How I became a professional and successful fashion, portrait or nudes photographer


Bruce Smith began his journey of becoming a successful professional fashion, portrait and nudes photographer back in the early 1980s. This blog will cover some of the stories that tell of this journey. 

Bruce wrote these stories to help you to understand what it is that he has done to achieve the status that he has of “Legendary Fashion Photographer” explaining his own philosophies involved in the creating of his images and what it is about them that people respond to, this will give you an insight in to what it is that he teaches you during his photography courses in how to become a successful professional photographer shooting fashion, portraits or nudes photography.


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Image featured was one part of a lingerie fashion editorial that I shot on film during the early 90’s

Why and how I fell in to becoming a fashion photographer

As a child I was very much a loner, quiet, shy and introverted. Lacking in communication skills or for that matter even the desire to communicate, I was for a long time lost in my own world. 

In this world you can not stay inside a bubble so I began an unknowing journey of expressing myself through my photographs. I call this “Being The Weird Kid” stuff, an essential attribute of many create people.


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Testing with models from top model agencies is the start of building your network

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Image featured was of Angelica a Parisienne agency signed model that I tested with in London, shot on film during the early 90’s

What inspired me to shoot test pictures of the model agency fashion models

After finishing my degree in graphic design I started working as an assistant in a commercial photography studio near to my home in Liverpool. 

The heads of the studio saw my graphic and photographic work that I had produced as my course work for my degree and offered me an interview to be a studio assistant. I got the job.


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Going on go sees to every magazine in London

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Image featured was one of Angela Sarron shot for Helen Anderson Designs, a famous fashion designer from 1960’s to 1990’s who used to design outfits for John Lennon, Helen sold her ladies gowns in stores like Harrods and Selfridges.

My first fashion photography commission was back in 1983

Upon meeting an amazing model called Angela Sarron (featured on this image) in a night club, I asked her to model for me, the response I got was the usual cold shoulder.

A few months later we met again, this time at her model agency, I was there shooting the agencies models head shots. “I am sorry” Angela  pleaded, “I did not realise you were a bonafide photographer, I thought you were trying to pick me up” This began an adventure in setting up a test shoot with Angela. 


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You have to put all of yourself into your photographic shoots

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Whilst working at a London studio where I was not shooting my own work, I would hit depressions that could only he healed by shooting my own images. So every so often I would set up test shoots, this image was shot after a period of four years without shooting any of my own work, it was the chosen image for The Fashion Acts exhibition mentioned.

"Fashion Acts" an exhibition of the worlds famous fashion photographers images

Being selected to be a part of an exhibition of work by “The Famous Fashion Photographers of the World” with a piece of your work is probably the ultimate compliment you can receive from your industry and to then be included in an annex gallery of such an exhibition with famous names photographers such as David Bailey, Terrance Donavan, Patric Litchfield. Barry Lategan etc etc 


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Expressing yourself through your fashion, portraits or fine art images

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When I went into see Catherine Rayner, I noticed on the walls of Catherine’s studio in Parsons Green, London were photographs of Catherine’s gowns that had been taken by my hero’s of fashion photography, David Bailey, Terrence Donavan, Patrick Litchfield and Norman Parkinson.

One photograph can lead to you shooting for many clients of a certain genre of fashion photography

The story of how I came to shoot for Catherine Rayner, the UK’s top bridal wear designer of the 80’s and 90’s


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At times you will make a mistake

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I shot this image of Nigel Barker (now a celebrity photographer in New York and TV host for America’s Next Top Model) in the deserted Kashbah Ellouze in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco for a luxury clothing brand from Vienna.

One photograph can lead you to shooting all over the world for luxury brands

The story of how I came to shoot all over the world for international luxury clothing brands.


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Traveling the world shooting in every environment teaches you so much

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Image featured was one of three images that became 48 sheet posters and point of sale images in every Haggen Das cafe around the world.

Two photographs can leads to an amazing photography commission earning you tens of thousands of pounds for a days photo shoot

How I gained the advertising photography commissioned to shoot the Haagen Das ice cream campaign


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What do you do next when you have more than achieved your own objectives in photography

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Image featured was from a bridal wear fashion magazine editorial for Enigma magazine, shot on medium format digital during the late 1990’s

Invitation to speak at international photography conventions in Dubai, Chicago, New York, Milan, London and Amsterdam

Being respected for your knowledge and experience has such great value.


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What you learn when you teach photography

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Pro Digital Fashion Photography A Complete Guide, the first professional level how to shoot digital fashion photography book in the world. Published in the UK, USA and China.

A commission to write the first how to shoot digital fashion photography book that has been published in UK, USA and China

To be considered as a heavy weight with enough knowledge to educate other photographers.


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Changing your direction for the sake of your art

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