The end of summer spells the beginning of the second round of fashion weeks for the year, showcasing 2020’s biggest and best spring/summer clothing trends. For fashion photographers, this time of year is awash with inspiration and opportunity, but getting involved in one of the planet’s most renowned fashion showcases can prove quite the challenge if you’re new to the industry.
Ahead of September London Fashion Week, we caught up with esteemed fashion photographer Kay Choudri to gather together some tips, tricks and advice for anyone wishing to try their hand at photographing the fabulous world of fashion.
A bit about Kay Choudri
Kay has been into photography since his early childhood and developed his passion back in the 1980s, around the age of 6, when his dad gave him his 110-film camera. Kay soon became accustomed to his images being scrutinised with a critical eye, as he tells us how his dad used to get the pictures developed and printed before offering his feedback.
Although Kay acknowledges that he never understood the basics of photography back then, he talks of his love for printed photos and how he used photography as a medium to view and interpret the world around him in a visual manner rather than through written words.
A well-established name in fashion photography, Kay has previously photographed at both London and Paris Fashion Weeks, as well as having been published multiple times in the highly prestigious, industry gold-standard magazine, Vogue Italia.
Nine years ago, Kay started his formal education in photography with a Higher National Diploma in photography from Sandwell College, then following this up with a BA(Hons) degree in Fashion Photography from Falmouth University (2015) and a Masters in Fashion Photography from the London College of Fashion (2017). One thing’s for sure, Kay knows his stuff!
What makes fashion photography unique?
“I find fashion photography to be closer to literally translating your thoughts into visuals. That was the main aim of me going through education in photography, I needed that mindset which would enable me to translate or visualise my thoughts and ideas into a presentable form.
“A pen is used by writers as a tool to transform the words into beautifully constructed sentences which form stories. I use a camera as my tool and lights and shadows as my words to construct the images into beautiful stories.”
Kay believes that lighting and shadows are the two main things to observe in any photography style. “Once you’ve got a good grasp on this skill, you can utilise it in any style of photography. It’s all about telling a whole story with a single image, that’s the beauty of photography.”
Working as a Fashion Photographer
When asked of his favourite project as a fashion photographer, Kay told us about a fashion photoshoot he undertook with a mature Ukrainian model, Lana, back at the beginning of 2016 for his first MA project.
“This photoshoot was the first ever that I felt comfortable in as there were no boundaries on what to do and how to do it, I was free to experiment and go crazy with ideas. It started as random work and developed into something I will never forget. It had a synergy that drove the results of the work which we produced.
“The photoshoot made me get rid of my old bad habits in photography and experiment with anything and everything. When two creative minds come together it makes magic, and that’s what happened with our photoshoots. We created good images which had emotions, silence, energy, drive, aim and passion.”
We asked Kay what advice he would give to an aspiring photographer looking to break into the industry.
“No matter how much you are disappointed with your work, keep going and you will discover your strengths and weaknesses which will shape your work and give you your unique style.
“Don’t rush, take your time to learn your craft. Learn everything that you can do good and bad with your craft. it will only help to improve your work.”
London Fashion Week Tips
2019 is the first year where the British Fashion Council has opened the doors of London Fashion Week to the public – traditionally it is an invitation-only event, open exclusively to fashion photographers, journalists and industry experts.
The good news is that there are still tickets to various catwalk shows available (though they’ll set you back £135, or £245 to sit in the famed front row) as getting into the event can prove tricky if you’re not an invited guest. If you’re willing to give it a go, here’s a guide from Fstoppers that’ll offer you a helping hand.
Unfortunately, Kay finds himself unable to attend this year’s September Fashion Week as he is currently making preparations for his PhD proposal, but luckily we managed to pick his brains and discover some incredibly useful insider tips for anyone wishing to emulate his Fashion Week photography success!
1- Photograph images that convey the strongest emotions.
2- Observe and photograph what your mind is looking for. Photograph what you want to show, keep it consistent and add your stamp of uniqueness.
3- Don’t be afraid to approach someone you want to photograph. Everyone at Fashion Week is there to be photographed.
4- If you like something about someone, such as how they are dressed up, their makeup look or how unique the model is, go and find out more details. Ask about the designer, model, makeup etc… it will only show your professional approach to your work.
5- Give your business cards out to potential artists involved that you want to work with – it’s a great place to network and make some great contacts with upcoming designers.
Fashion Week is the best place to observe all sorts of emotions, you get to see the most creative minds come to present themselves and their personality.Kay Choudri
Kay is currently working on a long-term conceptual fashion project using resonance, shadows and emotions as his main stimuli. If you’d like to keep up to date with Kay and his work in fashion photography, find him on Instagram or Facebook.
As always, we love to see your photos! Share your shots with us on social media using the hashtag #CEWEphoto on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to follow CEWE for the latest news, offers and information.