Do you need a degree in Fashion Photography?
18 Nov by Wendy Elsmore
“Do I need a degree to be a fashion photographer?” is a common question we are asked by budding photographers every year. The answer, of course, is not simple!
Photography doesn’t require any degree at all, so you can jump into it without having to take courses or attend training programs. You just need to buy the camera and start shooting. It’s that easy!
However, there are huge advantages in pursuing photography courses and photography training programs. Not only will they help you define your artistic voice (something that can take years to develop naturally), they can also help you develop a distinctive professional portfolio, develop deep fashion-specific photography expertise, AND meet valuable industry contacts.
When it comes to investing in fashion photography courses, there are usually a few options available for you.
One route to explore is finding a professional photographer who teaches photography online, either via email tutoring services or by making their own video tutorials to help beginners learn photography from home.
However, once you’ve completed the photography course there often isn’t much in the way of career support – this is where a helping hand is really needed.
Another route is to seek out a professional photography degree at a creative institution like Falmouth, RCA, or Bath Spa.
However, if you don’t want to pursue a three or four-year degree and you want to be fast-tracked into the industry so you can start shooting and getting paid professionally as quickly as possible (with no sacrifice on quality, of course!), then our Fashion Photography Advanced Diploma might be perfect for you.
At LCS we give you the opportunity to work with industry professionals who have honed their skills and developed a strong artistic voice and are working with the world’s most exciting brands and magazines.
Hear from three of our Fashion Photography graduates JJ, Vitalij, and Zed.
What do you study in a fashion photography courses?
Most photography courses or training programs offer a general overview of photography techniques and don’t specifically unravel the fabric of Fashion Photography.
As you can imagine, while some fundamental photography techniques remain the same, shooting for fashion and shooting landscapes are very different and require a totally different set of skills.
So while anyone could learn photography and therefore have a chance to turn it into a career, few have the deep expertise in a specific field to turn their passion into a well-paid career.
Specialising is what allows creatives to truly develop their expertise and establish a strong and lasting network of clients.
Ideally, you want to be training in an immersive industry environment that enables you to find and develop your creative style. You want to meet new people already in the industry, build your portfolio, and learn the fundamentals to propel you to new and dizzying heights as a Fashion Photographer.
You need to explore everything from in-depth lighting to post-production skills, equipping you with a specialist toolset and a thorough understanding of the Fashion industry.
In the LCS training, for example, you’ll learn about:
- Fashion Photography
- Portrait Photography
- Photojournalism / Street Photography
- Commercial Photography
- E-Commerce Photography
- Lifestyle, Social Media and Blogging Photography
- Art Direction
- Fashion Editing
- Brand Photography
- Technical and Camera Operation
- Photographic Production
- Post-Production and Photoshop
This will truly give you all of the theoretical and practical skills needed to launch an amazing career as a Fashion Photographer.
What are three of the main benefits to training?
Fashion photography is about so much more than just taking pretty pictures. Great fashion photographers know the history of their industry, what influences styles and celebrities icons; they also understand how to art direct photoshoots.
Great fashion photographers know how to work with models and celebrities, but they also understand the ideas behind the style and the different ways things are put together. They will often have a good understanding of what has influenced their own photography as well – from their favorite designers to icons in the general culture we see today.
By investing in training or a degree in Fashion Photography, you’ll be so far immersed in the industry that – by the end of it – you’ll be ready to launch your dream career in the industry as you’ll know what it takes to make it and you’ll be equipped with the tools to get you there.
Without formal training or a degree, you’ll be missing out on the deep fashion experience offered by a specialist provider. This can really hold you back from breaking the industry, even if you’re full of talent and great ideas.
Top tip: Reading up on all aspects will help tremendously when creating a fashion photography portfolio – from researching designers’ work ethic down every detail like hair colour choice. Here are 3 books on the history of fashion and its most coveted brands that you should consider reading if you want to become a Fashion Photographer:
Immerse yourself in industry
Assisting on real shoots is so valuable when you’re starting out as a Fashion Photographer. It’s a great way to learn the ropes and build confidence!
At LCS we pride ourselves in providing hands-on learning experiences and commercial working opportunities.
You’ll gain incredibly valuable experience and work on commercial and editorial projects by assisting professional photographers; working with real models and brands, and shooting backstage for live events like London Fashion Week.
You’ll have lots of fun too – especially on set where there are always people from all walks of life coming together with one goal: creating influential art that becomes part of a brand’s DNA.
From learning about industry protocols from those at the top of their game to making magic happen behind the camera lens as the main talent yourself; you need to be working with professionals as you learn. You’ll get your hands dirty by helping the photographer art direct and make lasting connections with people with a shared passion. Sounds amazing, right?
Build a professional portfolio
Building a highly credible professional portfolio can be a daunting task. Knowing how to develop your artistic style, gather inspiration, make mood boards, plan a shoot and edit can be overwhelming if you don’t have lots of previous experience. How can you build an amazing portfolio if you haven’t yet defined your style? It’s difficult!
LCS Fashion Photography Advanced Diploma will teach you not only how to develop your professional portfolio, but also tricks of the trade that get it noticed. With an emphasis on creativity and technique for today’s demanding industry audience – this training teaches all aspects related to building a solid foundation in fashion photography techniques through hands-on exercises designed by photographers just like YOU!
“Studying the Fashion Photography Advanced Diploma at LCS was fantastic as it enabled me to pursue fashion and commercial photography professionally with lots of industry contacts and opportunities, including paid work. Since graduating I have worked commercially with client Manolo Blahnik, Saragossa London, and Corella at Selfridges as well as seeing my work published in print for glossy editorial.” – Vitalij Sidorovic
Bonus tip: Talent membership program
The Fashion Photography Advanced Diploma training provides you with lifelong access to our LCS Talent Membership. Join the buzz of our fashion and photography community for ongoing support to give you the tools and opportunities to realise your career goals.
Through the Talent Membership Program, we give you access to areas that take a long time to build on your own: an industry network, high-profile collaborations, work experience, and paid jobs!
Attend exclusive events with guest speakers and exciting live events including London Fashion Week plus shooting with press access. You can also select to work with our team of mentors over a series of professional development classes to propel your professional success.
So, do you need a degree to become a professional fashion photographer? No, but having an intimate, industry-steeped training will accelerate your development and allow you to build a budding career as a busy Fashion Photographer sooner.
Invest in your passion and give yourself the BEST platform from which to launch your dream career!
This is where most educational institutions fall down, and is the sole reason LCS exists today; to help creatives transition from education to career, offering industry contacts and connections, as well as the opportunity to build your fashion photography portfolio during the training.