The Evolution of Fashion Photography: Trends and Influences

portrait beautiful woman posing flowy red dress

Fashion photography has undergone some pretty cool changes over the years, from stiff portraits of glamorous gowns to edgy street snaps of real-life runway walks, shaping each era with dynamic trends. Back then, it was more about showing art and culture through the clothes with less focus on the models themselves. But as cameras improved, photographers got more creative with natural light and capturing movement to make the pictures more exciting. Furthermore, art movements, social changes, and technology have transformed how pictures are clicked nowadays.

So, whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a professional fashion photographer, or simply someone who appreciates creativity, understanding the history and latest trends in fashion photography can be an inspiring and informative experience for you. Here, we’ll discover the trends of the golden era of fashion photography and exciting new ones shaping the world in today’s times:

Old Trends in Fashion Photography

Fashion photography has always been a mirror reflecting the cultural, social, and artistic currents of its time. Throughout its history, the industry has witnessed the emergence of iconic trends that have shaped its revolution. Let’s take a closer look at some of the enduring trends in fashion photography that have left a lasting impression on the industry.

1. Glamour Era

In the mid-20th century, fashion photography embraced an era of glamour and sophistication, drawing inspiration from various sources and giving rise to distinct sub-trends:

a. Art Deco Inspiration

During this period, fashion photography found inspiration in the opulent and geometric designs of the Art Deco movement, using sleek lines, luxurious fabrics, and intricate patterns to capture the essence of this artistic period.

b. Orientalist Fantasy

Another prevalent trend was a fascination with Orientalist themes. Photographers created exotic and romanticized images, often featuring models adorned in lavish Eastern-inspired attire against elaborate backdrops.

c. Androgynous Chic

Breaking away from traditional gender norms, fashion photography during this era explored androgynous aesthetics, with models exuding a sense of effortless chic regardless of gender.

2. Golden Age

Following the glamour era, fashion photography entered a golden age characterized by influential sub-trends:

a. New Look Dior

The introduction of Christian Dior’s “New Look” in the late 1940s revolutionized fashion photography. Photographers captured the full skirts, cinched waists, and soft shoulders of Dior’s designs, contributing to the romantic, feminine aesthetic of the era.

b. Hollywood Influence

Fashion photography in the Golden Age often mirrored the glamour of Hollywood. Exquisite lighting, dramatic poses, and luxurious settings brought a sense of cinematic elegance to images, elevating fashion photography into an art form.

c. Travel and Leisure

Photographers began capturing fashion in the context of travel and leisure, showcasing models adorned in elegant attire against exotic, picturesque locations. This trend reflected the post-war optimism and the burgeoning desire for exploration and luxury.

man posing studio black white

4. Provocative Edge

The later part of the 20th century witnessed a provocative edge in fashion photography, with sub-trends that challenged conventional beauty standards and perceptions.

a. S&M Glamour

Fashion photography explores themes of fetishism and sexuality, portraying provocative and edgy imagery that reflects the influence of dominance and submission.

b. Surreal Dreamscapes

Photography during this era often ventured into surreal and fantasy-inspired realms, incorporating avant-garde concepts, otherworldly settings, and unconventional narratives that pushed the boundaries of fashion imagery.

5. Supermodel Era

The late 20th century ushered in the supermodel era, defined by the rise of iconic models and distinctive sub-trends:

a. Glamour Goddesses

Fashion photography celebrated the era of supermodels, portraying them as glamorous and omnipotent figures. Images exuded confidence, beauty, and a sense of timeless allure, elevating models to the status of modern-day goddesses.

b. Pop Culture Fusion

Photographers integrated elements of popular culture, music, and art into fashion photography, reflecting the evolving tastes and influences of a global audience.

c. Minimalism and Clean Lines

Embracing a departure from the extravagance of previous eras, fashion photography adopted a minimalist approach, focusing on clean lines, understated elegance, and refined visual language.

