Photography is our passion, the pursuit of the best image is our motivation. At Leica, this includes everything from camera designers to our Leica Store employees, from amateur to professional photographers. Often, the quest for the best image focuses on the technology of the products. However, emotions are triggered especially by fantastic photographs. For three month periods at a time, Leica Stores around the world are places where you can experience and learn to master selected areas of photography. The current theme is 'fashion'. We invite you here to discover useful and exciting information about the subject, to be delighted by the Leica look or come directly to our Leica Store. All photo's within this article are © Christoph Gellert & Jean Noir.
Strike a pose!
What defines fashion photography?
Fashion photography has developed to become an indisputable form of artistic photography and creative expression, not to be casually written-off as only commercial photography. Finding one's creative thesis through fashion photography requires a strong conceptual idea, followed by a series of important design directions: do you work alone with the model or do you need assistants? Should you stay in the studio or go out on location? Do you use natural or artificial light, or both? Try out a number of locations; don’t underestimate the importance of the work of make-up artists; use original props; and look for inspiration in stories, films and the established masters of fashion photography.
The streets of Paris are among the most popular settings for a fashion photo shoot. This picture could also have been taken at a Parisian street café, however like the other pictures in the series it was taken at the Leica Leitz Park, a location that has become a favorite for photographers because of its diverse architecture. The picture’s impact is caused by the tension between the haunting look in the model’s eyes, the reflection of the window pane, and the slanted framing.
This is a good example of how even fashion photography can get by without artificial lighting, when the available light is used in an optimal manner. The photographer simply used a Leica SL with a portrait lens the APO-Summicron-SL 75 f/2 ASPH.. The picture was taken exclusively in natural lighting with a light sensitivity setting of ISO 400 and 1/500 seconds at wide-open aperture. For such compositions it is recommended to use the precise spot metering mode.
The reduction of the image content, lit up by a pleasant, soft daylight, is what makes this very lovely composition stand out. In particular, it is the contrast between the fair hair and the dark background that lends it an elegant touch. The discreet colors of the clothing and the right pose in relationship to the model’s eyes in this case avoiding looking directly into the camera ensure that the picture acquires the feeling of a classic fashion photo.
The photo was taken with a Leica SL with a fast, normal focal length lens the Summilux-M 50 f/1.4 ASPH.. The photographer only used the natural surrounding light, which was strengthened by a window on the opposite side. Under these conditions, he chose a very low light sensitivity of ISO 50, an open aperture and a shutter speed of 1/125 seconds to ensure no camera shake.
A large part of fashion photography deals with beauty portraiture. In addition to the model’s flawless appearance, achieved through the work of the stylist and later perfected during post-processing, the photographer’s creativity also plays a large role. Props, such as the lily in this case, can add elegance to a portrait. Other visual effects and the color palette can further underline the photographer’s individual style.
For this picture, the photographer used a Leica CL with macro lens and portrait focal length the APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60 f/2.8 ASPH., equivalent to 90mm in 35mm format). The bright, half circle in the bottom part of the image lends it a mysterious touch. The photographer used a clever trick to produce it: a smartphone display was used as a reflective source in front of the lens set to its largest aperture.
A certain type of artistic photography can also be considered fashion photography. In this genre, photographers like to include abstract and impressionist elements. The picture here is an example of a composition where tension is created by the use of lighting, the styling (make-up) and the post-processing that followed. The reflections and mirror effects draw the viewer into a fairy-tale world, enhanced by strokes of light.
For this picture, the photographer used a Leica SL with classic portrait lens and 75mm focal length teh APO-Summicron-SL 75 f/2 ASPH.. An aperture setting of f/10 ensured the necessary depth of field. The photographer used three LED lights while playing around with the mirror. Like all the other photos in this series, it was shot handheld, without a tripod. This allowed for more flexibility and freedom of movement while working.
During a fashion shoot, props can be an important and popular element for enhancing a picture. Combined with specific lighting applications, they can produce or strengthen interesting visual effects. The umbrella used here corresponds very nicely with the creases in the garment, creating a fascinating image plane in front of the dark background that stands in contrast to the quiet expression on the model’s face.
To achieve this effect, the photographer used a number of light sources. In addition to the natural light there was an overhead light (an LED flash). To avoid any possible shadows on the face resulting from the use of the overhead light, all the photographer had to do was ask the model to lift his head slightly. The third, passive light source (another LED flash) was used to lighten up the wall to the left of the model, so as to add an interesting structure to what would have otherwise only been a dark background.
The symbiosis of street photography and fashion could be referred to as anti-glamour. It’s a stylistic approach that has made its way into mainstream fashion photography since the nineties. Cheeky, provocative and refreshing an impression also created by this photo. It’s the perfect choice for this sporty clothing. The luminescent colors stand out very nicely against the grey and concrete architecture. The slanted framing adds the final touch and adds more a dynamic feeling to the picture.
The photo was taken with a Leica SL with a Summilux-M 35 f/1.4 ASPH. wide angle lens. The photographer opted for a low angle perspective, so as to make the models and architecture larger than life. To avoid any backlight issues, he used constant LED lighting from a frontal position. To achieve a balanced relationship between the foreground and background, he set the aperture at f/4.8.