What to look for before hiring a Fashion Photographer in New York

Before you hire a fashion photographer to shoot your next line you should look for specific qualities, and ask certain questions. One of your starting points will be reviewing their portfolio...

There are lots and lots of fashion photographers in New York. The challenge you have is filtering out the best for you and your budget. The photographer you choose should be reflective not only of your brand, but also the amount of effort invested elsewhere in the line - from choosing fabrics to organizing distribution. Hiring a fashion photographer must be as deliberate and measured a decision.  

Following these simple steps could be the difference between your line being a runaway success or a runway failure.

Model on-set for Fashion Shoot, New York City

Model on-set for Fashion Shoot, New York City

1) Consistency in portfolio

From dark and broody to light and airy, make sure you get a consistent thematic feel for their fashion work. You are infinitely more likely to be disappointed with the outcome if the photographer’s portfolio is all over the map. Minimise the risk of disappointment: go to their website and look to see if there is a consistency in their approach - it shows they can replicate the magic.

Walk away if you hear:

“We can always modify it in post”. If they don’t get it at the outset, then there will only be so much they can do. Not to mention retouching can get very expensive, very quickly."

2) Visual tonality that matches your brand

If you market yourself as being hand-crafted, then look for a fashion photographer who will capture your attention to detail. If you are a fashion-forward brand, then check that the photographer’s portfolio shows that they are up-to-speed with the latest trends. There should be no disconnect between your brand and the way your brand is interpreted by the photographer.

Walk away if you hear:

“Don’t worry, we’ll adapt to you on the day…”

3) Similar clients

Look to see if they’ve worked with similar types of clients, that they will get your approach. This is particularly important if you are a smaller business and cannot afford a full-blown shoot with all the bells and whistles. Work with someone who telegraphically gets you and your brand, and will understand the business purpose of the shoot.

Walk away if you hear:

“This is the way all your competitors do it. We should just replicate”

4) Ability to focus

Scrutinise the portfolio - are any of the clothes wrinkled? Is the backdrop dirty? Put the artistic merit to one side and judge the work for its purpose - do you think the target consumer would want to buy the product the way the photographer has shot it?

A fashion photographer should always elevate a product.  Ask yourself, does the product in the photo feel more expensive than it actually is.  If so, thats a winner!

Walk away if you hear:

“Don’t sweat the small stuff, I’m all about conveying the mood”

5) A creative vision

Look for someone who stands out a little, but without making themselves the hero. Photographers are, after all, creatives. You are making an investment in having this product shot, so make sure the output is going to be reflective of all the hard-work you’re putting into it.

Although seeing that a fashion photographer’s work has been published (and therefore validated), don’t discount photographers that may not have that much published.  You may catch a rising star while saving money at the same time.  Again, the consistency is what you are looking for - that they can replicate what they do over and over in various situations.

Walk away if you hear:

“I am really looking for you to provide the direction. I will execute against your vision”

Let us know what you think. Are there any additional kernels of advice would-be clients should know before hiring a fashion photographer?