The difference between Fashion and High Fashion is attitude IMHO. They are both aspects of commercial photography, we’re selling the Dress, the Handbag, Jewelry, etc. and the model is only a tool for displaying the dress, the handbag, the jewelry, etc.

A “great” High Fashion shot usually requires working with a team of professional; Makeup Artist, Hair Stylist, Fashion Stylist, and of course, one or more models. I’m very selective whom I will shoot fashion with. I need to know I have a model who is dependable and that we can all count on to contribute towards the team effort and finial image.

Tonya (pictured left, in photo titled “Natures Spotlight” ) is modeling a Marc Bouwer cocktail dress from the spring 05 collection.

The challenges of outdoor environments can make for a very difficult day. If you’re lucky you’ll come away with one or two killer shots for your 6 to 8 hour day’s hard work. That is why you will notice more work shot in indoor locations. This doesn’t mean to imply you should not attempt to shoot outdoors. I feel outdoor fashion shots are far more effective, but require a closely netted team, communication, and a serious dedication from all involved.

ghesline_8972-copyI’m often amused by lesser experienced new models who contact me about my High Fashion work. They all “want” the perfect shot, but just expect to walk onto the set and walk away a half hour later without any effort at all. Be prepared to work and work very hard girls. You’ll never get more out of it, then your will to put in!!

Lets forget about the height and the body type/shape requirements imposed by the industry these days, because High Fashion is more of an attitude. then it is anything else. IMHO. High Fashion is not about the Model, your selling a gown, a hand bag, even a necklaces, etc. etc. and the model is simply a prop used to set the focus on the gown, etc. the Product..

Ghesline right, Rocks the pose in this edgy fashion look. This took 15 minutes to shoot after an hour and a half of preparation time in hair, makeup and wardrobe.



Tiera, (pictured above in  photo tiled; Windy Wedding) This was our very first look from our  first shoot. We shot this on a Santa Cruz, CA. beach with 45Mph winds. We started this shot off with a pair of gorgeous 3″ eyelashes. Needless to say in that wind, she had to remove them before we could shoot.


I do not take pretty pictures, I carefully design images! I like to think I’m easy going and highly creative. I live only to create unique – original works of Art. I’m always looking for something extra.

kasia_3597 My work demands more than just another pretty face. I’m looking for emotional facial expressions and a lot of body language out of every pose. I shoot all of my personal projects with models I have worked with in the past. Models I can trust to deliver that extra emotion my work requires.

Kasia, (pictured left) is a perfectionist. We worked out this pose on the spot after discussing the need for something unique and original.  The Macy’s summer dress is from the 2005 collection.


Artistic Makeup Artist Christalbell



The key to any successful shoot is communication. It’s so easy to find models these days on MySpace, but to find one willing to work as a team member is almost to much to ask. I require a phone conversation when working with anyone on a new project. I’m amazed when a model refuses this request. Agency models always call within minutes after receiving my number. They are excited to hear and collaborate on shot ideas. The successful outcome of the photoshoot is just as important to them as it is me. A quick phone call also gives me a better feeling for the individual and a little peak into her personality.

The shoot works best when you can capture a bit of the models personality and emotion on film. I feel it ads to the ambeaunce of the overall look and feel.


The shot to the right of Christalbell, was from her Modeling agency test shoot. Wow what a great day that was!! I was scheduled to shoot 2 looks, over an hour at the most. Christalbell just happened to have a car full of clothing, besides being an excellent makeup artist, she felt like playing that night. We ended up shooting way into the early AM hours.  Sadly Christalbell has retired from modeling, but now works as a full time (as my main) Makeup Artist. See Artist Makeup by Christalbell Saville.


From the beginning fashion photography has had more then its share of contrariety.  Many people in the industry, especially photographers consider fashion  to frivolous, lacking in artistic appeal and far to commercial. IMHO nothing can be further from the truth, Fashion is an art form in itself..

Despite all of the issues, trial’s and tribulations it’s so rewarding once you have pulled off the perfect shot. I love Fashion, High Fashion and am about to start shooting 4 projects “we” have been planing for a very long time and I am very excited :)

More to come real soon – Open while under construction :) The Official Website of DrDave



Posted in Category: Commercial Photography

About the Author

Posted by: Dave in: Commercial Photography on: June 4, 2009
I'm a Northern California Professional Photographer, based just outside San Francisco. I specialize in commercial product advertizing and architectural. I have been working with Bay Area modeling agencies for more then 10 years, shooting portfolio development for models and high-end makeup artists. I am highly creative and always unique. I shoot cutting edge projects, both in the studio and on location.

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253 Responses so far.

  1. Great post. I will be dealing with many of these issues as well..

  2. GG says:

    I love your style, both your writing and photography. I hope when we come to califorina this summer well have a chance to meet :)


  3. Becky says:

    Beautiful work Dave,
    I absolutely LOVE your site <3

  4. ron says:

    great webblog, i’m a subscriber now :)

  5. jonna says:

    wow, i wanna shoot with you. do you come to la ever?


  6. jd says:

    I was looking for fashion shot ideas when I found your site. I love your blog and am a subscriber now.

  7. Harry says:

    i love the depth and the use of vivid colors. do you bump these up in post?

  8. abby says:

    I am impressed to read such a powerful story about Fashion/High Fashion. I will be back to read more.

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    I love ur reviews

  10. John says:

    Did you shoot all of these with a beauty dish as well?

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    very insightful and fulfilling. i love your website!

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    excellent work.

  14. sudipta says:

    I am Sudipta Das, i am from India, I am a freelance photographer, I want become a fashion photographer. I have vast knowledge in Technic of photography! I want to learn from you Sir,
    will you make me as your assistant.
    Thanking you,

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