Emulating Classic Art in Fashion Photography

Fashion is, in itself, an art where the creative possibilities are endless. Here's how you can set up your fashion photos to emulate classic art.

Step 1: Get Inspired

Remember that the clothes are the star. They are your subject and you need to look at them and find inspiration. You'll need to set up a photo that is appropriate for your subject so it is important that you become familiar with it.

The next part of this step involves going through classic art to find a style or scene that you wish to emulate. Find a painting that you feel strongly about. Be careful though because you don't want to bite off more than you can chew. The definition of emulating is to equal or excel through imitation. Pick something that's within your budget and skills.

Step 2: Plan the Shoot

Find a location or a studio that you can dress to look like the scene you wish to emulate. Get the necessary scenery and props. Hire your crew and models. Think of what equipment you'll need to pull off the vision, and order it.

Step 3: Lighting

Once the scene is set, the next important step is lighting it right. Go back to the art work your emulating and study how it looks. Is the mood dark or bright? Where are the shadows? Is one part brighter than the rest? The classical artists were very meticulous about the lighting in their paintings. Look at Rembrant's portraits. You can see that one cheek is brighter than another indicating that the key light is coming from that side. 

Step 4: Shooting

Once the stage is set and the lights are focused, it's time to start shooting. Have the model pose in the same positions that the subjects in the art works you're emulating are in. You're goal is to make a classic art come to life through photography.

Creativity Notes

The steps above are just guide lines. You don't have to pick a painting to emulate. You can use a statue as your inspiration and have the model copy its poses. Also, remember that emulating is striving to equal or excel through imitation. You don't need to rigidly follow the work that inspired you. Exercise creative freedom and try to make it better than the original.

Fashion photography offers so many opportunities for a photographer to be creative. Take advantage of these opportunities and be an artist.

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