Seeing an outfit in person can be an incredibly different experience from seeing it through the screen. Take this Insider report of the viral “the dress” as an example. In 2015, a simple, if somewhat blurry, photo of this dress sparked global disagreement as audiences debated whether the dress was white and gold or black and blue. It took several teams of experts to explain how the lighting of the image, which has a bluish tint, is what causes people to confuse the dress for white and gold when it is clearly black and blue in real life.
While most reactions to your photos might not be as dramatic, it’s normal to want your outfits to look as good as possible when you post them online. But, as seen in the “the dress” controversy, this can be a more complicated process than one may think, especially if you take into account things like lighting and photo quality. That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide to help you take great outfit photos and vlogs, even as a beginner. Let’s take a closer look below
Preparing your tools
Professional fashion photographers and vloggers tend to have access to a vast range of tools to help them create the perfect fashion shots. For novices at home, however, these are the few essentials you’ll need.
If you have budget constraints, a quality smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and its 200MP camera sensor can help you take crystal clear images without breaking the bank.
However, phone cameras are limited by their fixed apertures and focal lengths, which is key if you want to focus on intricate details in an outfit and especially when filming fashion vlogs. If you’re ready to invest in a good camera, the mirrorless cameras available to buy online at Adorama go beyond 4K video capabilities and will be more than perfect for the job. The Canon EOS R5, for example, allows you to shoot video in outstanding 8K at 30 fps, which is great for vlogging. It also has face and eye tracking, which will allow you to properly highlight the model and outfit alike.
For more price-accessible digital cameras, Nikon’s range of entry-level cameras combines quality and affordability in the latest mirrorless FX-format Nikon Z 5. Its 24.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and 4K UHD/30p and 1080/60p video modes are paired with a user-friendly interface for beginners to explore as they’re starting out in fashion photography.
Prime lenses tend to be favored when photographing outfits because their wide aperture allows for more light gathering and depth of field. Media content creator Paulo Makalinao explains the benefits of bokeh and how even moderately priced primes can provide this velvety-smooth effect. An 85mm prime lens can especially isolate the subject from their backdrop to capture both striking close-ups and full-length photos.
A 35mm lens, however, allows photographers to capture sharp details and convey a sense of narrative. The best outfit photos and vlogs tend to have a fashion story behind them, and the wider lenses of 35mm allow you to best show the atmosphere, surroundings, and more to create an emotional connection with the audience.
One of the easiest and most efficient lighting setups for shooting outfit photography is a large window and natural sunlight. However, this is dependent on time, luck, and the availability of location. A two-light setup, combined with a simple backdrop, can help eliminate any unnecessary shadow at any time of the day. This ensures that the different colors of the fabric are distinctly highlighted.
Two monolights with a softbox are often used when shooting indoors. Otherwise, portable strobes like the Godox AD200 can be helpful for outdoor shoots.
One of the best places to find inspiration for your outfit photo or vlog is the Internet. You can try a search on Pinterest or Instagram with keywords associated with your outfit, such as “athleisure” or “y2k.” Look at how one general topic such as 70s Teenage Girl Fashion can lead you to a range of different outfit options and the best way to capture them — from low angle shots to highlight the flared leg of jumpsuits, to making use of the Dutch tilt to capture the intricate and mysterious designs of folk dresses and add a bit of atmosphere to your photo.
Looking at references will also give you a good idea of how to pose. Posing for outfit photos is intended to highlight the attire and its most flattering yet accurate angles. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with non-conventional or unnatural poses. Fashion poses are typically more artistic and exaggerated than those in other genres, as seen in the high fashion images in Vogue magazines, in order to boldly put the attire on show. Standing with your shoulders forward or your arms up are some of the most common poses you’ll find that will help highlight your look and make it more dynamic.
Taking pictures and shooting vlogs
It is important to relax and have fun while taking outfit photos and vlogging because this will draw out your best artistry. One tip is to suggest playing music to take the edge off of awkward silences. This encourages you to keep moving in beat with the music, and helps your photos, poses, and videos look more dynamic and natural.
Great outfit photos and vlogs take practice to create. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be left with a lifetime hobby that allows you to pursue and share your passion for fashion.