A skilled fashion photographer is part storyteller, part mind reader, part advocate. Their work is intense. They work with models who know what they’re doing and have their own vision and desire to put together a great portfolio. In addition, they work with brands that have the unique pressure of maintaining their bottom line –– and all through this, these photographers feel their own internal pressure to stay true to their own vision to maintain control of their careers. If you’re a creative, you probably understand this balancing act; we certainly do. Each of these Detroit fashion photographers is completely in control of their art. Though they are all at different points in their career, they each stay true to the things that inspired them to take up photography in the first place.
Melissa Coulier’s fashion photography is natural, almost candid seeming, with only the very occasional embellishment in styling or direction. Her photos are never over the top, never working through shock or through any sort of visually jarring tricks. Instead, she relies on color, light, and an organic sense of stripped-down reality, so that the glamour in her photos unfolds naturally.
2. Jun Pino
Jun Pino is a visual artist and graphic designer in addition to a fashion photographer and creative director. His work frequently draws on his vast skill set to give his commercial fashion images a little extra flair, whether it’s getting creative with the lighting and color or making an outright wild multi-layered photo collage. There’s a decadence to his shots that’s perfect for the fashion industry; his shots are both glamorous and raw, a winning combination.
3. Bill McDad
Bill McDad is a Detroit and Dubai-based fashion photographer with an elegant style. In fact, we tried to put our finger on exactly what makes his style so fetching, and after quite a bit of consideration, here’s what we came up with: he’s simply ultra-competent at every aspect of photography. From styling, to direction, to composition, to post-production, to choosing which photos to display, he just has impeccable taste. Take a look at his portfolio, and we’re sure you’ll agree with us that he’s one of the best photographers in Detroit. He’s great at capturing beauty, intelligence, kindness — the full gamut human life –– and communicating these concepts and feelings to the viewer in a way that powerfully hits home.
4. Laur Nash
Laur Nash is a ridiculously skilled editorial fashion photographer who takes some of the most natural glamour shots we’ve seen. She seems to always be after that unposed look –– the spread of freckles across the nose, the slightly open mouth of someone deep in thought, someone who is looking at you and yet not looking at you. Of course, like all fashion photographers, she takes her fair share of glamorous editorial shots in which model and clothes alike shine with otherworldly grace, but where she seems most at home is taking stripped-down, totally disarmed photos, in which (seemingly) nothing is being sold.
5. Brad Ziegler
Brad Ziegler is an all-around talent and a prolific editorial photographer. That means he’s putting out strong commercial work in a variety of areas, not just in the world of fashion photography. Brands or models that want the kind of commercially pitch-perfect work (as opposed to something more conceptual or fine-art-inspired) will love his naturally attractive color palettes, soft but clear lighting, and light hand in retouching.
6. Victor Koos of VK3 Photographix
Victor Koos is a designer and fashion photographer who shoots in a highly narrative style. He takes modern, stylish photos with edges of both surrealism and grunge. In picture after picture, he plays with color, composition, and form, as well as reflection and double exposure, in order to capture some of the most eye-catching photos of any fashion photographer we’ve come across. His photos are never overly serious, never in danger of becoming a parody of themselves. They’re all carefully composed, well-balanced, and endlessly consumable.
Brittani Shantel is a Detroit-based fashion photographer and beauty blogger. Her editorial fashion photos are generally composed in a straightforward, yet sensual manner. They’re elegant, yet minimalistic, with most of the styling and setup dedicated to the model — not the “scene” — which really allows her models’ expressions and gestures reach and communicate with the viewer. Her style is, at times, modern and, other times, retro — but it’s always empowering, never demeaning. She’s a do-it-all photographer with a great sense of style.