What is Fashion or Editorial Photography?

What is Fashion or Editorial Photography?


The terms “fashion photography” or “editorial photography” are often used without knowing what they really mean. So we did some research on this terms and found some interesting definitions that we’d like to share with you.

Fashion Photography

For the term “fashion photography” exist a lot of different definitions. Microsoft’s Encarta says:

“Fashion photography is the art or practice of taking photographs of models wearing clothes or clothing accessories, especially for fashion magazines.”
(Source: Microsoft Encarta)

This definition is short and incorporates the term “art” which is an attribute most photographers love to describe their work. It is even applicable to the upcoming trend to nudity in fashion photography. Famous fashion magazines like “LOVE” are showing editorials with top models like Natalia Vodianova, Lara Stone or Naomi Campbell in classic nude art manner with less clothes than the bunnies in the playboy magazine. Why is this also fashion photography? Because the models have at least shoes on or some jewelry.

We’ve also found some interesting discussions on the topic what fashion photography is. Some people interpret the term “fashion” broader not just in the meaning of clothes and accessories. They add lifestyle aspects to it’s meaning. It reflects how we live today, in the past or in the future. We really like this approach as it allows to handle fashion photography in a more creative way. There are almost no boundaries anymore.


 Fashion Editorial

Fashion Editorial


Editorial Photography

The definition of editorial photography is even more confusing than it is for fashion photography.

One try is to explain editorial photography as the photography that appears in newspapers and magazines that is not advertising photography which means it is financed by the newspaper or magazine, but not by their advertisers. But “financing” isn’t always clear especially in fashion editorial photography. The photographer, models and other staff often work for free to get published and collect tear sheets. The designers give their clothes for free, but want to be mentioned in the text. This could be considered as advertising, right?

Some people say editorial photography is the type of photography that supports the printed word, i.e. in the magazines as part of a feature, seperate from the “hard news”. Most fashion editorials in magazines don’t have text other than the credits. So shouldn’t they considered as editorials?

The editorial photographers organization in California give an explanation from a market perspective:

Editorial refers to the market where the images will be used – primarily books, magazines, and newspapers – and, to a lesser extent, to the style of photography that appears in these venues. We use the term editorial to distinguish it from other markets like corporate, advertising, general commercial, or fine art. Most editorial outlets offer a fair amount of creative freedom, but also extremely low budgets compared to other venues.”
(Source: FAQ from the EP’s website)


Filled Under : Modeling

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