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Fashion photography relies on a good eye, rapport with models and great clothes. But how can photographers seeking inspiration get some more practical hands-on experience?

Christian Blanchard is an Australian fashion photographer, recently named by Capture Magazine as one of the top ten photographers in the country. In conjunction with Nikon, he is running a series of workshops around the country to help budding fashion photographers hone their skills.

Stay tuned for Exposure Pro this month as we profile Christian and his work. If you want to attend one of Christian's workshops in Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney you can sign up at My Nikon Life. You don't even need to own a Nikon SLR to attend (but you do need an SLR of some description).

While a portion of the course is grounded in theory and discussing the commercial viability of fashion photography, the majority is dedicated to hands-on work. Our model for the day, CJ, takes direction from Christian as he sets up his shot.

It's also a good idea to visualise what you want the final result to look like by taking inspiration from other photos, movies, videos, books and blogs. Even if you don't have an expensive studio or lighting to match, Christian suggests starting out at home with available window light and a friend who is comfortable in front of a camera.

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With a live set-up, you get to control the action. Here, your author is directing the model with some au-fait elbow action. As for what you're shooting on? You can choose between your own camera or cop a feel of Christian's Nikon D3X (with 85mm f/1.4). A chance to get hands-on with an AU$14,000 camera? Yes please.

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Here's one of the shots from the workshop. Using one or two light sources, Christian likes to keep the lighting set-up quite simple with just one or two flash units. You also get the opportunity to direct the shoot and the light as you like.

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During the workshop Christian will provide you with plenty of tips and tricks. One excellent tip is to bring down the level of your camera to help elongate the model's body.

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Christian shoots tethered and you can, too, with the results of the shoot filtering through to a projector so you can review each shot and perform some fine tuning. Naturally, we don't want to spoil too much of the surprise by revealing all of Christian's tips — so to find out more head along to one of his workshops around the country.

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