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Book Review – Fashion Photography by Bruce Smith

By Pye Jirsa on February 2nd 2012

Basic Information

Product Name: Fashion Photography – A Complete Guide to the Tools and Techniques of the Trade
Cost: $19.51
Website/Purchase: Purchase Fashion Photography on Amazon

Written Review

Let’s face it. The world of fashion photography can be both liberating and intimidating. You can really push the limit of your creativity, but you can also be overwhelmed by all the moving pieces involved in a fashion shoot. And just like wedding photography, fashion photography is certainly very competitive, if not more. The common challenges that many of my peers and I face range from organizing and producing a photoshoot to understanding the business side of fashion photography.

That is why this book, Fashion Photography, is an essential read and worthwhile investment for any budding photographers looking to make a career in the fashion industry.

The UK based photographer Bruce Smith has over 30 years of experience as a successful fashion, photographer and has particularly worked with some of the top couture and bridal wear designers, such as Lyn Ashworth, Eleni Costi, and Margaret Lee, as well as other clothing brands such as Silhouette, MissKini, and Panache.

There are eight chapters in the book, covering technical aspects such as equipment and lighting, photoshoot production and team building, post production, marketing, and a section dedicated to his inspirational photographers. The equipment chapter is fairly straightforward, covering industry-standard lighting equipment such as strobes. The post-production side is also pretty straightforward, as Bruce doesn’t intend to have this book to be about post-processing, and because, as he puts it, there are tons of resources for that already.

The real meat of the book really starts with the pre-production chapter, where Bruce talks about all the things that need to be done in organizing a shoot, from finding the right team of models, assistants, hairstylists, wardrobe stylists, and make-up artists, to all the research that needs to be done leading to the day of the shoot. The book talks a lot about how location and different types of natural and studio lighting will complement your creative objective and the clothes you’re shooting. A lot of attention is given on various lighting situations, including daylight studio with flash, interior shooting balancing daylight and flash, and even shooting in bad weather.

The production section talks a lot about the day of the shoot and what you need to look for as a photographer and a director/manager dealing with the models, crew, and clients. Knowing how to plan, anticipate and execute the workflow of a shooting day is critical in keeping everyone happy and making sure you can get top notch photos. On top of that, Bruce also talks about how you would approach the different types fashion photoshoots, including advertising, editorial, and catalog shoots.

I believe that one of the most important sections of the book is the marketing chapter. Although Bruce does talk about what you should do to market yourself, like your portfolio book, I do wish that he could have gone more in-depth in this section, perhaps bring in guest commentaries from creative directors and art directors.

All in all though, Bruce did an effective job breaking down most of the facets of fashion photography that the professionals and would-be professionals encounter in their career. It may not be the all-encompassing book to get your foot in the door with a client, but it will surely help you to make sure you can deliver when you do get your foot in.

You can check out the book at by clicking the link below:

Fashion Photography – A Complete Guide to the Tools and Techniques of the Trade

Bruce Smith’s photography website:

Article by Joe Gunawan | Fotosiamo
Joe Gunawan is a commercial and fashion photographer based out of Los Angeles, California. Check out his work at

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Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Nice review

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