How to Nail Retro Fashion Photography

Creative photographers always aim at capturing the most original shoots. Moreover, when photography and fashion meet, the outcome has to be stunningly beautiful. There are plenty of styles and choices when it comes to fashion photography. Some photographers choose to take shots in modern spots and atmospheres while others take the old and vintage touch. Despite the advancement of technology and modern culture, the vintage/retro style is still popular. In this article, we will explore some of the tips and techniques that are recommended for fashion photographers. We will try to explore the necessary elements to nailing Vintage/retro fashion photography. You should be aware that while the vintage touch can make good shoots great, they cannot be applied to all shoots. You need to experiment and develop a vision that will allow you to decide what works best for your shoots.

In vintage photography, there are fundamental elements and complementary elements. The fundamental elements are vital to making your outcome of high quality. For example, the lighting and camera settings have to be perfectly adjusted before taking the shot. The complementary elements are the photo effects you can apply to enhance the quality of your shots and to give them a specific feel. “The way you apply these photo effects will make or break the outcome” says Dubai’s leading fashion photographer Araman. We will explore all the necessary elements to nailing vintage fashion photography.

Color and saturation will either make or break your shoot. You have to pay attention to the “Levels” settings when you work on tweaking your shoot. Remember that you can always get professional help especially if you’re just starting out and you don’t have that much experience. You can choose to apply a Black & White template or tweak Contrast, Saturation, and Enhance settings manually. Make some research on the proper ways to tweak your shoots in order to transform them into the best versions they can be.

If you’re not that experienced with Photoshop and you don’t want to spend time tweaking. You can choose to work with Lightroom presets. These presets are usually developed by experienced people. You can find some for free as there are many artists who share their presets for free. You can also search for premium presets and be sure that you will not have to pay a lot.

vintage bike

© Lucian Marian /

It’s very important to select the content of your shoot very carefully. Many photographers make the error of including elements that have nothing to do with the vintage style. Elements such as new cars, tech gadgets, and modern devices cannot be included in your vintage shoot. I believe you can make something out of mixing both eras. There, I gave you an original idea. My point is that you need to pay attention to every detail included in your shoot. Examine the presence of the elements on your set and think about what you can change or modify. You can make research about the vintage elements that can be relevant most to your ideas. You can always look for old furniture, old cars, or old cans and devices. Another thing you should pay attention to is your model and how to make them fit in the set you chose and the effects you decided to apply.

vintage travelers suitcase

© Stokkete /

Never forget to search for inspiration from other artists. There are many photographers who shaped and defined vintage photography. Even if you want to focus on the vintage fashion trends more than the photography process. It’s always great to get inspired by the work of vintage photography pioneers. These are examples of vintage fashion photographers who defined the style with their creative touch. Horst P. Horst, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Richard Avedon, Bill Cunningham, and Deborah Turbeville. Check the shoots of these artists and it’s highly likely that you will get inspired. You will notice that the elements that they introduced to their shoots did not only contribute to the creative feel of the shoot. The elements most of these artists chose to include in their shoots made the fashion within the shoot stand. Make some research and never be afraid to copy the styles that you like. Experiment and you will find the perfect style for you eventually.

Bill Cunningham

© Lukas Maverick Greyson / — Legendary photographer Bill Cunningham in Manhattan on June 30, 2013