Yaëlle Fau - Spéos 2022
© Yaëlle Fau – Spéos 2022

Program presentation

Created and launched for the first two years by Dominique Issermann, Paolo Roversi and Spéos, this program is aimed at students who wish to evolve exclusively in the domains of fashion, luxury and beauty. Students have the opportunity to work on products of major brands such as Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Gucci, Issey Miyake, La Prairie, Lacoste, Dior, Longchamp… with an artistic direction respecting the brand universe of these big names. This intensive and exclusive program takes place in Paris in 1 year, from October to September of the following year, in English only.

This program is for students who wish to pursue a career in fashion, luxury and beauty photography. The official program is delivered by Spéos and their teachers. The artistic direction has been given to Azadeh Zoraghi, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director of Narcisse Magazine.
This program provides students with the foundations necessary to develop a critical reflection on fashion / luxury / beauty photography, while providing technical advice and educational support to develop their individual practice.

Students who aren’t native speakers of English need to have a language level validated by an English language test at B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The language requirement needs to be submitted at the beginning of the program.

Next session: September 2024-July 2025
Language of instruction: English
– France, European Union nationals: €30,750
– International students: €30,750

Diploma: Fashion, Luxury and Beauty Photography
Title of Entrepreneurial Photographer RNCP level 6 (certification RNCP36195 registered on 25/02/2022, delivered by Spéos) – code NSF 323 t
> Understanding the Certification RNCP 6 (PDF)

Structure of the Fashion, Luxury & Beauty Photography Program

The first semester comprises the core courses, which cover all aspects of professional photography, from September to December. Top-level professionals hold the courses and monitor the students’ individual acquisition of skills. Outside of class, students independently organize their shooting sessions and post-production, under the continual guidance of Spéos studio teacher.

During the second semester, from January to May, students improve their practical skills and develop their knowledge. They start a personal production cycle under the artistic direction of Azadeh Zoraghi, working on products of major brands such as Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Kenzo, Gucci, Issey Miyake, La Prairie, Lacoste, Dior, Longchamp…

The best work of the students will be submitted to the brands for possible publications on their social networks.

The last week of the second semester is dedicated to the set-up of the students’ end-of-the-year exhibition on the school premises – an important event visited by established photographers, picture editors, news and advertising agencies. The students also have the possibility to exhibit their work online in the web galleries.

The Expert modules aim at deepening the students’ previous knowledge and skills in those areas that are most demanded by the professional market. Each module takes place over several weeks, in June and July.

Courses and conferences are taught by experienced and recognized professionals who share their experience and know-how from their respective fields of expertise. These speakers emphasize the practical ownership of these skills and offer students valuable experience gain for their own personal projects.
See the list of lecturers year by year.

In July, the students participate in the design and creation of a magazine featuring their own photographic work to promote their achievements. This magazine is entirely designed by and for the students, with an editorial written by one of them.

The last step is the Professional Project, during which students reflect on their position at the beginning of their career and write their business plan. This stage runs in parallel with the Expert Modules, from June to September.

Course description

Essentials of Photography
Semester I: 1h30/week
This course is dedicated to the acquisition of techniques essential to the practice of professional photography. Combining theory and practical exercises, it allows students:
– to learn and practice the Stop-System, the global learning method of light control in photography, a method developed by Spéos,
– to understand and know how to define its settings when taking pictures,
– to understand the techniques inherent in shooting and to anticipate post-production,
– to understand the operation of different types of cameras, including the large-format camera.
The elements covered will allow students to make relevant technical choices according to the desired result. Whatever the situation, in studio or on location, indoors or outdoors, this course will enable them to deal with the possible constraints encountered when taking pictures.

Semester I: 6 hours/week
This course is dedicated to the acquisition of the techniques essential to studio shoots, as well as to the treatment of digital images. Students are initiated to:
– the Stop-System,
– different types of lighting,
– the general principles of balanced light sources,
– as well as different types of cameras, from 35mm to the large format.
The purpose of this first part is to broaden and consolidate the field of knowledge in order to develop and develop a creative approach. An introduction to the “Style and Composition” class will initiate the students to the notions of style and composition in professional photography.

