Dallas, Texas is famous for many things. Historically known for its thriving oil and transportation industries, it is now a hub of IT and telecommunications companies including AT&T, which has its headquarters there. It’s known for the Dallas Cowboys, and if often cited as being one of the best American cities to live in. Yet what it is not as well known for is having the largest urban art district in the country. Adding to this is its fashion industry, which has been thriving since the early 1900s. As big oil money brought wealth and interest to Texas cities such as Dallas, it also became a leader in manufacturing the cotton gin. In 1907 Neiman-Marcus was founded in Dallas, which drew in many newly rich people from the entire South, looking for the latest to designs to flaunt. Being the first retailer outside of New York City to run ads in publications including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, it also was a trailblazer in bringing in international designs. As the century moved onwards through its later half, retail centers grew, housing even more outlets for the latest in fashion and luxury brands. It also saw growth in local textile industries as well as modeling agencies. In an industry with such a legacy of success and staying power, a fashion photographer in Dallas is in a place of pure opportunity.
At Wonderful Machine, we define fashion photography as imagery that emphasizes clothes, shoes, and accessories, usually worn by professional models. Here are the best Dallas fashion photographers, each showing the many sides of creativity that keep this dynamic city on the map for the latest trends.
Elizabeth Lavin is a renowned fashion photographer in Dallas whose work is heavily influenced by its relationship with color. Showcasing a deep appreciation for the interplay between her subjects and the vibrant hues that surround them, Elizabeth deftly crafts compositions that not only complement but also accentuate the colors of the designs she captures. Embracing the beauty of the natural world, Elizabeth often opts to shoot outdoors, harnessing the unique qualities of different times of day and environments to bring out specific colors. Within the controlled setting of indoor shoots, Elizabeth embraces the freedom to construct elaborate scenes as a setting for her subjects. This is sometimes taken to a basic approach in using of vividly colored lighting and backdrops, truly allowing the colors in the designs to speak for themselves. Yet even more often, she leans to conceptual photography in creating entire worlds for her models to inhabit, using props and sets to weave elements that speak to the personality of the designs. This not only showcases fashion but also brings the storytelling aspects of these images to life with an added layer of depth and meaning. Represented by the esteemed Renee Rhyner and Co, she has collaborated with a myriad of esteemed brands and publications, always showing an interesting, colorful, and dynamic side to fashion photography.
Justin Isaac is a dynamic photographer and director whose work is strongly defined by his collaboration with his clients. Lauded for having the mind of both a photographer and a graphic designer, Justin sets himself apart in his attention to the final image and his client’s vision during all steps of his process. He is interested in creating work that speaks to a 21st-century audience, specializing in imagery that is impactful and direct. He shows his dedication to this in using simplicity to give his subjects a maximum voice. Justin’s work as a Dallas fashion photographer is formal, embracing a sophisticated approach to exploring the designs with a minimalist set. He often uses very sparse backdrops of a single shade, in tandem with focal points – whether it be a prop such as a piece of furniture, or even something as simple as a shadow being made off camera, to set a scene. Taking the possibilities of drama between the model and that aspect is what creates the spark in his work. His consideration of this must be careful because the colors he embraces can range from a solid white to a deep, immersive red or a bright, seafoam green. He does work for a wide variety of retailers, from high-end designers to catalogs that thrive on the energy of people sporting clothing in everyday places. When shooting in places such as offices, golf courses, or yoga studios, the flair for storytelling is equally strong.
Alicia Stepp, an acclaimed fashion, beauty, and portrait photographer, has garnered international recognition and accolades for her captivating work. Rooted in a decade-long career as a graphic designer, Alicia’s keen eye and refined artistic sensibility have been honed to perfection. Her images exude an elevated yet playful quality, with adventurous moments and poignant stories coexisting alongside clean and structured silhouettes. Her instinctive understanding of color, light, and form permeates each photograph, lending a distinct flair to her compositions. With a degree in photography from The Art Institute and a diverse background encompassing production assistance, marketing research, and art direction, Alicia boasts a wealth of industry experience and expertise. Alicia’s photography is dynamic in its approach. She will embrace many aesthetics, yet shows the same high level of quality in all of them – from the look of a polaroid with artfully blurred lines of overexposure to exquisitely-detailed studio work destined for a high-end magazine cover. In any setting, she gives much consideration to the composition of a photo, often making interesting use of her subject as a part of the image’s overall geometry, in relation to props and negative space. This gives a subtle perfection to the overall balance of each shot, both pleasing to see and inspiring in the confidence behind such finesse. When working outdoors she’ll be considerate of her use of natural light when shooting outdoors, often getting the timing just right to best complement the outfits being showcased.
