Street Style Photography 101: How To Get The Perfect Shot
by Suzannah Ramsdale
From the best models to snap from getting on with the scrum, we asked street style photographer Timur Emek what it's really like being behind the camera at fashion week.
Fashion shows are magical – the models, the clothes, the music, the FROW – but, if we’re honest, it’s outside the shows where the #fashioninspo really happens.
Street style. That’s what it’s all about these days. Watching the fashionistas twirling and working it for the hoards of street style photographers is a sight to behold. Peacocking at its very best.
It’s a fashion week highlight for the street style stars (and us) but what’s it like to be behind the camera?
We spoke to Getty Images' street style photographer Timur Emek to get the lowdown on being in the scrum and what it takes to get the perfect shot.
Talk us through an average day at fashion week.
On a normal day I would get up at 7.30AM to sort my plan for that day, find out where the first location is, and where I can find the space to shoot the first show outside. From then, I go with the flow from show to show, and find people who inspire me. In between shows there will be personal shoots scheduled, so I will break up the street style shooting with those. By the end of the day – as soon as the natural light is gone – I will finish and head back to my hotel. That’s when the second part of the job begins, and I’ll start to edit all the pictures I took that day.
The best thing about shooting street style?
I really enjoy the freedom that comes with shooting outside as a street style photographer; you are quite independent and able to pick and choose who you shoot, when and how. I also like the authenticity of street style. I get a buzz from shooting in the street because it is so much more realistic than the catwalk. Of course some pictures will be posed but most are just candid. I like to think that this brings the audience closer to fashion than a runway show.
And the worst thing?
It can be quite challenging to create the shot you want when there are large crowds who want to snap selfies with the models. Sometimes this can create a nice shot to show just how popular some of these fashion bloggers are now, and how far they’ve come. But often it can just make it harder to place the outfit in its environment if you can’t show a clear background.
Are you pals with the other street style photographers?
Yes, we mostly get on. It’s great to get other photographers’ opinions or their take on a photo. Sometimes it might be that they see something you missed or vice versa that you can take inspiration from next time.
Best celebrity to shoot for street style?
I have loved shooting street style with Alessandra Ambrosio in recent seasons. She has this effortless ability to look chic in absolutely everything, but she also works really hard to help you get ‘that shot’.
Favourite street style star?
I love Chiara Ferragni’s look, she is one of the first bloggers I started shooting street style with, and since then we have a very loyal relationship. I can rely on her for beautiful fashion shots and she can rely on me to take great photos of her – it’s an easy relationship where we help each other.
Bloggers have changed the fashion scene – and I think for the better. Fashion is now more accessible and comes alive on the streets with these personalities.
Favourite models for post-show street style?
I love working with Candice Swanepoel. She has a fantastic personality which she conveys easily through the camera. Again, she looks great in everything and has a warmth about her which you can see in her photographs.
Read more: Candice Swanepoel's beauty tips
What makes a perfect street style shoot?
When I’m shooting street style I always look for colours first, and then the structure; it’s a good combination of colours and nice cuts. For me, less is more when it comes to street style. These images cannot be staged in the same way as catwalk images, you will be lucky to capture an unplanned moment which conveys something special. I try to create a shot which emanates beauty in the overall frame, so it’s not just about what the model is wearing. I think about the lighting, the environment, what’s going on in the background, the angles and poses. I want to create something striking each time.
What makes great personal style?
I look for a person who can wear what they want and not care what anyone else is thinking; these people just own the street. I like to see a bit of attitude. I also like how people use colours to show their personality. A person could be stood still and be showing no emotion, but could be wearing the brightest colours, and you just know that person knows exactly who they are.
Why street style photography?
It wasn’t a conscious decision, I suddenly found myself immersed into that new style of photography while I was on a trip to New York. I fell in love with the immediacy and candidness of it. Street style allows you to capture uniquely-put-together outfits in different environments that make them look genius.
London, Paris, New York or Milan: which is your favourite?
I don’t have a real favourite; it’s too difficult to choose as they all have their own unique charm and are special in different ways. Sometimes I do feel that Paris is the place that epitomises the fashion world (see lots of lovely Paris Fashion Week street style photos here); it’s the city where everything comes together – the city, the people and the atmosphere. To me, it’s the most beautiful city in the world, and this beauty adds something extra and everyone can feel it. Suddenly everything looks more elegant.
All photos by Timur Emek for Getty Images – LFW September 2016.