Fashion Photography Techniques with Rossella Vanon

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM + natural light by Rossella Vanon

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM + natural light by Rossella Vanon


It is an understatement to say that, at only 26 years old, Rossella Vanon is one of the youngest masters of capturing light, beauty, and color. Rossella Vanon has won the following 2 awards;

  1. Professional Photographer of the Year 2011 (studio category)
  2. Artist Wanted – Art Takes Times Square 2012 (early entry)

Her fashion and nature photographs have a radiating quality that doesn’t make it hard to understand why her images have made it to the pages of Vogue magazine on countless occasions. Her imaginative creativity along with her dedication to her work has helped her to shape a technique to capturing the stunning images seen in her portfolio. In the following article, we explore Vanon’s technique to high fashion photography as well as capturing serene, dreamlike nature images.


Fashion Photography Lighting Technique

From the light reflected on a flower petal to the glimmer it ignites in a model’s eye, Vanon’s lighting technique is part of what really helps her work to stand out. When it comes to using natural light, Vanon recommends trying to shoot during the “golden hours”, meaning dawn or dusk. During this time, she likes to capture “the softness, the preciousness” that she achieves in her images. Vanon also uses a technique of overexposing her images in the natural lighting, thereby capturing a white sky where it seems as if her models are bathing in sunlight or catching glimpses of sunlight shining through the trees. More logistically, she keeps her ISO at 100 and handles exposures only with aperture size and shutter speed, often using a reflector to balance the light intensity.

Though Vanon prefers to work outdoors, she admits that working in a studio gives her complete power over her lighting. In the studio, Vanon takes a slightly different approach, using two Bowens flash lights with softboxes and umbrellas and the occasional reflector, if needed. Studio lighting is the most difficult obstacle for her to overcome and she can only recommend to practice, perhaps take a workshop, and experiment with your lighting setup until you find something that works for the images you are trying to capture.

Fashion Photography Composition, Framing, and Editing Techniques

Vanon says it best herself, “its always hard to explain composition”. Here is her advice on composing and framing a shot, “I either like to empathize symmetry by placing the subject right in the middle of the frame when its shape is symmetrical too (or halfway out of the frame, especially when it comes to nature shots), or asymmetry, by placing the subject on one side of the frame and make a creative use of the empty space on the other side”. She recommends experimenting with composition and inspiring yourself by studying photographs with creative points of view.

To edit her images, Vanon uses Photoshop CS5, importing the RAW files into Photoshop as they are and editing from there. She begins by touching up the skin, when working with fashion photography, cleaning it from blemishes and smoothing it by using the Spot Healing Brush tool, Dodge and Burn and the Clone Stamp tool. After this she cleans stray hair with both the Spot Healing Brush tool and the Clone Stamp tool, adding brightness and contrast to the eyes, and proceeding with more creative changes such as color tones, filters or textures. When required, Vanon finishes her post processing with an overall sharpening through the High Pass Filter or the Unsharp Mark.

Fashion Photography Final Tips for Success

When it comes to making photography a career, Vanon recommends starting out by selling your photos and showing them wherever possible, whether in libraries, cafes, or art galleries. She does not suggest posting them on stock photography websites as she feels too much work goes into the art to be released on such sites. To get your name out there, Vanon recommends doing commissioned work, making connections, and trying to sell photographs wherever possible.

According to Vanon, there is not set path for success and her techniques can only serve as a guideline. She wisely remarks, “Everyone has a personal journey and it’s always different, but you do have to believe in what you do and be able to be turned down without giving up. It’s not easy, and there will be times you will receive critiques and you will doubt about your work and your future. Take all the comments in and learn from them and from your mistakes. Then move on”. This is perhaps the best technique advice Vanon offers; learn from your mistakes.

Rossella Vanon can be reach on her website at and here at her workshop

Join her on Facebook and here on Twitter to stay up to speed with her work.



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