward areas and start selecting random people with sharp threads. Look out for those making a statement with their fashion as they will be most likely to want to help you out with a picture. A big smile will get you a long way, as will having a stock of friendly business cards so people can get in touch with you for a shot after you’ve taken their photograph.
5. Know your kit
This is important, especially if you’re photographing someone you’ve only just met. No-one wants to stand awkwardly while a photographer tries to figure out where shutter-priority mode is. Make sure your camera is set up before you start shooting and know what kind of picture it’s going to make well in advance of pressing the shutter release. If you’ve got a complicated background use a single autofocus point and make sure your exposures are well balanced. If you’re working with busy backgrounds, get closer to your subject and try to bring them forward for shallow depth of field that shows your artistic flair while minimising everyday distractions.Spent a weekend snapping the good-looking people of Shoreditch or Manchester’s Northern Quarter? We want your pics! Get them processed to perfection and send them onto our Instagram and Twitter feeds using the hashtag #OlympusUK. Alternatively, find us on our Facebook page, or Flickr group and contribute to our crazy images.