Fashion can be seen in so many mediums from magazines to marketing to models and more. Style enthusiasts would not be able to view this very powerful industry without the photographers that bring that beauty to life. Local DC photographer Phil Kogan brings his NYC fashion capital roots and his long time love of film together to create hobby turned career in fashion photography. Phil took some time to speak to ECC about how he found photography and how his focus became fashion:
When did you realize your love for photography?
When I was 12 years old my family purchased a 35mm SLR. I taught myself metering and composition and started taking pictures. That experience marked the beginning of my lifelong passion for photography.
Why did you choose to focus on fashion photography?
Following retirement from a federal career I had time to indulge my interest in photography. I explored digital photography and taught myself to use Photoshop. I began taking webinars to expand my knowledge base. About a year or so into this process a colleague invited me to his studio for an open shoot with photographers and models. That was my first experience working in a photo studio and also my first experience photographing models. I was hooked. I signed up for two studio lighting classes at the Smithsonian. That helped me get an understanding of lighting basics as well as grasp more advanced techniques. My decision to concentrate on fashion photography probably had a lot to do with the fact that I grew up in New York City where fashion is a major industry and has a significant influence on people who live there. As a New Yorker fashion is literally all around you. I know that has been a big factor driving my interest in fashion photography.
What types of fashion photography do you do (photographing models, events, designer clothing)?
I do all types of fashion work — beauty, catalogue, high fashion, editorial, runway, fashion event. I regularly work with designers, retailers, and stylists in the Washington, DC area. My work has appeared on numerous client websites. Recently I began doing print work with several designers. This is exciting because the standards for print are more exacting and each element of the creative process needs to be raised to a higher level. My favorite type of fashion work is beauty photography. Beauty is considered by some as a subset of fashion because it uses similar approaches to lighting, hair, makeup, and wardrobe while using only the face as the subject. Because the camera is quite close to the subject and because the subject is isolated, the work is highly detailed and exacting. But it also is a very personal type of photography, even intimate in the way it reveals the subject for the viewer. That is what I find most appealing about it.
What is your favorite part about fashion shoots (the people, the style)?
A shoot is not something that gets done by one person working alone. A team is needed to successfully complete a fashion shoot. The team can include the photographer, model, makeup artist, hairstylist, wardrobe stylist, production assistant, possibly an artistic or creative director. For me the biggest challenge in putting together a shoot is selecting a strong group that I feel can work together productively and successfully. But with the number of people involved and given the fact that all involved are creatives with strong individualism, it is difficult to predict how the team will interact. For me the best part of a shoot is watching all the pieces come together, seeing people step in where help is needed, and discovering the resources that are available to make the shoot work. A colleague once told me not every shoot works — sometimes things do not come together successfully. Fortunately, this is a seldom experienced exception. But it is nonetheless part of the reality of the work.
Are there challenging parts to fashion shoots as well?
Every shoot has unique challenges. Certainly, scheduling can be one of these. Getting four or five busy and talented people together in the same place at the same time can be difficult. Working with new models is also a challenge. I’ve come to accept that a new model likely is going to have jitters at the beginning of the shoot. So I usually start things off by getting right into the shooting knowing that the first group of shots likely will not yield much. Once I sense that the model is less tense and more comfortable with her/his surroundings I begin coaching her/him on posing and expression and gradually build a cooperative, constructive working relationship with give and take on each side.
Where can we see some of your work?
You can view my work at these links —
My blog and website – http://www.philkogan.com/
Phil Kogan Photography on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/phil-kogan-photography/126145654076418?ref=ts
My Model Mayhem page – http://www.modelmayhem.com/543062
How can people contact you if they are interested in your services?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Phil for sharing his story from the other side of the camera! See DC’s East Coast Chic for more of Phil’s stylish photos!