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education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:20 IST
Hindustan Times
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The lowdown
Top fashion photographers shoot photo spreads for glossy magazines, or work on big-ticket print campaigns. Amateurs often build up their portfolio doing ad shoots and brochures for designers. The profession calls for a sound understanding of technique and the ability to convey to the team - model, make-up person, stylist - what you want. It helps if you can build a network of people you can work with comfortably

Clock Work
Since it is a creative job, the hours are flexible, but a photographer is usually booked for a day, which can go like this:
8am: Wake up and work out
11am: Start shoot
2pm: Take a break
3pm: Resume shoot
7pm: Wrap up and chill

The payoff
A fashion photographer just starting out must be prepared to settle for around Rs20,000 or so for a full day’s shoot. Magazines offer a lot of visibility, but the catch is that lesser known names are paid less. An assignment may fetch you around Rs8,000 at the initial stage. As one’s fame rises, so does the fee. Big names can rake in upwards of Rs60,000 to Rs90,000 a day and the very best in the profession can command up to Rs1.5 lakh a day

An eye for detail
. Passion for photography
. Interest in arts, books, music
. Passion for photography
. Fashion photographers need to be comfortable with technology. Technology plays an important role in this field
. Good imaginative and visualisation skills
. Should be able to work well with varying light conditions
. Ability to maintain a relaxed atmosphere during the shoot models to feel comfortable
. Should be able to create a rapport with models to produce excellent pictures
. Should be able to establish good relationship with stylists, art directors, agents and fashion editors
. Creativity and innovation is the key for an aspiring fashion photographer
. Knowledge of editing software
. Good organisational skills
. TBeing a team player is a must, as a photographer needs to work in tangent with dress designers, stylists etc

Getting There
There are exceptions, but as a rule you need to know photography well before specialising as a fashion photographer, says Sundeep Bali, founder faculty member at APEx academy of photography, New Delhi. The institute has a course in fashion photography that is contingent on a certain number of students enrolling. Otherwise, it holds workshops on this from time to time. Bali advises that aspirants do a one-year fashion photography diploma course and then work or specialise further

. Jamia Millia Islamia
. National Institute of Design
. APEx (Academy for Photographic Excellence)
. Shari Academy of Professional Photography
. Light and Life Academy

With millions of brands being launched and desi fashion going global, good work even by newcomers is being appreciated

Parwez K, independent fashion photographer

Pros and cons
Highly creative work
. Allows enough free time
. Lets you travel a lot
. Huge investment needed
. Initial years of struggle