What Bruce Smith the fine art portrait photographer loves to create:
Bruce Smith creates stunningly beautiful contemporary fashion inspired portraiture of woman using his 35 years experience as a published professional fashion photographer, his finished contemporary portraits reflect both your inner and outer beauty providing you with an everlasting memory of who you are right now in your life to look at to see your beauty and to keep for ever.
Who is fashion and portrait photographer Bruce Smith
Whenever the world’s ‘Top Fashion and Celebrity Portrait Photographers’ are discussed, one name which is always mentioned with immense respect and admiration is Bruce Smith.
His 35 years professional fashion and portrait photography experience
Since starting as a freelance photographer in 1983, Paris, Monaco and Bordeaux based photographer Bruce Smith has continued to produce stunning and incredibly memorable fashion images, fine art nudes photography, celebrity portraits, nudes and boudoir style portraiture photography on a specialised skill level which leaves other “great” photographers in complete awe of what he has created.
Teaching his photography knowledge to other photographers for nearly 20 years
Over the past 15 years Bruce has been sharing his knowledge and experience gained over his distinguished career to encourage and inspire other photographers through his fashion, portrait and nudes photography courses, workshops, master classes, fashion, portrait or nudes photography holidays in France near Bordeaux as well as other major fashion cities around Europe.
Fine art books of some of Bruce’s contemporary fashion, nudes and portrait photography
Bruce has recently gone through his astounding archive of images to produce a new fine art book titled “130k Words in Pictures”, which contains a collection of his best and most iconic photographs. It comes as no surprise that it has already been described as a “classic” by many of his peers within the industry.
Considered a legendary fashion and portrait photographer by the professional photography industry
Legend is a very over-used word in the modern day world, but Bruce Smith can be described as a legend within his industry and lifetime, without any contradiction or argument.
Authored by Paul Abraham
(Not my own words, in-fact I was quite embarrassed to read the above when I saw it for the first time)
Fine artistic nudes photography workshops
Fashion photography workshops
Portrait photography workshops
Commercial, editorial and fashion photography
Introduction to Fashion Photography
This lesson will guide you through the introduction part of this fashion photography course where you will learn where to get your ideas and how to deploy them in order to make your first fashion photos attractive and fun.
Table of Contents
- Getting Started,
- Research Your Ideas From Magazines
- Your Assignement: Magazine Research For Ideas
1. Getting Started
Several years ago, I met a fellow photographer – Albeit, he was an amateur, he was a very good one (the difference is not always the quality of the work . The difference is that one does it for love, the other does it for money). He is now a new friend and fellow photographer named Marco, an Italian. His day job is as the top children’s heart surgeon in the UK. His passion for photographing people takes him all over the world, seeking out that special face, interesting enough to be captured on film or digital file.
I invited Marco to bring his images to my studio for a chat over coffee, during which Marco asked me if I would like visit his photographic society to meet the other members and discuss the possibility of me giving a talk about my fashion photography. I said to Marco,
“Whatever will I talk about?”
Well, first off, he said, there is something very magical in the expressions of my models and in the atmosphere of my fashion, beauty, portraits and nudes photography pictures that he would love to have in his own photographs. He asked me how do I achieve this.
Shocked at his remark, I said, “No, I can’t, because I don’t know myself.”
During my visit to Royal Photographic Society camera club, we arranged for my talk to take place nearly 9 months later, so I had time to think about my talk and to get myself prepared.
For days, I looked at my work and examined myself whilst shooting my fashion photography assignments. It was not until maybe 6 months later whilst photographing a bridal-wear collection for one of my clients that something clicked. I had decided that I would like to start shooting with wider lenses to change the style of my bridal-wear pictures. I shoot for so many bridal-wear designers, so I have to make their fashion images look and feel very different to each other. It also helps to use a short zoom, because during most of my shoots, I can take a variety of images from full length to portrait shots from the same position, so my client gets much more usage out of the shots re publications and options for different layouts.
