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Dior Spring 2015
Taken from the spring/summer 2015 issue of DazedPhotography Robi Rodriguez, fashion Robbie Spencer

The advice every aspiring fashion photographer should read

For our #StormPhoto competition, Dazed’s photographic director Lauren Ford shares her advice on succeeding in the world of fashion photography

This weekend – Monday 4th to be exact – is officially the last chance to enter our #StormPhoto competition, which sees Dazed team up with Storm Models in search of the most promising new name in fashion photography. With a brief inspired by capturing rebellious youth, we’re asking UK-based hopefuls (aged 16-25) to share images on Instagram to be in with the chance of winning a photoshoot with Lottie Moss and a one-to-one portfolio review with Dazed’s photographic director, Lauren Ford, as well as a DSLR camera. To inspire those last-minute entries (and help out those who have already applied) – we asked Ford for her insider advice on breaking into the industry. Head here for more information on how to enter, and read on for six top tips on making it in fashion photography.

STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

“When contacting people you want to work for, put your best pictures in your emails and include as much information about you as possible – where you’re from, what you’re doing at the moment, who you’re shooting for. You need to catch people’s attention straight away... so no essays.”

BE ORIGINAL

“The most common mistake people make when starting out is imitating. I must receive hundreds of emails a week with exactly the same aesthetic of photography throughout. We all love and admire the likes of Jamie Hawkesworth and David Sims, but that doesn’t mean that everyone needs to shoot exactly like them to do well. It’s one thing being inspired by someone, but you can’t be afraid to do your own thing, even if you think it’s not cool and no one else is doing it right now. That’s just because it hasn’t happened yet.”

SHOW ENTHUSIASM

“Some of the most important qualities in a photographer are passion and motivation. It’s so lovely when you meet photographers and they’re really enthusiastic, excited and collaborative. I believe photographers should have integrity and do what they believe in, however, when you first start out, try not to be too precious. If people are asking you to collaborate with someone or experiment, you should be open to it. You could discover something totally new and exciting.”

“You can’t be afraid to do your own thing, even if you think it’s not cool and no one else is doing it right now. That’s just because it hasn’t happened yet”

BE SELECTIVE

“You don’t need to say yes to everything, I think you have to be careful. When you’re starting out, you need to build a portfolio, something that represents who you are as a photographer and your point of view. Of course, you’ve got to pay the bills, but I think it’s really important – especially at the beginning – that you’re careful about what you take on and make sure that you’re not doing something that doesn’t make any sense for you.”

COLLABORATE

“It’s very, very, very important to find other creative people to collaborate with. It’s so important that you have positive relationships with your glam teams, your set teams, the stylists, because if you build on them and you keep creating work together, you’re all speaking the same language and everything clicks, and that could be something that goes on for your whole career. Stylists have their photographers or photographers have their stylists. You can’t underestimate how important it is to have good relationships and bonds with people on set for the energy, the finished product and the editing process. If there’s no trust there, someone’s not going to be happy.”

DON’T DO IT FOR THE MONEY

“When I meet photographers at portfolio reviews or universities, one of the first questions they ask me is ‘How can I make money?’ If that’s why you’re going into photography, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. The likelihood is you're not going to make money for a really long time and if you’re only choosing this career for that then you’re probably not going to be very good at it. Most people probably spend the first five years of their careers, maybe longer, in debt – they plough everything they have into editorials, because they want to create a portfolio of work that’s going to get them further. If you want to be a photographer, don’t think it’s this money-making thing. It might be one day, but it will only get to that point if you’re willing to invest – and not just your funds, but your time... blood, sweat and tears.”