In the words of the celebrated photographer and modern art promoter, Alfred Stieglitz, “In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” Fashion photography transports the viewer into an otherworldly experience where a majestic jet white horse poses easily with models, the lush green landscape transforms into a dazzling backdrop, and the models look elegant in their extravagant yet niche makeup and clothes. That illustration still somehow makes sense and feels real despite being so outlandish.
Creativity and glamour aside, fashion photography in India comes with its own set of challenges. ”Understanding fashion to make a unique style statement a fashion photographer can call his or her own is the biggest challenge,” says fashion photographer Ashish Chawla. Fortunately, despite some obstacles, the fashion photography scene in India is thriving.
The fashion photography industry in India has undergone a transformation in the past three decades and has become a career choice worth exploring. With an ever-growing market, fashion photography courses in India have branched out into several streams, producing numerous jobs.
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Photography has a lot to offer to the Indian fashion industry. How else would the public know what their favourite designers created for the runways of London, Paris, and Milan and which celebrity was the showstopper for Anamika Khanna in Indian Bridal Fashion Week? From Anita Dongre’s romantic floral printed saris to Payal Singhal’s pearl-embedded prints to Shivan & Narresh’s fringed drapes, fashion photography has brought the Lakmé Fashion Week into the homes of people.
The demand for fashion photographers has seen such a surge today that there is no question on the lucrativeness of this career choice.
However, as French-American fashion columnist Diana Vreeland once said, “Fashion is part of the daily air, and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.” It makes one wonder about the artistry and science that goes behind capturing fashion, especially in a country like India with diverse cultures, art forms, and social richness.
Maybe that’s why getting trained through a professional course is the best way to establish oneself as a fashion photographer in India. Fashion photography courses in India have risen from zilch to zillion since the 90s. Such courses guide students with the technical skills of photography while enabling them to explore image-making tools for commercial and editorial fashion photography.
Learning from the best helps one stay ahead of the curve. Getting enrolled in the one-year exclusive Fashion Photography course provided by Pearl Academy in collaboration with the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) will give students an opportunity to learn from award-winning international photographers at world-class professional studios.
Behind the glitz and glamour of Indian fashion photography
It is not rare for aspirants to shy away from this career, picturing the life of a fashion photographer to be plagued with paparazzi-like assignments, while sweating day and night in closed studios with models and designers.
However, in reality, fashion photographers seldom have a monotonous day, if any. Meeting new people, working in teams, scouting locations, understanding the designer’s vision, and bringing something extra to the table comprises a day in their life. Even the average income for fashion photographers is quite decent, nearly two to three lakhs per assignment.
While for freelancers, the day looks different. Other than making images, marketing themselves, looking for opportunities, building connections, their afternoons are occupied with editing images, planning mood boards, organising shoots, and developing creative ideas.
Young photographers like Ashish Shah and Anai Bharucha have found fashion photography to be an inclusive way of creating art which embraces people of different races, shapes, sizes, and genders.
Fashion photography in India has not only elevated the public’s interest in fashion but is also drawing large crowds to exhibitions and galleries. With the sudden increase in street-style blogs, influencers, Instagram posts, and Pinterest art, fashion photography has become a new visual language for all.