Jeff Stephens is a Dallas fashion photographer who possesses a rare quality that many artists strive for: an instinctive eye. His journey began with a successful career in high-end luxury still-life photography before transitioning into the world of beauty and fashion. Known for his remarkable control of light and exceptional communication skills, Jeff has earned himself a reputation among top advertising clients such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, and Richards Group. His extensive list of retail clients includes industry giants such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Avon, Mary Kay, Zales, and SkinCeuticals. Jeff’s fashion work is always bright, presenting a vibrant energy to viewers whether indoors or outdoors. Also a very accomplished beauty photographer, Jeff often makes a model’s skin just as important as the designs themselves when finding the best backdrops. This allows both his subject and the outfit to be completely immersed with one another, giving each model their own individual importance to the overall image. Jeff also utilizes action and drama in his shoots, clearly making space for his models to have fun and let their expressive nature take center stage. This dynamic approach to showing emotion and storytelling makes his work a great match for a range of advertising, especially campaigns shooting a series working with the same model.
Anthony Ferrell began his creative life in music, learning to play multiple instruments until someone handed him something that spoke to him even more: a camera. Years later he is now owner of Anthony-Ferrell Photography. As a Dallas fashion photographer and videographer, Anthony stands out with editorial work that is notable in its exploration of his subject’s relationship to their surroundings.
My goal as a photographer is not just to aim the camera and take a photo. The ultimate goal is to establish a connection with people to turn those “pictures” into moments. Great pictures in technicality can be great, but does that image connect with you on a deeper level? If not, then it’s just a great photo with no significance. I’m not here just to take photos. I’m here to help tell stories and create moments.
He finds his focus in a model and a location that both bring out the best qualities in the designs he’s shooting. This is done by careful consideration of lighting, the most opportune times of day to capture it naturally, as well as the most complementary shades when working indoors. In either scenario, he will follow his model within a short film or series of images as they move between modes of expression. He will have his subjects pose or lean just as often as catching them mid-sigh or turning to move. This brings authenticity to their emotional expression, which makes each image singular in its personality. Anthony also uses a scene’s inherent geometry to best center or lean his model within, creating an interesting image as well as an emotionally engaging one.
If you’re looking for a true shapeshifter in the world of creating imagery, Nick Prendergast is as dynamic as they come. As a Dallas fashion photographer, he stands out from the rest in being able to shoot virtually any style. Through careful consideration of backdrop, props, and the colors of each, Nick creates evocative scenes for his subjects complete with an ability to make small changes to these that allow for a dynamic series. The wardrobe of his models will vary drastically between style, level of formality, and mood. He also will take his models to various outdoor and non-studio locations to further explore both their personality as well as the design. This shows Nick to be resourceful, fun-loving, and deep in his connection to the conditions of each shoot. This takes the viewer on an adventure with each model, providing a level of immersion that engages a cinematic approach to storytelling as well as an incredibly diverse fashion portfolio.
Molly Dickson’s imagery is a walk on the wild side. She works with many approaches to photography, from dreamy, washed-out images evocative polaroids, or vcr glitches to impeccably-detailed shots taken both outdoors and indoors. As a Dallas fashion photographer, she shows visionary creativity that truly stands out in her own distinct style. With all of the personality she shows in her collection of aesthetics, Molly takes this a step further in essentially creating her own visual world. And within this world, she can do anything. Nearly every shoot seems to be different, each taking a specific mission to define the outfit being modeled. Often involving an air of mystery and an edgy attitude, Molly’s work engages youth culture as well as younger-oriented zine-based presentations of fashion. This gives her work both a current and futuristic feeling, showing her as a scout of sorts. Adding to this is the ethereal nature of much of her work given her tendency to engage conceptual photography into her fashion work, which gives it an excitingly otherworldly quality. Molly is also fearless in putting her models in unexpected places that produce a geometry within her image that is as adventurous as it is artful.
With such a rich heritage in pulling in millions of people a year to explore its quietly influential hold on the world of fashion, Dallas is not only an exciting place to document it but a solid one. To stand out in an industry that has such a deep foundation in a city is a feat of both creativity and tenacity. Through skill and a visionary approach, each of these Dallas fashion photographers shows the different ways this happens.