How to become a fashion photographer: a masterclass with Susie Lau

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  • Calling all fashion fans! When the Editor of fashion's famous Style Bubble blog invited us to a fashion photography masterclass with Canon,'s junior picture editor Sophie Walsh couldn't wait to go along. Read her top tips...

    A photography fanatic myself, the chance to try out Canon’s new EOS M camera and get some tips from a blogging expert was a dream come true.

    Susie Lau started Style Bubble in March 2006, and since then she has enjoyed many fashion and photography adventures. She now uses the Canon EOS M camera beacuse of the size, speed and the creative features the camera has to offer.

    It’s easy to forget when shooting that very simple techniques can create the most amazing fashion photograph. Many people think the main rule is to have lots and lots of light; however, it’s easy to get carried away with thinking you’re a sun worshiper.

    An overcast day, which is Susie’s preferred outdoor lighting, is much easier to work with, as it produces a friendlier and more diffused light – you’ll see no dramatic shadows here! And in any case, think of the poor model having to squint up at the sun while you get the correct camera settings. A screwed up face is never a good look.

    As we set about trying our hand at street style shots, here are some things we learnt…

    Always have a plan
    Decide beforehand where, what and who you want to shoot. This will make everything run smoothly, and, rather than thinking about what comes next, you can concentrate on the magic of what is in front of you.

    A shooting tip from Susie:
    ‘In terms of shooting catwalk shots at shoes, I have a set order of what shots I want to get in my head – a full length, a 3/4 and then catch any details close-up (shoes, bags etc.),’ she told us. ‘That way I won’t miss anything. Better to shoot more than not enough. I also like to take pictures of any interesting sets, goodie bags or invites before the show begins so that you have some atmospheric shots to go with show coverage.’

    A shooting tip from Canon:
    When shooting people, remember you are looking at a person, not your camera! Don’t just think about asking the person whose portrait you’re taking to change to another position, but do it yourself too. You’re the one who determines the most favourable or creative angle. The camera records what you have discovered in someone.

    It’s all in the detail…
    Style Bubble’s Susie loves to photograph details. She often finds her self snapping away in restaurant or walking down the street when she sees wonderful textures all around her. These snapshots are great for inspiration on colours and themes for future shoots. For the photography geeks among you, Susie uses the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens to get the finest detail in all her close up shots.

    Framing a photo
    You want the attention to be focused on the person you’re photographing, not on the background. Scaffolding and white van (See my first attempt below) don’t create the best background. It changes the entire photograph; you find your focus is drawn away from those beautiful clothes to read the background sign.

    If you want to express calm in a portrait, choose a calm background. Rather than shooting on a flat wallm (Susie loves to get depth in a photograph) placing a model in the centre of a road, preferably a quieter one, will create an instant frame.

    Susie’s Style
    ‘In terms of styling for 2013, I’m really excited about anything with holographic shine, which also happens to photograph really well because you can really play with the lighting,’ she explains.

    When photographing detail – Susie’s fabulous Prada shoes, for example – don’t just shoot them on a plain floor. There are so many wonderful textures outside you won’t even need to hunt for them.

    My verdict on Canon’s EOS M…
    The EOS M camera is much smaller than any digital SLR but yet has the same image quality. With the huge screen you don’t have to peer into the camera to get the shot. Its easier, quicker and creative to use, plus having the HD video is so much fun! It may only be small, but on the front row with this, you won’t miss a shot.

    See more from Susie’s Style Bubble blog, here.

    All photographswere taken using the Canon EOS M with a EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom.

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