While moving in closer to my model during my next bridal wear fashion photography shoot, I noticed a big difference in the expressions in her face and her body language – they changed and seamed to brighten up with more expression and a sparkle not just in her eyes, as I got closer to my model. I experimented more and began to play with this for the rest of this shoot. Not only could I see better, it also created a much better flow of the positive energy and the general communication between my model and myself.
For years, I have been shooting fashion pictures using medium-length telephotos, at times so far away that my models could not hear me directing them.
During this shoot an amazing thing had happened. I could see, feel and control so much more during my fashion photography shoots. Not to say that I will never use long lenses again, just that for now I prefer the new results that I am getting with wide lenses. In fact, most of my recent projects I have shot with a wide zoom.
I find that by doing the poses and having the expressions in my face that I want in my images, my models seem to mirror mine. If I act daft, they act daft. If I laugh, they laugh. If I pull a sad face, they pull a sad face – which always makes them smile and some times laugh but with me not at me, you have to witness this to really understand.
Since this experiment, I have been adapting my directions to my models in much the same way, obviously changing my energy levels to match the levels I want in my pictures. If I want a nice soft and gentle feel, I express this in my voice and my manor and my body. If I want high energy, I do high energy. If I want my model to leap, I will leap.
Think about this as if you were a conductor. The next time you attend a concert, watch him or her, and watch the orchestra. They mirror him – fast tempo, slow tempo, and medium tempo. You can do the same with your models.
Fashion pictures for me have RHYTHM and TEMPO. If you want to express high energy or tempo in a picture, the shoot has to be high energy or tempo, or visa- versa. I look at pictures and sometimes wonder how boring the shoot must have been. I love to change the tempo up and down whilst I’m shooting, I would hate it if anyone viewing my pictures did not feel this energy. This is why I strive to make my shoots exciting for myself, my model, the other members of my team, and, most important, for my clients.
As a photographer, you are the conductor, your models are your orchestra, and your clients or viewers of the pictures are the audience. So you have to direct and entertain. Your performance will reflect in your pictures.
I want you to try a little experiment.
The next time you have people over to your house or you get a moment with some people at work, pick a volunteer. Face each other, one or two feet apart, don’t speak, and don’t look at each other. In fact, do your best to imagine they are not there. Stay like this for 30 seconds and remember how this feels. Stay in this position but hold each other’s hands, look into each other’s eyes, smile at each other, don’t speak. Instead of imagining they are not there, do the opposite. Try and send them all of your good energy. Stay like this for 30 seconds. Remember how this feels, and compare the feelings. Ask your friend or colleague and the others to explain how it felt for them.
The next time you are shooting fashion, portraits, nudes or people pictures, remember all of these feelings.
2. Research Your Fashion Photography Ideas from Magazines
Good sources for ideas are the fashion magazines: Beg, borrow, or buy them all. Then select the ones that are of interest to you, so you can plan you images to suit your interest. Magazines are all different, so keep looking at their fashion spreads and the advertising images for fashion or fashion-based products like perfumes and cosmetics, etc. Build up a collection of tears (pages torn out of the magazines) that you feel you would have been proud to have taken or that you would like to try and copy. Copy, you say? I don’t copy … but the best way to learn is to emulate the work of other photographers whose pictures you admire. Eventually, your own style will develop.
Some of the world’s greatest artists will have started as apprentice to an older and greater artist, so their work will have expressed similarities to their mentor – so
you can do the same. Also remember: There’s not a lot that’s new – especially in the fashion business. Styles, colors, and lengths all go into and out of fashion. The same with photography.
If you want to shoot for magazines, your style has to reflect modern Mode, Avante Garde, and Vogue, but also show elements of something different and new. Every shot you take should show your flair and your passion for photography and fashion. This takes time to develop. The best way to discover is to explore. Every shoot that I do is an exploration in form, line, pattern, color, and emotion. All of which you as a fashion photographer will have to explore for yourself, and the only way to find this is to get your feet wet and to jump in. SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT! The fashion business is fast and changes every 4 to 6 weeks.
Look in the windows of the fashion chains. The displays will be different. Before fashion is displayed in shop windows, it will have been reflected in the magazines that create the demand that encourages us to be FASHIONABLE, TRENDY, CHIC, etc. As a fashion photographer, you are a part of this whether you are shooting fashion for the magazines, the catalogues, or for advertising.
