If anyone has deciphered the ingredients of
romance, it is the photographer who has found
them through her lens and translated them
in her pictures. And for those who claim that
meaning belongs to the viewer, a look at fashion
photographer Dixie Dixon’s work proves that
photographers can instill unavoidable meaning in their images—in this case, the warmth,
sexiness and sweetness of romance distilled to
For Texas native Dixon, “fashion photography is a beautiful, perfect
world where romance is always alive. It allows you to come up with your
own visual vocabulary and truly speak through your imagery. In my opinion, your images not only express the soul of the subject but also illustrate
how the photographer feels about life in its entirety,” she says.
The visual vocabulary she speaks of extends to all aspects of her photography, and is as much a matter of technique as it is passion.
BUILD HEIGHT “Angles are a huge part of fashion photography and an
easy technique to add to your wedding and portrait images,” says Dixon.
When shooting full body, get down to a lower angle—shooting slightly upward—which elongates the figure and gives a high fashion look. For headshots, have the bride kneel down and shoot her from above: this tends to
create more flattering angles on the face, (and eliminating a double chin
if necessary). The AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED is a great
lens for creating stunning headshots and close-up beauty images.
BEAUTIFY SKIN Stay away from on-camera flash, because it can be
unflattering. Instead, use reflectors, off-camera speed lights or strobes at
a 45-degree angle to the subject, like the photos shown here, in which the
subject was lit with strobes with parabolic umbrellas.
“Positioning the main light from slightly above always makes the subject
and the subject’s skin look more beautiful,” says Dixon. “I also overexpose
the skin tones by 1/3 - 1/2 a stop over the meter reading in order to clear
up skin texture. You can pretty much shape a subjects face with light!”
CREATE NEGATIVE SPACE There are two reasons Dixon leaves negative
space in her frames. “Space between the arms and body will slim any
figure, so I guide my subjects to position their arms away from their body,”
Also, if you are submitting your work for editorial use or shooting ads,
negative space allows for text and design. This is true for wedding album
design as well. Space for text and titles makes for more interesting layouts. The photos shown on this spread embody the editorial sensibility
that would inspire an art director’s selection. Dixon shot these with an
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G lens set at f/8 and 1/125, raw.
AVOID DISTORTION “When creating portraits, I stay away from using
wide angle lenses because it distorts the head or feet of the person I’m
shooting. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G lens is a beautiful lens
for creating flattering portraits,” says Dixon.
Nikon’s lens options have helped Dixon realize her creative vision, as
does the camera back. Nikon’s flagship 24.5-megapixel DSLR, the D3X,
is her camera of choice for her advertising and editorial fashion work
because of its superior image quality. “The color, sharpness and detail is
the best I’ve seen out of any camera I’ve worked with and can easily make
stunning billboard size prints. It’s also amazing in low-light conditions,
which allows me to create my moody fashion images,” she says.
© DIXIE DIXON
DESIGNER: NHA KHANH
MODEL: SARAH GARDNER WITH KIM DAWSON AGENCY
MAKEUP/HAIR: LANA ADAMS WITH KIM DAWSON AGENCY
WARDROBE S TYLIS T: NELLA ADHAM WI TH CLUT TS AGENCY
MODEL: LINDSAY HIGGINS WITH KIM DAWSON AGENCY
PRODUCTION: CHAD LEMONS
AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G lens AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G lens
AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED