The Leica Look

Fashion

Strike a pose!
What defines fashion photography?

Fashion photography has developed to become an indisputable form of artistic photography and creative expression, not to be casually written-off as only commercial photography. Finding one's creative thesis through fashion photography requires a strong conceptual idea, followed by a series of important design directions: do you work alone with the model or do you need assistants? Should you stay in the studio or go out on location? Do you use natural or artificial light, or both?

Try out a number of locations; don’t underestimate the importance of the work of make-up artists; use original props; and look for inspiration in stories, films and the established masters of fashion photography.

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Fashion photography at Leitz-Park: Insider tips on four categories of fashion photography

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  • Passion

    The streets of Paris are among the most popular settings for a fashion photo shoot. This picture could also have been taken at a Parisian street café, however – like the other pictures in the series – it was taken at the Leitz Park, a location that has become a favorite for photographers because of its diverse architecture. The picture’s impact is caused by the tension between the haunting look in the model’s eyes, the reflection of the window pane, and the slanted framing.

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    This is a good example of how even fashion photography can get by without artificial lighting, when the available light is used in an optimal manner. The photographer simply used a Leica SL with a portrait lens (APO-Summicron-SL 75 f/2 ASPH.). The picture was taken exclusively in natural lighting with a light sensitivity setting of ISO 400 and 1/500 seconds at wide-open aperture. For such compositions it is recommended to use the precise spot metering mode.

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  • Portrait

    A large part of fashion photography deals with beauty portraiture. In addition to the model’s flawless appearance, achieved through the work of the stylist and later perfected during post-processing, the photographer’s creativity also plays a large role. Props, such as the lily in this case, can add elegance to a portrait. Other visual effects and the color palette can further underline the photographer’s individual style.

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    For this picture, the photographer used a Leica CL with macro lens and portrait focal length (APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60 f/2.8 ASPH., equivalent to 90mm in 35mm format). The bright, half circle in the bottom part of the image lends it a mysterious touch. The photographer used a clever trick to produce it: a smartphone display was used as a reflective source in front of the lens set to its largest aperture.

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  • Art

    A certain type of artistic photography can also be considered fashion photography. In this genre, photographers like to include abstract and impressionist elements. The picture here is an example of a composition where tension is created by the use of lighting, the styling (make-up) and the post-processing that followed. The reflections and mirror effects draw the viewer into a fairy-tale world, enhanced by strokes of light.

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    For this picture, the photographer used a Leica SL with classic portrait lens and 75mm focal length (APO-Summicron-SL 75 f/2 ASPH.). An aperture setting of f/10 ensured the necessary depth of field. The photographer used three LED lights while playing around with the mirror. Like all the other photos in this series, it was shot handheld, without a tripod. This allowed for more flexibility and freedom of movement while working.

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  • Fashion

    The symbiosis of street photography and fashion could be referred to as anti-glamour. It’s a stylistic approach that has made its way into mainstream fashion photography since the nineties. Cheeky, provocative and refreshing – an impression also created by this photo. It’s the perfect choice for this sporty clothing. The luminescent colors stand out very nicely against the grey, concrete architecture of Leitz Park. The slanted framing adds the final touch and adds more a dynamic feeling to the picture.

    More Details

    The photo was taken with a Leica SL with a Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 ASPH. wide angle lens. The photographer opted for a low angle perspective, so as to make the models and architecture larger than life. To avoid any backlight issues, he used constant LED lighting from a frontal position. To achieve a balanced relationship between the foreground and background, he set the aperture at f/4.8.

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  • Art

    During a fashion shoot, props can be an important and popular element for enhancing a picture. Combined with specific lighting applications, they can produce or strengthen interesting visual effects. The umbrella used here corresponds very nicely with the creases in the garment, creating a fascinating image plane in front of the dark background that stands in contrast to the quiet expression on the model’s face.

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    To achieve this effect, the photographer used a number of light sources. In addition to the natural light there was an overhead light (an LED flash). To avoid any possible shadows on the face resulting from the use of the overhead light, all the photographer had to do was ask the model to lift his head slightly. The third, passive light source (another LED flash) was used to lighten up the wall to the left of the model, so as to add an interesting structure to what would have otherwise only been a dark background.

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  • Passion

    The reduction of the image content, lit up by a pleasant, soft daylight, is what makes this very lovely composition stand out. In particular, it is the contrast between the fair hair and the dark background that lends it an elegant touch. The discreet colors of the clothing and the right pose in relationship to the model’s eyes – in this case avoiding looking directly into the camera – ensure that the picture acquires the feeling of a classic fashion photo.

    More Details

    The photo was taken with a Leica SL with a fast, normal focal length lens (Summilux-M 50 f/1.4 ASPH.). The photographer only used the natural surrounding light, which was strengthened by a window on the opposite side. Under these conditions, he chose a very low light sensitivity of ISO 50, an open aperture and a shutter speed of 1/125 seconds to ensure no camera shake.

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Insider tips
at first hand in Leica Stores

Experience the possibilities of fashion photography in our Leica Stores around the world. Our Leica Stores are meeting places that offer dialogue and opportunities to experience the world of photography.

Our staff and photography experts look forward to sharing their knowledge and know-how with you in person, offering you constructive and encouraging support across a range of technical and photographic matters.

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The best fashion photos
in the LFI.Gallery

Get plenty of inspiration from pictures you can find at the LFI.Gallery; submit your best fashion photos and include the keyword "fashion" in your tags.

LFI.Gallery

You can learn more about fashion photography
at our Akademie photo workshops

With a broad selection of photo workshops, the Leica Akademie offers you practical and intensive experiences in every area of photographic creativity.

Enrich your creative photography and let yourself be guided towards the best possible image results.

Leica products
for the best fashion photos

Ambient Shot - Leica S | 1512x1008
Ambient Shot - Leica CL | 1512x1008
M-Adapter-L on Leica CL | 1512x1008 BG=f4f4f4

The Leica S system is a medium format system that meets the highest demands for professional fashion photography, whether working on location or in the studio. The system stands out because of its superior picture quality, technical prowess and absolute robustness.

The handy Leica CL also offers numerous possibilities for producing creative fashion photos. Coupled with the APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60 f/2.8 ASPH. you have a perfect combination for producing impressive beauty portraits.

More Details

And with the M-adapter-L (M lenses adapted to L-mount), you have countless variations with which you can create your own particular visual style.

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