Latest Trends in Fashion Photography

Fashion photography has long been a powerful art form, capturing the essence of style, beauty, and trends. Just like fashion itself, photography in the fashion world continually evolves, incorporating new styles, techniques, and concepts:

  • Editorial Fashion Photography: 

Editorial fashion photography focuses on showcasing clothing, accessories, and beauty in a way that tells a story and communicates a concept through images for publication in magazines, websites, or other editorial platforms. The latest trend in this genre involves highlighting authenticity and real moments within the images and to establish a deeper connection with the viewers through visual storytelling.

  • Catalog Fashion Photography: 

Catalog fashion photography aims to provide clear and accurate representations of clothing and accessories by employing consistent lighting, neutral backgrounds, and standardized angles. The goal is to offer consumers a comprehensive view of products by highlighting details and colors. The Present drift in ecommerce fashion photography involves infusing lifestyle elements into the images to evoke a sense of aspiration and desire for the showcased apparel and accessories, creating a compelling narrative around the products to inspire engagement and acquisition.

young graceful tender ballerina pastel wall

  • Street Fashion Photography: 

Street fashion photography desires to capture individuals’ unique and authentic styles in everyday urban settings. It focuses on candid shots of people in public spaces, showcasing their personal fashion choices and self-expression. The purpose is to reflect the diversity and dynamism of street style by highlighting the influence of subcultures and trends with a genuine and unfiltered view of fashion as it is lived and experienced on the streets.

  • Portrait Fashion Photography: 

The focus in this genre is primarily on capturing the model’s personality and style, often while highlighting high-end makeup and clothing. These fashion photography services lean towards natural expressions and minimalistic settings, capturing the essence of the model’s charisma and fashion choices to exude effortlessly.

  • Lifestyle Fashion Photography: 

This genre reflects modern lifestyle and fashion trends, focusing on sustainability and conscious living. The current craze in lifestyle fashion product photography centers around portraying fashion choices that align with ethical and eco-friendly practices, aligning fashion choices with conscious living, and addressing ethical and environmental concerns.

Factors Influencing Fashion Photography

Fashion photography is a dynamic and influential field that is shaped by various factors. Here are some points on the factors that particularly influence fashion photography:

fashionable model stylish hat red coat boots posing

  • Concept and Theme Influence:

The chosen concept or theme significantly affects the overall direction of your photography. It guides your styling choices, like accessories and location decisions that influence the narrative and aesthetic of your photography. Whether you opt for a studio or an outdoor environment, it shapes the visual story you tell.

  • Posing and Expressions Dynamics of Model:

The models you choose have a profound impact on your photography. Their appearance, expressions, and ability to convey specific emotions contribute significantly to the overall success of the images and help capture your shots’ desired mood and narrative.

  • Lighting Techniques:

Lighting is a fundamental factor influencing photography. Whether natural or artificial, the manipulation of light can highlight textures, shapes, and details, affecting the overall quality of your images.

  • Composition and Framing Choices:

Your composition and framing decisions directly impact your photographs’ visual appeal and balance. Experimenting with different approaches allows you to find the style that suits your vision.

  • Color Palette Selection:

The choice of colors sets the tone for your photography. Considering how colors complement each other and the subject enhances the overall visual impact of your images.

  • Trends and Industry Standards:

Staying informed about current fashion trends and industry standards is necessary for Commercial fashion photographers. Adapting to evolving styles and preferences ensures that the work remains relevant and appealing to the target audience.

  • Post-Processing and Retouching:

Post-production plays a significant role in fashion photography. Retouching and editing are used to enhance the overall quality of the images, ensuring that the fashion items and models look polished while maintaining a natural and authentic feel.


Fashion photography continues to evolve, driven by innovation, creativity, and a profound understanding of societal shifts and cultural influences. As we embrace the latest trends in fashion photography, it’s evident that diversity, authenticity, and sustainability are at the forefront of this dynamic art form. Whether you’re behind the lens or admiring the captivating images, the world of fashion photography invites us to explore, celebrate, and redefine style in all its breathtaking variations.  

Capture the spirit of style with Grattan Studio – Your go-to destination for professional fashion photography and ecom fashion photography!

Share via: