Fashion Photography For Brands

 In Marketing Services Saskatoon, Photography Saskatoon, Social Media Marketing Saskatoon

Fashion Photography for Brands & Marketing

For this post we will review the complexity of elements required for fashion photography and specifically how we integrate with brands.

The Role of a Creative Director

Fashion photography is its own specific niche, however overlaps as a component in marketing and as a form of brand photography.  Working with brands and doing fashion photography means you will be integrating directly with company founders, marketing managers or other individuals of the brand.

Per our approach in structuring the communications and management of fashion photography, brand photography and other marketing projects is through a creative director.  The role of a creative director is to first gain in depth insight directly from the brand they are working with.  Then will work closely with member/s of the brand to establish the goals, vision, mission, brand aesthetics and purpose of the shoot.  This is all through the pre-production phases.  Fashion photography is similar to video production as we operate through the three pre-production, production and post production phases.  With extensive marketing knowledge and understanding of the brand, the creative director is the centralized individual executing and taking the lead upon the vision on behalf of the brand client.  Therefore possibly both directly taking action in creative roles to complete the project and/or coordinating the required talent niches and resources to execute.  It’s a flexible and scalable approach in managing brand work of small projects to larger teams.  Note, the creative director can take the lead with full ownership as the experts to complete the shoot, however it is always  important step to gain key input of the brand client.

An interesting comparison may be made to roles of the Producer, Director and Director of Photography on a film set.

  • The client brand you are working with takes on roles similar as a producer. Producers are responsible for the “scripting” or perhaps for a brand would mean taking ownership as experts of their own brand and their brand story.  The director is the lead in creative decisions in production stage however the producer has roles in overseeing logistics business operations internally including resources, time and budget. For a brand this means taking ownership in providing the resources to achieve what is required for the vision.  They are also involved in the distribution and marketing usage of the end result.  LeClair Media however is able to both create the content and distribute/market content for social media marketing or digital advertising if needed.  Some brand clients may have a dedicated marketing manager in house, others may choose to outsource.
  • The film director executes and leads the artistic and creative vision including overseeing talents required to complete the film. This is very much similar to a marketing creative director, however the tasks have a specific focus on marketing and may involve a variety of marketing services such as various commercial photography, fashion photography, brand video production, graphic art or web design projects.  They are the ones to oversee talents needed in particular to each project, or may decide to do more of a diy hands on approach pending budgets.
  • The DP, Director of Photography or lead cinematographer is responsible for the artistic direction specifically regarding decisions regarding camera and lighting. They work closely with the overall vision of the director whom also manages other specialty components in the art department and production design.  In a marketing sense, the creative director is the one whom works closely to execute upon their vision with required niche talents including cinematography or photography talents per their particular brand aesthetics or creative style.  I personally do the commercial photography as well have an extensive history in marketing.  Therefore in brand photography shoots I choose to act as the creative director and photographer.

Components of a Fashion Photography Shoot and How to Integrate with Brands

Fashion photography on its own defines the particularly artistic and visual aesthetics including  photography and lighting components.  This includes conveying the purpose of the shoot through visual storytelling with a particular focus on the fashion/ wardrobe, clothing and accessories.

Fashion photography specifically for brand and marketing usage adds a depth of additional layers and components to consider for the shoot.  It entails an intricate integration directly with the client’s marketing strategy, brand aesthetics, purpose/goals  and overall vision for the shoot. These careful considerations will dictate the strategies upon which you choose from a fashion photography perspective.

Consider what is the purpose end usage for the brand.  Is it for social media posts, social media marketing, billboard awareness marketing, branding and website design?  How to create content for social media marketing is a whole topic and niche specialty on its own.  See further our article that has quite a thorough explanation on social media marketing engagement strategiesLeClair Media realizes a high level of expertise is needed for both fashion photography and marketing strategy when working with brands.  Therefore is why we specialize in both marketing and high quality content creation.

In fashion photography you become a visual storyteller through the details and characteristics of your imagery in which words cannot explain.  Beyond the photographic elements of composition, there is a focus on the styling, clothing and accessories.  The fashion elements, the surrounding environment and your subject play a role in telling this story. Fashion photography involves creating a visual identity through the clothing, apparel, environment and subject with  Intention to highlight characteristics and personality.  Therefore also considering associations with the brands used and their and brand personality characteristics.

Fashion photography is a niche that is very open to explore imaginative ideas.  It’s a great opportunity to bring bold ideas that push the boundaries beyond conventional techniques.  As well there is the concept that people are bombarded with ads on a daily basis.  To stand out from the crowd requires something exceptionally distinctive.  those whom think creatively and differently may be rewarded.  I always try to put a unique perspective if possible.

There are quite a lot of components and details behind the final photo results.  Below we review the components of a fashion photography shoot.

Elements of a Fashion Photography Shoot

Mood board and Consistent Communications

Within the many components of a fashion photography consistency in communication across the team and the client will ideally elevate the expertise of each niche.  Each expert is the best at what they do, years & decades of experience and to leverage that it is through how the vision is communicated.

  • Define your overall vision & concept, the story, narrative
  • Read and prepare a brief overview of the client brand your working with, what their vision, mission, values and their current brand aesthetics.
  • Define the purpose of the shoot and what the end result will be used for, how it integrates with the client marketing strategy. Is it a social media marketing shoot or website etc.
  • The development of a mood board is an essential piece for the simplest shoots all the way to more complex shoots. A mood board is a great centralized visual reference for collaboration of all parties.  You may also include colour palate for reference.
  • It’s always good to have a pre-planned shot list organized or perhaps a pose list. During production it is available to review in real time ensuring all components are completed.  Another approach is to establish a check list of “must haves” from the client, so the end user of the photos gets what they are looking for.  In pre-production research we review creative compositions examples.  For distinctive poses, think about interaction with props & the environment or add movement.  Are the poses going to be articulately planned or more candid?
  • Consider the theme that connects different photos or the marketing campaign together. Whether it be for an editorial type shoot or social media, how do multiple photos interact, engage and relate with eachother to tell your story.

