photo by Zach Felter
Behind the scenes of fashion photography
2013 Meridian graduate, Zach Felter, continues to move forward in the fashion industry as a fashion photographer.
Having a profession in fashion photography sounds like an amazing career, but it takes lots of dedication, skill, and the willingness to do hard work. The world of fashion photography can be very competitive. Being able to succeed in this world is also quite challenging, if not impossible if you don’t have the right connections. Amazing abilities and the determination to become a fashion photographer has allowed Felter to succeed and make a living off such an awesome career.
Former Meridian alumni Zach Felter, class of 2013, decided to pursue this glamorous career. “Around 2010 or 2011 is the earliest I remember actually having an interest in photography in general,” said Felter. His interest began when he was looking at social media such as Instagram and Twitter, “I found experiences and connections through Instagram that I never could’ve experienced where I grew up—in fashion, art, culture, etc.” Felter was inspired by the pictures and he decided to start taking some of his own. He states, “My first camera was an iPhone, and at that point I wasn’t taking photos for any reason other than to make my life look cooler online than it actually was.”
Location is key to fashion photography, so if you’re willing to move around and travel a lot, then this is the career to have. Living in central Illinois wasn’t an ideal place to be for what Felter wants to achieve. So after graduation, Felter decided to further his education in fashion photography and fashion business at Columbia College in Chicago. “I spent so much of my extra time looking at fashion ad campaigns and watching videos from fashion week that it became this whole new field of knowledge I began to develop. Eventually, I think I figured out that if I’m devoting this much of my time to an interest in something, I might as well be going to college for it,” Felter said. “Moving to Chicago, where I knew absolutely no one, was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and focus on what I really wanted to do. The past few years have been nothing but hard work, but it’s 100% worth it to be doing what I love with so many amazing people.”
“Moving to Chicago, where I knew absolutely no one, was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and focus on what I really wanted to do. The past few years have been nothing but hard work, but it’s 100% worth it to be doing what I love with so many amazing people.”
Felter hopes to have his work published in a legitimate magazine within the next few months. His long term goal is to keep working with clothing designers and brands, and hopefully shoot ad campaigns and editorials. “I’ve always been into Nylon Magazine, so to be able to shoot for them would be amazing,” Felter said. In November of 2015, Felter got the opportunity to shoot a fashion photo for the Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue, where he shot on the roof of the Hilton’s Imperial Suite. “It was something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.” He has also been working with one of his favorite shops in Los Angeles on an upcoming photo editorial for their blog.
Since Chicago’s fashion industry is nothing compared to New York market, Felter plans to relocate there after he graduates this year. Right now Felter just wants to build his portfolio and he has to work with as many people as he can to do so. Felter maintains a pretty good balance between his school work and photography. “I’m usually shooting once or twice a week, while also going to classes a few days a week; and I also have to work in time for photo retouching, emailing, and meeting with clients. It’s a lot to balance, but once you get used to it, there’s no stopping.”
Zach Felter is a real-life small town success story. All you need to achieve something is the drive and the willingness to gain success. More of Felter’s work can be viewed on his website (www.zachfelter.com) or follow him on Instagram (@zachsface).