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The A-Z of Fashion Photography and Why you Need it to Boost the Look of Your Clothing Brand

Fashion photography is everywhere. You see it on Instagram, in catalogs, in magazines, on your favorite influencers blog - so what makes it so appealing? Why do we love flipping through the pages of the magazine in awe of all the pieces us regular people will be hard pressed to afford? Why are we so captivated by fashion influencers on the Gram? Here we break it down for you.

A single photo can captivate an entire audience. It can tell a story, share a message, and convey a behind-the-scenes lifestyle that we only get a glimpse into with that one single powerful image.

Fashion photography is one of the biggest, most profitable areas of the photography industry and the major fashion houses have proven that every detail counts.

So what is it? Well, first we start off with a mood. Yes you heard us correctly, mood-board's are not just for the 13-year-old girls throwing together scrapbooks of their rock-in-roll futures. Building a mood-board is how every great fashion Image gets started, and it’s all hands on deck. The Producer, Creative Director, Photographer and Stylists all get together and pull together looks they want to achieve for the shoot. Each person is bringing in a slightly different element. For example, the Creative Director could be bringing in the overall look and feel of the image, while the Photographer is pulling together lighting and background inspirations. It’s important to collaborate with everyone involved so things don’t get overlooked.

While not all fashion photography is created equal, we're breaking it down to help you understand which type of fashion imagery can help propel your brand to the next level.


We don't play favorites but this is our favorite kind. Check out the work we did for BARE Magazine and you'll understand why. You'll find fashion editorials in magazines like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle. The full-page spreads include awkward models (our favorite) and a photographer typically shooting on a location or in studio on a smooth seamless background to best feature this season's latest handbag or shoes. The lighting is typically full, bright and flawless while a stylist selects unique clothes, accessories, and looks to best express the marketing story. Editorial images feature products but are not ads.


A catalog is a collection of photos of a product or garment typically featured on a plain background to best represent the piece. Think simplicity. It's what you want to see when you are shopping for a dress or top, a photo that most accurately describes the item you wish to buy. It's less about the model and artistic interpretation and more about the product.

Brands use well-styled images in their catalogs to showcase their products and how they fit. These images help sell the product, and here at McMillan Creative, we believe they should be neat, professional, and high-quality.

For a stylist, a challenge can be implementing big ideas on small sets. Read how Seattle stylist, Andrea Arkans overcomes those obstacles.


A lookbook gives readers an idea of how to style outfits or trends. A lookbook for brands is what a portfolio is for a model, a photographer, or a stylist. It highlights the best photos to represent the brand. The layout should be engaging, look professional, and highlight your brand’s best work.

We love the lookbook that Vogue just put out displaying Holiday outfits from the 70's.

Whether it's a full brand identity or an editorial campaign for your brand, we want to work with you. Visit our portfolio to see what we can accomplish for you.

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