3. Your Fashion Photography Assignment: Magazine Research Ideas
In preparation for your final assignment and to help you with your first test shoot, buy or borrow some fashion magazines. If you’re not familiar with doing this (guys): Talk to your sisters, daughter, or other relatives. If you wish to shoot men’s fashion, do the same in reverse. Take a trip to your news agent, bookstore, or magazine stall, and browse the shelves. I have spent many hours looking through the various choices of mags. Magazines are carefully positioned to relate to markets of fashion interest, so if you have a bias of interest to a market sector, take a good look at the fashion magazines that you relate to. You can – if you’re like me – pick the obvious: Vogue, Glamour, Elle, etc. Most important is to be aware of fashion, and within it, the various markets for fashion. Pick an area that suits your interest.
I want you to start collecting tear sheets (i.e., the pages of fashion pictures taken out of the fashion magazines) of shots that you like, admire, or wish you had taken. Don’t forget: If you have borrowed the mags, ask permission to tear pages out of them. Your fashion interest will begin to grow as you view these. Look at the lighting, the locations, the clothes, the models, the rhythm, and the tempo of the shots. Try to understand how the photographer achieved the shots. Make notes for the ideas that you have.
You may not be able to understand things like the lighting at this point. This will develop as time goes on and the more you experiment. For your first shots, I would use only daylight, because getting bogged down with studio flash can be a big problem that can hamper your ability to get lovely shots. If anything is going to go wrong, it will be studio flashes that break down or cables that don’t work.
Although I can light with flash, there is no light better than daylight. Even when shooting with flash, I will try and make it look natural – unless I am using flash as an effect for the pictures.
When you have collected a good selection of tears, start making up a fashion story of your own. You may like to start with a color, then theme your pictures around it. Pick tears that have poses you like, lighting you like, models you like, and locations you like, and think you can find where you live. Most important is to make the story hold together. Think in spreads, then sets of spreads. Most fashion stories have 4, 6, or 8 pages, so your story should be at least 4 pages – i.e., 4 fashion shots, one per page. Or if you prefer, follow these steps for single fashion pictures like the perfume, cosmetics, of fashion ads.
The fashion ads will be shots selected from the collections they have photographed for their brochures and catalogues or single shots taken specifically for their ads.
It is always advisable to have a good idea as to which of these areas you want to work within. As a new photographer, it is unlikely for you to be commissioned to shoot an advertising campaign, but if you have lots of good stories in your book, you may be asked to shoot for a magazine – a great place to get your work published. It’s your showcase, so even if you are not being paid very much – or even nothing – for shooting, the pictures should reflect your style and your skill.
This should show the type of fashion that interests you: sportswear, evening wear, holiday clothes, lingerie, swimwear, couture, young fashions, adventure wear, etc., etc. These tears should show different poses, the location, color, and type of model that you like and suits the story.
Please make notes to help me understand your objectives for the pictures and story.
Note: If you don’t have a scanner, photograph the tears on a digital camera, pin them to a board, and photograph them in a shaded, evenly lit place.
GOOD LUCK… I am looking forward to seeing your ideas develop!
If you have already subscribed to be mentored fashion photography course please submit your 4 tear sheets from this week’s assignment when you have finished to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Live fashion, nude and portrait photography workshops
Held at a stunning chateau location Chateau Fengari (formerly Chateau De Clerac) near Bordeaux, France during 2018.
I have a series of group fashion photography workshops, nude photography workshops and portrait photography workshops, also you can have a private one 2 one photography workshop also held at the chateau, click the image for more more information.
Be mentored through this “Fashion Photography Course”
If you wish to be mentored through out this fashion photography course please send an email to email@example.com to set up dates for your “How To Shoot Fashion Photography” mentored course program. The price for this 8 lesson course is 199 UK Pounds. (Its works out at under 25 UK Pounds per lesson)
End of Introduction to Fashion Photography Lesson 1
All workshops are either held as 1-2-1 private workshops or restricted numbers of photographers on all group workshops.