Conception of Men’s & Women’s Fashion / Beauty & Still Life
Semester I: 3 hours/week
This course aims to understand the history of fashion, its codes of visual communication, the modus operandi of the industry, as well as the main professions involved in the creation of fashion images – whether they are used for advertising, editorial, web or social networks.
Using concrete examples, students follow the creation of a campaign from the marketing brief and the brand platform to the final delivery, through the following steps:
– the creative development by the artistic director and their creative brief,
– the choice of photographer,
– the constitution of the production team and the creative team on the set, including hairdresser, makeup artist, stylist and set design,
– their response to the creative brief with the negociations to consider,
– the pre-production meeting (PPM),
– the management of the set and the different people involved,
– client management,
– the choice of photos, compositions, retouching, color profiles, print proofing, cropping, insertion of other elements such as packshots and typography, as well as other parameters according to the requested use.
Students will then discuss the differences between the domains of beauty, luxury and fashion, before finishing with an approach to still life.
At the end of the first semester, students will thus perfectly master all aspects within fashion, luxury and beauty photography.

Computer Imaging
Semester I: 3 hours/week
This course aims to:
– understand what the main parameters and formats of digital images are,
– learn how to manage a stream of digital images and retouch photos using Lightroom software,
– discover the Photoshop application and design a layout using this software.

Image Management and Publication
Semester: 3 hours/week
This course helps photographers to manage their image stock with guidance on how to caption a picture, to assign the right key-words, to fill in the IPTC data. All of these are essential for any photographer to locate their pictures and to have them published.

Printing Techniques
Semester I: 1h30/week
The course covers printing techniques with the programs Photoshop and Lightroom on Fuji Frontier or Durst Lambda printers as well as large-format ink-jet printers. Color management principles will be studied within the graphic chain of a typical digital lab (screen, printer, viewing booth). Students will gain the necessary knowledge to obtain high quality prints, true to their digital shots, whether by themselves or through a professional lab.

Contemporary Photography
Semester I: 2 hours/week
These lectures are given by artists or actors of the art market. They aim to educate students about the history, evolution and current trends of photography. Exhibition visits can be organized on an ad hoc basis.

Meet the Profession
Semester I: 2 hours/week
The purpose of these meetings is to present a variety of professional careers within the photography industry, aiming at broadening the students horizons with regard to future career plans. Speakers include:
– former students of the school who present their activity,
– professionals in fields related to photography,
– representatives of major brands of photographic equipment, demonstrating new materials and presenting trends in the evolution of the profession.
These meetings bring together students from all programs and are held in English.

Semester II: 3 hours/week
The weekly sessions enrich, complement and support the 6-hour production classes, giving students time to:
— conduct guided research
— create moodboards
— develop specific lighting setups (prelighting)
Emphasis is put on finding practical, individual solutions to the diverse problems related to professional image production, both in classes and for their own portfolio. Working within the constraints of the industry, students learn to communicate with their teams to create original images which reflect their visual identity.

Production of Men’s & Women’s Fashion / Beauty & Still Life
Semester II: 6 hours every other week
In the second half of the program, students move into the production phase with products from high-end fashion, beauty and luxury brands: Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Kenzo, Gucci, Issey Miyake, La Prairie, Lacoste, Dior, Longchamp… The photos produced during those shoots are required to follow the artistic direction anchored in the distinct universe of each of these brands.
Students thus put into practice what they learned during the first semester, with the aim of mastering all skills necessary on a concrete job, and start building a book. They receive several practical cases, for which they must bring creative proposals, build teams, launch production, review the proposals of all parts involved and coordinate their efforts, so as to achieve the image they require.
After their casting and the organization of their pre-production meeting, the students must:
– take pictures and produce photos in accordance with the market positioning defined for the product, as well as its by-products, such as backstage photos and films in different formats (Boomerang mini-videos, animated GIFs, cinemagraphs, moving images),
– follow-up post-production: choice of images, retouching and editing/cropping, layout and final presentation.
During all these stages, the students are supervised and their progress is controlled by their instructors, who give them advice and directions, allowing them to become more and more professional.
Next to photos of luxury still life, students also practise fashion photography with models.
At the end of the second semester, they will have to create their books and build their own visual identity as well as the corresponding pitch. The best works will then be presented to the brands or magazines.

Computer Imaging
Semester II: 3 hours/week
This advanced level course in Photoshop will conduct students to acquire digital imaging techniques on a professional level, in-depth retouching of images and design of photomontages. The students thus will be capable of providing high quality post-production after their shooting sessions in the studio.

Image Management and Publication
Semester II: 3 hours/week
In the second part of the program, the course covers the following topics:
– add value to a photo stock with a good knowledge of captioning and keyword management,
– find sources of information for photographers,
– know the photo market,
– develop an Internet strategy: create a website using a CMS (Content Management System), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), know how to use blogs and social networks for photographers.