Production Design & the Art Department

The art department is the general term for all art related components and sub categories required in the production design.  The production design refers to the overall aesthetic, visual appearance, of the setting, subject, wardrobe, HMU and any other visual components of the story.

The production design therefore tells the visual story of the subject and environment around them.  In fashion photography the emphasis is upon telling the story through wardrobe clothing and accessories.  These visual details represent what you perceive about the subject and brand.  Aim towards highlighting wardrobe choices that personify characteristics towards their visual identity as well as the overall visual storytelling. The mood board and creative director communications cohesively interconnect the vision of the visual story with the production design elements, fashion photographer and client during production.

You may choose for your subject to represent themselves authentically.  Or you may choose to create a unique visual identity that represents the purpose of the shoot and represents the brand personality.  By immersing into the subjects world consider who they are in detail and their purpose or personal“why”.

What is the budget and how to execute upon the vision?  There’s always a way to give great results within various budgets. Is the budget for small independent entrepreneurs or a larger brand.  Brands are budget conscious and particular concern for return on investment.  Simplicity and authenticity go a long way.  At the most elemental form, fashion photography is the camera, one light and the subject.  There is the option to expand into hiring niche specialties amongst the art department or there is the decision to do it yourself in some areas.

Elements of fashion photography

There is a complexity of interrelated components that all arise upon shoot day, and yes the small details matter.  For example, a miss match in colour aesthetics of one minor component can put the rest of the visual off balance.  Each individual article of clothing represents the company that made it, their brand and brand values.

Stylists or Costume Designers are the experts in designing or creating the wardrobe and look for your shoot.  They have also bring exceptional connections to the brands behind the looks they create.  Fashion choices of clothes & accessories extends to many micro components tops/bottoms, hats, glasses, shoes, jewellery, watches.  Each micro-component contributes a different message towards the overall vision of the story.  Each element is an individual entity that may also be a brand, representing their own brand story and characteristics to be considered.  As well they all have to integrate together wholistically with the colour aesthetics of the overal look.

Fashion photography places importance in the HMU hair and makeup, or other aesthetic niches such as nails or lashes.  Particular shoots may have heavier emphasis in these areas.  Close up face focused portraits for example.

What is the location of the shoot?  Options may include a studio or designed set versus a natural authentic environment either indoors outdoors.  As well within the decision of location included must consider the variables and logistics of that location.  What may be the weather risks of that day as well possible backup plans.  What is the accessibility of the location and amenities that it offers for the people of the shoot.  Exotic outdoor locations are exciting however offer logistical challenges.

Location choices lead into your plan of set design or props & special effects.  The same considerations and details mentioned before regarding wardrobe, clothes and accessories as a tool for visual storytelling also apply to your set design.  The external environment in which the subject interacts and engages adds to the story.  Consider the location and set design overall integrates with the shoot purpose vision and within the budget to do so.  Special effects elements could include something as simple as a smoke machine or a fan(wind) enhancing the mood of your set design.

The choice of your subject will involve either contacting independent models or professional models with an agency. Independent models may include people with particular influence in their industry or that relates strongly to the target market of the brand.  On a very high level your model of choice represents choosing individual/s whom align with the values of the brand and represent the story you are trying to tell.  Your model has an audience and personal brand, therefore is also a tool of authentic engagement into the network of that individual.  Brands look to align with the people whom represent their brand values as well to engage their social network in which are highly relevant to the target market.

Social media marketing strategy integrated into the wardrobe as well as each component and member of the shoot can extend the reach into several external social networks.  Each component is a brand and therefore an external network with similar target markets all integrated into the same final photo.  Many brands know this and intentionally build a community of fellow entrepreneurs & brand relations in which they regularly collaborate.  See here a full article on social media marketing engagement.


Timing and lighting are also critical in planning for the shoot.  Golden hour and blue hour in outdoor shoots give you only a short window of opportunity.  Weather and therefore lighting per the particular day can also drastically alter the mood you want to convey.  Sunny vs cloudy convey direct opposite effects on mood of the shoot.  You also have to ensure all  components of the shoot align in your timing to this short shoot window.

The lighting setup or lighting of the environment natural or artificial will affect how you plan the shoot as well is an important piece in setting the mood. Lighting itself is a specialty in which could have its own article.  Choices include to use natural light in the surrounding environment, or artificial lighting of one light vs many light setup(ex. fill, key & back lights).  Various lighting setups may include split lighting, rembrandt lighting, butterfly lighting, low key portraits, high key portraits, coloured lighting & gel filters, or any other creative effects you may want.  There are lots of choices, but how do these align with the overall vision and how you visually tell the story.



Fashion photography is a specialty of many layers involving the option to bring in many other niche specialties.  Establishing initial communication with the client brand, then allowing the creative director to effectively communicate and execute upon the overall vision is key.  With all complexities accounted for results in high end content that visually communicates the story and purpose intended.  This content is then available for the brand to promoted across many marketing and advertising channels required  The concepts described in the post is how LeClair Media approaches Fashion photography shoots.  We hope to inspire brands to elevate their standards of quality content and consider the many layers behind their visual storytelling.

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LeClair Media commercial photography Saskatoon and Regina, social media marketing and fashion photography with Amanda RullerLeClair Media marketing agency Saskatoon, Social media marketing and commercial photography for Ground Yoga January 2021