Fashion photography is a genre of photography which is devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items, sometimes haute couture. It typically consists of a fashion photographer taking a picture of a dressed model in a photographic studio or an outside setting. It originates from the clothing and fashion industries, and while some of fashion photography has been elevated as art, it is still primarily used for clothing, perfumes and beauty products.
Fashion photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Elle. It has grown into becoming a necessary way for designers to get their work out to the public. Fashion photography has developed its own aesthetic in which the clothes and fashions are enhanced by the presence of exotic locations or accessories.
The history of this photographic discipline was intertwined for its first decades with the fashion magazines in which the photographs originated, supplanting the fashion illustrations that initially dominated the magazines. It gained prominence as its photographers, such as Irving Penn or Richard Avedon, gained fame. While the beginning of modern fashion photography is symbolically attributed to 1911, it wasn’t until the mid-1930s that its notoriety spread, with its heyday beginning after the Second World War.
Nowadays, this photographic genre has spread from fashion magazines to be featured in coffee table books, art galleries or museums.