Photography Tips - Shooting Fashion Photos

Hello Instasize family! Brittany from the Instasize team here to give you a few pointers when it comes to shooting fashion photography on a DSLR camera. Here are some of my go-to tips whenever I find myself either taking photos for a fashion blogger or simply wanting to take a cute high quality #OOTD snapshot without using my iphone.

Shooting with a DSLR doesn't have to be difficult! Always keep these things in mind when planning and executing a shoot to ensure you get the most of your photography session.


Finding the right location can sometimes seem like a huge stressor, don't overthink this! A nice neutral tone wall will always do the trick. Take a scroll in your neighborhood, use the brick wall of your house, find a nice vine wall or go explore downtown. Anything will do! Keep in mind that some locations will appear different at certain times of day. Just have fun and remember to scout out a few of your favorite spots prior to actually shooting. That way you'll feel even more prepared.

Camera Settings

Uh many buttons on a DSLR camera.. what to do?! The three main settings I am most aware of while shooting are my aperture, shutter speed, and my shooting grid. I typically set my aperture anywhere between f1.8 - 2.5 this will ensure great bokeh and added depth of field. My Shutter speed is usually at least 125 to ensure there are no “blur” movements when taking movement shots. Last but not least, I like to have my 3x3 grid enabled to ensure my horizons are leveled (this will also help save time in post editing) This is usually found in the menu settings of your camera.

If you’re wondering about ISO, this setting I am constantly changing due to frequent light changes. Rule of thumb, I try to never go past 800, once I go above 800 you may experience some “grainy” or “noise” which is perfectly fine if you enjoy the more filmic approach!

Types of Lighting

  • Outside Shaded

    Now if you’re shooting outside I tend to find some well shaded areas to avoid any harsh lighting. This can range from building shadows, underneath some trees, under a canopy etc. Shade is your BFF, and will make your photos appear evenly toned!

  • Direct Light Outside

    High noon light may appear intimidating but don’t let it overcome you! I highly suggest that everyone gives direct light a try. It can add some really intense looks to fashion photography and make heads turn. Rule of thumb (for beginners), be sure your subjects face is entirely shaded by the light (have the sun behind them if at all possible).

    Once you begin to test the waters with direct light you’ll be able to handle harsh lighting like a champ and shoot with light directly on the face!

    Quick note: You will notice your shutter speed will be high and a smaller aperture, that's ok!

  • Indoor Lighting

    I love shooting in a natural light studio, hands down! If the weather is NOT permitting, shooting indoors will be your next option (and my absolute favorite). You’ll want to make sure all lighting is turned off, with the exception of any studio translucent lighting, you’ll want to keep those on. In most cases natural lit studios are well lit anywhere you shoot! To ensure great lighting, I recommend shooting near a window to allow as much natural light in on your subject.


I hardly ever have my models “pose". I typically will let them do their thing and I just capture their reaction, movement, or expression. For example, I may crack a joke and when (or if) they laugh that's when I usually start taking pics. Or I’ll simply have them cross the street and I’ll capture their movement.

It's All About the Details

Remember that in most cases, Fashion bloggers are shooting clothing items or product in general that need to show detail. Be sure that what you are shooting you are making an emphasis on that certain product. Capture its unique details!

If I have a model shooting with a handbag, I always get 3 shots:

  • Shot #1: A front-facing shot of the bag either in hand or hanging from the shoulder.

  • Shot #2: Any unique details like zippers, pockets, inside pocket patterns etc.

  • Shot #3: One in-action shot of the product, in this case, I’ll maybe have the model pretend to be grabbing her iPhone out of the bag from the pocket or if she’s shooting in a dress, I will have her “twirl” to show movement in the dress.

Your main goal is to sell this item! Draw potential customers to want to have that bag!

To Wrap It Up

When it comes to fashion photography just have fun! Be creative and never stop taking photos. For the longest time (and I still do) I always create a fun Pinterest board with poses that I want to try but add my own spin to it. I'm always looking for new ways to challenge myself creatively when shooting. I'll clip magazine photos and create little mood boards to help get the creative juices flowing! Never be afraid of something new.

Find me on Instagram at @brittanynikolephoto for weekly photo tips n’ tricks!

RELATED READING: 2020 Fashion Marketing: Everything you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.

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