Tips On Going Into Editorial Photography
By: Lyra Wilson
Photography is the pinnacle of our life’s precious moments. Capturing people in love, ideas, the little moments, and things you observe. The more you put into practice the idea of taking pictures of things you love, it increases your chances of putting that talent and joy into a momentous photography career. Editorial photography does just that. You can create worlds in images, you can learn a multitude of different niches like film, styling, fashion, art direction, etc. Plus this form of photography can allow you to work alongside your favorite artists in the entertainment industry. Like you, starting out, I never knew my potential in the editorial world and how it would become something I’d be interested in. Through the help of my mentors, it’s helped me find my style and voice. Here are some tips that might help you understand and connect with this medium of photography.
LOOK THROUGH YOUR FAVORITE MEDIA OUTLETS
The first thing that helped me realize how much I loved editorial imagery was simply checking out my favorite publications such as Vogue, Rolling Stone Magazine, and a small independent publication called ACT. I was starting to appreciate the art direction and overall story that it was telling me within the image. So, I definitely recommend looking through images that inspire you with their look, colors, lighting, or concepts. It’s all about how other artists push you toward your own unique artistry.
EXPERIMENT WITH NEW THINGS
A lot of editorial imagery is heavily produced. In other words, preparing locations, paperwork, models, equipment, etc. weeks or months in advance. The best way to prepare for your first shoot is to experiment with new ideas. Find what fits best for the look you want to obtain. It can be anything from finding a location that you would never have thought about taking pictures to trying out new lighting, playing with new props, or learning how to use a new camera. When you do all of these things, you're able to think on the spot when you're in a big photoshoot, and you'll learn what you are capable of making with a few things. Prior to getting to where I am with my photography, I didn't know much about film photography. I knew some of it thanks to my mom taking way too many baby photos of me back in the 90s before digital was huge. I really didn’t utilize the different kinds of film that give off different hues, looks, etc. All of these highlighted my ideas more and allowed me to be more present with my subjects. With film being a top medium in the editorial these days, I’m so glad I picked up on learning how to take proper photos in this medium.
FIND PROMPTS FROM ART DIRECTORS, AND CREATE IDEAS BASED ON THAT IDEA.
Art directors in the industry are responsible for the look, design, and feel that the images should represent for the company or the words accompanying it. This is why it’s good to find examples online of prompts from any art directors. You can connect some via Linkedin, or Google prompts. From there, base a project on that prompt. Imagining human emotion was one of the prompts I received from an Art Director at one point. Although it's vague, it expands your mind to consider the possibilities. As I brainstormed different emotions, I concluded that rejection is something we all experience on a daily basis in some form. This leads me to..
USE WHAT YOU KNOW
A lot of posing, or setting up for still life images is to tell a story and evoke an emotion. Think of it like method acting, use an experience that might help you convey and direct that emotion to an image. For me, I write things based on personal loss, humor, or love in life. It personalizes the concept, your style, and also makes something unique for viewers to digest.
OPEN CALL SUBMISSIONS
You can enter your images to galleries, publications, and for prizes that may help you with future projects by searching on Google. After taking more professional images and learning how to properly size and format your images, I definitely recommend applying for an open submission with Vogue online. You never know if your images will be chosen for publication. Talk about a good boost for your resume!
FIND MENTORS WHO CAN GUIDE YOU
This is probably the key ingredient to the mixture of elements for this profession. Like I stated in the beginning, I would’ve never known my potential if other people in the same profession saw my skills. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I wasn’t guided properly. My mentors have pushed me to think of every little detail and think with intention. As someone who also has ADHD, their advice has helped me organize my thoughts and understand how I want the outcome to appear. I recommend finding mentors anywhere you can. It might surprise you who you may find at stores, colleges, or community events who have the same passions as you and can help keep you accountable.
These are a few of my tips for you to get into imagery within fashion, music, beauty, etc. A great way to start within editorial too is by asking questions and connecting with others. Join our Geneva chat to talk to fellow photographers and other artists!