girl in red dress levitating in the forest

The Best Fashion Photography Advice + 10 Free Stock Images

Are you ready to elevate your fashion photography to the next level? If so, read this article. Here, you’ll find the most inspiring fashion photography quotes and 10 free stock images to inspire your next photoshoot concept.

fashionable young woman with short black hair and a black turtleneck

Defining Fashion Photography

Most photographers go and photograph something that they see, that exists, and that somebody else has created – they document it. But fashion photographers have to create what they’re going to photograph. We have to go into the thought and build it up, get a girl, get a guy, get a situation, get the house, get the decor. It’s the meaning of word photography: “writing with light.”

– Mario Testino, Peruvian Fashion and Portrait Photographer

I always thought we were selling dreams, not clothes.

– Irving Penn, American Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photographer

Each time I did assignments or editorials, I realized that I wanted to do something more. I saw that it wasn’t just about the clothes.

– Herb Ritts, American Fashion and Celebrity Photographer

When you’re a fashion photographer, you must inspire a dream.

– Patrick Demarchelier, French Fashion Photographer
girl in red dress levitating in the forest
a fashion concept that features a girl in a red dress and white standing in the middle of the forest, seeming to levitate

Fashion photography is foremost fiction. The fantasy is everything because ever since [the images] grow in your head you construct something together. Then you get the right person for it, the right people. You go to the right place, and then the little thoughts you had become images – that is what you call fantasy.

– Peter Lindbergh, German Fashion Photographer and Film Director
fashion portrait of a blonde-haired model posing in an orange and red garment
fashion portrait of a blonde-haired model posing in an orange and red garment

Interacting with Models

I always like to meet the people I’m going to photograph. I need to have a conversation. I need to feel a vibe. I need to see what’s going on in the person. I’m not just interested in physical beauty. I really need a personality.

– Mario Sorrenti, Italian-American Fashion Photographer
close up monochrome image of a model wearing a knit hat and black and white striped shirt
monochrome image of a model wearing a knit hat and black-and-white shirt

This should be the responsibility of photographers today: to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection.

– Peter Lindbergh, German Fashion Photographer and Film Director
a fashion model poses in a red and black ensemble that includes a red hat and black lace fan

I wanted to make women look good. That really intrigued me. To make a model look as though she owned the clothes.

– Brian Duffy, English Photographer and Film Producer

Never pose your subjects. Let them move about naturally… All great photographs today are snapshots.

– Martin Muncaski, Hungarian Photographer
a male fashion model sits on a staircase in a leather jacket, jeans and oxfords
a male fashion model sits on a staircase in a leather jacket, jeans and oxfords

I like to photograph anyone before they know what their best angles are.

– Ellen von Unwerth, German Fashion Photographer and Director
fashion model is captured dancing in a multiple exposure image

Capturing Movement and Emotions

One of the most powerful parts about movement is that it’s a constant surprise. You don’t know what the fabric is going to do, what the hair is going to do, you can control it to a certain degree and then there’s a surprise.

– Richard Avedon, American Fashion and Portrait Photographer

When I was modeling, I was always told that I couldn’t move and I should look to the left and the right. When I started to be a photographer, I really encouraged my models to live in front of the camera. I give them roles to play. You get those moments where they show emotion and not just their physical beauty – that’s what I’m looking for.

– Ellen von Unwerth, German Fashion Photographer and Director

If ever I took memorable pictures… it would have been because I insisted on seeing the clothes live, walked in, whirled and twirled in.

– Norman Parkinson, English Fashion and Portrait Photographer
monochromatic motion blur image of a model in a studio wearing a black blazer

Words of Wisdom for New Fashion Photographers

You should be constantly asking yourself: What do I want to say next? What do I believe in? Who am I? What is my image? To be a successful photographer, you have to have a unique point of view otherwise you’ll get lost in the mix.

– Mario Sorrenti, Italian-American Fashion Photographer

Make honest work, find your style and realise early on that it’s a business as well as an art. Enthusiasm, energy and creativity are all essential qualities but remember to also put your work out there and to have opinions. People won’t come to you. You need to reach them, and you’re competing with other ambitious individuals who also want what you want. Find your edge and run with it.

– Rankin, British Photographer and Director
a fashion model poses in a meadow wearing a white dress and sun hat

Work is your life, it’s not a rehearsal. You work 7 days a week so you may as well enjoy those days.

– Mario Testino, Peruvian Fashion and Portrait Photographer

We are not all photographers. We think we are, but we are not. Photography is a language with many styles and vocabularies. For example, everyone can write a postcard – but very few people can write a poem. I think one thing that the field is lacking is that there are not enough obsessives. Obsession is the great motor of creativity. Find your obsessions, your reasons for becoming a photographer. Find your pleasure – and not a cerebral one! Photography should not be devoir [an obligation or a duty; also the word for homework]. Photography is and should feel like a liberty!

– Paolo Reversi,
fashionable woman in a white floral print dress with red roses

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