How to Get Hired as a Commercial Fashion Photographer

by Patrick Criss

Photography jobs in the commercial fashion industry are highly sought after because they offer potentially big paychecks, wide exposure and access to a glamorous lifestyle. Photography is a growing field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for all photographers will increase by 13 percent through 2020. Despite the growth, fashion photography remains a highly competitive field. Photographers who aspire to work in the industry will have a better chance to enter the business by following some basic steps.


Most photographers do not need a college degree to land a job, but many take classes to improve their skills and keep up with the trends. Classes available at community colleges, art schools and other institutions teach the latest photo techniques and familiarize photographers with cutting-edge equipment. Photographers who decide to pursue a post-secondary degree often get it in a related field, such as business or marketing, to enhance their knowledge and improve their job prospects.


A portfolio is important for all photographers, but it’s essential for industry newcomers trying to land that first photo gig. The quickest way for photographers to assemble a portfolio, as well as to keep enhancing their skills, is to take pictures of friends. As their technique improves, photographers can search for up-and-coming models to work with. The best way to find them is to go to amateur modeling sites where novice models seek photographers. Photographers should carefully edit their shots to present the best photos and make both digital and print versions. While magazine photo editors will look at a photographer's work online, they also will want to see as many as 20 photos, 8 inches-by-10 inches, during a face-to-face meeting.


The most inexpensive way for photographers to showcase a large number of photos is to display them on a personal website. They should encourage people to post their photos on social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well. This will greatly increase the number of people who will see the photos, including people connected to the fashion industry who can influence hiring and creative decisions. Photographers also should consider submitting some of their pictures to an art gallery for both increased exposure and potential revenue.


Photo agents connect photographers with clients and help to sell their photos. For an unknown photographer who doesn’t have any industry contacts, a good photo agent can help bridge that gap. Photo agents will also resell work in multiple markets and act as a publicist for the photographer. Photographers should research prospective agents and get references. Agents will prove the most vital link to the fashion industry, so photographers need to select carefully.

About the Author

Patrick Criss has been a journalist since 1993. He has worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Arkansas, Texas, Illinois, South Carolina and Georgia. Criss is also an editor for the website of a cable news network. He holds a B.S. in communications from Arkansas State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix.

Photo Credits

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