In order to maximize this education opportunity, each delegate is assured private one-to-one shooting time with every model for each and every ‘look’.
Bruce has been a professional fashion and celebrity portrait photographer for 35 years.
You are a part of the team for the time you are on your course.
Delegates assimilate fully with the models, stylist and hair and make up artist and learn hands on from Bruce and the team just what performs, what does not and why.
Bruce has shoot for his many fashion clients on location all over the world from Alaska to Australia. Above was shot in Colorado.
Discover the secrets of shooting amazing fashion, portrait and nudes photography lighting .
Learn how the photos you have seen in numerous publications are achieved, when you discover how Bruce lights his amazing location or studio portraiture photographs, then practice it for yourself through the lesson!
Bruce was commissioned to write the first how to shoot professional digital fashion photography book USA: Fashion Photography A Complete Guide UK: Pro Digital Fashion Photography A Complete Guide)
What past students have said.
When you book your fashion, nudes or boudoir portraiture photography class, have a look at the former students remarks and photographs, exactly where each picture was shot by delegates whilst on Bruce Smith fashion portrait or nudes photography workshop.
Celebrating 35 years as a professional fashion photographer this year since Bruce’s first fashion photography shoot assignment back in 1983
You will be working with a professional team.
Bruce only chooses working professionals to be part of his team. This guarantees that the wardrobe stylists and make up artists are creating relevant and dazzling ‘looks’ that help to make the daylight studio fashion pictures that will go in to your portfolio be right UP TO DATE fashion photos..
Fine art nude portrait by Bruce Smith
Agency standard professional models.
You’ll be shooting with Bruce’s choice of agency level professional artistic models, selected for their appearance in addition to their ability to work with photographers. For those who have never captured pics of a professional model before, it will give you an insight to a completely new world of creative imagination.
Mixing flash and daylight on a clients location fashion photography shoot in London
Essential information tips and hints.
The Bruce Smith Photography Academy Classes will give you a foundation from which to actively pursue freelance photography as a vocation. The photography courses contain essential insights, tips and techniques that will inspire you to develop your own skills and style as a fashion nude photographer – so you too can capture the glamour, dynamism, and sophistication of the glamour photography industry.
Shooting classical fashion on location with just the available light and relfectors
To become the best you need to be taught by the best.
Students receive a professional experience because we only use the best team members, models and facilities for these courses. YOU will be taught by a seasoned professional with 35 years experience shooting for high calibre studio clients all over the world.
Chateau De Clerac near Bordeaux, the location for most of Bruce Smith’s fashion, portrait and nudes photography workshops
Combining the important elements.
During these photography classes, Bruce demonstrates and explains to you all of the key information, from setting up the perfect lighting set ups for people or preparing to shoot on location. Working with agency standard professional professional models. Post-production and Photoshop for location fashion skills and how to break into this amazing industry. Helping you to compete within the fashion photography business.
Bruce on the top of a mountain in Alaska, it was taken during one of his many location fashion photography shoots produced around the world
You will get a unique opportunity to combine all of these elements to produce your own bridal fashion portraiture pictures for your portfolio during these photography courses.
To achieve amazing fashion, portraits or nudes pictures you need to be able to communicate, direct and be in control of your shoot. All of which you will learn during a Bruce Smith photography workshop and all of these skills he teaches and helps you to refine so you are at the start of developing your own unique style of fashion, portrait or nudes photography.
Contact Bruce Smith below if you want to talk to him about your own fashion, portrait or nudes photography training.
As a fashion photographer I have spent my whole working life aspiring to work in Paris. My dream came true nearly 3 years when I first moved to Paris, France.
I love to create images of couture fashion designers gowns, bridal wear designers dresses, lingerie and swim wear, high fashion brands, fine art nudes, actors head-shots and a mixed genre of portraiture of people from a simple head shot portrait to highly styled fine art portraits or sexy boudoir images that really connect the subject with the viewer.
Have been shooting fashion, beauty, portraiture and people pictures for fashion advertising, fashion magazine editorials and commercial fashion clients look books, brochures and catalogues for many years in Paris, Bordeaux, Monaco, London, Milan and New York plus many other locations around the world.