Printing Techniques
Semester II: 1h30/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Meet the Profession
Semester II: 2 hours/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Video for Photographers: the Essentials
Semester II: 3 hours/week
This course aims to:
– provide students with the basics of audiovisual production in the field of promotional or experimental short films,
– teach them how to enhance their photographic work with the animated image,
– train them in software specific to this type of creation.
The assignments will focus on diverse topics so that students can experience their own approach to video making, regardless of the shooting mode used: documentary film, fiction film, family and animated film, experimental film, advertising and institutional.

Experts Modules: June-July

Expert Module: the Photo Business 
Duration: 5 weeks in 2 parts
Different experts present the business management of all kinds of activities linked to professional photography. The module gives an overview of the photographic professions and the market, copyright legislation, marketing, accounting and financial management within the field of photography.
This module also allows students to deepen their knowledge in the domains of image management and publication, which are presented from the point of view of independent photographers, photo agencies and image banks. Students also encounter picture researchers/image buyers working for publishing houses and advertising agencies, art directors and photo agents. Throughout the module, they acquire in-depth knowledge about the various possibilities to syndicate their own image stocks. And – last but not least – they get a practical overview of how to efficiently use social media for photographers.

Expert Module: Advanced Studio Photography — Professional Portfolio Development
Duration: 3 weeks (takes place at the same time as the Expert Module Advanced Photo Reportage)
Participants focus on developing their portfolio in professional work situations which correspond to their individual intentions and chosen specialisation, including fashion, portrait, advertising, and fine art photography. Numerous partnerships with luxury and fashion brands (Lacoste, Longchamp, Issey Miyake, Bulgari, etc.) allow for a complete, hands-on understanding of the production process from start to finish, including direct feedback from the client and the possibility for publication.

Design and creation of a magazine 
In July, the students participate in the design and creation of a magazine featuring their own photographic work to promote their achievements.
This magazine is entirely designed by and for the students: graphic design and production, construction of the dummy, layout, editorial and delivery of the print file.
The students are accompanied to select the images and understand the editorial creation:
– introduction to the field of publishing,
– presentation of dummy and flatplan,
– group and individual discussions with all students: final choice of  photos from their selection, test integration of the photos into the layout, evaluation of different possibilities for the final layout.

Professional project: June-September
During the Expert Modules, the students equally plan and elaborate their own business approach, to be implemented after their training at Spéos. Through regular exchanges with their instructors, they are guided in their career choice, business strategy, market research, and obtain the necessary skills in marketing, financial and legal matters, so as to set up their own business plan.

At the end of July, the main points of their business plan are presented to a first jury, which evaluates the project’s relevance and feasibility. During the summer, the students improve and fine-tune their projects, which need to be submitted at the end of September as a written business plan. 

Pedagogical approach

The teaching method is essentially based on real-life practice, an essential element of learning.
Classes are held in small groups to ensure a personalised, continuous approach, allowing students to develop their own style and sensitivity (excellent student/teacher ratio).

The school has developed its own teaching method: the Stop-System, a global learning method for controlling light in photography.

The courses are taught by recognised professionals and creatives who ensure that students acquire the knowledge they need.

Outside the classroom, students organize their own shoots, either in the studio or on location.

Spéos provides students with spacious facilities equipped with top-of-the-range photographic equipment.

The school has a number of spacious studios, all very well equipped: Phase One back rooms, Foba column stands, the best brands of flashes, projectors, lights and a wide range of accessories to style every shot. The school’s computer rooms are equipped with Apple computers, Eizo calibrated screens and the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

Students can also borrow photographic equipment on a daily basis: the school lends out a large number of flash kits, sound kits, video kits and telephoto lenses for working outdoors, evenings and weekends included.

  • Continuous assessment.
  • Practical work situations.
  • Tests at the beginning and end of the semester, to assess students’ acquisition of knowledge.
  • Half-yearly examinations in the form of graded exercises.
  • Completion of a professional portfolio and end-of-year exhibition.
  • Examination by 2 separate juries.
  • Creation of a business plan.

Students’ testimonials and works

Sahar: “What I like at Spéos is that we have a big range of equipment and flashes. Spéos gave me the tools to do what I really love in photography

Henrik: “I came to Spéos to learn more about light; studio class was amazing

Karl: “For me photography is how you see the world, and Spéos helped me into projecting this path into reality”

Lyna: “Spéos helped me improve my skills into beauty photography

The web galleries present a selection of works that students have made ​​during their time at Spéos.

Enrollment and Contact

Registrations are open all year round and subject to availability.
Feel free to contact Spéos if you have any questions about this program.
At any time you are most welcome to come and visit the school, just make an appointment!