Towards a better world, fashion brands are progressively introducing sustainable fashion collections in their stores and brand stories.
As a photographer, your challenge is to visually spread these stories to shoppers, to help them make more informed decisions.
That being said, you have to do it without making a fashion enthusiast miss out on the thrill of buying good-looking products online.
So to help you with sustainable fashion photography, we are sharing 9 tips and ideas that will help you better execute your shoots. Without any more ado, let’s get started right away.
9 Sustainable Fashion Photography Ideas & Inspiration 2024
Understand Brands Vision
Sustainable Fashion Photography is all about communicating a conscious idea and approach of the brand.
It is very important for a photographer to understand the vision and what must be highlighted in the brand story.
For a brand like Thaely, which produces high-quality sneakers out of waste plastic and reusable material—it is important to showcase the quality while balancing the sustainable idea behind them.
And this can only be done when you are able to understand the vision. Only after that, will a photographer be able to carry out sustainable fashion photography, communicating what the brand trusts you with.
Curate Mood Board
Mood boards are a shared scramble of ideas that help in visually communicating the inspiration, ideas, and goals of a brand.
Fashion Photographers use mood boards to collaborate with brands and designers to create a visual roadmap. This serves as a guide for the creative process.
When it comes to sustainable fashion photography, details like colors, textures, materials, and overall aesthetics of the brand can elevate the end results.
It can also help in incorporating stories about ethical practices, eco-friendly materials, or the social responsibility of the brand.
A pro tip would be to always create the mood board based on the brand’s current Instagram feed and in collaboration with the creative lead of the brand.
Build Product Stories
Some of the best Sustainable fashion photography campaigns are the ones with storytelling. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it is important that those words are woven together properly.
One of the brands that has truly pioneered storytelling with sustainable fashion photography is The North Face.
With The North Face Renewed program, brands collect and recycle their products. Popularly known as their REMADE Collection.
The products are stitched together and when featured, they tell a complete story of taking a step towards reusing—without going out of style.
In an interview with the Field Mag, The North Face team shared how they are upcycling the products, and shared images that tell their own story. One of them is featured above.
Use Supporting Props
In every shoot, props are a way to bring more context to your content. While they play an important role, make sure they are in no way overshadowing the fashion product itself.
How should you choose props for sustainable photography? By understanding the messaging of your campaign. Is it supporting something or is it vocal against something?
This will help you understand if you’d like to use complementing props or the one where products sharply stand out.
Additionally, it is always recommended to use either natural elements for props or the ones that can be upcycled. Not only will this help your shoot and brand, but would be a step from your side as a photographer as well.
Focus on Fashion
While the idea of featuring sustainability in fashion photography is important, it can’t take center stage.
At the core of everything, people will be interested in the product, and the fashion that you are featuring.
By showcasing the products prominently, you are able to get the customer’s attention and appeal to their style. This balance of Aesthetics and Ethics would further help in championing the cause.
But on the flip side, if only the ethics are targeted through an image—shoppers on the hunt for aesthetics will not be able to join the cause.
With sustainable fashion photography, your impact will grow multiplefold when you are able to showcase how the product is a great alternative, along with being cautious towards nature.
Moreover, to ensure that focus stays on the product, you can use a professional retouching service to remove any distractions or supporting props you used during the shoot.
Reflect Brands Emotion
While some fashion brands target blissfulness others go for edge. Each with its unique style, showcases and tells their stories and their images.
In sustainable fashion photography, it is important that the images are a reflection of how the brand wants to interact with its customers.
Today, 82% of customers care about the stories behind the brand and choose one that aligns with them.
And as a photographer, this can be understood only by communicating with the brand, understanding its values, and then reflecting on the shoot.
Shoppers and customers are connected with the brand on social media as well.
So, going through a feed to understand the overall connection between a brand and followers could give you additional insight into what you can do to catch more eyeballs.
Communicate With the Model
When you are working with models, it is very important to communicate the brand’s vision with them as well.
Understanding the brand’s vision allows them to project the right emotions, attitude, and energy in the photos. Additionally, when they understand the product better, they might be able to come up with poses that flaunt the product in the best way possible.
Leading photographers and creatives often share their mood boards, ideas, and visions with the models.
This helps the model understand the bigger picture and not just focus on the features of the clothes, but the idea behind them.
Feature Your Material
When we are talking about sustainable fashion photography, showcasing the material of the product is as important as the design.
When a new product or concept is introduced, people can have reservations regarding how the product will feel, whether is it of high quality, what it looks like, etc.
Here, showcasing the features of the material and how the product looks, improves customer experience by a great margin.
Veja, a popular sustainable sneaker brand, uses recycled plastic bottles to create lightweight, breathable, and waterproof B-Mesh. And to showcase it, they featured the product itself.
Visually, it resolves all the concerns and additionally assures the user of the way it looks and feels.
Showcase Multiple Looks
Every online customer seeks a comfortable and trustworthy user experience. While learning about the product, they want to learn about the brand and the cause behind it.
As per The Economist, consumers are changing and actively looking for sustainable brands and alternatives. That being said, they want to be sure that their product is up to the mark.
If you are leading sustainable fashion photography shoots, make sure to capture your products from multiple angles.
Additionally, featuring the products in multiple looks also shows the diversity of the product. These extra steps surely pay off when a customer is learning about the product.
Hence making sustainable fashion photography informative and useful.
Going ahead, it is everyone’s duty to consciously choose sustainability over short-term fixes. And this includes fashion brands, customers, and photographers as well.
Above we have shared some of the most important sustainable fashion photography ideas and inspiration.
But they are simply a start. It’s up to you on how you carry this mission out and use the following tips in your workflow.