To see my portfolio follow the link below.
In the words of a student of one of these wonderful fashion photography courses and fine art nude photography courses run by Bruce Smith. “Some things you just can’t learn from fashion or fine art nude photography How To Shoot Books, Youtube Videos or DVD’s”
I could have bought all the fashion and figure photography books on Amazon, and not learned what I did in a few days with Bruce, which he himself learned from decades of successful work in the industry. In September 2015 I joined Bruce in a chateau near Bordeaux, France for a four-day, one-to-one workshop in ‘sensual fashion.’
We had two models, an excellent hair and make-up artist, and a photogenic, characterful location. By the end, without doubt, the course had left an indelible mark on my stylistic development and competency as a photographer, for which I’m very grateful.
Bruce is obviously an accomplished photographer and renowned authority, but he is also an excellent instructor and personable coach—an invaluable combination. Much of what I learned from him was through his selflessly attentive coaching: unique feedback about how I performed in the situations he’d set up with the models, location and brief.
Irreplaceable and empowering, he broke down technical issues in straightforward language, and could immediately see and explain what I was doing and how it could be improved.
I grew a lot as a photographer over just a few days. By the end, he shadowed me on shots that I set up. I decided to take the course with Bruce to explore a part of photography I was interested in, but found very inaccessible looking at the sector from the outside.
Previously, I had started to professionalize my passion for photography, and eventually produced documentary photo essays that were later published.
As a journalistic style, this focused on observation and visual documentation of a social issue but wanting to develop in a different area of photography, to have beautiful images and to eventually become commercially viable, I looked to begin developing in fashion and figure photography.
However, my previous documentary photography skills were mismatched for fashion and figure. Any photographer can take a pleasing photo of a model, but it requires difficult development to much higher levels if you want to break through in the industry.
To generate and capture the life and story of a shot in fashion, lingerie or figure photography, which makes all the difference between strong but mediocre shots and first rate shots which the industry expects, demands different skills from which most photographers have or think about, which are neither innate nor obvious.
So, I wanted to learn directly from an expert.
After some time with Bruce, I understand these different skills, these powerful nuances, and now have a strong foundation to continue my professional and artistic development in this area.
I learned a lot about line, shape, form and tone—as one does in all photo workshops, but more importantly—and rarely—how to control the situation, the set, natural light and human energy, to produce stunning photographs.
We never once used a studio light throughout the course, focusing on natural light skills to build a better understanding of available light and how to use it to its best rather than too much emphasis on equipment.
I still have much photographic ‘testing’ ahead of me, but Bruce has guided me on the right path, and immensely grateful. The course setting was beautiful, and offered aspects for both studio and location shooting.
In a restored chateau outside Bordeaux, we shot mornings and afternoons inside and out, and had learning sessions in-between shots, over good coffee. The hospitality was excellent, and made the experience not only highly instructive, but also relaxing and pleasurable.
I have a busy and stressful job elsewhere in the world, so it was heartening to not only learn from a master of photography, but also to enjoy good food and wine, sunshine, woods for running, and a pool to relax by.
The chateau is owned by a young European family, who also live there with a range of pets and animals; the place brimmed with life, and they made me feel part of the family whilst I was there—from scrambled eggs on toast in the morning in the kitchen, right down to wine by the fireplace in the evening.
If you’re serious about starting to break into upper-industry standards of fashion, lingerie and figure photography, are open-minded, and time is precious.
I can highly recommend you learn fashion and fine art nude photography with Bruce in Clerac near Bordeaux, France.
Join this fabulous 2 days shooting bikini models on this group portfolio development shoot on the beach and at a stunning villa in Ibiza in September 2017.
You will be creating amazing sexy swimwear bikinil and fashion images, like those featured on Bruce’s website.
Bruce will be teaching you how to find the good available light and learning how to use it at its very best, bounce it, diffuse it, reflect it and manipulate it.
Bruce will be explaining the various textures of light how and where to use it.
Bruce has been shooting with available light for his many fashion clients assignments all over the world also on his personal fine art work for over 40 years, so you will be seeing exactly how it is done like before the age of digital retouching even started.