Diving into Art Direction


When working in the field of fashion photography, you quickly realise there is so much more to the job than just clicking on a button, or even selecting the right lighting, sets, poses and equipment. You need to understand brand management and visual communication, know the names in the industry and their stylistic identities. When creating visual stories for brands or media, it is a necessity to think about the underlying story – in other words, the art direction.

After a brief research online, I found the right institution to teach me everything there is to know about the job of art direction for fashion. Central Saint Martins, the prestigious art and design college in London, has indeed developed a one-term program to teach the art of directing shoots. And I got onboard right away with the online course, so I wouldn’t have to cut my photography schedule in Brussels.

From day one, we were immersed in the world of fashion, learning all about the key movers and shakers in fashion, as well as the functioning of the industry. We were taught how to achieve high art direction standards and how to run a successful business.

Through a great deal of homework, we worked on defining and refining our personal visual style (see previous post Pieces of Me). We researched trends and put together moodboards for fashion editorials, having to take into consideration both the creative side of the job (location, atmosphere, style, make-up and hair, models, photographers, …) and the management side (budget, contracts, authorizations, schedules, rentings, catering, …)

VSigmas-ADFF-Trend-boardResort 2015 Trend Board by Vaya Sigmas.

The course also gave me the opportunity to meet talented girls from all over the world, all already working in different aspects of the fashion industry: a top blogger from Malta, a Norwegian model based in New York and stylists from Saudi Arabia, Los Angeles and Australia.
I will always remember the touch of “sprezzatura”, the art that conceals art, our teacher, Schelay McCarter, would encourage us to add to our art direction projects. This course was definitely fun and resourceful and I would recommend it to anyone considering doing it.