London Fashion Week means lots of photogenic people in fancy garb. So grab your camera, or smartphone, and get snapping…
Combining the glamour of fashion with the spontaneity of street photography, a street style photoblog is a great platform for your work and an ace opportunity to practice your people skills – essential for any budding photographer.
Spot a look
Style is subjective. Each street fashion photoblogger uses their own, sometimes unconscious, set of criteria for deciding when to stop and shoot. Hannah Bodsworth, who runs online style mag Nicely Turned Out, keeps her eyes peeled for, “A unique ensemble with considered structure, shape or colour that expresses something about the wearer. Or an outfit on trend, but that you wouldn't easily replicate on the high street.” David McLean, who blogs at Shot by Shooter, takes a slightly different approach. “I collect typologies,” he says. “I’m a very geeky person with a set of boxes that need to be ticked and I love certain types of people, like redheads.”
“You have to be polite and you have to be respectful,” says David. If someone says ‘No’ then don’t take the picture because that’s really bad form.” Fortunately, people respond well to his friendly manner and it’s rare that someone refuses. Alison Awoyera, who’s snapped street style for The Fader and other publications, and will be covering street style at London Fashion Week for her Independent blog, agrees. “I usually say ‘Hi, I really like your look’ and mention whichever publication I’m working for at the time,” she says, adding, “Most of the time they’re really flattered.”
David likes an element of consistency to his images, so he tells people how to pose. “I want them to look into the camera and I don’t want them to smile,” he says. “I find that everyone smiles in the same way but when you don’t smile it shows a different part of your personality. When you look at the images they’re all different, yet they’re all the same. That’s what I want as a thread going through.” Hannah takes a similarly active approach to her subjects: “People usually prefer to be directed,” she says. “Everyone wants to look their best on camera and it helps to show the clothes to their full advantage.”
Frame your shot
Think carefully about how best to showcase the outfit on your blog when composing your image. “I centre the shot just above the person's waist to capture the detail from head to foot,” says Hannah. “I like as much natural light as possible - which is tricky in London in the winter - so catching people around midday on their lunch break is best!” Alison recommends full-length shots for bolder looks but, “If you’re shooting someone who’s wearing a simple outfit, sometimes you want to zoom in and show the detail of their rings or the buttons on their shirt.” David stresses the importance of a clean background. “The colours have to go with the subject. Watch out for clutter and people behind them.”
These days, Alison points out, “the blogosphere is saturated with street style,” so, “Try to put a new spin on it otherwise it can look a bit samey.” David concurs: “This sounds counter-intuitive but I’d say don’t go to fashion shows because it’s been blogged to the max and your work could end up being a copy of someone else who’s already doing it. Try to avoid the obvious. I take shots of people’s heads so you might want to take feet or coats or jewellery.”
Some further inspiration…
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Main image by Hannah Bod for Nicely Turned Out. Image two by David McLean for Shot by Shooter. Thirs image by Hannah Bod for Nicely Turned Out.